Monarch

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A monarch is a supreme or absolute head of a state government, either in reality or symbolically.[1] Such a government is known as a monarchy. A monarch typically either inherits sovereignty (often referred to as the throne) by birth or who is elected monarch and who typically rules for life or until abdication. Monarchs' true powers vary from monarchy to monarchy; on one extreme, they may be autocrats (absolute monarchy) wielding genuine sovereignty; on the other they may be ceremonial heads of state who exercise little or no power or only reserve power, with actual authority vested in a parliament or other body (constitutional monarchy).

Characteristics[edit]

Monarchs have various titles — king or queen, prince or princess (e.g., Sovereign Prince of Monaco), emperor or empress (e.g., Emperor of Japan, Emperor of India), archduke, duke or grand duke (e.g., Grand Duke of Luxembourg). Prince is sometimes used as a generic term to describe any monarch regardless of title, especially in older texts.

Many monarchs are distinguished by titles and styles. They often take part in certain ceremonies, such as a coronation.

Monarchy is political or sociocultural in nature and is generally (but not always) associated with hereditary rule. Most monarchs, both historically and in the modern day, have been born and brought up within a royal family (whose rule over a period of time is referred to as a dynasty) and trained for future duties. Different systems of succession have been used, such as proximity of blood, primogeniture, and agnatic seniority (Salic law). While traditionally most monarchs have been male, female monarchs have also ruled, and the term queen regnant refers to a ruling monarch, as distinct from a queen consort, the wife of a reigning king.

Some monarchies are non-hereditary. In an elective monarchy, the monarch is elected but otherwise serves as any other monarch. Historical examples of elective monarchy include the Holy Roman Emperors (chosen by prince-electors but often coming from the same dynasty) and the free election of kings of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Modern examples include the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who serves as Sovereign of the Vatican City State and is elected to a life term by the College of Cardinals.

Monarchies have existed throughout the world, although in recent centuries many states have abolished the monarchy and become republics. Advocacy of republics is called republicanism, while advocacy of monarchies is called monarchism. The principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the immediate continuity of leadership, with a usually short interregnum (as illustrated in the classic phrase "The [old] King is dead. Long live the [new] King!"). However, this only applies in the case of autocratic rule. In cases where the monarch serves mostly as a ceremonial figure (e.g. most modern constitutional monarchies) real leadership does not depend on the monarch.

A form of government may in fact be hereditary without being considered monarchy, such as a family dictatorship.

Classification[edit]

A particular case is the two co-prince of Andorra, a position held simultaneously by the Bishop of Urgel (Spain) and the elected President of France. Nonetheless, he is still generally considered a monarch because of the traditional use of a monarchical title (even though Andorra is, strictly speaking, a diarchy.) Similarly, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia is considered a monarch despite only holding the position for five years at a time. On the other hand, several life-time dictators around the world have not been formally classified as monarchs, even if succeeded by their children, but that may be more to do with international political sensitivities than with semantics.

Succession[edit]

Hereditary succession within one family has been most common. The usual hereditary succession is based on some cognatic principles and on seniority, though sometimes merit has played a part. Thus, the most common hereditary system in feudal Europe was based on cognatic primogeniture where a lord was succeeded by his eldest son or, if he had no son, by either his brother, his daughters or sons of daughters. The system of tanistry was semi-elective and gave weight also to merits and capability.

The Quasi-Salic succession provided firstly for male members of the family to succeed, and secondarily males descended from female lines. In most feudal fiefs, females (such as daughters and sisters) were allowed to succeed, should the male line fail, but usually the husband of the heiress became the real lord and most often also received the title, jure uxoris. Spain today continue this model of succession law, in the form of cognatic primogeniture. In more complex medieval cases, the sometimes conflicting principles of proximity and primogeniture battled, and outcomes were often idiosyncratic.

As the average life span increased, an eldest son was more likely to reach majority age before the death of his father, and primogeniture became increasingly favoured over proximity, tanistry, seniority and election.

Later, when lands were strictly divided among noble families and tended to remain fixed, agnatic primogeniture (practically the same as Salic Law) became more usual: the succession would go to the eldest son of the monarch, or, if the monarch had no sons, the throne would pass to the nearest male relative through the male line, to the total exclusion of females.

