A protectorate is a state that is protected by another state. It is a dependent territory that has been granted autonomy over most of its internal affairs, while still recognizing the suzerainty of a more powerful sovereign state without being a possession.[1][2][3] In exchange, the protectorate usually accepts specified obligations depending on the terms of their arrangement.[3] Usually protectorates are established de jure by a treaty.[1][2] Under certain conditions—as with Egypt under British rule (1882–1914)—a state can also be labelled as a de facto protectorate or a veiled protectorate.[4][5][6]

A protectorate is different from a colony as it has local rulers, is not directly possessed, and rarely experiences colonization by the suzerain state.[7][8] A state that is under the protection of another state while retaining its "international personality" is called a "protected state", not a protectorate.[9][lower-alpha 1]

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