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1. a loose alliance of political units. The union of the Swiss cantons is the oldest surviving confederation
2. (esp in Canada) another name for a federation



(1) A permanent union of sovereign states founded to achieve common goals, usually political or military. The confederation forms central bodies with powers delegated by member states. As a rule, these bodies do not have direct power over the member states. Their decisions, based on the principle of unanimity, may be implemented in a member state only with the consent of its agencies of power. A confederation’s finances usually consist of contributions made by member states. In a confederation there is no uniform tax or legal system.

There have been several well-known confederations, including the League of Rhenish Towns (1254–1350), the Hanseatic League (1367–1669), the Swiss Confederation (1291–1798 and 1815-48), the Netherlands (the United Provinces, 1579–1795), the United States of America (1781–87), and the German Confederation (1815–66). The Confederate States of America (1861–65) were formed during the Civil War in the USA, when the federal system temporarily disintegrated. As a rule, a confederation precedes the formation of a federation. Although it is, in fact, a federation, Switzerland is still formally referred to as a confederation.

(2) The term “confederation,” meaning union, is sometimes used in the names of various organizations, such as the General Confederation of Labor in France, the General Confederation of Labor in Italy, the Japanese Labor Confederation, the Confederation of British Industries, and the Confindustria (General Confederation of Industry) in Italy.



(in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), between the 16th and 18th centuries, a temporary political union of armed szlachta (nobility). When the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was without a king after the death of Sigismund II Augustus (1572) and in subsequent interregna, a confederation was formed at the Convocation Sejm, which declared itself to be the General, or Hooded, Confederation— that is, the supreme organ of authority. From the early 17th century the szlachta ever more frequently formed political unions (called general confederations) at the national level in order to defend their class interests. Local confederations were also formed at the województwo level. Sometimes a confederation was transformed into a rokosz, or uprising of szlachta against the king. The most famous confederations were those of Bar (1768) and Targowica (1792).

References in periodicals archive ?
PM Phuc tasked the Confederation to continue guaranteeing food and workplace safety and legitimate rights and interests of workers.
The Swiss Confederation is of the opinion that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict keeps preventing a normalization of the situation in the South Caucasus, the FDFA noted.
Bouchamaoui also considered it necessary to keep UTICA away from political bargaining, recalling the vision put forward by the confederation to revive the economy and develop the regions and the sectors.
Abu Dhabi: Fifa want to scrap the Confederations Cup and make the Club World Cup bigger, according to reports in Spanish sports daily Marca .
So it is understandable that the German football association (DFB) is not as enthusiastic about the Confederations Cup as their competitors.
Les trois premiers essais du recueil s'interessent au role des communautes minoritaires acadienne, quebecoise et canadienne-francaise dans les processus qui aboutirent a la confederation et a leurs attentes a son egard.
Le calendrier CAF comptera desormais 20 dates pour les competitions interclubs qui iront de mars a novembre pour la Ligue des champions et jusqu'en decembre pour la Coupe de la Confederation.
Under the watchful eyes of custodians, options were considered for best carrying Canada's heavy and large Confederation Table from the second floor Reading Room into the fine art transport truck waiting outside.
L'arbitre international algerien, Mehdi Abid Charef, dirigera le choc des huitiemes de finale retour bis de la Coupe de la Confederation de football entre la formation tunisienne du Club Africain et l'equipe egyptienne d'Al Ahly prevu le 5 juin prochain a Tunis, a indique, hier, la Confederation africaine de football (CAF).
Al-Marri was unanimously elected a Vice-President of the Asian Badminton Confederation for a four-year term in the elections held in China Saturday.
Alaattin Bayraktar, General Vice President of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Confederation of Business Women, has vowed substantial investments in Balkan states in 2015.
Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

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