Abolished monarchy

Abolished monarchy
1908 postcard depicting nineteen reigning monarchs; eleven of their thrones have since been abolished.

Throughout history, monarchies have been abolished, either through revolutions, legislative reforms, coups d'état, or wars. The twentieth century saw a major acceleration of this process, with many monarchies violently overthrown by revolution or war, or else abolished as part of the process of de-colonisation. The twenty-first century has already seen several monarchies abolished, usually by peaceful means in a referendum. By contrast, the restoration of monarchies is rare in modern times, with only two major examples, Spain and Cambodia.


Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Ones of the earliest examples in modern times is the overthrow in 1649 of the English monarchy by the Parliament of England, led by Oliver Cromwell. The monarchy was restored in 1660. However, the most famous abolition of monarchy in history is that of the French monarchy in 1792, during the French Revolution. The French monarchy was later restored several times until 1870.

Nineteenth century

The Second French Empire came to an end in 1870 after it had lost the war against Prussia, causing Emperor Napoleon III to lose his throne. He was the last monarch of France. The Second Mexican Empire collapsed in 1867, and its Emperor, Maximilian I of Mexico, was executed. In Spain monarchy was abolished from 1873 to 1874 by the First Spanish Republic, but then restored until 1931. In 1893 foreign business leaders overthrew the Queen of the Kingdom of Hawaii. They established a republic, which joined the United States in 1898. The monarchy of Madagascar, known as the Merina Kingdom, came to an end in 1897 when France made it a colony and overthrew Queen Ranavalona III. In Brazil, monarchy was abolished in 1889, when Emperor Pedro II was overthrown by a republican military coup (the status of the republic was fully confirmed by a plebiscite in 1993 that resulted in 86,6% of the votes to the republican government).

Twentieth century

In 1910 the last emperor of Korea, Sunjong, lost his throne when the country was annexed by Japan. The monarchy of Portugal was also overthrown in 1910, two years after the assassination of King Carlos I, ending the reign of Manuel II.

The ancient monarchy of China ceased to exist in 1912 after the revolution of Sun Yat-sen overthrew Emperor Puyi. General Yuan Shikai unsuccessfully tried to revive the monarchy in 1915.

World War I led to perhaps the greatest spate of abolition of monarchies in history. The conditions inside Russia and the poor performance in the war gave rise to a communist revolution which toppled the entire institution of the monarchy, executed Emperor Nicholas II and implemented a marxist-leninist government. The defeated German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires saw the abolition of their monarchies in the close aftermath of the war, ending the reigns of Wilhelm II, Charles I and Mehmed VI respectively. The monarchs of the constituent states within the German Empire, most importantly Ludwig III of Bavaria, Frederick Augustus III of Saxony and Wilhelm II of Württemberg, soon abdicated. During the war, monarchies were planned for the Grand Principality of Finland (to have a Finnish King), and for Lithuania (Mindaugas II of Lithuania), with a protectorate-like dependency of Germany. Both intended kings renounced their thrones after Germany's defeat in November 1918. King Nicholas I of Montenegro lost his throne when the country became a part of Yugoslavia in 1918.

After the death of the last Emperor, Bogd Khan, in 1924, Mongolia became a republic. In Spain the monarchy was again abolished in 1931 by the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1936/39) and the dictatorship of Franco (1936/39–1975). Constitutional monarchy was restored in 1975 under King Juan Carlos I.

World War II saw another spate of abolitions. In 1939 Italy invaded Albania and removed the reigning self-proclaimed King Zog and instated their own King Victor Emmanuel III as its new monarch. Italy, along with the eastern European monarchies of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania joined with Germany in World War II against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Western allies and the Soviet Union. As the Axis powers came to a defeat in the war, communist partisans in occupied Yugoslavia and occupied Albania seized power and ended the monarchies. Communists in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania removed their monarchies with strong backing by the Soviet Union, which had many troops and supporters placed there during the course of the war. Through this, Peter II of Yugoslavia, Simeon II of Bulgaria and Michael I of Romania all lost their thrones. King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy had switched sides during the war in favour of the western allies, but a referendum in 1946 ended the short reign of his son King Umberto II and the Italian monarchy ceased to exist. A unique result of the war was that Emperor Hirohito of Japan, who had held a debated but important role in Japan's warfare against the Allied powers, was reduced in stature from a divine monarch to a figurehead by the occupying United States, instead of losing his throne altogether.

