Meaning of heptarchy

hep•tar•chy

Pronunciation: (hep'tär-kē), [key]
— pl. -chies.
  1. (often cap.) the seven principal concurrent Anglo-Saxon kingdoms supposed to have existed in the 7th and 8th centuries.
  2. government by seven persons.
  3. an allied group of seven states or kingdoms, each under its own ruler.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.