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A monarchy, from the Greek μονος, "one", and ἀρχειν, "to rule", is a form of government in which a monarch, usually a single person, is the head of State. Monarchies were formed through conquest, popular sovereignty, greed, tradition, political necessity and an opportunity to exploit certain situations.

In most monarchies, the monarch holds their position for life and passes the responsibilities and power of the position to their children or family when they die. In a few republics the head of State, often styled president, might remain in office for life, but most are elected for a term of office, after which he or she must step down, and any successors must then also be elected. There are currently 30 monarchs reigning over 44 extant sovereign monarchies in the world; the disconnect in numbers between monarchs and countries is explained by the fact that the sixteen Commonwealth realms—vast geographic areas including the transcontinental realms of Canada and Australia—are separate realms of one sovereign; and one other monarchy, Andorra, has two non-resident foreign (French and Spanish) co-monarchs.

Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or State and its citizens freely, with some laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force. Although some religious authority may be able to discourage the monarch from some acts and the sovereign is expected to act according to custom, in an absolute monarchy there is no constitution or body of law above what is decreed by the sovereign (king or queen). As a theory of civics, absolute monarchy puts total trust in well-bred and well-trained monarchs raised for the role from birth.

A constitutional monarchy or limited monarchy is a form of government established under a constitutional system which acknowledges an elected or hereditary monarch as head of State, as opposed to an absolute monarchy, where the monarch is not bound by a constitution and is the sole source of political power. (The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy even though it does not have an actual written constitution.) The process of government and law within a constitutional monarchy is usually very different from that in an absolute monarchy.

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Chola's influence at the height of its power (c. 1050)

The Chola Dynasty (Tamil: சோழர் குலம், [ˈʧoːɻə]) was a Tamil dynasty that ruled primarily in southern India until the 13th century. The dynasty originated in the fertile valley of the Kaveri River. Karikala Chola was the most famous among the early Chola kings, while Rajaraja Chola, Rajendra Chola and Kulothunga Chola I were notable emperors of the medieval Cholas.The Cholas were at the height of their power during the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries. Under Rajaraja Chola I (Rajaraja the Great) and his son Rajendra Chola, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in Asia. The Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the South to as far North as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of Sri Lanka and occupied the islands of the Maldives. Rajendra Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganga and defeated the Pala ruler of Pataliputra, Mahipala. He also successfully raided kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago. The power of the Cholas declined around the 12th century with the rise of the Pandyas and the Hoysala, eventually coming to an end towards the end of the 13th century.The Cholas left behind a lasting legacy. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their zeal in building temples have resulted in some great works of Tamil literature and architecture. The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship but also as centres of economic activity. They pioneered a centralised form of government and established a disciplined bureaucracy.

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William IV

William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death. William, the third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, was the last king and penultimate monarch of the House of Hanover.During his youth, he served in the Royal Navy; he was, both during his reign and afterwards, nicknamed the Sailor King. His reign was one of several reforms: the poor law was updated, municipal government democratised, child labour restricted and slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. The most important reform legislation of William IV's reign was the Reform Act 1832, which refashioned the British electoral system. William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, though he did prove to be the most recent monarch to appoint a Prime Minister contrary to the will of Parliament (in 1834). He gave a liberal constitution to the Kingdom of Hanover, his other kingdom.At his death William had no surviving legitimate children, and in the United Kingdom was succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria, and in Hanover by his brother, Ernest Augustus I.William's reign was short, but eventful. The ascendancy of the House of Commons and the corresponding decline of the House of Lords was marked by the Reform Crisis, during which the threat of flooding the Upper House with peers was used effectively for the first time by a ministry.

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Jane Loftus, marchioness of Ely

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Edward VI of England

Credit:Unknown, probably of the Flemish School

A portrait of Edward VI of England, when he was Prince of Wales. He is shown wearing a badge with the Prince of Wales's feathers. It was most likely painted in 1546 when he was eight years old, during the time when he was resident at Hunsdon House. Edward became King of England, King of France and Edward I of Ireland the following year. He was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first ruler who was Protestant at the time of his ascension to the throne. Edward's entire rule was mediated through a council of regency. He died at the age of 15 in 1553. .

Selected queen

Gunnhild convinces Erik Bloodaxe to kill the Finnish wizards.
Gunnhildr konungamóðir (mother of kings) or Gunnhildr Özurardóttir (c. 900  –  c. 980) was the wife of Erik Bloodaxe (king of Norway 930–34, "king" of Orkney c. 937–54, and king of Jórvík 948–49 and 952–54). Gunnhild is a prominent figure in many Norse sagas, including Fagrskinna, Egil's Saga, Njal's Saga, and Heimskringla. Many of the details of her life are disputed, including her parentage. Gunnhild lived during a time of great change in Norway. Her father-in-law Harald Fairhair had recently united much of Norway under his rule. Shortly after his death, Gunnhild and her husband were overthrown and exiled. She spent much of the rest of her life in exile in Orkney, Jorvik and Denmark. A number of her many children with Erik became co-rulers of Norway in the late tenth century. What details of her life are known come largely from Icelandic sources; because the Icelanders were generally hostile to her and her husband, scholars regard some of the more negative episodes reported in them as suspect.According to the Heimskringla and Egil's Saga, Gunnhild was the daughter of Ozur Toti, a hersir from Halogaland in northern Norway.Accounts of her early life vary between sources. Egil's Saga relates that "Eirik fought a great battle on the Northern Dvina in Bjarmaland, and was victorious as the poems about him record. On the same expedition he obtained Gunnhild, the daughter of Ozur Toti, and brought her home with him."



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