Protectorate


Protectorate
   A protectorate was a poorly defined institution or form of governance, suggesting in generic terms a form of international guardianship by a Great Power over a weak state or a territory. The declaration of overseas protectorates by imperial powers in the late nineteenth century was a response to the fact that the acquisition of new colonial territories - itself in part a product of colonial competition among the Great Powers - proceeded at a pace faster than the establishment of colonial administration. A ruler who placed his territory under the protection of a Great Power retained his sovereignty over domestic affairs yet surrendered his authority over foreign affairs to the Great Power in return for its military protection. Depending on the importance of a protectorate, however, it was not unusual for the degree of administrative intrusion into its domestic affairs to increase to the extent that life for the population was hardly distinguishable from that in a full colony. In colonial projects as in war, protectorates were often deemed appropriate in the case of territorial and tribal entities thought to be too politically immature or vulnerable to be covered by international law. The device could be applied to a smaller European entity, as in the case of British protection of the Ionian Islands in 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars, or extended to large overseas territory, such as France’s declaration of a protectorate over Morocco in 1912. In each case the stronger power sought for strategic expedience to establish a military presence in the protected territory without assuming the full burden of colonial rule. During the Scramble for Africa this meant that, for example, that British Somaliland on the Horn of Africa became a British protectorate in 1884, while neighboring French Somaliland was given the same status in 1884–1885. With the new French protectorate poised at the narrows between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Britain made the island of Socotra, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, a protectorate in 1886 and added a protectorate in Hadramaut on the north shore of the Gulf in 1888.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Pakenham, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa. New York: Random House, 1991;
    Wesseling, H. L. The European Colonial Empires, 1815–1919. London: Pearson Education, 2004;
    Wilson, Henry S. The Imperial Experience in Subsaharan Africa. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • protectorate — A form of international guardianship that arises under international law when a weaker state surrenders by treaty the management of some or all of its international affairs to a stronger state. Dictionary from West s Encyclopedia of American Law …   Law dictionary

  • protectorate — ► NOUN 1) a state that is controlled and protected by another. 2) (Protectorate) historical the position or period of office of a Protector, in particular that of Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard as heads of state in England 1653 9 …   English terms dictionary

  • Protectorate — Pro*tect or*ate, n. [Cf. F. protectorat.] 1. Government by a protector; applied especially to the government of England by Oliver Cromwell. [1913 Webster] 2. The authority assumed by a superior power over an inferior or a dependent one, whereby… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • protectorate — state or territory (usually tribal) placed under the protection of a major power, 1860, from PROTECTOR (Cf. protector) + ATE (Cf. ate) (1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • protectorate — [prə tek′tər it, prōtek′tər it] n. 1. government by a protector 2. the office or term of office of a protector 3. a) the relation of a strong state to a weaker state under its control and protection b) a state or territory so controlled and… …   English World dictionary

  • Protectorate — For the period of time in British history, see The Protectorate. In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is… …   Wikipedia

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  • protectorate — [[t]prəte̱ktərət[/t]] protectorates N COUNT A protectorate is a country that is controlled and protected by a more powerful country. In 1914 the country became a British protectorate …   English dictionary

  • protectorate — UK [prəˈtekt(ə)rət] / US noun [countable] Word forms protectorate : singular protectorate plural protectorates a country that is defended and controlled by a more powerful country …   English dictionary

  • protectorate — /preuh tek teuhr it/, n. 1. the relation of a strong state toward a weaker state or territory that it protects and partly controls. 2. a state or territory so protected. 3. the office or position, or the term of office, of a protector. 4. the… …   Universalium


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