Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)


Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Protectorate httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons11

Protectorate album promo

A protectorate, in its inception adopted by modern international law, is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy and some independence while still retaining the suzerainty of a greater sovereign state. In exchange for this, the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations, which may vary greatly, depending on the real nature of their relationship. Therefore, a protectorate remains an autonomous part of a sovereign state. They are different from colonies as they have local rulers and people ruling over the territory and experience rare cases of immigration of settlers from the country it has suzerainty of. However, a state which remains under the protection of another state but still retains independence is known as a protected state and is different from protectorates.


Protectorate Ottoman Protectorate Flag by lamnay on DeviantArt

Protectorate universal exports

Amical protection

Protectorate Protectorate Myanmar Defintition of Protectorate at Shwebook

In amical protection, the terms are often very favorable for the protectorate. The political interest of the protector is frequently moral (a matter of accepted moral obligation, prestige, ideology, internal popularity, dynastic, historical, or ethno-cultural ties) or countering a rival or enemy power (e.g., preventing the rival from obtaining or maintaining control of areas of strategic importance). This may involve a very weak protectorate surrendering control of its external relations; this, however, may not constitute any real sacrifice, as the protectorate may not have been able to have similar use of them without the protector's strength.

Protectorate Oil Rivers Protectorate 1884 1893 Nigeria

Amical protection was frequently extended by the great powers to other Christian (generally European) states and to smaller states that had no significant importance. In the post-1815 period, non-Christian states (such as China's Qing dynasty) also provided amical protection towards other much weaker states.

Protectorate Northern Nigeria Protectorate 1900 1914

In modern times, a form of amical protection can be seen as an important or defining feature of microstates. According to the definition proposed by Dumienski (2014): "microstates are modern protected states, i.e. sovereign states that have been able to unilaterally depute certain attributes of sovereignty to larger powers in exchange for benign protection of their political and economic viability against their geographic or demographic constraints". Examples of microstates understood as modern protected states include Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Niue, the Cook Islands, and Palau.

Colonial protection of the International Law

Protectorate Shoshong Protectorate

Conditions regarding protection are generally much less generous for areas of colonial protection. The protectorate was often reduced to a de facto condition similar to a colony, but using the pre-existing native state as an agent of indirect rule. Occasionally, a protectorate was established by or exercised by the other form of indirect rule: a chartered company, which becomes a de facto state in its European home state (but geographically overseas), allowed to be an independent country which has its own foreign policy and generally its own armed forces.

Protectorate Witu Protectorate Kenya

In fact, protectorates were declared despite not being duly entered into by the traditional states supposedly being protected, or only by a party of dubious authority in those states. Colonial protectors frequently decided to reshuffle several protectorates into a new, artificial unit without consulting the protectorates, a logic disrespectful of the theoretical duty of a protector to help maintain its protectorates' status and integrity. The Berlin agreement of February 26, 1885 allowed the colonial powers to establish protectorates in Black Africa (the last region to be divided among them) by diplomatic notification, even without actual possession on the ground. A similar case is the formal use of such terms as colony and protectorate for an amalgamation, convenient only for the colonizer or protector, of adjacent territories over which it held (de facto) sway by protective or "raw" colonial logic.

Foreign relations

In practice, a protectorate often has direct foreign relations only with the protecting power, so other states must deal with it by approaching the protector. Similarly, the protectorate rarely takes military action on its own, but relies on the protector for its defence. This is distinct from annexation, in that the protector has no formal power to control the internal affairs of the protectorate.

Protectorates differ from League of Nations mandates and their successors, United Nations Trust Territories, whose administration is supervised, in varying degrees, by the international community. A protectorate formally enters into the protection through a bilateral agreement with the protector, while international mandates are stewarded by the world community-representing body, with or without a de facto administering power.

Belgian protectorates

During the East African Campaign of World War I, the north-west part of German East Africa, Ruanda-Urundi, was invaded by Belgian and Congolese troops in 1916 and was still occupied by them at the end of the war in 1918. As part of the Treaty of Versailles the major part of German East Africa was handed over to British control but Ruanda-Urundi, twice the size of Belgium but only about 2% of the size of the Congo, was confirmed as a Belgian protectorate by a League of Nations mandate in 1924, later renewed as a United Nations Trust Territory. The territory was granted independence in 1962 as the separate countries of Rwanda and Burundi, bringing the Belgian colonial empire to an end.

