|Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman|
The Middle East has probably the highest concentration of monarchs. Oddly, many are in place because of western support or even because a western power installed the king. Iraq lost its installed monarch in the late 1950s while Persia/Iran's monarch was deposed in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia all have a king, shiekh or sultan. The Arabian Peninsula was always ruled by the Ottoman sultan but was able to unify following the Ottoman Empire's demise in the 1920s. The smaller states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar were all hereditary states prior to World War I and have since become constitutional with the exception of Oman. They retain their monarchs in reduced, albeit not entirely titular, roles for reasons of national solidarity. The Emirate of Transjordan was created by the western powers in the 1920s out of Palestine and the eastern side of the Jordan River. In 1946 it was granted its independence and the state selected for its king the ruler of the former British mandate, King Abdullah I. Abdullah's brother was elected the king of Iraq soon after but was killed by Saddam Hussein's predecessor in a coup.
|King Mohammed VI of Morocco|
Africa retains a number of local monarchies, but there are only three monarchs who rule entire countries. Lesotho, Morocco and Swaziland constitute those three monarchies and of them, only Swaziland's is absolute. Swaziland and Lesotho were for much of their histories British protectorates incorporated into South Africa. Both became independent in the 1960s and were able to remain separate from South Africa (which surrounds them). Their monarchs, while largely titular (more so in Lesotho), are major rallying symbols for national propaganda and help maintain conservative values in the region. Morocco has retained a monarchy since the Umayyad caliphate left the region around 900 AD. Despite the region's long and varied history, its Berber peoples look upon their king as a figurehead for their famed past and sign of hope for the future.
|King Norodom of Cambodia|
|King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden|
|Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth|
The future of monarchies is uncertain. While just around 30 remain today, many former monarchies have large monarchist movements while all current monarchies have anti-monarchy movements. What that means for the future is unclear. What is certain is that some form of monarchy will continue into the 21st century and therefore shape the direction of world politics. Whether they will have a resurgence or become a historical relic we cannot guess, but my hunch would be that monarchies will survive for quite a while longer in some form or another. They've lasted this long, haven't they?