Monarchies in Africa

Monarchies in Africa

There are presently as many as 165 monarchies in Africa; that is: self-governing states, territories, or nations on the continent of Africa where supreme power resides with an individual, who is recognised as the head of state. All are similar in that the sovereign inherits his or her office and usually keeps it until death or abdication. However, only five are sovereign, while the remaining are sub-national monarchies. Of the former, four are constitutional monarchies, wherein the sovereign is bound by laws and customs in the exercise of his or her powers, and one is an absolute monarchy, wherein the sovereign rules without bounds; currently three of these monarchies are independent states, while the remaining two are dependencies of European monarchies. Those monarchies that are sub-national in nature are not sovereign, and exist within larger political associations.


Some Contemporary Monarchies

State Dependency Succession Monarch Reign since Heir apparent
 Lesotho Kingdom; constitutional Elective Letsie III 12 November 1990 TO be determined by Senate of Lesotho when necessary
 Morocco Kingdom; constitutional Agnatic primogeniture Mohammed VI 23 July 1999 Moulay Hassan, Crown Prince of Morocco
 Swaziland Kingdom; absolute Elective Mswati III 25 April 1986 Unknown
Territory Type Succession Monarch Reign since Heir apparent
 Canary Islands
(Kingdom of Spain)
Autonomous community Cognatic primogeniture Juan Carlos 22 November 1975 Felipe, Prince of Asturias
(Kingdom of Spain)
Autonomous community Cognatic primogeniture Juan Carlos 22 November 1975 Felipe, Prince of Asturias
(Kingdom of Spain)
Autonomous community Cognatic primogeniture Juan Carlos 22 November 1975 Felipe, Prince of Asturias
 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
(United Kingdom)
British overseas territory Male primogeniture[N 1] Elizabeth II 6 February 1952 Charles, Prince of Wales[1]
Nation[N 2] Type Succession Monarch Reign since Heir apparent
KwaZulu flag 1985.svg Zululand
(South Africa)
Sub-national monarchy Cognatic primogeniture Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu 17 September 1968 Misuzulu Zulu
Flag of Ashanti.svg Ashanti
Sub-national monarchy Elective Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II 26 April 1999 Unknown
Flag of Barotseland.png Barotseland
Sub-national monarchy Cognatic primogeniture Lubosi II October 2000
Flag of Buganda.svg Buganda
Sub-national monarchy Elective Muwenda Mutebi II 31 July 1993 Unknown
Flag of Bunyoro, Uganda.svg Bunyoro
Sub-national monarchy Iguru I 1994
Flag of Busoga, Uganda.svg Busoga
Sub-national monarchy Elective TBA Unknown
Kano flag.svg Kano
Sub-national monarchy Cognatic primogeniture Ado Bayero October 1963
Flag of Katanga.svg Kanongesha-Lunda
(Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia)
Sub-national monarchy Cognatic primogeniture Mbumb II Muteb 1997
Flag of Toro, Uganda.svg Toro Kingdom
Sub-national monarchy Cognatic primogeniture Rukidi IV 5 September 1995 TBA
Rwenzururu flag.png Rwenzururu
Sub-national monarchy Cognatic primogeniture Charles Mumbere 1999

Former Commonwealth realms

Former monarchies

Pre-colonial Africa

  • Iron Age empires of North Africa
  • Medieval (8th to 13th century) Islamic empires (caliphates) in North Africa
  • the medieval Sahelian kingdoms
  • The Ethiopian Empire is notable as an empire in continuous existence from the 13th to the 20th centuries, succumbing neither to the Islamic conquests nor to European colonialism.
  • empires of the "transitional period" of the 15th to 19th centuries.
    • Islamic sultanates of the Sudan and the Horn of Africa
    • kingdoms of West Africa succeeding the Sahelian kingdoms
    • kingdoms of Central and Southern Africa such as the Kongo Kingdom and the Mutapa Empire.
  • The Merina Kingdom of Madagascar.

20th century


  1. ^ Equal primogeniture is being considered.
  2. ^ Nation here refers to the more strict usage of the word, meaning a body of people or a community. The monarchies in this column are all sub-national monarchies, and do not constitute sovereign states.


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