British protectorates

A protectorate is a territory which is not formally annexed but in which, by treaty, grant or other lawful means, the Crown has ultimate power and jurisdiction.

A protectorate differs from a "protected state". A protected state is a territory under a ruler which enjoys Her Britannic Majesty's protection, over whose foreign affairs she exercises control, but in respect of whose internal affairs she does not exercise jurisdiction.

Some British colonies were ruled directly by the Colonial Office in London, while others were ruled indirectly through local rulers who are supervised behind the scenes by British advisors. In 1890 Zanzibar became a protectorate (not a colony) of Britain. Prime Minister Salisbury explained his position as follows:

The condition of a protected dependency is more acceptable to the half-civilised races, and more suitable for them than direct dominion. It is cheaper, simpler, less wounding to their self-esteem, gives them more career as public officials, and spares of unnecessary contact with white men.

The princely states of India were ruled indirectly. So too was much of the West African holdings.

When King George III issued The Royal Proclamation of 1763 he established the framework for the negotiation of treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of North America and legally defined an area of the North American interior as a vast Indian reserve. King George reserved the western lands to the "several nations or tribes of Indians" that were under his "protection" as their exclusive "hunting grounds." As sovereign of this territory, however, the king claimed ultimate "Dominion" over the entire region. These nations or tribes would be considered protectorates by treaty. The treaty-making procedures that evolved in the crown colony of Upper Canada were later exported to the territories purchased in 1870 by the new Dominion from the Hudson's Bay Company. A basis of land tenure was established throughout most of the prairie provinces and Northern Ontario, where seven numbered treaties were negotiated in the 1870s, on the principles outlined in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. In other large areas of the country where the treaty-making provisions of the Royal Proclamation have never been implemented, Aboriginal land rights are legally enforceable.

When the British took over Cephalonia in 1809, they proclaimed, "We present ourselves to you, Inhabitants of Cephalonia, not as invaders, with views of conquest, but as allies who hold forth to you the advantages of British protection." When the British continued to occupy the Ionian Islands after the Napoleonic wars, they did not formally annex the islands, but described them as a protectorate. The islands were constituted by the Treaty of Paris in 1815 as the independent United States of the Ionian Islands under British protection. Similarly, Malta was a British protectorate between the capitulation of the French in 1800 and the Treaty of Paris of 1814.

Other British protectorates followed. In the Pacific Ocean the sixteen islands of the Gilberts (now Kiribati) were declared a British Protectorate by Captain Davis R.N., of HMS Royalist between 27 May and 17 June 1892. The Royalist also visited each of the Ellice Islands and Captain Davis was requested by islanders to raise the British flag, but he did not have instructions to declare the Ellice Islands as a protectorate. The nine islands of the Ellice Group (now Tuvalu) were declared a British Protectorate by Captain Gibson R.N., of HMS Curacoa, between 9 and 16 October of the same year. Britain defined its area of interest in the Solomon Islands in June 1893, when Captain Gibson R.N., of HMS Curacoa, declared the southern Solomon Islands as a British Protectorate with the proclamation of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.

In 1894, Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone's government officially announced that Uganda was to become a British Protectorate, where Muslim and Christian strife had attracted international attention. The British administration installed carefully selected local kings under a program of indirect rule through the local oligarchy, creating a network of British-controlled civil service. Most British protectorates were overseen by a Commissioner or a High Commissioner, rather than a Governor.

British law makes a distinction between a protectorate and a protected state. Constitutionally the two are of similar status where Britain provides controlled defence and external relations. However, a protectorate has an internal government established, while a protected state establishes a form of local internal self-government based on the already existing one.

Persons connected with a former British protectorate, protected state, mandated territory or trust territory may remain British Protected Persons if they did not acquire the nationality of the country at independence.

The last British protectorate proper was the British Solomon Islands, now Solomon Islands, which gained independence in 1978; the last British protected state was Brunei, which gained full independence in 1984.

