A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, will involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.
Personal unions can arise for several reasons, ranging from coincidence (a woman who is already married to a king becomes queen regnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries; the King of one country inherits the crown of another country) to virtual annexation (where a personal union sometimes was seen as a means of preventing uprisings). They can also be codified (i.e., the constitutions of the states clearly express that they shall share the same person as head of state) or non-codified, in which case they can easily be broken (e.g., by the death of the monarch when the two states have different succession laws).
The Commonwealth realms are independent states that share the same person as monarch.
Because presidents of republics are ordinarily chosen from within the citizens of the state in question, the concept of personal union has almost never crossed over from monarchies into republics, with the rare example the President of France being a co-prince of Andorra. In 1860 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius was simultaneously elected as the president of Transvaal and Orange Free State and he tried to unify the two countries but his mission failed and led to the Transvaal Civil War.
Even though France is now a republic with a president and not a monarchy, it has nevertheless been in personal union with the neighboring nominal monarchy (non-hereditary) of Andorra since 1278.
- Personal union with Lands of the Bohemian Crown (1260–1276, 1306–1307, 1438–1439, 1453–1457, 1487–1490 and 1526–1918).
- Personal union with Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen (1437–1439, 1444–1457, 1487–1490 and 1526–1918).
- Personal union with Austrian Netherlands (1714–1795).
- Personal union with Spanish Empire (1519–1521).
- Personal union with Kingdom of Naples (1714–1735), Kingdom of Sardinia (1714–1720), Kingdom of Sicily (1720–1735), Duchy of Parma (1735–1748), Venetia (1797–1805) and Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia (1814–1859)
- Personal union with Kingdom of Slavonia (1699–1868), Kingdom of Serbia (1718–1739), Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (1772–1918), Duchy of Bukovina (1774–1918), New Galicia (1795–1809), Kingdom of Dalmatia (1797–1805 and 1814–1918) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878/1908–1918).
- Personal union with Poland 1003–1004 (Bohemia occupied by Poles)
- Personal union with Poland 1300–1306 and Hungary 1301–1305 (Wenceslas II and Wenceslas III)
- Personal union with Luxembourg 1313–1378 and 1383–1388
- Personal union with Hungary 1419–1439 (Sigismund of Luxemburg and his son in law) and 1490–1526 (Jagellon dynasty)
- Personal union with Austria and Hungary 1526–1918 (except years 1619–1620)
- Personal union with Portugal, under Maria I of Portugal and later John VI of Portugal, from 16 December 1815 to 7 September 1822. Maria was the Queen of Portugal and the Algarves from 1777 to 1815, when Brazil, a Portuguese colony, was ranked Kingdom inside the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. She was succeeded by her older son and Regent in her name since 1792, who become King John VI. He reigned over Brazil until the dissolution of the United Kingdom with the Independence of Brazil.
- Personal union with Portugal, under Pedro I of Brazil (Pedro IV of Portugal), from 10 March to 28 May 1826. Pedro was the Prince Royal of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves when he declared the independence of Brazil in 1822, becoming its first emperor. When his father (John VI of Portugal) died, Pedro also became King of Portugal, but abdicated the Portuguese throne 79 days later in favour of his older child Princess Maria da Glória.
- Personal union with the Korean kingdom of Goryeo 1308–1313 (King Chungseon)
- As King of Goryeo (高麗國王) and King of Shenyang (瀋陽王) in 1308–1310
- As King of Goryeo and King of Shen (瀋王) in 1310–1313
For more information, see § Korea: Goryeo below.
Congo Free State to Belgium
- Personal union with Belgium from 1885 to 1908, when the Congo Free State became a Belgian colony. The only sovereign during this period was Leopold II, who continued as king of Belgium until his death a year later in 1909.
Croatian crown was worn by Hungarian kings since 1102
In 1102, after a period of succession crisis following the death of King Demetrius Zvonimir, the Kingdom of Croatia entered a union with the Kingdom of Hungary in 1102. The crown passed into the hands of the Árpád dynasty with the crowning of King Coloman of Hungary with the Croatian crown as "King of Croatia and Dalmatia" in Biograd. Institutions of separate Croatian statehood were maintained through the Sabor (an assembly of Croatian nobles) and the ban (viceroy). In addition, the Croatian nobles retained their lands and titles. Some of the terms of Coloman's coronation are summarized in Pacta Conventa by which the Croatian nobles agreed to recognise Coloman as king. Although it is not an authentic document from 1102 and is likely a forgery from the 14th century, the contents of the Pacta Conventa correspond to the political situation of that time in Croatia.
The precise terms of the union between the two realms became a matter of dispute in the 19th century. The nature of the relationship varied through time, Croatia retained a large degree of internal autonomy overall, while the real power rested in the hands of the local nobility. Modern Croatian and Hungarian historiographies mostly view the relations between the Kingdom of Croatia and Kingdom of Hungary from 1102 as a form of a personal union presided over by the King of Hungary, resembling the relationship of Scotland to England.
