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A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power, often but not always in a monarchy. In other words, a person who takes the power of a country, city, or established region for himself, without any formal or legal right to claim it as his own. Usurpers are both those who overtake a region by often unexpected physical force, as well as individuals or organizations who overtake a region through political influence and subterfuge — though the word "usurper" denotes a single person; either an individual who acted alone, or the leader of a group which supported his controversial claim.
This may include a person who succeeds in establishing himself as a monarch without inheriting the throne or any other person exercising authority to validate the claim. It may also be applied to an official acting ultra vires, outside their authority or jurisdiction.
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- Key, T. Hewitt (1855). "On the Derivation and Meaning of the Latin Verb usurpare". Transactions of the Philological Society (8).
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