Other cases include:


  • Barbados (1627–1652) (as a proprietary colony under William Courteen, followed by James Hay I.)
  • Mosquito Coast (1655–1860) (over Central America's Miskito Indian nation)
  • Arab world

  • Aden Protectorates in Yemen (1873–1967)
  • Sultanate of Egypt (1914–1922)
  • Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899–1956) (condominium with Egypt)
  • British Residency of the Persian Gulf (1822–1971)
  • Bahrain (1880–1971)
  • Kuwait (1899–1961)
  • Qatar (1916–1971)
  • Trucial States, present constituent emirates of the UAE (1892–1971)
  • Oman (1892–1971)
  • British Somaliland (1884–1961)
  • South and South East Asia

  • British North Borneo (1888–1946)
  • Brunei (1888–1984)
  • cis-Sutlej states (1809-1947)
  • Federation of Malaya (1948–1957)
  • Federated Malay States (1895–1946)
  • Negeri Sembilan (1888–1895)
  • Sungai Ujong (1874–1888)
  • Jelebu (1886–1895)
  • Pahang (1888–1895)
  • Perak (1874–1895)
  • Selangor (1874–1895)
  • Unfederated Malay States (1904/09–1946)
  • Johor (1914–1946)
  • Kedah (1909–1946)
  • Kelantan (1909–1946)
  • Perlis (1909–1946)
  • Terengganu (1909–1946)
  • Maldives (1887–1965)
  • Sikkim (1910–1947)
  • Kingdom of Sarawak (1888–1946)
  • Protected states

    As protected states, the following states were never officially part of the British Empire and retained near-total control over internal affairs; however, the British controlled their foreign policy:

  • Afghanistan (1879–1919)
  • Bhutan (1910–1947)
  • Nepal (1815–1923)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Barotseland Protectorate (1900–1964)
  • Basutoland (1884–1966)
  • Bechuanaland Protectorate (1884–1966)
  • British East Africa Protectorate (1895–1920)
  • Gambia Protectorate* (1894–1965)
  • Kenya Protectorate* (1920–1963)
  • Northern Nigeria Protectorate
  • Northern Rhodesia (1924–1964)
  • Northern Territories of the Gold Coast (1902–1957)
  • Nyasaland Protectorate (1893–1964) – British Central Africa Protectorate until 1907
  • Sierra Leone Protectorate* (1896–1961)
  • Southern Nigeria Protectorate
  • Swaziland (1902–1968)
  • Uganda Protectorate (1894–1962)
  • Walvis Bay protectorate (1878–1884)
  • Zanzibar (1890–1963)
  • Asterisks denote protectorates which were governed from a colony of the same name.


  • British New Guinea (1884–1888)
  • British Solomon Islands (1893–1978)
  • Cook Islands (1888–1901)
  • Gilbert and Ellice Islands (1892–1916)
  • Niue (1900–1901)
  • Tokelau (1877–1916)
  • Tonga (1900–1970)
  • Chinese protectorates

    Han dynasty:

  • Protectorate of the Western Regions
  • Tang dynasty:

  • Protectorate General to Pacify the West
  • Protectorate General to Pacify the North
  • Protectorate General to Pacify the East
  • Qing dynasty:

  • Choseon (1636–1895; relations with Chinese Empire were handled through Libu)。
  • Dutch protectorates

  • Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten (all are presently separate constituent countries, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles)
  • Various sultanates in the Dutch East Indies (present Indonesia)
  • French protectorates

  • Saar Protectorate (1947–1956), not colonial or amical, but a former part of Germany that would by referendum return to it, in fact a re-edition of a former League of Nations mandate. Most French protectorates were colonial.
  • Asia

  • Present India: Arkat (Arcot/Carnatic) was 1692–1750 a French protectorate until 1763 independence recognized under British protectorate
  • French Indochina until 1953/54:
  • Cambodia 11 August 1863
  • Annam and Tonkin 6 June 1884
  • Laos 3 October 1893
  • Arab world and Madagascar

  • Comoros 21 April 1886 French protectorate (Anjouan) until 25 July 1912 when annexed.
  • Present Djibouti was originally, since 24 June 1884, the Territory of Obock and Protectorate of Tadjoura (Territoires Français d'Obock, Tadjoura, Dankils et Somalis), a French protectorate recognized by Britain on 9 February 1888, renamed on 20 May 1896 as French Somaliland (Côte Française des Somalis).
  • Mauritania on 12 May 1903 French protectorate; within Mauritanian several traditional states:
  • Adrar emirate since 9 January 1909 French protectorate (before Spanish)
  • The Taganit confederation's emirate (founded by Idaw `Ish dynasty), since 1905 under French protectorate.
  • Brakna confederation's emirate
  • Emirate of Trarza: 15 December 1902 placed under French protectorate status.
  • Morocco – most of the sultanate was under French protectorate (30 March 1912 – 2 March 1956) although, in theory, it remained a sovereign state under the Treaty of Fez; this fact was confirmed by the International Court of Justice in 1952.
  • The northern part of Morocco was under Spanish protectorate in the same period.
  • Traditional Madagascar States
  • Kingdom of Imerina under French protectorate, 6 August 1896. French Madagascar colony, 28 February 1897.
  • Tunisia (12 May 1881 – 20 March 1956): became a French protectorate by treaty
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

