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protectorate ‎(plural protectorates)

  1. Government by a protector; -- applied especially to the government of England, Scotland, and Ireland by Oliver Cromwell.
  2. The authority assumed by a superior power over an inferior or a dependent one, whereby the former protects the latter from invasion and shares in the management of its affairs but the protected state retains its nominal sovereignty.
    Egypt became a British protectorate in 1914.
  3. An autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity.