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.
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.
Amical protection was frequently extended by the great powers to other Christian (generally European) states and to smaller states that had no significant importance[ambiguous]. In the post-1815 period, non-Christian states (such as China's Qing dynasty) also provided amical protection towards other much weaker states.
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 Bhutan, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Niue, the Cook Islands, and Palau.
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.
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 European 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. This aspect of history is referred to as the Scramble for Africa. 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.
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.
- Protectorate General to Pacify the West
- Protectorate General to Pacify the North
- Protectorate General to Pacify the East
- 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)
- Trumon Sultanate (1770?), Langkat Sultanate (26 October 1869), Deli Sultanate (22 August 1862), Asahan Sultanate (27 September 1865), Siak Sultanate (1 February 1858) and Indragiri Sultanate (1838?) in Sumatra
- Jogjakarta Sultanate (13 February 1755), Mataram Empire and Surakarta Sunanate (26 February 1677), Duchy of Mangkunegara (24 February 1757) and Duchy of Paku Alaman (22 June 1812) in Java.
- Sumbawa Sultanate (?) and Bima Sultanate (8 December 1669) in Lesser Sunda Islands.
- Pontianak Sultanate (16 August 1819), Sambas Sultanate (1819), Kubu Sultanate (4 June 1823), Landak Sultanate (?), Mempawah Sultanate (?), Matan Sultanate (?), Sanggau Sultanate (?), Sekadau Sultanate (?), Simpang Sultanate (?), Sintang Sultanate (1822), Sukadana Sultanate (?), Kota Waringin Sultanate (?), Kutai Kertanegara Sultanate (8 August 1825), Gunung Tabur Sultanate (?) and Bulungan Sultanate (?) in Borneo.
- Gowa Sultanate (1669), Bone Sultanate (?), Sidenreng Sultanate (?), Soppeng Sultanate (?), Butung Sultanate (?), Muna Sultanate (?) and Banggai Sultanate (?) in Celebes.
- Ternate (12 October 1676) and Batjan Sultanate (?) in The Moluccas.
- Kaimana Sultanate (?) in Dutch New Guinea.
- 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.
- Present India: Arkat (Arcot/Carnatic) was 1692–1750 a French protectorate until 1763 independence recognized under British protectorate
- French Indochina until 1953/54:
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:
- Morocco – most of the sultanate was under French protectorate (30 March 1912 – 7 April 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.
- 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
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
- 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
- French Polynesia, mainly the Society Islands (several other were immediately annexed) All eventually were 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:
The German Empire used the word Schutzgebiet, literally protectorate, for all of its colonial possessions 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)
- Rwanda, a Resident with the native Mwami (king)
- Urundi, a Resident with the native Mwami (king; 1908 Sultan)
- 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).
- Kaffa (1462–1475)
- 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)
- Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (1783–1801)
- Kingdom of Imereti (1804–1810)
- Revolutionary Serbia (1807–12) and Principality of Serbia (1826–56)
- Uryankhay Krai (1914)
- Emirate of Bukhara (1873–1920)
- Khanate of Khiva (1873–1920)
- 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 Protectorates
- Liberia (1822–1847)
- Cuba (1898–1904)
- Haiti (1915–1935)
- Honduras (1903–1925)
- Nicaragua (1912–1933)
- Panama Canal Zone (1903–1979)
- Dominican Republic (1914–1924)
- Sultanate of Sulu (1903–1915)
- Germany (1945–1949)
- South Korea (1945–1948)
- Ryukyu Islands (1945–1972)
- 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 but the government had no control over the land as it was controlled by the privately owned American Colonization Society. It was, however, a protectorate from January 7, 1822 until the Liberian Declaration of Independence from the American Colonization Society 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 Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia: 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)
- The Adriatic Republic of Ragusa (present-day Dubrovnik in Croatian Dalmatia) was a joint Habsburg Austrian–Ottoman 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.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (Peace Implementation Council, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR Althea)
- British Protected Person
- Chinese Protectorate
- Protector (titles for Heads of State and other individual persons)
- Puerto Rico
- Tributary (political)
- Vassal state
- Беларуская (тарашкевіца)
- Bahasa Indonesia
- Bahasa Melayu
- Norsk nynorsk
- Simple English
- Српски / srpski
- Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски
- Tiếng Việt