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The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. "Dominion status" was accorded to
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...
,
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...
, and the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
at the
1926 Imperial Conference The 1926 Imperial Conference was the seventh Imperial Conference Imperial Conferences (Colonial Conferences before 1907) were periodic gatherings of government leaders from the self-governing colonies and dominions of the British Empire bet ...
to designate "autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...
, and
Ceylon Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island ...
(now
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
) were also dominions for short periods of time. The
Balfour Declaration of 1926 The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued by the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependen ...
recognised the Dominions as "autonomous within the British Empire", and the 1931 Statute of Westminster confirmed their full legislative independence. With the dissolution of the British Empire after World War II and the formation of the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
, it was decided that the terms
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
and
Commonwealth republic The republics in the Commonwealth of Nations are the sovereign states in the organization with a republican form of government. As of 1 February 2021, 33 out of the 54 member states were republics. Elizabeth II, who is the monarch in the Commonw ...
should formally replace dominion for official Commonwealth usage. This decision was made during the
1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference The 1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference was the fourth Meeting A meeting is when two or more people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes suc ...
when India was intending to become a republic, so that both types of governments could become and remain full members of the Commonwealth, and the terms also recognised the full autonomy of the dominions and full sovereignty of independent republics.


Definition

The term ''dominion'' means "that which is mastered or ruled". It was used by the British to describe their colonies or territorial possessions. Use of ''dominion'' to refer to a particular territory within the British Empire dates back to the 16th century and was sometimes used to describe
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
from 1535 to around 1800: for instance, the
Laws in Wales Act 1535 Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, ...
applies to "the Dominion, Principality and Country of Wales". ''Dominion'', as an official title, was conferred on the
Colony of Virginia , legislature = House of Burgesses (1619–1776) , today = , demonym = , area_km2=, area_rank=, GDP_PPP=, GDP_PPP_year=, HDI=, HDI_year= The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was ...
about 1660 and on the
Dominion of New England The Dominion of New England in America (1686–1689) was an administrative union of English colonies covering New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (al ...
in 1686. Under the
British North America Act 1867 The ''Constitution Act, 1867'The Constitution Act, 1867'', 30 & 31 Victoria (U.K.), c. 3, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsw retrieved on 2019-03-14. (french: Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, originally enacted as ''The British North America Act, 1867' ...
, the partially
self-governing colonies In the British Empire, a self-governing colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of t ...
of
British North America British North America comprised the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or admini ...
were united into the
Dominion of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of ...
. The new federal and provincial governments split considerable local powers, but Britain retained overall legislative supremacy. At the Colonial Conference of 1907, the self-governing colonies of Canada and the
Commonwealth of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from ...
were referred to collectively as ''Dominions'' for the first time. Two other
self-governing colonies In the British Empire, a self-governing colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of t ...
—New Zealand and Newfoundland—were granted the status of Dominion in the same year. These were followed by the
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost ...
in 1910. The
Order in Council An Order in Council is a type of legislation in many countries, especially the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that ...
annexing the island of
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
in 1914 declared that, from 5 November 1914, the island "shall be annexed to and form part of His Majesty's dominions". ''Dominion status'' was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and the Irish Free State at the
1926 Imperial Conference The 1926 Imperial Conference was the seventh Imperial Conference Imperial Conferences (Colonial Conferences before 1907) were periodic gatherings of government leaders from the self-governing colonies and dominions of the British Empire bet ...
to designate "autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations". The British Government of
Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman and Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinat ...
had emphasized the use of the capital "D" when referring to the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
in the
Anglo-Irish Treaty The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty ( ga , An Conradh Angla-Éireannach), commonly known as The Treaty and officially the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was an agreement between the government of the United Kingd ...
to assure it the same constitutional status in order to avoid confusion with the wider term "His Majesty's dominions", which referred to the British Empire as a whole. At the time of the founding of the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
in 1924, the League Covenant made provision for the admission of any "fully self-governing state, Dominion, or Colony", the implication being that "Dominion status was something between that of a
colony In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, ...

colony
and a state". With the adoption of the
Statute of Westminster 1931 The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and ...
, Britain and the Dominions (except Newfoundland) formed the
British Commonwealth of Nations British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...
, a free association of sovereign states. Dominions asserted full legislative independence, with direct access to the Monarch as Head of State previously reserved only for British governments. It also recognized autonomy in foreign affairs, including participation as autonomous nations in the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
with full power over appointing ambassadors to other countries. Following the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the decline of British colonialism led to Dominions generally being referred to as
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s and the use of the word ''dominion'' gradually diminished. Nonetheless, though no longer in use, "Dominion of Canada" remains Canada's legal title and the phrase ''Her Majesty's Dominions'' is still used occasionally in legal documents in the United Kingdom.


"His/Her Majesty's dominions"

The phrase ''His/Her Majesty's dominions'' is a legal and constitutional phrase that refers to all the realms and territories of the Sovereign, whether independent or not. Thus, for example, the British ''
Ireland Act 1949 The Ireland Act 1949 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary l ...
'', recognised that the Republic of Ireland had "ceased to be part of His Majesty's dominions". When dependent territories that had never been annexed (that is, were not
colonies of the Crown A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by The Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor#United Kingdom overseas territories, Governor, appointed by the monarch of the UK on the advice of the ''Home'' (UK) Gov ...
, but were
League of Nations mandate A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global ...
s,
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
s or
United Nations Trust Territories #REDIRECT United Nations trust territories#REDIRECT United Nations trust territories United Nations trust territories were the successors of the remaining League of Nations mandate A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain te ...
) were granted independence, the United Kingdom act granting independence always declared that such and such a territory "shall form part of Her Majesty's dominions", and so become part of the territory in which the Queen exercises
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
, not merely
suzerainty Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized soci ...
. The later sense of "Dominion" was capitalised to distinguish it from the more general sense of "dominion".


