What is the difference between an Empire, Kingdom, Duchy and Republic?

Before explaining the differences between these four types of government, it is essential to note that a republic is not like the first three. Those who are under a republic are not ruled by a monarch, but rather by officials that they have elected.

Now that that description’s out of the way, the other three are quite similar, but they are different in ranks or levels. The position of an emperor is as high as you can get as a monarch, and an empire is usually, but not always, a collection of countries ruled by one powerful nation. However, this position is not to be confused with one person being a king of multiple nations, as the emperor might have kings under his command. A kingdom is considered to be less powerful than an empire, and this type of government must have a king as the leader and typically would need dukes under his rule. One person can be the king of multiple kingdoms without being an emperor, mainly because the kingdoms are still technically independent and only linked by their king. The duchy is lesser than a kingdom in terms of size and population that is rules, and it usually not an independent state. Most duchies are portions of larger kingdoms with their leaders, known as the dukes, following the command of their king.

That being said, there is also a lot of similarities between the three that make the comparison complicated, and most of the differences are found in their names. For one, these four types of government must have a leader that rules over its people, but for the republic case, one shouldn’t really say the leader “rules,” instead, it should be “serves,” since it is the people who gave him or her the position to lead. The leader for the kingdoms and empires must have been born into the royal family, and the right to lead the nation is given to them by their predecessor. The same process happens in the duchy as well, but the position of duke or duchess doesn’t necessarily require a person to belong to the royal family. Interestingly, there is a duchy that is fully independent and does not follow a monarchy, and this is the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, which is located between Belgium and Germany.

Are There Empires and Kingdoms Today?

There are no more empires today, as almost all the countries in the world have already achieved freedom from their oppressors during the dawn of the new century. However, there are some countries that are considered as empires but only in influence, which means that they have a say on what happens to a small and less privileged country even though they are not the ones who are in its government. These countries that are empires by influence are said to be the United States and China.

There are currently quite a few kingdoms that exist in the world, although some of them only have the royal family as a symbol since there is a prime minister or a president that serves as the leader of the country.

The most notable current monarchies are found in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Monaco. In these countries, the leader of the royal family is considered to be the head of the state, while the Prime Minister (in UK and Japan) and Minister of State (Monaco) is regarded as the head of the government. These nations also have a form of government called constitutional monarchy, where there is both a head of government and a head of state. The opposite of this type is the absolute monarchy, where the leader of the royal family has full control of the affairs of his or her country. Almost all kingdoms have a constitutional monarchy, but there are a few who remained to have an absolute monarchy, such as Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Eswatini, and the Vatican.

For the Vatican, the head of the state is the Pope, while the head of the government is called the President of the Pontifical Commission, who is delegated by the Pope himself. The President of the Vatican only serves for five years, along with six cardinals who are also assigned by the Pope to be a member of the Pontifical Commission.