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A federated state, commonly simply referred to as a state, is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federal union.[1] Such states differ from sovereign states, in that they have transferred a portion of their sovereign powers to a federal government.[2] A federated state holds administrative jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory and is a form of regional government.

In some cases, a federation is created from a union of political entities, which are either independent, or dependent territories of another sovereign entity (most commonly a colonial power). In other cases, states have been created by a previously unitary government in a devolution of powers in order to allow for a federal constitution. Once a federal constitution is formed, the rules governing the relationship between federal and regional powers become part of the country's municipal law and not international law.

In countries with federal constitutions, sovereignty is shared between the federal government and its component states. These states are partially self-governing and are usually afforded a considerable degree of autonomy. In most cases, within its own territory, a federated state's administrative rights and powers cannot be over-ruled or vetoed by the federal government. However, the laws governing the relationship between federal and regional powers can be amended through the federal constitution and state constitutions.

Countries made up of federated states

Twelve countries are made up of federated states and use the English term state to refer the federated entities.[3][4]

Equivalent federative terms

A number of countries are made up of federated states but do not use the English term state to refer the federated entities.[3][4]


  1. ^ The Australian National Dictionary: Fourth Edition, pg 1395. (2004) Canberra. ISBN 0-19-551771-7.
  2. ^ Constitution of the United States of America: Tenth Amendment, Reserved Powers
  3. ^ a b "Field Listing : Administrative Divisions". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-10-14.  
  4. ^ a b "Federalism by Country". Forum of Federations. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-10-25.  
  5. ^ Daniel, Kate; Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (2008). SBS World Guide: The Complete Fact File on Every Country, 16th ed.. Prahran, Victoria, Australia: Hardie Grant Books. pp. 827. p38. ISBN 9781740666480.  
  6. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p46
  7. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p101
  8. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p275
  9. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p328
  10. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p460
  11. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p481
  12. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p486
  13. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p537
  14. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p687
  15. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p774
  16. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p798
  17. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p26
  18. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p74
  19. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p132
  20. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p239
  21. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p346
  22. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p549
  23. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p600
  24. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p700
  25. ^ SBS World Guide 2008, p760


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