From Rise: The Vieneo Province

Provinces are independently governed (except in the event of executive necessity) colonies akin to protectorate nations of Earth. They were initially limited to the top 60% most populous systems within USR-controlled space. All other systems were designated colonies and fell under the jurisdiction and rule of the Colonial Council. Following The Alamarian Reforms, many colonies were allowed to transition to provincial status and self-govern themselves so long as the transition was in the best interest of the USR. These concepts regarding provincial transitions and how the USR is to deal with provinces is now collectively referred to as the The Alamarian Doctrine.