Crown colony

A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by The Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor, appointed by the monarch of the UK on the advice of the Home (UK) Government, with or without the assistance of a local Council. In some cases this Council was split into two: an Executive Council and a Legislative Council, and was similar to the Privy Council that advises the Monarch. Members of Executive Councils were appointed by the Governors, and British citizens resident in Crown colonies either had no representation in local government, or limited representation. In several Crown colonies, this limited representation grew over time. As the House of Commons of the British Parliament has never included seats for any of the colonies, there was no direct representation in the sovereign government for British subjects or citizens residing in Crown colonies.

The administration of Crown colonies changed over time and in the 1800s some became, with a loosening of the power of royal governors, self-governing colonies, within which the Sovereign state (the UK Government) delegated legislation for most local internal matters of governance to elected assemblies, with consent of the governor. The elected assemblies had their beginnings in the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia in 1619 and the House of Assembly of the Parliament of Bermuda in 1620. Over the centuries in some Crown colonies, more independent authority was given.

All British colonies, whether Crown (such as Hong Kong and the Falkland Islands) or self-governing (such as Bermuda), were renamed "British Dependent Territories" from 1 January 1983 under the British Nationality Act 1981. Many British citizens in the colonies (with the exceptions of the Falkland Islanders and subsequently the Gibraltarians) found that their "Citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies" had changed overnight to British Dependent Territories Citizenship, a form of British citizenship that stripped them of some of their rights, including the right to reside and work in the United Kingdom. From 2002 the colonies have been known officially as British Overseas Territories.[1]

History

Early English colonies were usually established and administered by companies under charters granted by the monarch. 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.[2]

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.)

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.[3] After that time it was more broadly applied to every British territory other than British India,[4] 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.[5]

By the mid-19th century, the monarch was appointing colonial governors only on the advice of the Secretary of State for the Colonies.[6]

Reclassification (1981)

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.

Types

There were three types of Crown colony as of 1918, with differing degrees of autonomy:

Crown colonies with representative councils, such as Bermuda, Jamaica, Ceylon 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, British Windward Islands 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,[7] Gibraltar, Saint Helena and Singapore, were fewest in number and had the least autonomy.

