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Personal union
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Personal union

A personal union consists of two or more entities that are internationally considered separate states, only sharing the same Head of State (and thence also sharing whatever political actions are vested in the Head of State, but no, or at least extremely few, others). It is not to be confused with a federation (like the USA), which is internationally considered a single state.

Personal unions can arise for very different reasons, ranging from near coincidence (a princess who is already married to a king becomes a queen regnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries) to virtual annexation (where a personal union sometimes was seen as a means of preventing uprisings). They can also be codified (the constitutions of the states clearly express that they shall be joined together) or non-codified (in which case they can easily be broken by e.g. different succession rules).

Because presidents of republics are ordinarily chosen from within the citizens of the state in question, personal unions are almost entirely a phenomenon of monarchies. With the decline of their number during the 20th century, personal unions have become quite uncommon. Where they do exist, most notably between the so-called Commonwealth Realms, they are now mostly ceremonial, as the Governor-General, who is the representative of the Head of State, has only marginal political power.

There is a somewhat grey area between personal unions and federations, and the one has regularly grown into the other. This article is an attempt at listing some historical and contemporary personal unions.

Table of contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Andorra

Antigua and Barbuda

Australia

Austria

Bahamas

Barbados

Belize

Canada

Denmark

England

Finland

France

Great Britain

Grenada

Hanover

Holy Roman Empire

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Jamaica

Lithuania

Luxembourg

New Zealand

Norway

Netherlands

Papua New Guinea

Poland

Poland-Lithuania

Portugal

Russia

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Scotland

Spain

Schleswig and Holstein

Duchies with peculiar rules for succession.

Solomon Islands

Sweden

Main article: Unions of Sweden

Tuvalu

United Kingdom