, to, and nexus
, joining) is the political transition of land from the control of one entity to another. It is also the incorporation of unclaimed land into a state's sovereignty
, which is in most cases legitimate. In international law it is the forcible transition of one state's territory by another state or the legal process
by which a city acquires land. Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size. It can also imply a certain measure of coercion
, expansionism or unilateralism on the part of the stronger of the merging entities. Because of this, more positive euphemisms like political union/unification or reunification are sometimes seen in discourse. Annexation differs from cession and amalgamation
, because unlike cession where territory is given or sold through treaty, or amalgamation (where the authorities of both sides are asked
if they agree with the merge), annexation is a unilateral
act where territory is seized and held by one state and legitimized via general recognition by the other international bodies (i.e. countries and intergovernmental organisations).
During World War II, the use of annexation deprived whole populations of the safeguards provided by international laws governing military occupations. The authors of the Fourth Geneva Convention made a point of "giving these rules an absolute character", thus making it much more difficult for a state to bypass
international law through the use of annexation.