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A princely state, also called native state (legally, under the British) or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a nominally sovereign monarchy under a local or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with a greater power. Though the history of the princely states of the subcontinent dates from at least the classical period of Indian history, the predominant usage of the term princely state specifically refers to a semi-sovereign principality on the Indian subcontinent during the British Raj that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by a local ruler under a form of indirect rule; similar political entities also existed on or in the region of the Arabian Peninsula, in Africa and in Malaya, and which were similarly recognized under British rule, subject to a subsidiary alliance and the suzerainty or paramountcy of the British. Oman, Zanzibar and the Trucial States were also under the British Raj, and were administered in the same manner as the Indian princely states as part of the Persian Gulf Residency; however, they were officially categorized as British protectorates, with differing degrees of autonomy.
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