United Nations trust territories

The United Nations trust territories were the successors of the remaining League of Nations mandates, and came into being when the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946. All the trust territories were administered through the United Nations Trusteeship Council and authorized to a single country. The concept is distinct from a territory temporarily and directly governed by the United Nations.

Palau District Police greet the UN Visiting Mission to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (1973)
Arrival of UN Visiting Mission in Majuro, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (1978). The sign reads "Please release us from the bondage of your trusteeship agreement."
UN trust territories by trustee
Modern successor states of UN trust territories
  Modern states composed solely of former trust territories
  Modern states composed partially of former trust territories

The one League of Nations mandate not succeeded by a trust territory was South West Africa, at South Africa's insistence. South Africa's apartheid regime refused to commit to preparing the territory for independence and majority rule, as required by the trust territory guidelines, among other objections. South-West Africa eventually gained independence in 1990 as Namibia.

All trust territories have either attained self-government or independence. The last was Palau, formerly part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which became a member state of the United Nations in December 1994.

Trust territories (and administering powers)


Former German Schutzgebiete


All these territories previously were League of Nations mandates.

Trust territories United Nations Trusteeship Power Prior name Prior sov. Comments Current state
British Cameroon United Kingdom Kamerun German colonial empire Following a plebiscite, Northern Cameroons became part of Nigeria in May 1961 and Southern Cameroons joined Cameroon in October 1961. Nigeria
Republic of Cameroon
Republic of Cameroon
French Cameroon France Achieved independence as Cameroon in 1960.
Territory of Nauru Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom German New Guinea Granted independence in 1968. Nauru
Territory of New Guinea Australia In 1975, it was legally unified with the Territory of Papua and granted independence as Papua New Guinea. The western half of the island, formerly Dutch and now part of Indonesia, was never part of either territory. Papua New Guinea
Ruanda-Urundi Belgium German East Africa Separately gained independence in 1962 as Republic of Rwanda and Kingdom of Burundi. Republic of Rwanda
Republic of Burundi
Tanganyika Territory United Kingdom Granted independence in 1961. Federated with the former British protectorate Zanzibar in 1964 to form Tanzania. United Republic of Tanzania
French Togoland France Togoland Became independent as Togo in 1960. Togo
British Togoland United Kingdom This territory was merged in 1956 with the British colony of the Gold Coast, which was granted independence as Ghana in 1957. Ghana
Western Samoa New Zealand German Samoa Granted independence in 1962, known since 1997 simply as Samoa. Independent State of Samoa

Former Japanese colonies

Trust territories United Nations Trusteeship Power Prior name Prior sov. Current state Comments
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands United States South Seas Mandate Empire of Japan Northern Mariana Islands Became US Commonwealth in 1986.
Marshall Islands Became an associated state of the United States after signing a Compact of Free Association in 1986.
Federated States of Micronesia Became an associated state of United States after signing a Compact of Free Association in 1986.
Palau Became an associated state of United States after signing and ratifying a Compact of Free Association going into effect in 1994.

Former Italian possessions

Trust territories United Nations Trusteeship Power Prior name Prior sov. Current state Comments
Territory of Somaliland Italy Italian East Africa Italian Empire Somalia In 1960, the Trust Territory merged with the State of Somaliland to form the Somali Republic

Proposed trust territories


See also



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