FACTOID # 2: Puerto Rico has roughly the same gross state product as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota combined.
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Encyclopedia > Succession of states theory

Succession of states is a concept in international politics regarding the acceptance by other states of a newly created states, based on a perceived historically relationship with a prior state. It may refer to the transfer of rights, obligations, and/or property from a prior state to the successor state. Successor state has a broader meaning than as it is used in conjunction with the succession of states. The succession of states theory asserts that all possessions and territory held by a state are automatically transferred to the successor state, the state which succeeds it. ...

Transfer of rights, obligations, and property can include overseas assets (embassies, accounts, museum artifacts), participation in treaties, membership in international organizations, and debts. Often a state chooses piecemeal whether or not it wants to be considered the successor state in each case; a special case arises, however, when a prior state is a participant in human rights treaties--for obvious reasons, there are several arguments and it is desirable to hold a successor state responsible to a human rights treaty, regardless of the successor states desires.


One recent example happened when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dissolved in 1991: the Russian Federation was declared the USSR's successor state and acquired the USSR's seat as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, see Russia's membership in the United Nations. Soviet redirects here. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United Nations Security Council is the most powerful organ of the United Nations. ... Russias membership in the United Nations after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, was the succession of the Soviet Unions seat, including its permanent membership on the UN Security Council. ...

This logic has been frequently used in the past by revolutionary governments such as Cuba and the former Soviet Union.

The theory has its root in 19th century diplomacy. The United Nations, with its headquarters in New York City, is the largest international diplomatic organization. ...

The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties entered into force on November 6, 1996[1]. Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties Opened for signature August 22, 1978 at Vienna Entered into force November 6, 1996 Conditions for entry into force 15 ratifications Parties ??? The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties is an international treaty promulgated in 1978... November 6 is the 310th day of the year (311th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 55 days remaining. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) is a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ...

In general the theory is followed in the world community: a new government might be distasteful to others but pragmatically it must be recognized if it exercises de facto control over all of a state's territory, though there are some exceptions (see below).


There are several fairly recent examples where succession has not been smoothly adhered to:

  • The People's Republic of China (PRC) was declared in 1949 as the successor state of the Republic of China (ROC) and exercised sovereignty over mainland China, but the ROC maintained a seat on the Security Council for many years. After a time, the PRC was admitted to the Security Council in place of the ROC.



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