Territory ruled by an emir
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An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir,[1] a title used by monarchs or high officeholders in the Muslim world. From a historical point of view, an emirate is a political-religious unit smaller than a caliphate.[2] It can be considered equivalent to a principality in non-Muslim contexts.

Currently in the world, there are two emirates that are independent states (Kuwait and Qatar), and a state that consists of a federation of seven emirates, the United Arab Emirates. The unrecognized Taliban state in Afghanistan is also styled as an emirate. A great number of previously independent emirates around the world are now part of larger states, as can be seen in Nigeria.[3]


Etymologically, emirate or amirate (Arabic: إمارة imārah, plural: إمارات imārāt) is the quality, dignity, office, or territorial competence of any emir (prince, commander, governor, etc.). In English, the term is pronounced /ˈɛmərət, -ɪər-, -ɪt, -t/ or /ɛˈmɪərət, -ɪt, -t, iˈ-/ in British English and /ˈɛmərət/ or /ɪˈmɪərət/ in American English.[4]



The United Arab Emirates is a federal state that comprises seven federal emirates, each administered by a hereditary emir, these seven forming the electoral college for the federation's president and prime minister.

As most emirates have either disappeared, been integrated in a larger modern state, or changed their rulers' styles, e.g. to malik (Arabic for king) or sultan, such true emirate-states have become rare.


Furthermore, in Arabic the term can be generalized to mean any province of a country that is administered by a member of the ruling class, especially of a member (usually styled emir) of the royal family, as in Saudi Arabian governorates.

List of present emirates

Location of Afghanistan (grey), Kuwait (red), Qatar (green), and the emirates of the United Arab Emirates

Current emirates with political autonomy are listed below:

Arabian Peninsula


List of former and integrated emirates

These are the emirates that have either ceased to exist, are not recognized and hold no real power, or were integrated into another country and preserved as "traditional states". They are arranged by location and in order of the date of the first leader styled "emir."


North Africa

  • Ifriqiya under the Hafsids

    Ifriqiya under the Hafsids

  • Trarza (upper left)

    Trarza (upper left)

  • Cyrenaica in Libya

    Cyrenaica in Libya

Sub-Saharan Africa

The Emir of Kano on his throne



  • Beihan and Dhala in South Arabia

    Beihan and Dhala in South Arabia

  • Diriyah


  • Nejd


  • Jabal Shammar

    Jabal Shammar

  • Asir at its height

    Asir at its height

  • Bahrain


  • Saudi Arabian emirate divisions

    Saudi Arabian emirate divisions

Central and South Asia

  • Bukhara


  • Emirate of Afghanistan

    Emirate of Afghanistan

  • Khotan in modern China

    Khotan in modern China

Near East

  • Ottoman emirate in 1300, labeled 'Osman'

    Ottoman emirate in 1300, labeled 'Osman'

  • Timurid Emirate under the leadership of Timur

    Timurid Emirate under the leadership of Timur

  • Soran (at center)

    Soran (at center)

  • Transjordan




  • Darband, Azerbaijan

    Darband, Azerbaijan

  • Armenia



  • Córdoba


  • Badajoz


  • Granada


Mediterranean region

  • Crete within modern Greece

    Crete within modern Greece

  • Sicily (at bottom)

    Sicily (at bottom)

See also


  1. ^ "The definition of emirate". Dictionary.com.
  2. ^ "What is the difference between an emirate and a caliphate? – Shakuhachi.net".
  3. ^ "The Cultural and Colonial Settings". A Dangerous Awakening : The Politicization of Religion in Nigeria. African Dynamics. IFRA-Nigeria. 21 February 2013. pp. 9–43. ISBN 9791092312034.
  4. ^ Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, ISBN 9781405881180
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Second / third-level
  • Mintaqah (منطقة region)
  • Qadaa (قضاء district)
  • Nahiyah (ناحية subdistrict)
  • Markaz (مركز district)
  • Mutamadiyah (معتمدية "delegation")
  • Daerah/Daïra (دائرة circle)
  • Liwa (لواء banner / sanjak)
City / township-level
  • Amanah (أمانة municipality)
  • Baladiyah (بلدية municipality)
  • Ḥai (حي neighborhood / quarter)
  • Mahallah (محلة)
  • Qarya (قرية)
  • Sheyakhah (شياخة "neighborhood subdivision")
  • Majlis Mahalliyy (مجلس محلي local council)
  • Majlis ʾIqlimiyy (مجلس اقليمي regional council)
English translations given are those most commonly used.
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