Crown colony, dependent territory or royal colony were dependent territories under the administration of United Kingdom overseas territories that were controlled by the British Government. As such they are examples of dependencies that are under colonial rule. Crown colonies were renamed "British Dependent Territories" in 1981, and since 2002, Crown colonies have been known officially as British Overseas Territories.
The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
The Government of the United Kingdom, formally referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is also commonly referred to as simply the UK Government or the British Government.
A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.
In such territories, residents do not elect members of the British parliament. A Crown colony is usually administered by a governor who directly controls the executive and is appointed by "the Crown" — a term that in practice usually means the UK government, acting on behalf of the monarch. However, the term "Crown colony" has sometimes been used of entities that have elected governments and partial autonomy; these are also known as self-governing colonies.
A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, governor may be the title of a politician who governs a constituent state and may be either appointed or elected. The power of the individual governor can vary dramatically between political systems, with some governors having only nominal or largely ceremonial power, while others having a complete control over the entire government.
The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can also refer to the rule of law; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of government and the civil service.
The first "royal colony" was the Colony of Virginia, after 1624, when the Crown of the Kingdom of England revoked the royal charter it had granted to the Virginia Company and assumed control of the administration.
The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colony in North America, following failed proprietary attempts at settlement on Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, and the subsequent further south Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1580s.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. Historically, they have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the British Magna Carta of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organisations such as boroughs, universities and learned societies.
Executive governors are sometimes complemented by a locally-appointed and/or elected legislature with limited powers — that is, such territories lack responsible government. For example, while the House of Assembly of Bermuda has existed continuously since its first session in 1620, Bermuda has only had responsible government since 1968. (Bermuda became a Crown colony in 1684, when the government revoked a Royal Charter given to the Somers Isles Company, successor to the Virginia Company, which had previously controlled administration, including the appointment of governors. Afterwards the British government appointed the Governor of Bermuda.)
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability, the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Governments in Westminster democracies are responsible to parliament rather than to the monarch, or, in a colonial context, to the imperial government, and in a republican context, to the president, either in full or in part. If the parliament is bicameral, then the government is responsible first to the parliament's lower house, which is more representative than the upper house, as it has more members and they are always directly elected.
The House of Assembly is the lower house of the Parliament of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. The house has 36 Members of Parliament (MPs), elected for a term of five years in single seat constituencies using first-past-the-post voting. Bermuda now has universal voting with a voting age of 18 years. Voting is non-compulsory. The presiding officer of the House is called the Speaker.
Despite its later usage, the term "Crown colony" was used primarily, until the mid-19th century, to refer to colonies that had been acquired through wars, such as Trinidad and Tobago.After that time it was more broadly applied to every British territory other than British India , since it had it's own Secretary of State office and constituted an empire, and self-governing colonies, such as the Province of Canada, Newfoundland, British Columbia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, and New Zealand.
Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country that is the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also more formally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.
By the mid-19th century, the monarch was appointing colonial governors only on the advice of the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies.
The term Crown colony continued to be used until 1981, when the British Nationality Act 1981 reclassified the remaining British colonies as "British Dependent Territories". By this time, the term "Crown colony" referred specifically to colonies lacking substantial autonomy, which were administered by an executive governor, appointed by the British Government — such as Hong Kong, before its transfer in 1997 to the People's Republic of China.
There were three types of Crown colonies as of 1918, with differing degrees of autonomy:
Crown colonies with representative councils such as Bermuda, Jamaica, Ceylon, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Fiji contained two legislative chambers, consisting of Crown-appointed and locally elected members.
Crown colonies with nominated councils such as British Honduras, Sierra Leone, Grenada and Hong Kong were staffed entirely by Crown-appointed members, with some appointed representation from the local population. Hong Kong had a representative council following the introduction of election for the Hong Kong Legislative Council in 1995.
Crown colonies ruled directly by a governor such as Basutoland,Gibraltar, Saint Helena and Singapore were fewest in number and had the least autonomy.
