List of special entities recognized by international treaty or agreement
A number of geographical political entities have a special position recognized by international treaty or agreement (Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

, Åland in Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

, Svalbard
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

in Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, the Vatican City State, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as the special administrative regions of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

and Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

in the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

) and many other territories and states.


Andorra could until 1993 be considered de facto to have been under dual French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 rule due to the lack of clear division of powers while it was ruled by a Spanish bishop and the French president. In 1278, the conflict between the French Count and the Catalan bishop was resolved by the signing of a pareage (pariatges), which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the Count of Foix and the Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of La Seu d'Urgell
La Seu d'Urgell
La Seu d'Urgell is a town located in the Catalan Pyrenees in Spain. La Seu d'Urgell is also the capital of the comarca Alt Urgell, head of the judicial district of la Seu d'Urgell and the seat of Bishop of Urgell, one of the Andorra co-princes...

 (Catalonia, Spain). The pareage, a feudal institution recognizing the principle of equality of rights shared by two rulers, gave the small state its territory and political form. In 1993 a new constitution was signed, and today Andorra is a co-principality with the President of France
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic colloquially referred to in English as the President of France, is France's elected Head of State....

 and the Bishop of Urgell playing the ceremonial role of co-princes, in a diarchy
Diarchy , from the Greek δι- "twice" and αρχια, "rule", is a form of government in which two individuals, the diarchs, are the heads of state. In most diarchies, the diarchs hold their position for life and pass the responsibilities and power of the position to their children or family when they...

 or duumvirate
A duumvirate is an alliance between two equally powerful political or military leaders. The term can also be used to describe a state with two different military leaders who both declare themselves to be the sole leader of the state....



Until the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

. In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, part of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests. France has in many ways still control over the state. The executive branch
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 consists of a Minister of State
Minister of State (Monaco)
The Minister of State is the head of the government of Monaco, though he is appointed by and subordinate to the Prince or Princess of Monaco. During his term, he is responsible for leading the government's action and is in charge of foreign relations...

 (the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

), who presides over a four-member Council of Government (the Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

). The minister of state is a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government. In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco clarified that if there are no heirs to carry on the dynasty, the principality will remain an independent nation rather than revert to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Monaco's military defence, however, is still the responsibility of France.

 Vatican City

The Vatican City state came into existence by virtue of the Lateran Treaty in 1929, which spoke of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), and not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 (756 to 1870) that had previously encompassed central Italy. Of which, most were absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 in 1860, and the city of Rome with a small area close to it, ten years later in 1870. The state has no firm population as its citizens are only granted citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 for the duration of service in the state. Those without dual citizenship will then get Italian citizenship.

 Åland Islands

Neutral and demilitarised autonomous region of  Finland

In 1856 Åland was demilitarised by the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1856)
The Treaty of Paris of 1856 settled the Crimean War between Russia and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, Second French Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The treaty, signed on March 30, 1856 at the Congress of Paris, made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all...

. This was later affirmed by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 in 1921 after a sovereignty dispute with Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. In a somewhat different context it was reaffirmed in the treaty on Finland's admission to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 in 1995.

 Hong Kong

Special Administrative Region of the  People's Republic of China

Following the signing of Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong
Sino-British Joint Declaration
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, formally known as the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, was signed by the Prime Ministers, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret...

 on December 19, 1984, the People's Republic of China gained sovereignty of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. It is now autonomous and self-governing entity as per the Basic Law of Hong Kong.


Autonomous province of  Serbia

Kosovo is considered by Serbia to be an autonomous province, the formal name of which is "Kosovo and Metohija". It was under United Nations administration
United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo or UNMIK is the interim civilian administration in Kosovo, under the authority of the United Nations. The mission was established on 10 June 1999 by Security Council Resolution 1244...

 from 1999 under the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, adopted on June 10, 1999, after recalling resolutions 1160 , 1199 , 1203 and 1239 , authorised an international civil and military presence in Kosovo ) and established the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo .Resolution...

 that ended the Kosovo conflict
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

. That resolution reaffirmed the sovereignty of Serbia over Kosovo but required the UN administration to promote the establishment of 'substantial autonomy and self-government' for Kosovo pending a 'final settlement' for negotiation between the parties.


Special Administrative Region of the  People's Republic of China

Following the signing of Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau in 1987, the People's Republic of China gained sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999. It is now largely autonomous operating under the Basic Law of Macau.

  Northern Ireland

Constituent country of the  United Kingdom

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but is also the subject of an international agreement, the Belfast Agreement
Belfast Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement , sometimes called the Stormont Agreement, was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process...

, between the Government of the United Kingdom
Government of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Government is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining Ministers...

 and the Government of Ireland, which gives Northern Ireland a devolved assembly.

 Palestinian territories

Palestinian Territories under the control of  Israel

Portions of the former British Mandate of Palestine captured and administered by Jordan
Rule of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan
The West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by Jordan for a period of nearly two decades starting from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1950, the British extended formal recognition to the union between the Hashemite Kingdom and of that part of Palestine under Jordanian occupation and control -...

 and Egypt
Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt
The administration of the Gaza Strip by Egypt occurred between 1948 and October 1956, and again from March 1957 to June 1967. Egypt did not annex the Gaza Strip but left it under Egyptian military rule as a temporary arrangement pending the resolution of the Palestine Question.-Background:After...

 in the late 1940s, and later by Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 following the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. They include Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, both of which are now divided into three areas (Area A, Area B, and Area C) and sixteen governorates under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 in accordance with the Oslo Accord. The permanent legal and political status of these places are subject to further negotiation between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...


Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

Demilitarized region of  Norway

Part of the Kingdom of Norway, Svalbard is administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice through a governor
Governor of Svalbard
The Governor of Svalbard represents the Norwegian government in exercising its sovereignty over the Svalbard archipelago .The position reports to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, but it maintains all Norwegian interests in the area, including environmental protection, law enforcement,...

 (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and the administrative centre of Svalbard, Norway. It is located on the western coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, on the southern side on Adventfjorden , which continues inland with Adventdalen...

, Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the western-most bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea...

. Norwegian sovereignty over the islands was recognized by the Svalbard Treaty on 9 February 1920. The treaty gave some other signatories certain extraterritorial rights on the island, and ensured its demilitarization.

See also

  • List of sovereign states
  • List of subnational entities
  • List of dependent territories
  • List of disputed or occupied territories
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