In some countries however, inheritance through the female line was never wholly abandoned, so that if the monarch had no sons, the throne would pass to the eldest daughter and her children, a system known as cognatic primogeniture.

In 1980, Sweden became the first monarchy to declare equal primogeniture, absolute primogeniture or full cognatic primogeniture, meaning that the eldest child of the monarch, whether female or male, ascends to the throne.[2] Other nations have since adopted this practice: Netherlands in 1983, Norway in 1990, Belgium in 1991, and Denmark in 2009. The United Kingdom intends to adopt absolute primogeniture for individuals born after the Perth Agreement in October 2011.

In some monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia, succession to the throne usually first passes to the monarch's next eldest brother, and only after that to the monarch's children (agnatic seniority). In some other monarchies (e.g. Jordan), the monarch chooses who will be his successor, who need not necessarily be his eldest son.

Whatever the rules of succession, there have been many cases of a monarch being overthrown and replaced by a usurper who would often install his own family as the ruling monarchy.

History[edit]

Monarchs in Africa[edit]

A series of Pharaohs ruled Ancient Egypt over the course of three millennia (circa 3150 BC to 31 BC) until it was conquered by the Roman Empire. In the same time period several kingdoms flourished in the nearby Nubia region, with at least one of them, that of the so-called A-Group culture, apparently influencing the customs of Egypt itself. From the 6th to 19th centuries Egypt was variously part of the Byzantine Empire, Islamic Empire, Mamluk Sultanate, Ottoman Empire and British Empire with a distant monarch. The Sultanate of Egypt was a short lived protectorate of the United Kingdom from 1914 until 1922, when it became the Kingdom of Egypt and Sultan Fuad I changed his title to King. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 the monarchy was dissolved and Egypt became a republic.

West Africa hosted the Kanem Empire (700 - 1376) and its successor, the Bornu principality which survives to the present day as one of the traditional states of Nigeria.

In East Africa, the Aksumite Empire and later the Ethiopian Empire (1270–1974) were ruled by a series of monarchs. Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, was deposed in a communist coup.

Central and Southern Africa were largely isolated from other regions until the modern era, but they did later feature kingdoms like the Kingdom of Kongo (1400–1914).

The Zulu people formed a powerful Zulu Kingdom in 1816, one that was subsequently absorbed into the Colony of Natal in 1897. The Zulu king continues to hold a hereditary title and an influential position in contemporary South Africa, although he has no direct political power. Other tribes in the country, such as the Xhosa and the Tswana, have also had and continue to have a series of kings and chiefs.

As part of the Scramble for Africa, Europeans conquered, bought, or established African kingdoms and styled themselves as monarchs due to them.

Currently the African nations of Morocco, Lesotho and Swaziland are sovereign monarchies under dynasties that are native to the continent. Places like St. Helena, Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands are ruled by the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the King of Spain, while so-called sub-national monarchies of varying sizes can be found all over the rest of the continent e.g. the Yoruba city-state of Akure in south-western Nigeria is something of an elective monarchy, with its reigning Oba having to be chosen by an electoral college of nobles from amongst a finite collection of royal princes and princesses of the realm.

Monarchs in Europe[edit]

Elizabeth II has been monarch of independent countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

Prince was a common title within the Holy Roman Empire, along with a number of higher titles listed below. Such titles were granted by the Emperor, while the titulation of rulers of sovereign states was generally left to their own discretion, most often choosing King or Queen. Such titulations could cause diplomatic problems, and especially the elevation to Emperor or Empress was seen as an offensive action.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries most small monarchies in Europe disappeared, merging to form larger entities, and so King is the most common title for male rulers and Queen has become the most common title today for female rulers.

As of 2014 in Europe there are twelve monarchies: seven kingdoms (Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), one grand duchy (Luxembourg), one papacy (Vatican City), and two principalities (Liechtenstein and Monaco), as well as one diarchy (Andorra).

Monarchs in Asia[edit]

In China, before the abolition of the monarchy in 1912, the Emperor of China was traditionally regarded as the ruler of "All under heaven". "King" is the usual translation for the term wang 王, the sovereign before the Qin dynasty and during the Ten Kingdoms period. During the early Han dynasty, China had a number of small kingdoms, each about the size of a county and subordinate to the Empress or Emperor of China.

