Encyclopedia > Territory

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A territory is a clearly defined geographical area, usually considered to be a possession of a person, organization, or institution. An organism which claims territory is said to be territorial.

In politics, the term refers to an area of land under jurisdiction of a governmental authority.

Such jurisdiction can take many forms:

  • A legally administered territory, which is a non-sovereign geographic area that has voluntarily come under the authority of another government. For example, American Samoa is a territory of the government of the United States.

  • An illegally occupied territory, which is a geographic area that claims sovereignty, but is being illegally or forcibly subjugated to the authority of a foreign government. For example, the nation of Tibet is currently considered to be illegally occupied by the Chinese government.

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