Annexation is the legal merging of some territory into another body. A city might annex unincorporated areas or a country might annex other disputed territories. Sometimes also used to refer to mergers of countries.
Examples of Annexation
Pacific Northwest and California
In 1844 onwards, United States of America attempted to merge disputed parts of the Pacific Northwest of North America into their country. James Knox Polk, the 11th President of the United States, used as a successful campaign slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!", commenting on the latitude (54°40') of the western portion of the border between Canada and the United States, a border which was later officially set at the 49th parallel north.
In 1898, Hawaii (having already gone through stages as both a Hawai'ian Kingdom and controversial puppet Republic) was annexed into the United States following a coup d'état staged by American businessmen with the goal of annexation in mind.
In 1836, the people of Texas voted to request that the United States annex Texas. Concerned with the constitutionality of annexation and with offense of neighboring Mexico, however, the Van Buren Administration rejected the request, which was eventually withdrawn. In 1843, the United States became concerned with British designs on Texas. A new president, John Tyler, became a proponent of annexation. Through negotiations, the United States convinced Texas President Sam Houston to agree to annexation. Following acceptance of the terms of annexation by the people of Texas, the young nation became a part of the United States in 1846.
City of Atlanta
In 1909 the U.S. city of Atlanta, then located only in Fulton County, annexed into part of neighboring DeKalb County (from which Fulton County had originally been divided). The situation continues to provide some problems, such as when police arrest suspects on charges set forth in Georgia state law, and city police must determine which county's jail they must be taken to.
In the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, in which Israel had occupied East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan, Israel formally declared East and West Jerusalem one united city, formally annexing the eastern part to the west. As Palestinians are demanding that East Jerusalem be ceded to them for a future capital of a Palestinian state, this annexation declaration is not internationally recognized.
In 1981, Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. The annexation declaration was declared illegal by the United Nations.
After being allied with Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War (largely due to desiring Iraqi protection from Islamic Iran), Kuwait was invaded and annexed by Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) in August 1990. Hussein's primary justifications included a charge that Kuwaiti territory was in fact an Iraqi province, and that annexation was retaliation for "economic warfare" Kuwait had waged through slant drilling into Iraq's oil supplies. The monarchy was deposed after annexation, and an Iraqi governor installed.
Though initially ambiguous toward a potential annexation of Kuwait by Iraq, US President George H.W. Bush ultimately condemned Hussein's actions, and moved to drive out Iraqi forces. Authorized by the UN Security Council, an American-led coalition of 34 nations fought the Persian Gulf War to reinstate the Kuwaiti Emir. Hussein's invasion (and annexation) was deemed illegal, and Kuwait remains an independent nation today.
Wales was annexed to the English crown by the 1536/1543 Acts of Union, but references in legislation for 'England' were still taken as excluding Wales. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 meant that in all future laws, 'England' would by default include Wales (and Berwick-upon-Tweed). The de-annexation of Wales was gradual — Cardiff was proclaimed as the Welsh capital in 1955, and in 1967 the Wales and Berwick Act insofar as it applied to Wales was repealed. For many administrative purposes they are still treated as the single entity England and Wales.
On August 22, 1910, Korea was officially annexed by Japan under a Governor-General of Korea with the Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty signed by Lee Wan-Yong: Prime Minister of Korea, and Masatake Terauchi: Japanese Resident-General in Korea who became the Governor-General of Korea. Korea continued to be ruled by Japan until Japan's surrender to the Allied Forces on 15 August 1945. See Period of Japanese Rule (Korea) for further information.