Dependent territory

A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state, yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.

A dependent territory is commonly distinguished from a country subdivision by being considered not to be a constituent part of a sovereign state. An administrative subdivision, instead, is understood to be a division of a state proper. A dependent territory, conversely, often maintains a great degree of autonomy from its controlling state. Historically, most colonies were considered to be dependent territories. The dependent territories that currently remain in the world today generally maintain a very high degree of political autonomy. Not all autonomous entities, though, are considered to be dependent territories.[1][failed verification] Most inhabited dependent territories have their own ISO 3166 country codes.

Some political entities inhabit a special position guaranteed by an international treaty or another agreement, thereby creating a certain level of autonomy (e.g. a difference in immigration rules). Those entities are sometimes considered to be, or are at least grouped with, dependent territories,[2] but are officially considered by their governing states to be an integral part of those states.[2] Examples are Åland (an autonomous region of Finland)[3] and Northern Ireland (a constituent country of the United Kingdom).[4]


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