Three kinds of recognition exist. Recognition of independence occurs when a new state is created, usually by a successful rebellion, and is accepted by members of the international community, either by a formal statement or by entering into diplomatic relations with the new state. Recognition of independence generally takes place after the new nation has demonstrated its ability to maintain itself; if a power recognizes an insurrectionary colony or dependency while the mother country is attempting to crush the rebellion, it is considered an offense to the dominant country that is being ousted. A second type of recognition may occur when a new form of government follows the establishment of a new political force in a country. A republic may be recognized as the successor of a monarchy, or a new president may be acknowledged after the overthrow of the previous incumbent. Recognition of belligerency, the third kind, was introduced into international law when that form of acknowledgment was given (1861) to the Confederate States of America by Great Britain. Such recognition grants the belligerents the rights and duties of a state as they concern war and commerce, but it does not grant the right to enter into official diplomatic relations with neutral nations. In recognizing belligerency, the nation offends the state against which the rebellion is directed. When recognition is de facto it involves a provisional acknowledgment that the government in power is exercising the function of sovereignty. Such recognition is revocable and implies a lesser degree of recognition than the formal recognition accorded de jure [Lat., = as of right].
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.