Warlords are local military men who rule an area outside central government control through armed and ruthless tactics for power and financial gain with the support of loyal followers. The existence of warlords traces back to antiquity, long before the formation of the modern state. Although these men typically rise to power in outlying areas in which the central government lacks control or is nonexistent, they may become the legitimate local ruler through traditional means or by appointment. This entry examines how warlords gain power, acquire financing, and secure loyalty.

Gaining Power

The traditional method by which warlords come to power is as a result of the collapse of power within a centralized government or state. As the state fragments, the breakdown of power moves to ...

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