Throughout Greece's eventful modern history, the monarchy was toppled and restored several times between and after the two World Wars. The last king, Constantine II, was forced into exile after a coup d'état in 1967 and the republic was proclaimed in 1973 by the then ruling military dictatorship. Final abolition of the monarchy was confirmed overwhelmingly after constitutional legality was restored, by free referendum in 1974.

Many monarchies were abolished in the middle of the 20th century or later as part of the process of de-colonisation. The monarchies of India, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were abolished when, or shortly after, they became independent of the United Kingdom, while remaining within the Commonwealth. That of Ireland was not abolished when Ireland became independent of the United Kingdom in the 1920s, but by the Republic of Ireland Act of 1948, which came into force in 1949. Pakistan became a republic in 1956. The monarchy in South Africa was abolished in 1961 by an apartheid referendum. The latest country to become a Commonwealth republic was Mauritius in 1992.

That of Egypt and Sudan was abolished in 1953, after the revolution of 1952, which caused King Farouk I to abdicate in favour of his minor son Fuad II. The monarchy of Tunisia ended in 1957 when Muhammad VIII al-Amin lost his throne and that of Iraq when King Faisal II was killed and a republic proclaimed. King Idris of Libya was overthrown by a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969. The monarchy of Afghanistan was abolished in 1973 after a coup d'état overthrew King Mohammed Zahir Shah. That of Iran was abolished by the Islamic revolution of 1979 overthrowing Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In Ethiopia Emperor Haile Selassie I was overthrown in 1974 as a result of a democratic revolution supplanted later by a radical leftist coup. Political upheaval and Communist insurrection put an end to the monarchies of Indochina after World War II: a short-lived attempt to leave a monarchical form of government in post-colonial South Vietnam came to naught in 1955, a military coup overthrew the kingless monarchy in Cambodia in 1970 and a Communist takeover ended the monarchy in Laos in 1975. Cambodia's monarchy later saw an unexpected rebirth under an internationally-mediated peace settlement with former king Norodom Sihanouk being restored as a figurehead in 1993.

Brazil rejected an attempt to restore its monarchy in the 1990s. Unsuccessful efforts to restore the monarchies of some of the Balkan states in the former Eastern Bloc continue. Former King Michael of Romania and Prince Alexander of Serbia have been allowed to return, gained some popularity, played largely apolitical public roles, but never came close to being restored to their ancestral thrones. However, in Bulgaria, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who was deposed from the Bulgarian throne in 1946, was elected and recently served as the Prime Minister of his country from 2001 to 2005. The only formerly socialist country to have held a referendum on the monarchy was Albania where the claimant to his father's throne, the self-styled Leka I, lost by a huge margin in 1997.

In a 1999 referendum, the voters of Australia rejected a proposal to abolish their monarchy in favour of a specific republican model. The proposal was rejected in all states, with only the Australian Capital Territory voting in favour.

Twenty-first century

On 24 December 2007, the Nepalese government decided in an accord to abolish the monarchy after the elections to be held in April 2008.[1] The Nepalese monarchy was formally abolished on 28 May 2008, causing King Gyanendra to lose his throne. After the death of its last non-elected ruler in 2007, Malietoa Tanumafili II, Samoa became a de-facto republic.

