Vassal State


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Vassal State

 

a feudal state in vassal dependence upon another state, or suzerain. Various formalities were established testifying to this subordination, such as the confirmation of the head of the vassal state by the suzerain and the taking of oaths of “loyalty and obedience” by the vassal state head; these formalities conferred a personal character to the dependence of the vassal upon the suzerain. The most important signs of vassal dependence were military aid and the payment of tribute. The vassal state was deprived not only of many essential rights in internal affairs (for example, in many cases the right of issuing money) but also of the right to maintain diplomatic relations and to conclude treaties with other states. The vassal state automatically came under the jurisdiction of the rules of political, trade, and customs treaties concluded by the suzerain state unless stipulated otherwise in the treaties themselves. In other words, in spite of a certain independence in its internal life, the vassal state was restricted in its rights in international affairs: in these it was represented by the suzerain state.

As capitalism grew stronger, the vassal system as a form of relationship between states gradually lost its importance. Within Europe the last vassal states were Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro (until 1878) and Bulgaria (until 1908), which were dependent on Turkey; in the contemporary period in Europe only one vassal state remains preserved as a historical survival—the republic of Andorra, which has a vassal dependence on France and the episcopate of Urgel (Spain). Outside of Europe the last important example of a vassal state was Egypt, which had a vassal dependence on Turkey until 1914.

Imperialist states attempted to adjust the form of the vassal system to the objectives of their colonial policy: an example of such a colonial vassal system can be seen in the relations of the numerous Indian princedoms (over 500), which were in the position of vassal states to Great Britain until the formation of independent India and Pakistan in 1947.

References in periodicals archive ?
Of course, there are beautiful landmarks along the nightmarish journey as Lothar reminds us of all that was lost, for ill and well, in Austria's rapid fall from empire to vassal state.
Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran.
Now Yerevan is trying to deal with consequences of this short-sighted, but inevitable decision for a vassal state.
Treating our great neighbours Scotland as a vassal state - 50 seats the price paid for such stupidity.
The Principality of Bulgaria was a vassal state, while Eastern Roumelia was technically an Ottoman province.
Rivals of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Mass'oud Barzani, whose clan has struggled for Kurdish independence since the 1880s, fear such an entity would only be a Turkish vassal state despite his repeated promises it will become among the world's largest petroleum exporters.
As India continues her engagement with Colombo, perhaps it is also time for New Delhi to be more discreet in handling the bilateral relations so that it does not appear that the Indians are treating Sri Lanka as a vassal state to further New Delhi's strategic ambition in South Asian region.
The UK seems now to be a vassal state of the USA taking our instructions and intelligence reports direct from the State Department no questions asked.
The article, penned by Zhang Haipeng and Li Guoqiang, two academics at China's top state-run think-tank, argued that the Ryukyus were a vassal state of China before being annexed by Japan at the end of the 19th century, and that Tokyo's defeat in World War II should have prompted their return to Beijing.
In the Song-Jin international system (1127-1234), the weaker Song China became a Jin vassal state and acknowledged its inferior status in the Jin-derived hierarchy.
Afghanistan has been a vassal state to the Persians before.
Seeking the favor and assistance of economically powerful states is a wise policy and it is clear that South Sudan must seek out and accept foreign aid from abroad, but in so doing, it must not become a vassal state to anyone.