An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir, a title used by monarchs or high officeholders in the Muslim world. From a historical point of view, an emirate is a political-religious unit smaller than a caliphate. It can be considered equivalent to a principality in non-Muslim contexts.
Currently in the world, there are two emirates that are independent states (Kuwait, and Qatar), one state ruled by an unrecognised emirate (Afghanistan) and a state that consists of a federation of seven emirates, the United Arab Emirates. A great number of previously independent emirates around the world are now part of larger states, as can be seen in Nigeria.
As most emirates have either disappeared, been integrated in a larger modern state, or changed their rulers' styles, e.g. to malik (Arabic for "king") or sultan, such true emirate-states have become rare.
Furthermore, in Arabic the term can be generalized to mean any province of a country that is administered by a member of the ruling class, especially of a member (usually styled emir) of the royal family, as in Saudi Arabian governorates.
List of present emirates
Location of Afghanistan (grey), Kuwait (red), Qatar (green), and the emirates of the United Arab Emirates
Current emirates with political autonomy are listed below:
These are the emirates that have either ceased to exist, are not recognized and hold no real power, or were integrated into another country and preserved as "traditional states". They are arranged by location and in order of the date of the first leader styled "emir."