The Japanese monarchy is now the only monarchy to still use the title of Emperor.

In modern history, between 1925 and 1979, Iran was ruled by two Emperors from the Pahlavi dynasty that used the title of "Shahanshah" (or "King of Kings"). The last Iranian Shahanshah was King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was forced to abdicate the thrown as a result of a revolution in Iran. In fact Persian (Iranian) kingdom goes back to about 2,700 BC (see List of Kings of Persia), but reached its ultimate hight and glory when King Cyrus the Great (Known as "The Great Kourosh" in Iran) started Achaemenid dynasty, and under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East,expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.

Thailand and Bhutan are like the United Kingdom in that they are constitutional monarchies ruled by a King. Jordan and many other Middle Eastern monarchies are ruled by a Malik and parts of the United Arab Emirates, such as Dubai, are still ruled by monarchs.

Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area and the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria). It was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud in 1932, although the conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud; succession to the throne is currently limited to sons of Ibn Saud. The Saudi Arabian government has been an absolute monarchy since its inception, and it describes itself as being Islamic as the religion began in the country. The King bears the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to the two holiest places in Islam: Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

Oman is led by Monarch Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The Kingdom of Jordan is one of the Middle East's more modern monarchies is also ruled by a Malik. In Arab and arabized countries, Malik (absolute King) is absolute word to render a monarch and is superior to all other titles. Nepal abolished their monarchy in 2008. Sri Lanka had a complex system of monarchies from 543BC to 1815. Between 47BC-42BC Anula of Sri Lanka became the country's first female head of state as well as Asia's first head of state.[dubious ]

Crimean Tatar Khan, Mengli Giray at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II.

In Malaysia's constitutional monarchy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (The Supreme Lord of the Federation) is de facto rotated every five years among the nine Rulers of the Malay states of Malaysia (those nine of the thirteen states of Malaysia that have hereditary royal rulers), elected by Majlis Raja-Raja (Conference of Rulers).

Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, the Sultan of Brunei is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers, since 1962. The Prime Minister of Brunei is a title held by the Sultan. As the prime minister, the Sultan presides over the cabinet.

Cambodia has been a kingdom since the 1st century. The power of the absolute monarchy was reduced when it became the French Protectorate of Cambodia from 1863 to 1953. It returned to an absolute monarchy from 1953 until the establishment of a republic following the 1970 coup. The monarchy was restored as a constitutional monarchy in 1993 with the king as a largely symbolic figurehead.

Sri Lankan King Devanampiya Tissa, Queen consort Anula, and Prince Uththiya, c. 307 BC

In the Philippines, the pre-Colonial Filipino nobility, variously titled the harì (today meaning "king"), Lakan, Raja and Datu belonged to the caste called Uring Maharlika (Noble Class). When the islands were annexed to the Spanish Empire in the late 16th century, the Spanish monarch became the sovereign while local rulers often retained their prestige as part of the Christianised nobility called the Principalía. After the Spanish-American War, the country was ceded to the United States of America and made into a territory and eventually a Commonwealth, thus ending monarchism. While the Philippines is currently a republic, the Sultan of Sulu and Sultan of Maguindanao retain their titles only for ceremonial purposes, but are considered ordinary citizens by the 1987 Constitution.

Bhutan has been an independent kingdom since 1907. The first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) was elected and thereafter became a hereditary absolute monarchy. It became a constitutional monarchy in 2008.

Tibet was a monarchy since the Tibetan Empire in the 6th century. It was ruled by the Yuan Dynasty following the Mongol invasion in the 13th century and became an effective diarchy with the Dalai Lama as co-ruler. It came under the rule of the Chinese Qing Dynasty from 1724 until 1912 when it gained de facto independence. The Dalai Lama became absolute temporal monarch until incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China in 1951.

Nepal was a monarchy for most of its history until becoming a federal republic in 2008.

