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Encyclopedia > Free State
For the term free state as it arises in United States history, see: Free state.
Flag of the now defunct Orange Free State
Flag of the modern Free State of Bavaria

Free state is an ambiguous term occasionally used in the official titles of states. Sometimes it is used as a synonym for republic but not all "free states" have been republics. While the historical German free states and the Orange Free State were republican in form, the Congo and Irish Free States were forms of kingdom.



In Germany the term free state (in German, Freistaat) was part of the full names of most Lšnder (federal states) during the inter-war period. The term was synonymous with republic and was introduced to emphasise the transition of Imperial Germany to the Weimar Republic after the defeat in World War I and the fact of the German Revolution, which deposed all German monarchs. Similar to how a Free City (Freistadt), like, for example, the Imperial Free Cities of Hamburg, Bremen and LŁbeck, were not ruled by a hereditary monarch but by an elected council of burghers, all of the free states were no longer ruled by a noble or royal head of state but by elected representatives of the citizens. The term Freistaat is still used for the states of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia.

In South Africa the term free state was used in the title of the nineteenth century Orange Free State (Oranje Vrystaat in Afikaans) and is today used in the title of its successor, Free State province; both entities were established as republican in form. In contrast, the Congo Free State came into being between 1877 and 1884 as a private kingdom or dictatorship of King Leopold II of Belgium.

The Irish Free State of 1922-1937 was a form of constitutional monarchy under the British monarch. The Irish state was a special case because the term free state was deliberately chosen as a literal translation of the Irish word saorstŠt. At the time in which Irish nationalists were negotiating the secession of most of Ireland from the United Kingdom the word saorstŠt was a commonly used Irish word for republic. The British did not wish to permit the creation of an Irish republic (which would mean severing all links with the British crown) and so insisted that the literal translation of saorstŠt be used in the new state's English title instead.

List of 'free states'



See also

  Results from FactBites:
AllRefer.com - Free State (South African Political Geography) - Encyclopedia (410 words)
Free State, formerly Orange Free State, province (1995 est.
The Univ. of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein is the chief institution of higher education.
With the increased tension following the raid into the Transvaal (1895–96), led by L. Jameson, the Free State was drawn into the conflict between Britons and Boers that resulted in the South African War (1899–1902).
Orange Free State - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (436 words)
The Orange Free State (Afrikaans: Oranje Vrystaat) was an independent country in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a province in South Africa.
It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State Province.
The British recognised the independence of the Orange Free State on 17th February, 1854 and the county officially became independent on 23rd February, 1854, with the signing of the Contract of Bloemfontein.
  More results at FactBites »



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