An embassy is a diplomatic mission of one state (the sending state) in the territory of another state (the receiving state). The term is also used more broadly to refer to the building or complex of buildings in which the mission is housed. The head of the mission is typically an ambassador, who represents the sending state in the receiving state.
A legation was a diplomatic mission headed by a minister plenipotentiary, ranking below an embassy. A chargé d’affaires headed a mission when the ambassador was absent.
The difference between an embassy and a legation has largely been one of size and function. Historically, a legation was a small diplomatic mission, typically headed by a minister plenipotentiary, that represented the interests of the sending state in the receiving state. An embassy, on the other hand, was a larger mission, typically headed by an ambassador, that had a more expansive mandate, including representing the sending state on a wide range of issues.
Today, the distinction between an embassy and a legation is largely one of function. Both types of missions are typically housed in the same type of building, and both have staffs that include diplomats and other officials. The primary difference is that an embassy is responsible for representing the sending state on a wide range of issues, while a legation typically has a more limited mandate.
What is a Legation?
A legation is a diplomatic representative office lower in rank than an embassy. A legation is headed by a minister plenipotentiary, whereas an embassy is headed by an ambassador.
The term legation was first used in the French Revolution to refer to the diplomatic representatives of the French Republic, known as commissioners. Later, the term was used for all diplomatic representatives, regardless of rank.
In the 19th century, the term legation was used for lower-ranking diplomatic representatives, while embassy was used for higher-ranking diplomats. The rankings of legations and embassies were later reversed, so that embassies are now headed by ambassadors and legations by ministers plenipotentiary.
The term legation is still used today to refer to some diplomatic missions, especially in Africa and Asia.
What is the difference between an embassy and a legation?
The main difference between an embassy and a legation is their size. An embassy is larger and has more staff than a legation. An embassy also has a wider range of responsibilities than a legation.
An embassy is the official representation of one country in another. The head of an embassy is the ambassador. An ambassador is a diplomat who is responsible for representing their country in a foreign country.
An embassy is responsible for a wide range of activities. They promote their country’s interests, provide consular services, and work on cultural and economic relations.
A legation is a smaller diplomatic representation than an embassy. The head of a legation is a minister. A legation is responsible for fewer activities than an embassy. They mainly work on promoting their country’s interests and providing consular services.