Monarchs in the Americas[edit]

Emperor Pedro II of Brazil visiting victims of cholera, 1855
Francisco Pizarro meets with the Inca emperor Atahualpa, 1532

The concept of monarchy existed in the Americas long before the arrival of European colonialists.[3][4] When the Europeans arrived they referred to these tracts of land within territories of different aboriginal groups to be kingdoms, and the leaders of these groups were often referred to by the Europeans as Kings, particularly hereditary leaders.[5]

Pre-colonial titles that were used included:

The first local monarch to emerge in North America after colonization was Augustin I, who declared himself Emperor of Mexico in 1822. Mexico again had an emperor, Maximilian I from 1863 to 1867. In South America, Brazil had a royal house ruling as emperor between 1822 and 1889, under Emperors Pedro I and Pedro II.

Between 1931 and 1983 nine other previous British colonies attained independence as kingdoms, all, including Canada, in a personal union relationship under a shared monarch. Therefore, though today there are legally ten American monarchs, one person occupies each distinct position.

Male TitleFemale TitleRealmExamples
EmperorEmpressEmpireBrazil, Mexico, Sapa Inca, Japan
KingQueenKingdomCanada, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Monarchs in Oceania[edit]

Polynesian societies were ruled by an ariki from ancient times. The title is variously translated as "supreme chief", "paramount chief" or "king".

The Kingdom of Tahiti was founded in 1788. Sovereignty was ceded to France in 1880 although descendants of the Pōmare Dynasty claim the title of King of Tahiti.

The Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1795 and overthrown in 1893.

An independent Kingdom of Rarotonga was established in 1858. It became a protectorate of the United Kingdom at its own request in 1893.

Seru Epenisa Cakobau ruled the short lived Kingdom of Fiji, a constitutional monarchy, from 1871 to 1874 when he voluntarily ceded sovereignty of the islands to the United Kingdom. After independence in 1970, Fiji remained a Commonwealth realm until it became a republic following a military coup in 1987.

Australia, New Zealand (including the Cook Islands and Niue), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that currently have Elizabeth II as their reigning constitutional monarch.

The Pitcairn Islands are part of the British Overseas Territories with Elizabeth II as the reigning constitutional monarch.

Tonga is the only remaining sovereign kingdom in Oceania. It has had a monarch since the 10th century and became a constitutional monarchy in 1875. In 2008, King George Tupou V relinquished most of the powers of the monarchy and the position is now largely ceremonial.

The position of King of Māori people in New Zealand was established in 1858, although is largely cultural and ceremonial and has no legal power.

Uvea, Alo and Sigave in the French territory of Wallis and Futuna have non-sovereign elective monarchs.

Titles and precedence in Europe[edit]

The normal monarch title in Europe — i.e., the one used if the monarch has no higher title — is prince or princess, by convention. As an absolute ruler, a monarch can choose a title. However, titles are usually defined by tradition and diplomatic considerations.

Note that some of these titles have several meanings and do not necessarily designate a monarch. A Prince may be a person of royal blood (some languages uphold this distinction, see Fürst). A Duke may be a British peer. In Imperial Russia, a Grand Duke was a son or grandson of the Tsar or Tsarina. Holders of titles in these alternative meanings did not enjoy the same status as the monarchs of the same title.

Within the Holy Roman Empire, there were even more titles that were used occasionally for monarchs although they were normally noble; Margrave, Count Palatine, and Landgrave. A monarch with such a low title was still regarded as more important than a noble Duke.[citation needed]

The table below lists titles in order of precedence. According to protocol any holder of a title of monarchy took precedence over all holders of a lower title. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was arguably the most powerful monarch of her time, but at banquets was seated below all the Emperors until she took the title of Empress of India.

Male versionFemale versionRealmAdjectiveNotes and examples
EmperorEmpressEmpireImperialToday: Japan (the only remaining enthroned emperor in the world). Historical: Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, First and Second Bulgarian Empire, Serbian Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Russian Empire, Korean Empire, Mongol Empire, Imperial China, First and Second French Empire, Austria, First Mexican Empire, Brazil, German Empire (none left in Europe after 1918), Spanish Empire, Emperor of India (ceased to be used after 1947 when India was granted independence from the British Empire).

