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Crown colony

A crown colony is a territory that is subject to the sovereign of the United Kingdom but is not a physical part of the United Kingdom. At one time crown colonies were just like any other colony and were directly administered by the British government. Today, however most crown colonies are nearly fully self-governing, only relying on Britain for defense, and some trade issues.

All British crown colonies recognize Elizabeth II as their head of state, but not their Queen. This is because all citizens of a crown colony are technically citizens of the UK, and not citizens of the colony.

The Queen apppoints a Governor who acts on her behalf, and is in charge of the colony's internal security matters, as well as acting as a delegate between the colony and the British government. He posseses the power to dissolve the parliament and must give all laws his personal Royal Assent, but in practice these are only exercised in a symbolic capacity. The Governor is usually a resident of the continental United Kingdom, and as such, is usually white.

Over the years, Crown Colony governments have evolved in stages, with the intent being eventual independence from Britain. Colonies with tiny populations rarely evolve beyond stage one.

Stages of Colonial evolution

  1. In the first stage, there is no elected government of any sort. A governor, administrator or commisioner and his advisors run the affairs of the colony single-handely.
  2. In the second stage, an elected parliament or legislature is founded. From the parliament, the governor appoints a cabinet, chaired by himself. The highest ranking elected politician is known as the minister of trade and production[?] or chief secretary[?].
  3. In the third stage the cabinet is led by a Chief Minister[?], who is the leader of the majority in the parliament.
  4. In the fourth stage the Chief Minister becomes known as the Premier, and by this time virtually all executive authority has been delegated from the governor.
  5. The final stage is complete sovereignty and independence from Britain. The Premier becomes the Prime Minister, and the Governor becomes a Governor General. The new nation only maintains superficial ties to Britain as a Commonwealth Realm.

Current Status of British Crown Colonies:

Stage Four: Bermuda, Falkland Islands

Stage Three: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands

Stage Two: Cayman Islands, Saint Helena

Stage One: British Indian Ocean Territory, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Pitcairn Islands, British Antarctic Territory

Former British Crown Colonies Include:

See also: Commonwealth of Nations, British Crown Overseas Dependencies, Dependent territories of the United Kingdom



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