Territory

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.

Types of territories include:

  • A legally administered territory, which is a non-sovereign geographic area that has come under the authority of another government. For example, American Samoa is a territory of the government of the United States. With regard to Canadian provinces and territories, the major difference between a Canadian province and a Canadian territory is that the federal government has more direct control over the territories, while the provinces are run by provincial governments. See also Australian States and Territories.

  • An occupied territory which is a region that is under the military control of an outside power that has not annexed the region. An example of an occupied territory is Iraq after the American invasion of 2003 or Germany after World War II.

  • A disputed territory, which is a geographic area claimed by two or more rival governments. For example, the territory of Kashmir is claimed by both the governments of India and Pakistan.

  • A claimed part of Antarctica.

Additionally, the term is used to describe small geographical areas which an animal considers their own. Animals in the wild are often seen fighting over their territory, even among members of the same species. Some animals (such as the canidae) use urination to mark their territories.

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