The German title Kaiser and the Bulgarian/Serbian title Tsar were both derived from the Latin word Caesar, intended to mean Emperor. One of the titles of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was Kaysar-i-Rûm (Emperor of Rome), Kaysar being a rough transliteration of Caesar (Emperor) into Ottoman Turkish. Kaisar-i-Hind, derived from the German word Kaiser, was the Urdu translation of "Emperor of India".

KingQueenKingdomRoyal/MajesticCommon in larger sovereign states. Similar titles on other Germanic languages, e.g. Konge/Dronning in Danish, Koning/Koningin in Dutch, König/Königin in German.
ViceroyVicereineViceroyaltyViceregalHistorical: Spanish Empire (Viceroy of Peru, Viceroy of New Spain, Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, Viceroyalty of New Granada), British Empire (Viceroy of India), Russian Empire (Viceroyalty of the Caucasus). The title Viceré was used in the Italian Colonial Empire. An equivalent office called the "Exarch" was used in the Byzantine Empire.
Grand DukeGrand DuchessGrand DuchyGrand DucalToday: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Historical examples include Grand Duchy of Moscow, Grand Duchy of Finland and Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
ArchdukeArchduchessArchduchyArchducalHistorical: Unique only in Austria, Archduchy of Austria; title used for member of the Habsburg dynasty
PrincePrincessPrincipality, Princely statePrincelyToday: Monaco, Liechtenstein; Andorra (Co-Princes). Historical: Principality of Albania, Serbia. Self-proclaimed micronations claiming to be principalities include the Sealand, Seborga and Hutt River.
DukeDuchessDuchy, DukedomDucalThere are no remaining independent duchies, although there are the sub-national Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster in England. Historical examples include the Duchy of Normandy, Duchy of Milan and Duchy of Prussia .
Marquess/Marquis/MargraveMarchioness/Marquise/MarcheseMarquisate/Margraviate/MarchMarquetry, margravialA rank below that of a Duke but above a Count or Earl. Historical examples: Marquisate of Saluzzo, Margraviate of Brandenburg, Margraviate of Baden
Count/EarlCountessCounty/EarldomCountly, comitalCount was most common in the Holy Roman Empire with the equivalent title Earl used in Anglo-Saxon and medieval Britain. There are no remaining independent counties and the word county is used to denote an administrative district. Historical examples include County of Toulouse, County of Castile, County of Barcelona and Earldom of Orkney.

Etymological equivalent male/female/territory titles include Comte/Comtesse/Comté in French, Conte/Contessa/Contea in Italian, Conde/Condessa/Condado in Spanish, Graf/Gräfin/Grafschaft in German, Graaf/Gravin/Graafschap in Dutch, Greve/Grevinna/Grevskap in Swedish.

ViscountViscountessViscountcyViscountlyLiterally a vice or deputy count, from visconte in Old French. Vicomte is the equivalent in modern French. Vizconde is the equivalent in Spanish. The German Burggraf and Dutch Burggraaf (translated into French and English as Burgrave), a rank above Baron but below Graf/Graaf (i.e., Count), are equivalent and may rule a Burggrafschaft (or Burgraviate). There are no remaining viscountcies but Viscount remains a rank in the British peerage. Historical examples: Viscountcy of Béarn, Burgraviate of Nuremberg (Burggrafschaft Nürnberg).
LordLadyLordshipLordlyToday: Isle of Man; historical: Lordship of Ireland, Lord of the Isles
BaronBaronessBaronyBaronialThere are normal baronies and sovereign baronies, a sovereign barony can be compared with a principality, however, this is an historical exception; sovereign barons no longer have a sovereign barony, but only the title and style. Surviving sub-national baronies include the Baronies of Kendal and Westmorland in England, the Lordship and Barony of Hailes in Scotland and Barony Rosendal in Norway.

Equivalent titles include Barone in Italian, Boyar in Bulgarian, Wallachian, and Moldavian, Freiherr in German (sometimes used concurrently with Baron), Friherre in the nobility of Sweden, Vapaaherra in the nobility of Finland.

PopeFemales cannot hold the office of PopePapacyPapalMonarch of the Papal States and later Sovereign of the State of Vatican City. The pope is the Bishop of Rome (a celibate office always forbidden to women), in English however, reports of female popes such as (Pope Joan) refer to them as pope and Popess is used, among other things, for the second trump in the Tarot deck; some European languages also have a feminine form of the word pope, such as the Italian papessa, the French papesse, and the German Päpstin.

