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Government > Dependency status: Countries Compared

Ian Graham, Staff Editor

Author: Ian Graham, Staff Editor

There are nine countries in the world with territories, dependencies, politically linked commonwealths, special administrative regions or divisions, and possessions: France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and China. Combined, they have formal relationships with 63 dependent entities.

France, with 16 overseas departments, possessions and territorial collectivities, has the greatest number of dependent units. It is followed by Britain, which claims 15 crown dependencies and overseas territories. The United States is third with 14 incorporated and unincorporated territories and politically associated commonwealths.

Two of the territories claimed by the U.K. – the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands – are also claimed by Argentina. The dispute between the two countries over the ownership of these islands led to the Falklands War in 1982.

DEFINITION: This entry describes the formal relationship between a particular nonindependent entity and an independent state.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION
Akrotiri a special form of UK overseas territory; administered by an administrator who is also the Commander, British Forces Cyprus
American Samoa unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Anguilla overseas territory of the UK
Aruba constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Ashmore and Cartier Islands territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
Bermuda overseas territory of the UK
Bouvet Island territory of Norway; administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice and Oslo Police
British Indian Ocean Territory overseas territory of the UK; administered by a commissioner, resident in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London
British Virgin Islands overseas territory of the UK; internal self-governing
Cayman Islands overseas territory of the UK
Christmas Island non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
Clipperton Island possession of France; administered directly by the Minister of Overseas France
Cocos (Keeling) Islands non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
Cook Islands self-governing in free association with New Zealand; Cook Islands is fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense in consultation with the Cook Islands
Coral Sea Islands territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
Dhekelia a special form of UK overseas territory; administered by an administrator who is also the Commander, British Forces Cyprus
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina
Faroe Islands part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
French Polynesia overseas lands of France; overseas territory of France from 1946-2003; overseas collectivity of France since 2003, though it is often referred to as an overseas country due to its degree of autonomy
French Southern and Antarctic Lands overseas territory of France since 1955
Gibraltar overseas territory of the UK
Greenland part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1979
Guam organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between Guam and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Guernsey British crown dependency
Heard Island and McDonald Islands territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Australian Antarctic Division)
Hong Kong special administrative region of China
Howland Island unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system
Isle of Man British crown dependency
Jan Mayen territory of Norway; since August 1994, administered from Oslo through the county governor (fylkesmann) of Nordland; however, authority has been delegated to a station commander of the Norwegian Defense Communication Service
Jarvis Island unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system
Jersey British crown dependency
Johnston Atoll unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Honolulu, HI, by Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, and the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system
Kingman Reef unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC by the US Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior
Macau special administrative region of the People's Republic of China
Mayotte departmental collectivity of France
Midway Islands unincorporated territory of the US; formerly administered from Washington, DC, by the US Navy; on 31 October 1996, through a presidential executive order, the jurisdiction and control of the atoll was transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Montserrat overseas territory of the UK
Navassa Island unorganized, unincorporated territory of the US; administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior from the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Boqueron, Puerto Rico; in September 1996, the Coast Guard ceased operations and maintenance of Navassa Island Light, a 46-meter-tall lighthouse on the southern side of the island; there has also been a private claim advanced against the island
New Caledonia territorial collectivity (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998
Niue self-governing in free association with New Zealand since 1974; Niue fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense; however, these responsibilities confer no rights of control and are only exercised at the request of the Government of Niue
Norfolk Island self-governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
Northern Mariana Islands commonwealth in political union with the US; federal funds to the Commonwealth administered by the US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs
Palmyra Atoll incorporated territory of the US; privately owned, but administered from Washington, DC, by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior; the Office of Insular Affairs of the US Department of the Interior continues to administer nine excluded areas comprising certain tidal and submerged lands within the 12 nm territorial sea or within the lagoon
Pitcairn Islands overseas territory of the UK
Puerto Rico unincorporated, organized territory of the US with commonwealth status; policy relations between Puerto Rico and the US conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President
Saint Barthelemy overseas collectivity of France
Saint Helena overseas territory of the UK
Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha overseas territory of the UK
Saint Martin overseas collectivity of France
Saint Pierre and Miquelon self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France
Svalbard territory of Norway; administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice, through a governor (sysselmann) residing in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; by treaty (9 February 1920) sovereignty was awarded to Norway
Tokelau self-administering territory of New Zealand
Turks and Caicos Islands overseas territory of the UK
Virgin Islands organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Wake Island unorganized, unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC by the Department of the Interior; activities in the atoll are currently conducted by the US Air Force
Wallis and Futuna overseas territory of France

Citation

"Countries Compared by Government > Dependency status. International Statistics at NationMaster.com", CIA World Factbooks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Aggregates compiled by NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Government/Dependency-status

Interesting observations about Government > Dependency status

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There are nine countries in the world with territories, dependencies, politically linked commonwealths, special administrative regions or divisions, and possessions: France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and China. Combined, they have formal relationships with 63 dependent entities.

France, with 16 overseas departments, possessions and territorial collectivities, has the greatest number of dependent units. It is followed by Britain, which claims 15 crown dependencies and overseas territories. The United States is third with 14 incorporated and unincorporated territories and politically associated commonwealths.

Two of the territories claimed by the U.K. – the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands – are also claimed by Argentina. The dispute between the two countries over the ownership of these islands led to the Falklands War in 1982.

Posted on 17 Mar 2005

Ian Graham, Staff Editor

Ian Graham, Staff Editor

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