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One-Federation Limit

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In most fiction, there is only one guy named Steve to avoid confusion. Similar to that, each state type seems to be unique in some works of fiction. There is only one federation, one republic, etc.

Sometimes an exception is made in the case of empires to allow more bad guys.

This Trope sometimes occurs when there are only very few countries covering the entire Planet.

Definitely not Truth in Television. Compare Generic Federation, Named Empire.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Code Geass, the world is divided into three main superpowers: the Euro Universe, the Holy Empire of Britannia, and the Chinese Federation. There used to be a Middle-Eastern Federation, but it was conquered by Britannia in season one.
  • Averted in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Destiny. The two dominating superstates of the Earth Alliance are the Atlantic Federation and the Eurasian Federation. The Republic of East Asia is a lesser partner and the United States of South America was invaded and forced to fight against ZAFT.
    • ZAFT is also an alliance, just like the rival Earth Alliance; the name is an acronym. While little attention is paid to that fact within the show itself, the twelve colony clusters are akin to nations within ZAFT. Orb and the other independent nation of any note (a unified Scandinavia) are both kingdoms.
  • Both subverted and played straight in Mobile Suit Gundam 00: the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations represents North America, while the Advanced European Union represents Europe, but the latter is always referred to by its initials (AEU).
    • Behind the scenes, the Earth Sphere Federation of Season 2 was originally just the "Earth Federation". Probably to prevent confusion over the UC nation of the same name, the "Sphere" was inserted.

  • Star Wars has only one centralized government in the first two movie trilogies (The Republic and The Empire) fighting against one group of separatists/rebels (The Confederacy and The Alliance). The new trilogy thus far changed that with two governments: The New Republic and The First Order, the first order also have their rebels, La Résistance.
    • The Expanded Universe has The Empire and The New Republic fighting each other and later brings in more Empires, as well as a Hegemony, a Dominion, an Assemblage, an Aristocracy, several Imperiums, a Confederacy, a Consortium, a Sovereignty, a Union, an Authority, an Ascendancy...
    • Averted in Legacy where the evil Sith-ruled Empire is fought by The Remnant of the Galactic Alliance and another Empire, the benevolent Fel-Empire, which is itself arguably The Remnant of the Empire proper.


    Live Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 has the Earth Alliance, the Minbari Federation, the Centauri Republic (which is actually a monarchy like the Roman Empire), the Narn Regime (more or less a military junta dominated by veterans of the war for independence against the Centauri) and the Vorlon Empire. Some races (like the Dilgar, Shadows, and Drakh) have no stated governmental body, while the others have ones only stated offhand or in the background material (Drazi Freehold, Brakiri Syndicracy, Abbai Matriarchate, Grome Autocracy, etc), with many of the smaller governments mentioned in the show gathered into the League of Nonaligned Worlds. There's also the occasionally-mentioned Russian Consortium, implying that, while the Earth Alliance may be a One World Order, the old nation-states are still around.
  • Star Trek, which gave us the Federation, uses the "more empires for bad guys" exception. The Romulans, Klingons, Kelvans ("By Any Other Name") and one planet in star system 892 ("Bread and Circuses") had empires, and that's just from Star Trek: The Original Series. The Terran Empire (instead of the United Federation of Planets) of the Mirror Universe doesn't really count because it's in an Alternate Universe. The Terran part was added afterwards.
    • Between all the series and the Star Trek Novel Verse, there are a few duplicates, but also a lot of variety. Here goes:
      • From TV (appearing many times): United Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire (defunc), Cardassian Union, Breen Confederacy, Ferengi Alliance, Republic of Bajor, Kazon Order, Borg Collective, Vidiian Sodality, the Dominion, Romulan Free State.
      • Pre-Federation: United Planets of Tellar, United Earth, Andorian Empire, Vulcan High Command, Coalition of Planets.
      • Only one episode: Sheliak Corporate, Haakonian Order, First Federation (defunc), Devore Imperium, Krenim Imperium, Hierarchial Order of Voth, the Hierarchy.