Titles outside modern Europe[edit]

Male versionFemale versionRealmAdjectiveNotes and examples
Rana (title)RaniKingdomRajputUsed throughout the South Asia by Rajputs Equivalent to King or Monarch .Current examples: India, Nepal, Rajputana, Pakistan

Historical examples: Rana Dynasty, Mewar, Rajputana.

SultanSultanaSultanateSultanicUsed throughout the Muslim world. Equivalent to King or Emperor. Current examples: Brunei, Oman, states of Malaysia. Historical examples: Delhi Sultanate, Sultanate of Malacca, Warsangali Sultanate.
Harì/LakanReyna/DayangKingdomOne of many ancient titles adopted by the Maharlika caste in pre-colonial Philippines. Harì survives today as a generic Filipino word for "king", while reyna is a Spanish loanword. Dayang (loosely, "princess") was another title for royal ladies, e.g. the queen regnant Dayang Kalangitan of Tondo.
MalikMalikah/MalekehMamlakaMalakyUsed throughout the Muslim world. Equivalent to King. Current examples: Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco. Also used by tribal leaders among the Pashtun people. Historical examples: Malik al-'Iraq ("King of Iraq"), Malik al-Mamlaka al-Mutawakkiliyya al-Yamaniyya ("King of the Mutawakkilite Yemeni Kingdom").
EmirEmiraEmirateAmiriUsed throughout the Muslim world. Roughly equivalent to Prince. Current examples: constituent emirates of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar. Historical examples: Emirate of Crete, Emirate of Córdoba, Emirate of Afghanistan.
CaliphCaliphaCaliphateCaliphalUsed throughout the Muslim world. There are no current recognised caliphates. Historical examples: Ottoman Caliphate, Sokoto Caliphate, Caliphate of Córdoba.
SamraatSamrãjñīSamrajyaAncient Indian title sometimes translated into modern English as Emperor.
ChhatrapatiIndian royal title most equivalent to Emperor.
MaharajaMaharaniPrincely stateUsed historically princely states in South Asia. A "high king" above a Raja.
RajaRaniRajahnateRaj -Used historically in princely states in South Asia and pre-colonial chiefdoms in the Philippines. Equivalent to King.
NawabBegumUsed historically for semi-autonomous Muslim rulers of princely states in South Asia.
PadishahA superlative title equivalent to "Great King" or "King of Kings". Used historically by several West Asian empires such as the Shāhanshāh of Iran (King of Kings of Persia), Mughal Emperors of the Indian Subcontinent (who used the Arabic version of the title, Badshah) and Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
ShahShahbanuUsed historically in Persia, Greater Iran and the Mughal Empire. Variously translated into English as King or Emperor.
KhaganKhanumKhaganateImperial rank in the Mongolian and Turkic languages equal to the status of Emperor. Historical example: Rus' Khaganate
KhanKhatunKhanateImperial rank in the Mongolian and Turkic languages equal to the status of King. Historical examples: Khanate of Kazan, Crimean Khanate.
PharaohPharaohUsed historically in Ancient Egypt.
SatrapSatrapUsed historically in Ancient Persia to refer to local rulers of provinces under the Persian King. Also used for provincial rulers of Alexander the Great's Empire.
KhediveKhedivateKhedivialLargely equivalent to Viceroy in the Ottoman Empire. Examples: Khedivate of Egypt.

Titles by region[edit]

When a difference exists below, male titles are placed to the left and female titles are placed to the right of the slash.

