C.E.

An abbreviation used to denote dates that occur within the "Common Era," as a more neutral alternative to the "A.D." of the Christian calendar.

Cabinet

A group of officials appointed by a chief of state or prime minister to serve as advisors and heads of executive departments.

caliph

The political and religious leader of an Islamic state, considered to be a successor of Muhammad, and by tradition always a male.

capitulation

The act of surrendering under an agreed-upon set of conditions; the agreement setting out those conditions.

cleric

A member of the clergy.

coalition government

In a parliamentary democracy, a government formed from a temporary alliance between two or more political parties in order to make up a ruling majority; usually formed only when no single party holds a majority.

Cold War

A state of political tension and military rivalry between countries that stops short of full-scale war; especially that which existed between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II through the end of the 1980s.

colonialism

A policy whereby the government of one nation occupies, militarily controls, and governs the native population of another, usually by minority rule.

concession

Something of value, such as a tract of land or drilling rights, granted or sold by a government to another entity, often a company, for its own use for a specific purpose.

constitutional monarchy

A form of government in which the head of state is a monarch whose ruling powers are restricted to those specifically granted under the constitution and laws of the country.

Coptic

The Afro-Asiatic language of the Copts, which survives only as a liturgical language of the Coptic Church; of or relating to the Copts, the Coptic Church, or the Coptic language.

coup

Short for "coup d'Čtat," a French phrase that means literally "stroke of state," referring to the sudden and illegal overthrow of a government by a group of people who substitute themselves as the ruling power.

Crimean War

A conflict beginning in the early 1850s that pitted the allied forces of Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia against Russia. One of the causes involved a dispute between Russia and France over stewardship of the holy sites of Palestine. Following Russian invasions in Romania and Turkey in 1853, Great Britain and France entered the war in 1854 primarily out of strategic interest in defending the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits, which separate the European from the Asian region of Turkey. The war ended with Russia's surrender in 1856.

Crusades

A series of military operations by Christians from Western Europe during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries aimed at gaining control of the Holy Land, which at the time was ruled by Muslims.

cultured pearl

Though also grown inside a living mollusk like a natural pearl, a cultured pearl begins with an artificially inserted object, such as a mother-of-pearl bead, rather than an incidental intruder to the shell. Over time the bead becomes coated with layers of a secreted substance called nacre, eventually resulting in a pearl that can then be harvested from the shell.

czarist

Relating to the autocratic system of government under the czars in imperial Russia, which came to an end with the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917; a person supportive of the czar or czarism.