Monarchies abolished in the 20th–21st centuries


Last Monarch



Dendi Kingdom Askia Malla 1901 Ousted by French, the country became a part of French West Africa.
Flag of Ashanti.svg Ashanti Empire Prempeh I 1902 Ousted by British, the country became a part of Gold Coast (British colony).
Oyo Empire Adeyemi I Alowolodu 1905 Last monarch died, the country became a part of British Southern Nigeria Protectorate.
Flag of the Mwali Sultanate.svg Mwali Sultanate 1909 The country was incorporated into French Third Republic.
Flag Portugal (1830).svg Portugal Manuel II 1910 Republican Coup d'État.
Flag of Korea 1882.svg Korea Sunjong Native monarchy abolished; replaced by rule by Japan, a monarchy, through 1945.
Angoche Sultanate Ousted by Portuguese, the country was incorporated into Portugal.
Kingdom of Nri Eze Nri Òbalíke 1911 Ousted by British, the country became a part of Southern Nigeria Protectorate.
Kasanje Kingdom The country was incorporated into Portuguese West Africa.
China Qing Dynasty Flag 1889.svg China Xuantong 1912 Xīnhài Revolution – Emperor ousted by warlords and republicans.
Sultanate of Ndzuwani Saidi Mohamed bin Saidi Omar The country was incorporated into French Third Republic.
Albania 1914 Flag.svg Albania William I 1914 Monarchy restored in 1928 (Albanian Kingdom).
Flag of the Kingdom of Kongo.svg Kingdom of Kongo Manuel III Position abolished by Portuguese after an unsuccessful revolt.
Sultanate of Darfur Ali Dinar 1916 Darfur formally re-incorporated into Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
Flag of Russia.svg Russia Nicholas II 1917 February Revolution.
Flag of the Kingdom of Montenegro.svg Montenegro Nicholas I 1918 Referendum deposed King and united with Serbia.
Flag of the German Empire.svg Germany William II All on account of German defeat in World War I and the following German Revolution.
Flag of Prussia 1892-1918.svg Prussia
Flag of Bavaria (striped).svg Bavaria Ludwig III
Flagge Königreich Württemberg.svg Württemberg Wilhelm II
Flagge Königreich Sachsen (1815-1918).svg Saxony Frederick Augustus III
Flagge Großherzogtum Hessen ohne Wappen.svg Hesse Ernst Ludwig
Flagge Großherzogtum Baden (1891-1918).svg Baden Frederick II
Flagge Großherzogtum Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1897-1920).svg Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Wilhelm Ernst
Flagge Großherzogtümer Mecklenburg.svg Mecklenburg-Schwerin Friedrich Franz IV
Flag of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (1871).svg Oldenburg Frederick Augustus II
Flagge Herzogtum Braunschweig.svg Brunswick Ernst Augustus
Flagge Herzogtum Anhalt.svg Anhalt Joachim Ernst
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1911-1920).svg Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Carl Eduard
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1826-1911).svg Saxe-Meiningen Bernhard III
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1826-1911).svg Saxe-Altenburg Ernst II
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Waldeck-Pyrmont Friedrich
Flagge Fürstentum Lippe.svg Lippe Leopold IV
Flagge Fürstentum Schaumburg-Lippe.svg Schaumburg-Lippe Adolf II
Flagge Fürstentümer Schwarzburg.svg Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Günther Victor
Flagge Fürstentum Reuß ältere Linie.svg Reuss Senior Line
Flagge Fürstentum Reuß jüngere Linie.svg Reuss Junior Line
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austria Charles I Charles I "renounced participation" in state affairs, but did not abdicate. Monarchy officially abolished by the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on 10 September 1919.
Flag of Finland 1918 (state).svg Finland Frederick Charles I
Monarchy never in effect.
Flag of Lithuania 1918-1940.svg Lithuania Mindaugas II
Flag of Poland.svg Poland None
(power wielded by Regency Council)
Flag of Hungary (1867-1918).svg Hungary Charles IV Monarchy restored in 1920, although the throne remained vacant with a Regent.
Civil Flag of Serbia.svg Serbia Peter I Country transformed to Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Flag of the Emirate of Bukhara.svg Bukhara (Uzbekistan) Mohammed Alim Khan 1920