RegionTitleDescription and use
AfricaAlmamiFulani people of west Africa
AsanteheneAshanti, title of the king of the Ashanti people in Ghana
BeyRuler of Tunisia until 1957; originally Turkish for governor[6]
ChieftainLeader of a people
EzeIgbo people of Nigeria
KabakaBaganda people of Buganda in Uganda

Mangi for Chaggas in Northern Tanzania

MalikKing of Morocco
MwamiIn both Rwanda and Burundi during the Tutsi domination of these countries, now the acknowledged ruling sections of only their fellow Tutsis
NegusEmperor of Ethiopia, properly Negus Negust, meaning "King of Kings"[6]
ObaYoruba and Bini peoples of Nigeria
OmukamaBunyoro, title of some kings in Uganda
PharaohEmperor of Ancient Egypt
SarkiKing of the Hausa people
AsiaAkhoondTitle of the ruler of the Swat in present-day Pakistan[6]
Arasan/ArasiTamil Nadu (India), Sri Lanka (Arasan = king, Arasi= queen, Perarasan = emperor)
Chakrawarti RajaIndia Sri Lanka
Chogyal"Divine Ruler"; ruled Sikkim until 1975
Datutitle of leaders of small principalities in Ancient Philippines; equivalent to "Prince".
Druk GyalpoHereditary title given to the king of Bhutan
Emperor of ChinaAlso known as Huángdì, rule the Imperial China with supreme power.
Engku or UngkuMalaysia, to denote particular family lineage akin to royalty
GaekwadThe title of the ruler of Baroda (India). The word means "cowherd" in Marathi[6]
GatHonorary title of the leaders in the Philippines
HangLimbu King of East Nepal Limbuwan
HarìAncient and modern Filipino equivalent of king
HolkarThe title of the ruler of Indore (India)[6]
Huángdì皇帝 as in Chinese, the Imperial China Emperor
HwangjeStates that unified Korea
Lakantitle used by the rulers of the Kingdom of Tondo (now part of the Philippines)
MannanUsed in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka
Maha RajaUsed in India and Sri Lanka
Maha RajuUsed in Andhra Pradesh (India)
MeurahTitle used in Aceh before Islam
NawabUsed in Bhopal, Jaora, Tonk and some other Indian princely states[6]
NizamUsed in Hyderabad (India)
Padshahanshah
Padshah
Shahinshah
Shah
Emperor or High Emperor of Iran or Hindustan (India); also the monarch of Britain as Emperor of India[6]
Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdech Preah BâromneathKing of Cambodia Khmer, the title literally means "The feet of the Greatest Lord who is on the heads (of his subjects)" (This royal title does not refer directly to the king himself but to his feet, according to traditions).[citation needed]
PatabendaSub- king Sri lanka
Phrabat Somdej PhrachaoyuhuaKing of Thailand (Siam), the title literally means "The feet of the Greatest Lord who is on the heads (of his subjects)" (This royal title does not refer directly to the king himself but to his feet, according to traditions.)[citation needed]
QaghanCentral Asian Tribes
RachaThailand same meaning as Raja
RajaMalaysia, Raja denotes royalty in Perak and certain Selangor royal family lineages, is roughly equivalent to Prince or Princess; also King of Nepal, and many Indian states
Rajahpre-colonial title for monarchs in the Philippines; equivalent of "king" (pronounced "RA-ha" due to Spanish influence).
RaniNepali Queen
Rao or MaharaoUsed in Indian states of Cutch[disambiguation needed], Kotah[disambiguation needed] and Sirohi[6]
Rawal or MaharawalUsed in northern and western India, Yaduvanshis.
Susuhunan or SunanThe Indonesian princely state of Surakarta.
SaophaShan, king of Shan, today as a part of Myanmar
SayyidHonorific title given throughout the Islamic regions. Title given to males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Syed/Sharifah in Perlis if suffixed by the royal clan name, is roughly equivalent to Prince or Princess.
ScindiaTitle of the ruler of Gwalior (India)[6]
ShogunJapanese military dictator, always a Samurai
SultanAceh, Brunei Darussalam, Java, Oman, Malaysia, Sultan is the title of seven (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, and Terengganu) of the nine rulers of the Malay states.
Sumeramikoto,OkimiJapan, king
TengkuMalaysia, Tengku (also spelled Tunku in Johor), Negeri Sembilan and Kedah is roughly equivalent to Prince or Princess
Tennō or MikadoJapan
ThakurTitle of the ruler of Gondal (India)[6]
Veyndhan, ko/ArasiTamil Nadu (India)
WaliTitle of the ruler of Kalat (Pakistan)[6]
WangPre-Imperial China/Russia. "King" is the usual translation for the Chinese term wang 王.
WangThe king of Korea that control over all of Korea. It is called 'Im-Geum-nym' or 'Im-Geum'
Yang di-Pertuan AgongMonarch of Malaysia who is elected every five years by the reigning kings of the Malaysian constituent states, all of whom also serve as the only electoral candidates in each of the elections
Europe
Anax"King" during Mycenaean Greece
Arqa or Thagavor/ThagouhiArmenian King/Queen
AutokratorGreek term for the Roman and Byzantine Emperors
Ban
Croatia, medieval Romania (Wallachia, Oltenia), medieval Bosnia and limited use in medieval Bulgaria
Basileus"King" in ancient Greece, Thrace, Macedonia, Crimea, Asia Minor. "Emperor" in the Byzantine Empire. "King" in modern Greece
Brenin/Brenhines,Welsh for king and queen; used in Wales by the petty kinglets during the Early Middle Ages. During the High Middle Ages, the kinglets mediatised into principalities and employed the title 'prince/princess' (tywysog/tywysoges). Brenhines is the title used in Welsh for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
DespotByzantine Empire, Second Bulgarian Empire, Danubian Principalities, Serbian Empire (originating from Byzantium)
Domn
Medieval Romania (Moldova, Wallachia)
FejedelemAncient/Medieval Hungarian
Germanic king
GirayCrimeantrtars King
ImperatorThe Ruler of Imperial Russia
IoanMedieval Romanian title "Io" derived from the name of the Bulgarian tzars of Asen dynasty Ioan Asen I and Ioan Asen I
Jupan (Župan)medieval: Hungaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Romania, limited in Bulgaria
KaiserImperial Germany and Austria-Hungary
Knyaz, KnezSlavic title in: Bulgaria, Kievan Rus and Rusia, Great Moravia, Bohemia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Lithuania(Grand Duchy of Lithuania). Generally translated as "prince" or "duke".
Konge/DronningDenmark, Norway
Koning/KoninginNetherlands
Kral (Kralj)Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia
Kung/DrotningSweden
Kunigaikshtis (Kunigaikštis)duke as in Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In official Old Belarusian language documentation the title has been Knyaz (Belarusian: Князь) or grand duke, Vialiki kniaz (Belarusian: Вялікі князь)
MbretAlbanian King
MepeGeorgian King and Queen
Gaelic king. Also Ruiri (regional overking), Rí ruirech (provincial king of overkings), and Ard Rí (pre-eminent Rí ruirech)
Tsar/Tsaritsa/CzarBulgaria, pre-imperial Russia, very short in medieval Serbia
VezérAncient Hungarian
Voivode, VoievodMedieval: Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungaria, Romania, Poland
Middle-EastShahPersian/Iranian and Afghanistan King