      • From Expanded Universe and Novels: United Rigel Colonies, Danteri Empire, Deltan Union, Confederacy of Vulcan, Regnancy of the Carnelian Throne, Gorn Hegemony, Tholian Assembly, Tzenkethi Coalition, Nyberrite Alliance, Metron Consortium, Talarian Republic, People's Republic of Coridan, Magisterial Cheka Kingdom, Plutocracy of Ardana, Ubarrak Primacy, Karemma Foundation, B'omar Sovereignty, Hermat Directorate, New Thallonian Protectorate, the Imperial Romulan State (a breakaway of the Empire).
      • The Star Trek Novel Verse has also brought us the Typhon Pact, a coalition of the "main" Romulan Empire, the Gorn, the Tholians, the Breen, the Tzenkethi, and the Kinshaya. They banded together for mutual protection, just like the Federation, making them a different kind of adversary than the UFP usually faces.
    • The Romulans actually mixed it up slightly, adding a superfluous adjective to be the Romulan Star Empire.
    • Actually, in The Original Series, Kirk and co. encountered "The First Federation", and it appeared in several star charts in The Next Generation and a drink that originated from it (tranya) was stocked in Quark's bar. However, it was never referenced by name again.
      • Actually actually, at the time the First Federation is mentioned, the writers had not come up with the United Federation of Planets yet. Kirk calls the Enterprise a "United Earth ship", implying the name of his government.
      • Actually actually actually, they worked for something called the United Earth Space Probe Agency. Writers have been doing somersaults trying to explain the discrepancy. (Current consensus seems to be that it's an Earth-based agency that sometimes sponsors missions through Starfleet, though it doesn't seem to be completely cleared up within canon.)
    • Early on, the Cardassian Union is more often referred to as the Cardassian Empire, and they probably made the change because there are already enough Empires to go around. Retcon though it may be, I think it actually adds a touch of realism since such powers are often known by more than one name.
    • Star Trek after TOS does tend to allow for several Empires even if some of them aren't bad guys — the Klingons spent much of TNG and DS9 as allies of the Federation, while Enterprise had the Andorian Empire — who go on to be one of the founding members of the Coalition of Planets, and later the Federation.
    • In the original "Mirror, Mirror" episode that introduced the concept of the Mirror Universe the Empire was nameless and was just called "The Empire". Which caused much speculation on the actual name in the Expanded Universe with comics and books referring to it as the Human Empire, Human-Vulcan Empire and the United Empire of Planets. It wasn't until the Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" that the name "Terran" Empire was officially added and after that the issue was set, to the point of been retroactively added in the two prequels Enterprise and Discovery.
  • The latest developments in the Stargate-verse put this trope into play in the Milky Way. We have the Tau'ri (Earth military forces under the UN Security Council, spearheaded by the United States), the Lucian Alliance, and the Free Jaffa Nation. The Goa'uld Empire would fit the list if it still existed. Some planetary nation-states include names without qualifiers (Kelowna) and names with them (Tirania Confederacy, Rand Protectorate, Caledonian Federation).
  • The main galactic powers in Farscape:
    • Peacekeeper Command.
    • Hinerian Empire.
    • Scarran Empire.
    • Nebari Establishment.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech - None of the factions besides the Clans share any naming conventions - Free Worlds League, Draconis Combine, Capellan Confederation, Lyran Commonwealth, Federated Suns, Free Rasalhague Republic, the 20 versions of Clan Adjective Whatever, Republic of the Sphere, Outworlds Alliance, Rim Worlds Republic, Taurian Concordant, Magistracy of Canopus, Marian Hegemony, and dozens of minor kingdoms out in the Periphery. Interestingly, there are no "Empires" - there was one major canonical self-proclaimed emperor in the setting's history — Stefan Amaris the Usurper, whose treachery started a war that killed billions of people and led to the end of the Star League. After that wonderfulness, calling yourself "Emperor" in that setting would probably be equivalent to calling yourself "Führer" in postwar Europe.