Bandera de Khiva 1917-1920.svg Khiva (Uzbekistan) Abdallah Khan
Witu Sultanate Fumo `Umar ibn Ahmad 1923 Sultanate abolished by British, the country was incorporated into Kenya Colony.
Ottoman Flag.svg Ottoman Empire Mehmed VI Turkish War of Independence followed by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
OttomanReligious.svg Ottoman Caliphate Abdülmecid II 1924
Hellenic Kingdom Flag 1935.svg Greece George II 1924 Restored 1935 and later abolished in 1974 (see below).
Flag of Mongolia (1911).svg Mongolia Bogd Khan Communist People's Republic proclaimed after Khan's death.
Kingdom of Orungu Rogombé-Nwèntchandi 1927 Position abolished by French.
Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg Spain Alfonso XIII 1931 Later restored (see below).
Kingdom of Jimma Abba Jofir 1932 Ousted by Ethiopians, Jimma incorporated into Ethiopia.
Flag Kingdom Of Albania.svg Albania Zog I 1939 Monarchy deposed, by the Italian invasion.
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg Croatia Tomislav II 1943 Abdicated after withdrawal of Italian support.
Light Blue Flag of Iceland.svg Iceland Christian X 1944 Union with Denmark terminated.
Flag of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svg Yugoslavia Peter II 1945 Communist reconstruction.
Flag of Manchukuo.svg Manchukuo Kāngdé Merged into the Republic of China after abolition of the Empire.
Flag of Hungary 1940.svg Hungary None
(Miklós Horthy as regent)
1946 Decision of the parliament without a referendum.
Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Italy Umberto II Referendum; official result: 54,3% in favour of republic.
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria Simeon II Referendum forced by the Soviets; official falsified result: 95% against monarchy.
Flag of the Kingdom of Sarawak (1870).svg Sarawak Charles Vyner Brooke White Rajahs hand over power to British crown.
Flag of Romania.svg Romania Michael I 1947 Forced out by the communists.
Flag of India.svg Indian Princely States See article/ 1947–
Became federal states of an independent India.
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland George VI 1949 Abolished the last "King of Ireland", the King of the United Kingdom.
Flag of India.svg India George VI 1950 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of Egypt 1922.svg Egypt and Sudan Fuad II 1953 Republic proclaimed one year after the 1952 Revolution.
Flag of Vietnam.svg Democratic Republic of Vietnam Bảo Đại 1954 Vietnam partitioned through the Geneva Accords.
Flag of South Vietnam.svg State of Vietnam Bảo Đại 1955 Referendum in South Vietnam.
Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Elizabeth II 1956 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia Muhammad VIII al-Amin 1957 coup d'état
Flag of Iraq (1924–1959).svg Iraq Faisal II 1958
Flag of Ghana.svg Ghana Elizabeth II 1960 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg South Africa 1961 (referendum 1960).
Flag Rwanda 1959.svg Rwanda Kigeli V coup d'état
Flag of Tanganyika.svg Tanganyika Elizabeth II 1962 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen.svg Yemen Muhammad XI coup d'état
Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria Elizabeth II 1963 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of Uganda.svg Uganda
Flag of Kenya.svg Kenya 1964
Flag of the Sultanate of Zanzibar (1963).svg Zanzibar Jamshid bin Abdullah Zanzibar Revolution
Flag of Burundi.svg Burundi Ntare V 1966 coup d'état
Flag of Malawi.svg Malawi Elizabeth II Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Fadhli Sultanate Nasser bin Abdullah bin Hussein bin Ahmed Alfadhli 1967 The countries were incorporated into newly created People's Republic of South Yemen.
Qu'aiti Sultanate Ghalib II bin Awadh bin Saleh Al Qu'aiti
Sultanate of Upper Yafa Muhammad ibn Salih Harharah
Sultanate of Lower Yafa Mahmud ibn Aidrus Al Afifi
Muflahi Sheikhdom al Qasim ibn Abd ar Rahman
Audhali Sultanate Salih ibn al Husayn ibn Jabil Al Audhali
Emirate of Beihan Saleh al Hussein Al Habieli
Dathina Sheikhdom
Emirate of Dhala Shafaul ibn Ali Shaif Al Amiri
Wahidi Sultanate of Balhaf
Sheikhdom of Shaib Yahya ibn Mutahhar al-Saqladi