Padishah(Ottoman Empire) Han {Version of Central Asian{Khan} Used by the Ottoman Turks

ShahenshahPersian/Iranian "King of Kings" or Emperor
MirA title given to Kurdish rulers in Kurdistan during medieval centuries.
Melekh (מלך)King of Ancient Israel (e.g. Saul, David and Solomon)
MalikArabic King, (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan)
EmirArabic Prince, (Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates)
Sultan/SultanaArabic King (Oman and Ottoman Empire)
OceaniaChieftainLeader of a tribe or clan.
Houʻeiki, matai, aliʻi, tūlafale, tavana, ariki, Patu-ikiUsually translated as "chief" in various Polynesian countries.
Mo'iNormally translated as King, a title used by Hawaiian monarchs since unification in 1810. The last person to hold that title was Queen Lili'uokalani.
Tuʻi or TuiKings in Oceania: Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Nauru
South AmericaImperadorEmperor of Brazil.

Current monarchs[edit]

Use of titles by non-sovereigns[edit]

It is not uncommon that people who are not generally seen as monarchs nevertheless use monarchical titles. There are at least five cases of this:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "monarch". Random House Dictionary. 2013. 
  2. ^ SOU 1977:5 Kvinnlig tronföljd, p. 16.
  3. ^ Canada: History
  4. ^ Ferguson, Will; The Lost Kingdom; Macleans, October 27, 2003
  5. ^ The Four Indian Kings
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Wordsworth Reference. pp. 943–944. ISBN 1-84022-310-3. 

External links[edit]