monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince

A principality (sometimes also called princedom) is a country or territory which is ruled by a sovereign prince or princess. Principalities were common in the Middle Ages. Principalities tend to have quite a small territory.

Current principalities


There are currently three countries which are principalities: Andorra, Monaco and Liechtenstein.

Sub-national principalities


Many states of the Holy Roman Empire were small principalities with their own royal families.

In modern Europe, there are some cases where the heir to the throne of a country holds the title "Prince of...", followed by the name of a significant region of the country. This mostly has some historical meaning.



Some states claim to be principalities but are not recognised by other countries: Sealand (a Sea Fort off the English coast), Seborga (a small town in Italy), the Principality of Hutt River in Australia and the Principality of Minerva in the Pacific. These states are examples of micronations.



Sometimes the word is also used to mean dependent territories in Africa, Asia and India, pre-Columbian America and Oceania. For these, the word princely states is generally preferred, especially if they came under the authority of a European colonial power.