    The legal regime of "protection" was the formal legal structure under which French colonial forces expanded in Africa between the 1830s and 1900. Almost every pre-existing state in the area later covered by French West Africa was placed under protectorate status at some point, although direct rule gradually replaced protectorate agreements. Formal ruling structures, or fictive recreations of them, were largely retained as the lowest level authority figure in the French Cercles, with leaders appointed and removed by French officials.

  • Benin traditional states
  • Independent of Danhome, under French protectorate, from 1889
  • Porto-Novo a French protectorate, 23 February 1863 – 2 January 1865. Cotonou a French Protectorate, 19 May 1868. Porto-Novo French protectorate, 14 April 1882.
  • Central African Republic traditional states:
  • French protectorate over Dar al-Kuti (1912 Sultanate suppressed by the French), 12 December 1897
  • French protectorate over the Sultanate of Bangassou, 1894
  • Burkina Faso was since 20 February 1895 a French protectorate named Upper Volta (Haute-Volta)
  • Chad: Baghirmi state 20 September 1897 a French protectorate
  • Côte d'Ivoire: 10 January 1889 French protectorate of Ivory Coast
  • Guinea: 5 August 1849 French protectorate over coastal region; (Riviéres du Sud).
  • Niger, Sultanate of Damagaram (Zinder), 30 July 1899 under French protectorate over the native rulers, titled Sarkin Damagaram or Sultan
  • Senegal: 4 February 1850 First of several French protectorate treaties with local rulers
  • Oceania

  • French Polynesia, mainly the Society Islands (several other were immediately annexed) All eventually got annexed by 1889.
  • Otaheiti (native king styled Ari`i rahi) becomes a French protectorate known as Tahiti, 1842–1880
  • Raiatea and Tahaa (after temporary annexation by Otaheiti; (title Ari`i) a French protectorate, 1880)
  • Mangareva (one of the Gambier Islands; ruler title `Akariki) a French protectorate, 16 February 1844 (unratified) and 30 November 1871
  • Wallis and Futuna:
  • Wallis declared to be a French protectorate by King of Uvea and Captain Mallet, 4 November 1842. Officially in a treaty becomes a French protectorate, 5 April 1887 until 1917 when it got annexed.
  • Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna and Alofi signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate on 16 February 1888 until annexed in 1917.
  • German protectorates

    The German Empire used the word Schutzgebiet, literally protectorate, for all of its colonies until they were lost during World War I, regardless of the actual level of government control. Cases involving indirect rule included;

  • German New Guinea
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru, various officials posted with the Head Chiefs
  • Northern Solomon islands
  • Samoa, formerly Western Samoa
  • Sultanate of Witu, called Wituland, in present-day Kenya
  • German South-West Africa (later Namibia)
  • Togoland
  • Rwanda, a Resident with the native Mwami (king)
  • Urundi, a Resident with the native Mwami (king; 1908 Sultan)
  • After invading and dismembering Czechoslovakia, Nazi Germany established, in the mostly ethnically Czech regions, the

  • Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, 1939-1945
  • Italian protectorates

    In Europe:

  • Albania (1917–1920 and 1939–1940)
  • Independent State of Croatia (1941–1943)
  • Monaco under amical Protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia 20 November 1815 to 1860.
  • In the colonial empire:

