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In international politics, a territory is a non-sovereign geographic area which has come under the authority of another government; which has not been granted the powers of self-government normally devolved to secondary territorial divisions; or both.

Types of administrative and/or political territories include:

  • Many types of legally administered territories, each of which is a non-sovereign geographic area that has come under the authority of another government with varying degrees of local governmental control.

For example, American Samoamarker, Guammarker and Puerto Rico are all territories of the government of the United States with varying local autonomy. Similarly, with regard to the Canadian provinces and territories, the major difference between a Canadian province and a Canadian territory is that the federal government has more direct control over the territories, while the provinces are run by provincial governments empowered by the constitution. The same distinction applies between States and territories of Australia, although Australia also distinguishes the mainland territories from the small insular possessions known as external territories. The former Crown colony of Hong Kongmarker has became a British overseas territory since the British Nationality Act 1981 and has been referred as "territory" until the present.

  • An occupied territory, which is a region that is under the military control of an outside power that has not annexed the region. An example of an occupied territory is Iraq after the American invasion of 2003, Afghanistan by the Soviet Union between 1979 and 1989, Germany after World War II or Kosovomarker after 1999.

  • A local government unit. The district of the Chatham Islandsmarker Council is termed the Chatham Islands Territory, although it is in all legal senses an integral part of New Zealandmarker.

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