At the beginning of the Century:

Changes in monarchy during the 20th Century:

Principle Monarchies Abolished During the 20th Century:

Portugal 1910
Korea 1910
China 1911
Russia 1917
Germany 1918
Austria 1918
Turkey 1922
Spain 1931-1975
Yugoslavia 1941
Italy 1946
Bulgaria 1946
Albania 1947
Romania 1947
Egypt 1952
Vietnam 1955
Tunisia 1957
Iraq 1958
Yemen, North 1962
Burundi 1966
Libya 1969
Cambodia 1970-93
Greece 1916-20, 1924-35, 1973
Afghanistan 1973
Ethiopia 1974
Laos 1975
Iran 1979


I'm not sure what the seating arrangements would be if all the monarchs of the world sat down to dinner, but I imagine the would be seated in some specific order of importance -- seniority, height, number of paparazzi following them around. This list ranks them according to their countries' Gross National Products:

Nation Title (in English) Beginning of, or Last Major Break in Dynastic Legitimacy Constitutional Limitations Established
Japan Empire 1867 (Meiji Resoration) 1947
Great Britain Kingdom 1707 (Act of Union) 1688
Spain Kingdom 1975 (restoration) 1977
Netherlands Kingdom 1815 (establishment of kingdom) 1848
Sweden Kingdom 1809 (coup) 1809
Belgium Kingdom 1830 (indep.) 1830
Denmark Kingdom 1661 (Hereditary Monarch Act) 1849
Norway Kingdom 1905 (indep.) 1905
Saudi Arabia Kingdom 1927 (national unification) none
Thailand Kingdom 1782 (coup) 1932
Malaysia Kingdom federation, 1963 1957
Kuwait Emirate 1961 (indep.) none
UAE Emirates federation, 1971 none
Morocco Kingdom 1957 (indep.) none
Luxemburg Grand Duchy 1839 (indep.) 1868
Oman Sultanate 1970 (usurpation) none
Jordan Kingdom 1921 (colonial monarchy est.) none
Qatar Emirate 1971 (indep.) none
Nepal Kingdom 1951 (coup) 1991
Brunei Sultanate 1971 (indep.) none
Bahrein Emirate 1971 (indep.) none
Cambodia Kingdom 1993 (restoration)
Lesotho Kingdom 1995 (coup) none
Swaziland Kingdom 1968 (indep.) none
Liechtenstein Principality 1806 (indep.) 1921
Monaco Principality 1861 (indep.) 1911
Bhutan Kingdom 1907 (colonial monarchy est.) none
Western Samoa Chiefdom federation, 1962 1962
Tonga Kingdom 1970 (indep.)


["Major Break"]

This is obviously a very subjective category. If it's a new country, then I usually just pick the year that sovereignty was established, but older countries are a problem. Since every usurper who earns his crown on the battlefield, in a coup, or in some back-room deal will claim untarnished legitimacy, we can, if we're feeling generous, track an unbroken chain of legitimacy back to the dawn of time for every monarchy on the planet. This is clearly not the case, so I have tried to find moments when the crown is passed to someone who is not the obvious hereditary candidate, or moments when the entire government is restructured.

I have not, however, penalized a dynasty for unorthodox -- but perfectly legal -- transitions such as abdications or the scramble to scrounge up a cousin when the old king dies childless.



It's difficult to pin down dynastic legitimacy in federated monarchies because, strictly speaking, they aren't hereditary monarchies at all. They are republics of kings.


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Last updated August 1999

Copyright © 1999 Matthew White