  • Ethiopia: 2 May 1889 Treaty of Wuchale, in the Italian language version, stated that Ethiopia was to become an Italian protectorate, while the Ethiopian Amharic language version merely stated that the Emperor could, if he so chose, go through Italy to conduct foreign affairs. When the differences in the versions came to light, Emperor Menelik II abrogated first the article in question (XVII), and later the whole treaty. The event culminated in the First Italo-Ethiopian War, in which Ethiopia was victorious and defended her sovereignty in 1896.
  • Libya: on 15 October 1912 Italian protectorate declared over Cirenaica (Cyrenaica) until 17 May 1919.
  • Somalia: 3 August 1889 Benadir Coast Italian protectorate (in the northeast; unoccupied until May 1893), until 16 March 1905 when it changed to Italian Somaliland.
  • Majeerteen Sultanate since 7 April 1889 under Italian protectorate (renewed 7 April 1895), then in 1927 incorporated into the Italian colony.
  • Sultanate of Hobyo since December 1888 under Italian protectorate (renewed 11 April 1895), then in October 1925 incorporated into the Italian colony (known as Obbia).
  • Japanese protectorates

  • Korean Empire (1905–1910)
  • Portuguese protectorates

  • Kingdom of Kongo (1390–1914)
  • Cabinda (Portuguese Congo) (1885–1974) – Portugal first claimed sovereignty over Cabinda in the February 1885 Treaty of Simulambuco, which gave Cabinda the status of a protectorate of the Portuguese Crown under the request of "the princes and governors of Cabinda".
  • Gaza Empire (1824–1895)
  • Angoche Sultanate (1903–1910)
  • Russian protectorates

  • Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (1783–1801)
  • Kingdom of Imereti (1804–1810)
  • Revolutionary Serbia (1807–12) and Principality of Serbia (1826–56)
  • Emirate of Bukhara (1873–1920)
  • Khanate of Khiva (1873–1920)
  • Spanish protectorates

  • Mauritania: Adrar emirate since 1886 under Spanish protectorate till 9 January 1909, then a French protectorate.
  • Spanish Morocco protectorate from 27 November 1912 until 2 April 1958 (Northern zone until 7 April 1956, Southern zone (Cape Juby) until 2 April 1958).
  • United States

  • Liberia (1822–1847)
  • Cuba (1902–1904)
  • Panama Canal Zone (1903–1979)
  • Haiti (1915-1935)
  • Honduras (1903–1925)
  • Nicaragua (1912–1933)
  • Dominican Republic (1914–1924)
  • Sultanate of Sulu (1903–1915)
  • Commonwealth of the Philippines (1934–1946): Under the provisions of the Tydings–McDuffie Act, the territory would become self-governing although its military and foreign affairs would be under the United States.
  • Hawaii (1850s–1894/1898)
  • Compact of Free Association
  • The Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau have a similar status (associated state) since their independence.

    Contemporary usage by the United States

    Some agencies of the United States government, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, still use the term protectorate to refer to insular areas of the United States such as Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was also the case with the Philippines and (it can be argued via the Platt Amendment) Cuba at the end of Spanish colonial rule. Liberia was the only African nation that was a colony for the United States and a protectorate from January 7, 1822 until the Liberian Declaration of Independence in July 26, 1847. Liberia was founded and established as a homeland for freed African-Americans and ex-Caribbean slaves who left the United States and the Caribbean islands with help and support from the American Colonization Society. However, the agency responsible for the administration of those areas, the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) within the United States Department of Interior, uses only the term "insular area" rather than protectorate.

    United Nations protectorates

  • West Papua (then known as West New Guinea or West Irian): United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (1962–1963)
  • Cambodia: United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (1992–1993)
  • Eastern Croatia: United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (1996–1998)
  • East Timor: United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (1999–2002)
  • Kosovo: United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (since 1999)
  • Joint protectorates

  • The Adriatic Republic of Ragusa (present-day Dubrovnik in Croatian Dalmatia) was a joint Habsburg AustrianOttoman Turkish protectorate from 20 August 1684 to 24 August 1798 (exceptionally both a Catholic and a Muslim protector).
  • The United States of the Ionian Islands were a federal Septinsular Republic of seven formerly Venetian (see Provveditore) Ionian islands (Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, Santa Maura, Ithaca, Cerigo, and Paxos), officially under joint protectorate of the Allied Christian Powers, de facto a UK amical protectorate from 1815 to 1864.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina were a joint Austrian and Hungarian protectorate since 1878 which formally still belonged to the Ottoman Empire until 1908 when it was annexed by Austria-Hungary (see Bosnian crisis). Since the 1995 Dayton Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina is again sometimes described as a de facto international protectorate.
  • References

    Protectorate Wikipedia