    • There have been exceptions if one looks at the entire timeline, such as the case of the Terran Hegemony and the Marian Hegemony or the Rim Worlds Republic and the Free Rasalhague Republic, but none (or at least, none with interstellar significance) overlapping chronologically (in both examples, the former was destroyed centuries before the latter came into existence, and the Free Rasalhague Republic had become the Rasalhague Dominion by the time the Republic of the Sphere was formed).
  • With enough expansions, Twilight Imperium can have an Empire, Barony, Federation, Emirates, Universities, Mindnet, Kingdom, Coalition, Collective, Tribes, Clan, and Brotherhood - although not all of these will be in play in a single game.
  • GURPS gives advice on how to use this trope in its 4th edition Space supplement, and provides a handy list of synonyms for the types of government it discusses: Anarchy (Anarchate, Free State, Frontier Zone, Libertarian Republic, Post-Polity, Unorganized Territory, Wild Space), Alliance (Axis, Bloc, Coalition, Community, Commonwealth, League, Pact, Sphere), Federation (Concordium, Confederation, Regime, Union, Unity), Corporate State (Cartel, Combine, Conglomerate, Consortium, Hansa, Keiretsu, Partnership), and Empire (Dominion, Hegemony, Imperium, Kingdom, Monarchy, Principiate, Realm, Reich).
  • The original "Known World" map of D&D's Mystara setting featured one empire, one grand duchy, one republic, one syndicracy, etc. It did include a number of federations, but each one used a different designation for its member regions (principalities, emirates, freeholds, jarldoms, etc).
  • Averted with Star Fleet Battles. Plenty of empires (Klingon, Romulan, Lyran), and more than one federation: both the United Federation of Planets and the Gorn Confederation (which is close enough).
  • The plane of Ravnica in Magic: The Gathering is themed around guilds. But in the spirit of this trope, they call themselves a Legion, a noble House, a Swarm, a Conclave, a League, a Clan, a Syndicate, a Senate, a Combine and a Cult respectively.
    • Tarkir's clans are the Abzan Houses, Jeskai Way, Sultai Brood, Mardu Horde, and Temur Frontier.
  • The major states of the post-Fall solar system in Eclipse Phase are the Jovian Republic (often called the Junta), Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, Morningstar Constellation, Plantetary Consortium, and Titanian Commonwealth. Though Titan and several anarchist habitats of varying memes have formed the Autonomist Alliance.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect. The main factions are the Asari Republics, the Systems Alliance, the Turian Hierarchy, the Batarian Hegemony, the Vol Protectorate, the Salarian Union, and the Illuminated Primacy. On closer examination, this is likely averted because of the turian foreign policy: There are stated to be more 'client races' besides the volus. So, more than one Protectorate.
  • From what we know so far, Final Fantasy XI only has one Republic (Bastok), one Kingdom (San d'Oria), one Federation (Windurst), and one Duchy (Jeuno). There are other Empires than Aht Urhgan, but it's the only one players can get to.
  • EVE Online has the Gallente Federation, Minmatar Republic, Caldari State, Amarr Empire, Khanid Kingdom, and Ammatar Mandate.
    • Minor factions with designs of being nation-states include the Intaki Syndicate, the Thukker Tribe, and Sansha's Nation.
      • The players themselves keep to this trope. When some players decided to roleplay as Intaki separatists, they named their alliance the Intaki Union.
    • Partially averted with the Jovians. The official name of the Jovian nation, according to the map, is the Jovian Empire. However, the Jovians are isolationist, and they don't feature much in politics.
  • The Worldbuilding web game NationStates averted this at the beginning, by giving you a list of about twenty possible state types to choose from. Once you reached a high enough level, though, you could make up your own. Unsurprisingly, aiming to be as unique as possible was a popular consideration.
  • The seven Factions of Celestus are the Thelios Federation, the Adrean Corporatist Republic, the Ducal Domains, the Zetran Dominion, the Amaranth Empire, the Leanth Circle, and the Melrehns.