List

Crown colonies
Name of colonyfromtoReason for change of status
Aden Colony Aden19371967Became part of the Federation of South Arabia.
 Akrotiri and Dhekelia19601982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
 Anguilla19801982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua16631967Became an associated state.
United Kingdom Ashanti19021957Became part of the dominion named Ghana upon its establishment in 1957.
The Bahamas Bahamas17181973Became an independent Commonwealth realm.
Barbados Barbados16631966Became an independent Commonwealth realm.
Lesotho Basutoland18841966Became independent as Lesotho in 1966.
 Bermuda16841982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
 British Antarctic Territory19621982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
United Kingdom British Bechuanaland18851895Became part of British Cape Colony in 1895.
British Columbia British Columbia18661871Became part of Canada in 1871.
British Guiana British Guiana18311966Became independent as Guyana in 1966.
British Honduras British Honduras (renamed Belize in 1973)18841981Became independent (as Belize) in 1981.
 British Indian Ocean Territory19651982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
British rule in Burma Burma19371948Separated from British India in 1937 and became a Crown colony. Became independent in 1948 as Burma (later Myanmar).
United Kingdom United Province of Canada18411867Became part of Canada in 1867.
Flag of the Cape Colony 1876-1910.svg Cape Colony18061910Became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
 Cayman Islands19621982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Dominion of Ceylon Ceylon18151948Became independent in 1948 as Dominion of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka).
United Kingdom Christmas Island19581958Became a territory of Australia
Cyprus Cyprus19141960Became independent as Cyprus in 1960.
Dominica Dominica17631967Became an associated state.
Kingdom of Great Britain East Florida17631783Ceded to Spain. Later became part of the United States.
 Falkland Islands18411982Became a British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Fiji18741970Became independent as Fiji in 1970
Gambia Colony18881965Became independent as The Gambia in 1965.
Kingdom of Great Britain Georgia17551776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
 Gibraltar17131982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Gilbert and Ellice Islands19161976Separate Gilbert Islands and Tuvalu colonies
Gilbert Islands19761979Became independent as Kiribati
Gold Coast (British colony) Gold Coast18211957Became independent in 1957 as Ghana.
Grenada Grenada17631967Became an associated state.
United Kingdom Heligoland18141890Ceded to the German Empire.
Hong Kong Hong Kong18421982Reclassified as a British Dependent Territory in 1983. Transferred to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Jamaica Jamaica16551962Became independent in 1962 as Jamaica.
Kenya Kenya19201963United with the Kenya Protectorate in 1963 to form the independent country of Kenya.
Labuan18461890Administered by British North Borneo Company from 1890–1904.
Lagos18621906Became part of Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906.
United Kingdom Lower Canada17911841Became part of Province of Canada in 1841.
Malacca19461957Became part of Malaya in 1957.
Malta Malta18131964Became independent in 1964 as the State of Malta.
Kingdom of Great Britain Massachusetts Bay16921776Became part of the United States of America in 1776 as the state of Massachusetts.
Mauritius Mauritius19031968Became independent as Mauritius in 1968.
 Montserrat16361982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Flag of the Natal Colony 1875-1910.svg Natal18431910Became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
Dominion of Newfoundland Blue Ensign, 1870–1904.svg Newfoundland18251907Became the Dominion of Newfoundland in 1907, and later joined Canada in 1949.
Kingdom of Great Britain New Hampshire16921776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
Kingdom of Great Britain New Ireland17791783Ceded to the United States of America after Revolutionary War and again after War of 1812 (1814-1815).
Kingdom of Great Britain New Jersey17021776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
New South Wales New South Wales17881901Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Kingdom of Great Britain New York16911776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
New Zealand New Zealand18411907Became the Dominion of New Zealand in 1907.
Nigeria Nigeria19141960Became independent as Nigeria in 1960.
United Kingdom Norfolk Island17881914Placed under administration of Australia in 1914 as a non-self governing territory. The island was self-governing between 1979 and 2015.
North Borneo19461963Became part of Malaysia in 1963 as Sabah. Labuan separated from Sabah in 1984 to become a Federal Territory.[8]
Kingdom of Great Britain North Carolina17291776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
Kingdom of Great Britain Nova Scotia17101867Became part of Canada in 1867.
 Orange River Colony19001910Became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
 Pitcairn Islands18871982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Penang19461957Became part of Malaya in 1957.
Kingdom of Great Britain Quebec17631791Divided between Upper and Lower Canada and the Northwest Territory.
Queensland Queensland18591901Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla Saint Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla18821967Became an associated state.
Saint Helena Saint Helena16591982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia18141967Became an associated state.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent17761969Became an associated state.
Sarawak19461963Became part of Malaysia in 1963.[8]
Flag of Seychelles 1961-1976.gif Seychelles19031976Separated from British Mauritius in 1903 and became a Crown Colony and became independent in 1976.
Flag of Sierra Leone 1916-1961.gif Sierra Leone18081961Became independent as Sierra Leone in 1961.
Singapore Singapore19461963State of Singapore within Malaysia[8]
South Australia South Australia18341901Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Kingdom of Great Britain South Carolina17291776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
Southern Nigeria19061914Part of the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Merged with Northern Nigeria Protectorate as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914.
Southern Rhodesia Southern Rhodesia19231965/1980Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 as Rhodesia; formally reverted to colonial status in 1979 as Southern Rhodesia; independence granted in 1980 as Zimbabwe
Straits Settlements Straits Settlements18671946Separated into Crown Colony of Penang, Crown Colony of Malacca and Colony of Singapore.[9]
Tasmania Tasmania18251901Named Van Diemen's Land until 1856. Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
 Transvaal Colony18771910Became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
 Trinidad and Tobago18891962Became independent in 1962
 Turks and Caicos Islands19621982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Tuvalu19761978Became an independent Commonwealth realm.
United Kingdom Upper Canada17911841Became part of Province of Canada in 1841.
Flag of Vancouver Island.svg Vancouver Island18481866Merged with the Colony of British Columbia in 1866 which joined Canada.
Victoria (Australia) Victoria18511901Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
British Virgin Islands Virgin Islands17131982Became British Dependent Territory in 1983.
Kingdom of Great Britain Virginia16241776Became part of the United States of America in 1776.
Western Australia Western Australia18291901Swan River Colony from 1829 to 1832. Became part of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Kingdom of Great Britain West Florida17631783Ceded to Spain. Later became part of the United States.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "British Overseas Territories Act 2002". Gov.Uk.
  2. ^ Porter, p. 477.
  3. ^ History of Parliament: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago – Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.
  4. ^ Mark Doyle (2018), The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia [2 volumes], ABC-CLIO, pp. 82–, ISBN 978-1-4408-4198-9
  5. ^ Olson, p. 343.
  6. ^ Jenks, p. 70.
  7. ^ Jenks, pp. 71–4.
  8. ^ a b c See: Malaysia Act 1963
  9. ^ "The Straits Settlements is dissolved". Retrieved 29 August 2015.

References

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