Alawi Sheikhdom Salih ibn Sayil Al Alawi
Aqrabi Sheikhdom Mahmud ibn Muhammad Al Aqrabi
Wahidi Sultanate of Haban Husayn ibn Abd Allah Al Wahidi
Qutaibi Sheikhdom
Hadrami Sheikhdom
Mausatta Sheikhdom
Busi Sheikhdom
Dhabi Sheikhdom
Haushabi Sultanate Faisal bin Surur Al Haushabi
Kathiri Sultanate Al Husayn ibn Ali
Mahra Sultanate
Sultanate of Lahej Ali bin Abd al Karim al Abdali
Lower Aulaqi Sultanate Nasir ibn Aidrus Al Awlaqi
Upper Aulaqi Sultanate Awad ibn Salih Al Awlaqi
Upper Aulaqi Sheikhdom Amir Abd Allah ibn Muhsin al Yaslami Al Aulaqi
Flag of Maldives.svg Maldives Muhammad Fareed Didi 1968 Independence referendum.
Flag of Libya (1951).svg Libya Idris I 1969 coup d'état
Amb Nawab Sir Muhammad Farid Khan Pakistani Frontier States abolished, merged into the N.W.F.P.
Chitral Mohammad Saif ul-Mulk Nasir
Dir Muhammad Shah Khosru Khan
Swat Miangul Abdul-Haqq Jahan Zeb
Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk 1970 Later restored (see below).
Flag of The Gambia.svg The Gambia Elizabeth II Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of Guyana.svg Guyana
Flag of Sierra Leone.svg Sierra Leone 1971
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg Ceylon 1972 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy, state name changed in to "Sri Lanka".
Flag of Afghanistan (1931–1973).svg Afghanistan Mohammed Zahir Shah 1973 coup d'état
Flag of Ethiopia (1897).png Ethiopia Haile Selassie I 1974
Hellenic Kingdom Flag 1935.svg Greece Constantine II referendum; official result: 69% against monarchy
Flag of Malta (1875-1898).svg Malta Elizabeth II Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of Laos (1952-1975).svg Laos Savang Vatthana 1975 Communist takeover
Flag of Sikkim monarchy.svg Sikkim Palden Thondup Namgyal Referendum; official result: 97% to become a state of India.
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg Trinidad and Tobago Elizabeth II 1976 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
State Flag of Iran (1964).svg Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 1979 Iranian Revolution
Flag of the Central African Republic.svg Central Africa Bokassa I coup d'état
Flag of Southern Rhodesia.svg Southern Rhodesia Elizabeth II 1980 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy. Unofficially, had declared a republic in 1965 under the name Rhodesia, but this was not internationally recognised. Briefly became Zimbabwe Rhodesia, then restored to being Southern Rhodesia, before gaining independence as Zimbabwe.
Rwenzururu flag.png Kingdom of Rwenzururu Abel Muzorewa 1982 Forced to abdicate by the government of Uganda; declaration of independence of Rwenzururu was annulled.
Flag of Fiji.svg Fiji Elizabeth II 1987 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy. Elizabeth II remains recognised as Paramount Chief by the Great Council of Chiefs.
Flag of Mauritius.svg Mauritius Elizabeth II 1992 Abolished Commonwealth monarchy.
Flag of Samoa.svg Samoa Malietoa Tanumafili II 2007 Last non-elected ruler (O le Ao o le Malo) died, country de facto switched to parliamentary republic.
Flag of Nepal.svg Nepal Gyanendra 2008 Monarchy abolished on 28 May 2008, replaced with secular federal republic.[2]

Current monarchies that were abolished and then restored


Year Abolished


Year Restored

Flag of England.svg Flag of Scotland.svg St Patrick's saltire.svg England, Scotland and Ireland 1649 Commonwealth of England established 1660
Flag of Spain.svg Spain 1873 First Spanish Republic established 1874
1931 Second Spanish Republic established, then restored in 1947 (de jure), initially under the regency of Francisco Franco 1975
(de facto)
Flag of Ankole.svg Ankole 1967 Four traditional Ugandan monarchies abolished by government under new constitution of Milton Obote 1993
Flag of Buganda.svg Buganda
Flag of Bunyoro, Uganda.svg Bunyoro
Flag of Toro, Uganda.svg Toro
Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia 1970 Coup d'état 1975
1976 King forced into exile once again by Khmer Rouge 1993
Rwenzururu flag.png Rwenzururu, a part of Uganda 1982 Abolished by the government. 2009
(de facto)

See also


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