  • The X-Universe has the Argon Federation, Teladi Space Company, Kingdom/Queendom of Boron, Great Patriarchy of the Split / Split Dynasty, Godrealm of the Paranid (or Paranid Empire for short), Earth State (which includes the AGI Task Force and United Space Command), Free State of Solara,note  Xenon Network, and Kha'ak Hive. The X-Encyclopedia adds the Hatikvah Free League and Convention of the Herd.note  X: Rebirth includes the Plutarch Corporation, the Republic of Cantera, and the Heart of Albion
  • Galactic Civilizations: the Terran Alliance, Torian Confederacy, Korath Clan, Krynn Consulate, Iconian Refuge, Yor Collective, Drath Legion, Altarian Republic, and Korx Consortium are the only races with those titles. There are, however, three empires — Thalan, Drengin, and Arcean — but even on the Galciv website only the Thalans are listed under that title, with the others simply being referred to as "the Arceans" and "the Drengin".
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has the Trader Emergency Coalition, the Advent Unity, and the Vasari Empire.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri has pretty unique faction names for most of them: Gaia's Stepdaughters, Human Hive, University of Planet, Morgan Industries, Spartan Federation, Lord's Believers, and Peacekeeping Forces. Only the Spartans call themselves a typical name for a nation, although background material implies that it's a military dictatorship (it's led by a woman whose official title is Colonel, after all). In game terms, each player can adopt certain policies that really define what sort of a government the faction has. However, the choice of faction limits which policies a player can choose.
    • The expansion introduces 7 more factions, including 2 alien ones: Cybernetic Consciousness, Nautilus Pirates, Free Drones, Data Angels, Cult of Planet, Manifold Caretakers, and Manifold Usurpers.
  • The Spiritual Successor Civilization: Beyond Earth, the 8 colonies are named after their sponsor, not all of which have a qualifier. For example, Brasilia, Franco-Iberia, and Polystralia don't have a qualifier, although the diplomacy screens for the leaders of the first and third list their allegiance is "Organization of South American States" and "Commonwealth of the Pacific". The other 5 colonies have appropriate (and unique) qualifiers: American Reclamation Corporation, Kavithan Protectorate, Pan-Asian Cooperative, People's African Union, and Slavic Federation. In the Rising Tide DLC, of the 4 new colonies, only one has a qualifier (North Sea Alliance), the other three (Al Falah, INTEGR, Chungsu) don't, although INTEGR technically stands for "Initiative für Nachhaltige Technologien, Effizienz, Gerechtigkeit und Rechtschaffenheit" - "Initiative for sustainable technologies, efficiency, justice, and righteousness", so its qualifier might be "Initiative".
  • The other Spiritual Successor Pandora: First Contact has the Imperium, Divine Ascension, Togra University, Noxium Corporation, Terra Salvum, Solar Dynasty, and Ambassadors.
  • In Starbase Orion, every political entity named in the race and leader descriptions has a unique name:
    • Humans - the Confederacy.
    • Isather - the Isather Dominion.
    • Draske - The Draske Hegemony.
    • Cyban - the Community of Cybans.
    • Vass - the Vass Collective.
    • Harge - the Harge Commune (a colony leader is a Harge).
    • Felinoids - the Gnactic Space Federation (a military leader is a Felinoid).
  • Averted in Stellaris, where various empires can call themselves Empire, Commonwealth, Republic, League, Assembly and more, as their government forms and the RNG dictate.
  • While averted in the first two games in Master of Orion franchise (every power was called an empire, regardless of the race or the form of government), it's played straight in the reboot, where each race has both a unique faction name as well as a ruler title. This even applies to the two human powers: the Human Republic (President) and the Terran Khanate (Khan). Only two ruler titles are similar (the Bulrathi Emperor and the Mrrshan Empress), but their governments have different names (the Bulrathi Empire and the Mrrshan Pride). Many of these government names are pretty unique, such as the Psilon Quanta (Controller), the Silicoid Crag (Keystone), and the Trilarian Shoal (Stinger). Minor races also have government names, all of which come from Real Life types of rule (e.g. Degonite Kritarchy, Thersonian Timocracy, Zarkonian Chiefdom).
