This article needs additional citations for verification
. (July 2015)
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, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. Unlike the personal union, 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.[note 1]
The term was coined by German jurist Johann Stephan Pütter, introducing it into Elementa iuris publici germanici (Elements of German Public Law) of 1760.
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).
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 exception of 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 neighbouring nominal monarchy (non-hereditary) of Andorra since 1278.
- Personal union with Lands of the Bohemian Crown (1260–1276, 1306–1307, 1438–1439, 1453–1457, and 1526–1918).
- Personal union with Lands of the Hungarian Crown (1437–1439, 1444–1457, 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)
Congo Free State and 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.
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Denmark (1013–1014, 1018–1035 (North Sea Empire) and 1040–1042).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Duchy of Normandy (1066–1087, 1106–1144, 1154-1204/1259).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with the County of Anjou (1154-1204).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with much of France (Angevin Empire) (1154–1214).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Aquitaine (1154–1453).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Principality of Wales (1284-1542).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Kingdom of France (1422-1453). See also: Dual monarchy of England and France.
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Lordship of Ireland (1171–1542) and Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1649, 1660-1707).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Kingdom of Spain (1556-1558).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Kingdom of Scotland (1603–1649, 1660-1707).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of England, with Principality of Orange (1689–1702).
After 1707, see Great Britain below.
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.
- Personal union with Shenyang in the Mongol-led 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
King Chungseon reigned as King of Goryeo in 1298 and 1308–1313 and as King of Shenyang or King of 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 dynasty and the Yuan imperial family and the Goryeo royal family had close relationship by marriages of convenience. Because he was a very powerful man during Emperor Wuzong's reign, he could become the King of Shenyang where many Korean people lived in China. However, he lost his power in the Yuan imperial court after the death of the 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.
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 Naples from 1385 to 1386 under the reign of Charles III of Naples.
- Personal union with Bohemia, 1419–1439 and 1490–1918.
- Personal union with the Archduchy of Austria, 1437–1439, 1444–1457, and 1526–1806.
- 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 France from 1285 to 1328 due to the marriage between Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre and the reign of their three sons, and 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.
- Personal union with Denmark from 1380 to 1389/97.
- The Kalmar Union with Denmark and Sweden from 1389/97 to 1521/23 (sometimes defunct).
- Personal union with Denmark 1523 to 1814.
- Personal union with Sweden from 1814 (when Norway declared independence from Denmark and was forced into a union with Sweden) to 1905.
Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha
In 1826, the newly created Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was initially a double duchy, ruled by Duke Ernest I in a personal union. In 1852, the duchies were bound in a political and real union. They were then a quasi-federal unitary state, even though later attempts to merge the duchies failed.
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.
- Personal union, as Kingdom of Scotland, with the Kingdom of France during the reign of Francis II (1559-1560), first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Personal union, as Kingdom of Scotland, with the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Ireland (1603-1707) following the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the joint English and Irish throne. (All monarchs of Scotland were in a personal union with England and Ireland throughout the period 1603–1707, with the exception of Charles II, reigning solely as King of Scots 1649–1651, and the subsequent interregnum between 1651 and restoration of the House of Stuart in 1660).
- Personal union, as Kingdom of Scotland, with the Dutch Republic (1689-1702) during the reign of William II of Scotland.
After 1707, see Great Britain above.
Leon, Castile and Aragon
- Personal union with the Electorate of Hanover (1801–1806).
- Personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover (1814–1837).
- Personal union with the Irish Free State (1922–1937) and Ireland (de jure) from 1937 to 1949; and the former Dominions and Commonwealth realms of Newfoundland (1907–1934), South Africa (1910–1961), 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 1867, Australia since 1901, New Zealand since 1907, 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.
After 1542, see England above.