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A monarchy is a state ruled by a monarch. In most monarchies the position of monarch is inherited. The term is also used to refer to the people and institutions that make up the royal establishment.

Since 1800, many of the world's monarchies have become republics. Most countries which retain monarch have limited their power with most having become constitutional monarchies. Swaziland is the only country that retains an absolute monarchy.

On several occasions throughout history, the same person has served as monarch of separate sovereign independent states, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and several other countries today.

Sometimes, component members of federal states are monarchies, even though the federal state as a whole is not; for example each of the emirates that form the United Arab Emirates has their own monarch (an emir).

Monarchies today include (2001):

compare theocracy, democracy