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In international politics, a territory is a non-sovereign geographic area which has come under the authority of another government; which has not been granted the powers of self-government normally devolved to secondary territorial divisions; or both.
Types of administrative and/or political territories include:
- A dependent territory, a distant non-sovereign geographic area that has come under the authority of another government, but which has not become an integral part of the administering country. Examples:
- The equivalent of a state or province which has less local control. For example, the major difference between a Canadian province and a Canadian territory is that the federal government has more direct control over the territories, while the provinces are run by provincial governments empowered by the constitution. The same distinction applies between States and territories of Australia.
- A former national territory of Argentina
- Former territories of the United States which later became states
- A small area or city under direct control of the country's government, such as a capital territory or a Union Territory of India
- An occupied territory, which is a region that is under the military control of an outside power that has not annexed the region. An example of an occupied territory is the country of Kuwait after it was briefly invaded by Iraq in 1990, Iraq after the American invasion of 2003, Afghanistan by the Soviet Union between 1979 and 1989, Germany after World War II or Kosovo after 1999.
- A disputed territory, which is a geographic area claimed by two or more rival governments. For example, the territory of Kashmir is claimed by both the governments of India and Pakistan.
A less common usage of the term "territory" refers to any administrative division of a country or subunit. Examples:
- A federated state such as the Länder of Germany, the states of the United States, or the States of Austria
- A unit of local government, such as a county. For example, the district of the Chatham Islands Council is termed the Chatham Islands Territory, although it is in all legal senses an integral part of New Zealand.