Historically, the notion of monarchy may emerge under different circumstances. It may grow out of tribal kingship, and the office of monarch (kings) becoming typically hereditary, resulting in successive dynasties or "houses", especially when the leader is wise and able enough to lead the tribals. It may also be a consequent emergence after an act of violence is committed upon local communities by an invading group, which usurps the communities' rights over their resources and then gradually releases such rights under controlled conditions. The leader of the usurping group often establishes himself as a monarch. A state of monarchy is said to result that reveals the relationships between resources, communities, monarch and his office. Even in antiquity, the strict hereditary succession could be tempered by systems of elective monarchy, where an assembly elects a new monarch out of a pool of eligible candidates. The concept has also been modernized, and constitutional monarchies where the title of monarch remains mostly ceremonial, with limited political power.
Currently, 44 nations in the world have monarchs as heads of state, 16 of which are Commonwealth realms that recognize Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. The historical form of monarchy—absolute monarchy—is retained only in Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and Vatican City.
- "Bouvier, John, and Francis Rawle. Bouvier's Law Dictionary and Concise Encyclopedia. 1914. 2237-2238.
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