It is argued that the medieval Hungary and Croatia were (in terms of public international law) allied by means of personal union until the Battle of Mohács in 1526. On January 1, 1527, the Croatian nobles at Cetin unanimously elected Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, as their king, and confirmed in Cetingrad Charter the succession to him and his heirs. However, officially the Hungarian-Croatian state existed until the beginning of the 20th century and the Treaty of Trianon.
After 1707, see Great Britain below.
- The status of the Grand Duchy of Finland, ruled from 1809 to 1917 by the tsar of Russia as the Grand Duke of Finland, resembled a personal union in some aspects and is sometimes described as such by Finns. In accordance with the Treaty of Fredrikshamn, Finland was legally a part of the Russian Empire that was granted autonomy at the sufferance of the tsar; the autonomous status was temporarily repealed later. By the 1860s, with the revival of the diet of the estates, Finns grew to consider Finland a constitutional monarchy in real union with Russia. For a time Finland was in fact allowed to act as though it was a separate state. As a result, the codification of Finnish autonomy and subordinance to Russian governmental organs from 1899 onwards was not recognized by the Finns and was condemned as unconstitutional. After the February Revolution of 1917 the Russian Provisional Government recognized Finland's separate constitution but at this point there was no monarch anymore.
Note: The point at issue in the War of the Spanish Succession was the fear that the succession to the Spanish throne dictated by Spanish law, which would devolve on Louis, le Grand Dauphin — already heir to the throne of France — would create a personal union that would upset the European balance of power; France had the most powerful military in Europe at the time, and Spain the largest empire.
Before 1707, see England and Scotland.
After 1801, see United Kingdom below.
Holy Roman Empire
- Personal union with Croatia 1102–1918 (see § Croatia above for details).
- Personal union with Poland and Bohemia 1301–1305.
- Personal union with Poland from 1370 to 1382 under the reign of Louis the Great. This period in Polish history is sometimes known as the Andegawen Poland. Louis inherited the Polish throne from his maternal uncle Casimir III. After Louis' death the Polish nobles (the szlachta) decided to end the personal union, since they did not want to be governed from Hungary, and chose Louis' younger daughter Jadwiga as their new ruler, while Hungary was inherited by his elder daughter Mary. Personal union with Poland for the second time from 1440 to 1444.
- Personal union with Bohemia, 1419–1439 and 1490–1918.
- Personal union with the Holy Roman Empire, 1410–1439, 1556–1608, 1612–1740 and 1780–1806.
- Real union with Austria, 1867–1918 (the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary) under the reigns of Franz Joseph and Charles IV.
- Personal union with Shenyang in Mongolian Yuan Dynasty of China 1308–1313 (King Chungseon)
- As King of Goryeo (高麗國王) and King of Shenyang (瀋陽王) in 1308–1310
- As King of Goryeo and King of Shen (瀋王) in 1310–1313
The King Chungseon reigned as King of Goryeo in 1298 and 1308–1313 and King of Shenyang or Shen from 1307 (according to the History of Yuan) or 1308 (according to Goryeosa) to 1316. At that time, Goryeo had already become a vassal of Yuan and the imperial family of Yuan and the royal family of Goryeo had close relationship by marriages of convenience. Because he was a very powerful man during Emperor Wuzong's era, he could become the King of Shenyang where many Korean people lived in China. However, he lost his power in the court of Yuan after the death of Emperor Wuzong. Because the Yuan Dynasty made Chungseon abdicate the crown of the Goryeo in 1313, the personal union was ended. King Chungsuk, Chungseon's eldest son, became the new King of Goryeo. In 1316, the Yuan Dynasty made Chungseon abdicate the crown of Shen in favour of Wang Go, one of his nephews, resulting in him becoming the new King of Shen.
- Personal union with France from 1589 to 1620 due to the accession of Henry IV, after which Navarre was formally integrated into France.
- Sweyn Forkbeard ruled both Norway and Denmark from 999 to 1014. He also ruled England from 1013 to 1014.
- Cnut the Great ruled both England and Denmark from 1018 to 1035. He also ruled Norway from 1028 to 1035.
- Personal union with Denmark 1042–1047 Magnus I of Norway who died of unclear circumstances.
- Personal union with Sweden from 1319 to 1343.
- Personal union with Sweden from 1449 to 1450.
- The Kalmar Union with Denmark and Sweden from 1389/97 to 1521/23 (sometimes defunct).
- Personal union with Denmark 1523 to 1533.
- Personal union with Sweden from 1814 (when Norway declared independence from Denmark and was forced into a union with Sweden) to 1905.
Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach
The duchies of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach were in personal union from 1741, when the ruling house of Saxe-Eisenach died out, until 1809, when they were merged into the single duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
Schleswig and Holstein
Duchies with peculiar rules for succession. See the Schleswig-Holstein Question.
- The kings of Denmark at the same time being dukes of Schleswig and Holstein 1460–1864. (Holstein being part of the Holy Roman Empire, while Schleswig was a part of Denmark). The situation was complicated by the fact that for some time, the Duchies were divided among collateral branches of the House of Oldenburg (the ruling House in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein). Besides the "main" Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Glückstadt, ruled by the Kings of Denmark, there were states encompassing territory in both Duchies. Notably the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp and the subordinate Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Beck, Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
The duchies of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen were in personal union from 1909, when Prince Günther of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt succeeded also to the throne of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, until 1918, when he (and all the other German monarchs) abdicated.
After 1707, see Great Britain above.
The Spanish state
Leon, Castile and Aragon
- A personal union roughly corresponding to the modern United Kingdom (plus Ireland) existed from 1606 - see England above
- Personal union with the Electorate of Hanover (1801–1837).
- Personal union with the Irish Free State (1922-1937) and Ireland (de jure) from 1937 to 1949; and the former Commonwealth realms and Dominions of South Africa (1931-1961), India (1947-1950); Pakistan (1947-1956), Ceylon (1948-1972), Ghana (1957-1960), Nigeria (1960-1963), Sierra Leone (1961-1971), Tanganyika (1961-1962), Trinidad and Tobago (1962-1976), Uganda (1962-1963), Kenya (1963-1964), Malawi (1964-1966), Malta (1964-1974), The Gambia (1965-1970), Guyana (1966-1970), Mauritius (1968-1992), and Fiji (1970-1987).
- Personal union with the current Commonwealth realms: Canada since 1931, Australia since 1942, New Zealand since 1947, Jamaica since 1962, Barbados since 1966, The Bahamas since 1973, Grenada since 1974, Papua New Guinea since 1975, Solomon Islands since 1978, Tuvalu since 1978, Saint Lucia since 1979, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines since 1979, Antigua and Barbuda since 1981, Belize since 1981, and Saint Kitts and Nevis since 1983.
- ^ Oppenheim, Lassa; Roxbrough, Ronald (2005). International Law: A Treatise. The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-609-9. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- ^ In the Holy Roman Empire, many prince-bishops had themselves elected to separate prince-bishoprics, that they ruled in a personal union. For example, Joseph Clemens von Bayern (1671–1723) was Prince-Bishop of Freising (1685–1694), Prince-Bishop of Regensburg (1685–1694), Prince-Elector of Cologne (1688–1723), Prince-Bishop of Liège (1694–1723) and Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim (1702–1723).
- ^ a b c Britannica:History of Croatia
- ^ Kristó Gyula: A magyar–horvát perszonálunió kialakulása [The formation of Croatian-Hungarian personal union](in Hungarian)
- ^ "Histoire de la Croatie". Larousse online encyclopedia (in French).
- ^ a b Luscombe and Riley-Smith, David and Jonathan (2004). New Cambridge Medieval History: C.1024-c.1198, Volume 4. Cambridge University Press. pp. 273–274. ISBN 0-521-41411-3.
- ^ a b Font, Marta: Hungarian Kingdom and Croatia in the Middle Age
- ^ Pál Engel: Realm of St. Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 2005, p. 35-36
- ^ Bárány, Attila (2012). "The Expansion of the Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages (1000– 1490)". In Berend, Nóra. The Expansion of Central Europe in the Middle Ages. Ashgate Variorum. page 344-345
- ^ Sedlar, Jean W. (2011). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages. University of Washington Press. p. 280. ISBN 029580064X. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- ^ Singleton, Frederick Bernard (1985). A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples. Cambridge University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-521-27485-2.
- ^ John Van Antwerp Fine: The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century, 1991, p. 288
- ^ Barna Mezey: Magyar alkotmánytörténet, Budapest, 1995, p. 66
- ^ Heka, László (October 2008). "Hrvatsko-ugarski odnosi od sredinjega vijeka do nagodbe iz 1868. s posebnim osvrtom na pitanja Slavonije" [Croatian-Hungarian relations from the Middle Ages to the Compromise of 1868, with a special survey of the Slavonian issue]. Scrinia Slavonica (in Croatian). 8 (1): 155.
- ^ Jeszenszky, Géza. "Hungary and the Break-up of Yugoslavia: A Documentary History, Part I". Hungarian Review. II (2).
- ^ Banai Miklós, Lukács Béla: Attempts for closing up by long range regulators in the Carpathian Basin
- ^ R. W. SETON-WATSON: The southern Slav question and the Habsburg Monarchy page 18
- ^ Charles W. Ingrao, p.12: The Habsburg monarchy, 1618–1815
- ^ David Raič, p. 342: Statehood and the law of self-determination