  • Star*Drive 2 gives us the United Federation (humans), Chukk Affiliation, Cordrazine Collective, Draylok Council, Kulrathi Shogunate, Opteris Hive, Pollop Symbiosis, Ralyeh Theocracy, and Vulfar Imperium.
  • In the X series, the named governments are the Argon Federation, the Boron Kingdom, the Paranid Empire, the Split Dynasty, and the Teladi Company.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fódlan's three polities are the Adrestian Empire, the Holy Kingdom of Fearghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

    Web Comics 
  • Cosmic Dash has a Federation, an Empire, and a Neutrality.

    Web Original 
  • Defied in Reds!: A Revolutionary Timeline. In the post-WW2 world, the three superpowers are the Franco-British Union, the Union of American Socialist Republics, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. And that's just the three top dogs.
  • Noob starts off with two factions only known as "The Empire" and "The Coalition".
  • Discussed thoughtfully and in fairly great detail in this video by The Templin Institute.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are the United States of America, the People's Republic of China, the French Republic, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Russian Federation.
    • Despite the varying names, there's actually two federations in there. And back in the day, the Russian Federation was represented by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which splits the difference between the United States and the French Republic, in name if not in politics. And of course, this only applies in English, three of the five countries of course have entirely different names due to being in Mandarin Chinese, French, and Russian.
    • The English names are pretty much straight translations of their names in their original languages.
  • Partial during The American Civil War, where both nations had "States of America" appended at the end. The Confederate States of American and the United States of America were usually referred to simply as the Confederacy and the Union.
    • In Spanish and Portuguese there are still two places named America; the country better known as United States and the continent of America (North and South America are considered one single continent in the Latin world), whilst this is not the case in English and other languages, where North America and South America are two different continents; thus America can only be applied to the country. This causes a lot of controversy as many Spanish and Portuguese-speaking peoples find offensive the use of America in reference to the United States and their citizens. The term American (Americano) is another source of controversy as in Spanish and Portuguese is the demonym for the natives of the continent and even the Spanish Royal Academy which oversees the use of the Spanish language recommends its use for the continent's naturals and for the citizen of the US recommends instead using Estadounidense (roughly translated as United Statean, which just doesn't sound as good in English). "American" in English is also the demonym for a native of The Americas (as in Organization of American States) but rarely used in that context.
  • In Real Life no country can legally have the same name as an already existing country, as several international treaties prevent it and also will have a problem entering the UN. Similar names can be accepted though (example the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo) but polemics over two states using the same name exist in the international community as for example the cases of Korea and China. The Republic of China (Taiwan) for example uses China-Taipei in several international situations (like the Olympics) and the pro-independence faction was planning to enter the UN using the name Taiwan. Another complex example of two countries fighting over a name is the polemic over Macedonia, which was settled after Macedonia agreed to change its official name to Northern Macedonia, easing relationships with a wiry Greece who claims ownership over the region of the historical Macedonia (which is not Northern Macedonia, or that is what the Greeks claim). This may allow Northern Macedonia to enter the EU and other organizations without worrying for Greece's veto.
  • The Holy Roman Empire, when it was a going concern, was sometimes called simply the Empire, since there was often no other empire that was relevant to the context.
    • And as explained here there's another reason for having the Holy Roman Empire identify only as "The Empire" in many documents as it was an essential part of Western Christian theology that there can only be one empire in the world, a Universal and Christian empire that could only be one due to the teological concept of translatio imperii from the Roman Empire.
  • In official context, most states in the USA are officially called "The State of [insert State Name here]" with exception to four, which are "Commonwealth of [insert state name here]." Expect this to come up only on official documents issued by the state in question. "District of Columbia" might also count, but there is a distinction in that it is not a state, but does have some limited voting rights (namely, it can vote for the president, and a non-voting Representative in the House).