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A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a state. In most countries, a territory is an organized land controlled division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally developed into, or incorporated into, a political unit of the country that is of equal status to other political units that may often be referred to by words such as "provinces" or "states". In international politics, a territory is usually a non-sovereign geographic area which has come under the authority of another government; which has not been granted the powers of self-government normally devolved to secondary territorial divisions; or both.
The origins of the word territory begin with the Proto-Indo-European root ters ('to dry'). From this emerged the Latin word terra ('earth, land') and later the Latin word territorium ('land around a town'). Territory made its debut as a word in Middle English during the 14th century. At this point the suffix -orium, which denotes place, was replaced with -ory which also expresses place.
Types of territory include:
A capital territory or federal capital territory is usually a specially designated territory where a country's seat of government is located. As such, in the federal model of government, no one state or territory takes pre-eminence because the capital lies within its borders. A capital territory can be one specific form of federal district.
Dependent territory is a designation for a territory that is not an independent sovereign state, yet remains politically outside the governing state's integral area. Presently, all dependent territories are either overseas territories or non-sovereign associated states. Only four countries currently possess dependent territories: the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway and the United States.
A federal territory is an area within the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of the central or national government within a federation.
Federal territories include:
Overseas territory is a broad designation for a territorial entity that is separated from the country that governs it by an ocean. An overseas territory may be either a constituent part of the governing state or a dependent territory.