The following list includes territories belonging by settlement, conquest or annexation to the British Crown or to an independent Commonwealth nation. a
|Name of colony||from||to||Reason for change of status|
|1937||1967||Became part of the Federation of South Arabia.|
|1718||1973||Became an independent Commonwealth Realm.|
|1884||1964||Became British protectorate in 1964; then became independent as Lesotho in 1966.|
|1684||1981||Became British Dependent Territory in 1981.|
|1885||1895||Became part of British Cape Colony in 1895.|
|1831||1966||Became independent as Guyana in 1966.|
|1884||1981||Became independent (as Belize) in 1981.|
|1937||1948||Separated from British India in 1937 and became a Crown colony.|
|1841||1867||Became part of Canada in 1867.|
|1806||1910||Became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.|
|1962||1981||Became British Dependent Territory in 1981.|
|1815||1948||Became independent as Dominion of Ceylon in 1948.|
|1866||1871||Became part of Canada in 1871.|
|1914||1960||Became independent as Cyprus in 1960.|
|1763||1783||Ceded to Spain. Later became part of the United States.|
|1841||1981||Became a British Dependent Territory in 1981.|
|1888||1965||Became independent as The Gambia in 1965.|
|1755||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1713||1981||Became British Dependent Territory in 1981.|
|1821||1957||Became independent in 1957 as Ghana.|
|1842||1997||Became British Dependent Territory in 1981.|
|1865||1962||Became independent in 1962 as Jamaica.|
|1920||1963||United with the Kenya Protectorate in 1963 to form the independent country of Kenya.|
|1846||1890||Administered by British North Borneo Company from 1890–1904.|
|1906||1946||Incorporated in the Straits Settlements on 30 October 1906.|
|1946||1963||Incorporated in North Borneo on 15 July 1946. Became part of Malaysia in 1963.|
|1791||1841||Became part of Province of Canada in 1841.|
|1946||1957||Became part of Malaya in 1957.|
|1813||1964||Became independent in 1964 as the State of Malta.|
|1692||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776 as the state of Massachusetts.|
|1903||1968||Became independent as Mauritius in 1968.|
|1843||1910||Became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.|
|1825||1907||Became the Dominion of Newfoundland in 1907, and later joined Canada in 1949.|
|1692||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1702||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1788||1901||Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.|
|1691||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1841||1907||Became the Dominion of New Zealand in 1907.|
|1914||1960||Became independent as Nigeria in 1960.|
|1788||1914||Placed under administration of Australia in 1914 as a non-self governing territory. The island was self-governing between 1979 and 2015.|
|1946||1963||Became part of Malaysia in 1963 as Sabah. Labuan separated from Sabah in 1984 to become a Federal Territory.|
|1729||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1946||1957||Became part of Malaya in 1957.|
|1763||1791||Divided between Upper and Lower Canada and the Northwest Territory.|
|1859||1901||Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.|
|1882||1981||Became British Dependent Territory in 1981. Independent in 1983.|
|1946||1963||Became part of Malaysia in 1963.|
|1903||1976||Separated from British Mauritius in 1903 and became a Crown Colony and became independent in 1976.|
|1808||1961||Became independent as Sierra Leone in 1961.|
|1834||1901||Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.|
|1729||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1923||1965||Declared independence in 1965 as Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwe Rhodesia, independence recognized by Britain in 1980 as Zimbabwe.|
|1946||1963||Singapore became part of Malaysia in 1963; then became independent as the Republic of Singapore in 1965.|
|1946||1946||Labuan was incorporated into North Borneo on 15 July 1946, which became part of Malaysia in 1963.|
|1946||1955||Cocos (Keeling) Islands was transferred to Australia in 1955.|
|1946||1957||Christmas Island was transferred to Australia in 1957.|
|1786||1946||Penang became a separate Crown colony within the Malayan Union in 1946, which was re-organised as the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and became independent in 1957; later became part of Malaysia in 1963.|
|1826||1946||Singapore became a separate Crown colony in 1946, after the Straits Settlements was dissolved.|
|1826||1946||Malacca became a separate Crown colony within the Malayan Union in 1946, which re-organised as the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and became independent in 1957; later became part of Malaysia in 1963.|
|1857||1946||Cocos (Keeling) Islands became part of the Colony of Singapore in 1946.|
|1874||1937||Dinding (now Manjung) became part of the Federated Malay States in 1937, which later became part of the Malayan Union in 1946; the Malayan Union became the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and became independent in 1957; later became part of Malaysia in 1963.|
|1888||1946||Christmas Island became part of the Colony of Singapore in 1946.|
|1906||1946||Labuan became part of the Colony of Singapore in 1946.|
|1803||1901||Van Diemen's Land from 1803 to 1856; Formerly part of New South Wales from 1803 to 1825, when made an independent colony. Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.|
|1791||1841||Became part of Province of Canada in 1841.|
|1848||1866||Merged with the Colony of British Columbia in 1866 which joined Canada.|
|1851||1901||Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.|
|1624||1776||Became part of the United States of America in 1776.|
|1829||1901||Swan River Colony from 1829 to 1832. Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.|
|1763||1783||Ceded to Spain. Later became part of the United States.|
Bermuda is a parliamentary representative democratic dependency. The premier is the head of government, and there is a multi-party system.
The British Overseas Territories (BOTs) or United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories. These territories do not form part of the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the permanently inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. Three are inhabited only by a transitory population of military or scientific personnel. They all share the British monarch as head of state.
The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union that existed from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962. Various islands in the Caribbean that were colonies of the United Kingdom, including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and those on the Leeward and Windward Islands, came together to form the Federation, with its capital in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The expressed intention of the Federation was to create a political unit that would become independent from Britain as a single state—possibly similar to the Canadian Confederation, Australian Commonwealth, or Central African Federation; however, before that could happen, the Federation collapsed due to internal political conflicts over how the Federation itself would be governed or how it would viably function. The territories that would have become part of the Federation eventually became the nine contemporary sovereign states of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago; with Anguilla, Montserrat, the Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands becoming British overseas territories. British Guiana (Guyana) and British Honduras (Belize) held observer status within the West Indies Federation.
The British West Indies, sometimes abbreviated to the BWI, is a collective term for the British territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Before the decolonization period in the later 1950's and 1960's it included all British colonies in the region, together with two mainland colonies, as part of the British Empire.
In the British Empire, a self-governing colony was a colony with an elected government in which elected rulers were able to make most decisions without referring to the colonial power with nominal control of the colony. Most self-governing colonies had responsible government.
The British Nationality Act 1981 (c.61) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning British nationality since 1 January 1983.
Elections in Trinidad and Tobago gives information on election and election results in Trinidad and Tobago.
An autonomous administrative division is a subdivision or dependent territory of a country that has a degree of self-governance, or autonomy, from an external authority. Typically, it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the country or populated by a national minority. Decentralization of self-governing powers and functions to such divisions is a way for a national government to try to increase democratic participation or administrative efficiency or to defuse internal conflicts. Countries that include autonomous areas may be federacies, federations, or confederations. Autonomous areas can be divided into territorial autonomies, subregional territorial autonomies, and local autonomies.
The territorial evolution of the British Empire is considered to have begun with the foundation of the English colonial empire in the late 16th century. Since then, many territories around the world have been under the control of the United Kingdom or its predecessor states.
The Legislative Council of Trinidad and Tobago served as an advisory commission to the Governor in British-ruled Trinidad and Tobago, between 1925 and independence in 1962. The Legislative Council consisted of a mixture of appointed and elected members. Initially the Council consisted of 13 "unofficial" members, seven elected and six appointed, to 31 members, 24 of whom were elected. Over time the balance between elected members and appointed members changed. In 1956 the Council consisted of 24 elected and 7 appointed unofficial members.
British nationality law as it pertains to Hong Kong has been unusual ever since Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842. From its beginning as a sparsely populated trading port to today's cosmopolitan international financial centre and world city of over seven million people, the territory has attracted refugees, immigrants and expatriates alike searching for a new life.
British Overseas Territories citizenship (BOTC), formerly called British Dependent Territories citizenship (BDTC), is a class of British nationality granted to people connected with one or more of the British Overseas Territories. Individuals with this nationality are British nationals and Commonwealth citizens, but not British citizens. The status itself does not grant right of abode in the United Kingdom or any of the territories, though all BOTCs would have had belonger status in a territory on acquisition. Nationals of this class are subject to immigration controls when entering the United Kingdom and do not have the automatic right to live or work there.
The term British West Indies refers to the former English and British colonies and the present-day overseas territories of the United Kingdom in the Caribbean.
In the Commonwealth of Nations, a high commissioner is the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another. Instead of an embassy, the diplomatic mission is generally called a high commission.
A Dominion was the "title" given to the semi-independent polities under the British Crown, constituting the British Empire, beginning with Canadian Confederation in 1867. "Dominion status" was a constitutional term of art used to signify an independent Commonwealth realm; they included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and the Irish Free State, and then from the late 1940s also India, Pakistan, and Ceylon. The Balfour Declaration of 1926 recognised the Dominions as "autonomous Communities within the British Empire", and the 1931 Statute of Westminster confirmed their full legislative independence.
British Hong Kong denotes the period during which Hong Kong was governed as a colony and British Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom. Excluding the Japanese occupation during the Second World War, Hong Kong was under British rule from 1841 to 1997. The colonial period began with the occupation of Hong Kong Island in 1841 during the First Opium War. The island was ceded by Qing dynasty in the aftermath of the war in 1842 and established as a Crown colony in 1843. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were ceded in perpetuity, the leased area, which comprised 92 per cent of the territory, was vital to the integrity of Hong Kong that Britain agreed to transfer the entire colony to China upon the expiration of that lease in 1997. The transfer has been considered by many as marking the end of the British Empire.
The history of Tobago covers a period from the earliest human settlements on the island of Tobago in the Archaic period, through its current status as a part of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Originally settled by indigenous people, the island was subject to colonisation attempts by the Dutch, British, French, and Courlanders, though most colonies failed due to indigenous resistance. After 1763 Tobago was converted to a plantation economy by British settlers. Control of the island shifted between the British and French in the following decades before finally coming under British control in 1803.
The phrase 'Crown Colony Government' is used with various meanings. In the broadest, and perhaps most correct, sense it is applied to all the colonies in which the Crown retains the real control of the executive (i.e. to all the West Indian colonies). By both official and common usage, however, it is often narrowed as to exclude colonies with elected Assemblies, though without a responsible executive.