Definition of Tributary state
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Tributary state Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
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The term tributary state refers to one of the two main ways in which a pre-modern state might be subordinate to a more powerful state. The heart of the relationship was that the tributary would send a regular token of submission (tribute) to the superior power. This token often took the form of a substantial transfer of wealth, such as the delivery of gold, produce, or slaves, so that tribute might best be seen as the payment of protection money. Or it might be more symbolic: sometimes it amounted to no more than the delivery of a mark of submission such as the bunga mas (golden flower) that rulers in the Malay peninsula used to send to the kings of Siam. It might also involve attendance by the subordinate ruler at the court of the hegemon in order to make a public show of submission.
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