Historical development


Responsible government: precursor to Dominion status

The foundation of "Dominion" status followed the achievement of internal self-rule in British Colonies, in the specific form of full
responsible government Responsible government is a conception of a system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ' ...
(as distinct from "
representative government Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song ...
"). Colonial responsible government began to emerge during the mid-19th century. The
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
s of Colonies with responsible government were able to make laws in all matters other than foreign affairs, defence and international trade, these being powers which remained with the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
.
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen "God Save the Queen", alternatively "God Save the King" (dependent on the gender of the reigning monarch), is the or in most s, their territories, and the British . The author of the tune is unknown, ...

Bermuda
, notably, was never defined as a Dominion, despite meeting this criteria, but as a ''self-governing colony'' that remains part of the British
Realm A realm is a community or territory over which a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ...
.
Nova Scotia ) , image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English (''de facto'') , RegionalLang = French, Scots Gaelic , capital ...

Nova Scotia
soon followed by the
Province of Canada The Province of Canada (or the United Province of Canada or the United Canadas) (french: link=no, Province du Canada) was a British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, ...
(which included modern southern
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
and southern
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
) were the first Colonies to achieve responsible government, in 1848.
Prince Edward Island (''The small protected by the great'') , image_map = Prince Edward Island in Canada (special marker) 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English English usually ref ...

Prince Edward Island
followed in 1851, and
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , capital = Fredericton Fredericton (; ) is the capital city of the Canadian provinc ...

New Brunswick
and
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
in 1855. All except for Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island agreed to form a new
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, ...

federation
named Canada from 1867. This was instituted by the British Parliament in the ''British North America Act 1867''. ''(See also: Canadian Confederation).'' Section 3 of the Act referred to the new entity as a "Dominion", the first such entity to be created. From 1870 the Dominion included two vast neighbouring British territories that did not have any form of self-government:
Rupert's Land Rupert's Land (french: Terre de Rupert), or Prince Rupert's Land, was a territory in British North America comprising the Hudson Bay drainage basin, a territory in which a commercial monopoly was operated by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 y ...
and the
North-Western Territory The North-Western Territory was a region of British North America British North America comprised the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate ...
, parts of which later became the
Provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of
Manitoba Manitoba ( ) is a Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada at the Centre of Canada, longitudinal centre of the country. It is Canada's Population of Canada by province and territory, fifth-most populous province, with a population o ...

Manitoba
,
Saskatchewan ("From Many Peoples Strength") , image_map = Saskatchewan in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English language, English , capital = Regina, S ...
,
Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Edmonton Edmonton ( ) is the capital ...

Alberta
, and the separate territories, the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (commonly abbreviated as NT or NWT; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest) is a federal territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...

Northwest Territories
,
Yukon Yukon ( ; ; formerly called Yukon Territory and sometimes referred to as The Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 35,874 peo ...

Yukon
and
Nunavut Nunavut ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ; ) is the largest and northernmost provinces and territories of Canada, territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' and the ''Nunavut ...
. In 1871, the
Crown Colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original coun ...
of
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

British Columbia
became a Canadian province, Prince Edward Island joined in 1873 and Newfoundland in 1949. The conditions under which the four separate Australian colonies—
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
,
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atol ...
,
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
,
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
—and New Zealand could gain full responsible government were set out by the British government in the '' Australian Constitutions Act 1850''. The Act also separated the
Colony of Victoria In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and ...
(in 1851) from New South Wales. During 1856, responsible government was achieved by New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, and New Zealand. The remainder of New South Wales was divided in three in 1859, a change that established most of the present borders of NSW; the
Colony of Queensland The Colony of Queensland was a colony of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or ...
, with its own responsible self-government, and the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
(which was not granted self-government prior to
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, ...
of the Australian Colonies).
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
did not receive self-government until 1891, mainly because of its continuing financial dependence on the UK Government. After protracted negotiations (that initially included New Zealand), six Australian colonies with responsible government (and their dependent territories) agreed to federate, along Canadian lines, becoming the
Commonwealth of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from ...
, in 1901. In South Africa, the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Cro ...
became the first British self-governing Colony, in 1872. (Until 1893, the Cape Colony also controlled the separate
Colony of Natal The Colony of Natal was a British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonize ...
.) Following the
Second Boer War The Second Boer War ( af, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, lit. "Second Freedom War", 11 October 189931 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire and the two B ...
(1899–1902), the British Empire assumed direct control of the
Boer Republics The Boer Republics (sometimes also referred to as Boer states) were independent, self-governing republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, gene ...
, but transferred limited self-government to
TransvaalTransvaal is a historical geographic term associated with land north of (''i.e.'', beyond) the Vaal River in South Africa. A number of states and administrative divisions have carried the name Transvaal. * South African Republic (1856–1902; af, Z ...
in 1906, and the
Orange River Colony The Orange River Colony was the British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign co ...
in 1907. The Commonwealth of Australia was recognised as a Dominion in 1901, and the
Dominion of New Zealand The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire. New Zealand became a separate British Crown colony in 1841 ...
and the
Dominion of Newfoundland The Dominion of Newfoundland was a country in eastern North America, today the modern Canadian province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivis ...
were officially given Dominion status in 1907, followed by the
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost ...
in 1910.


Canadian Confederation and evolution of the term ''Dominion''

In connection with proposals for the future government of British North America, use of the term "Dominion" was suggested by
Samuel Leonard Tilley Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley (May 8, 1818June 25, 1896) was a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, man ...

Samuel Leonard Tilley
at the
London Conference of 1866 The London Conference was held in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at th ...
discussing the
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
of the
Province of Canada The Province of Canada (or the United Province of Canada or the United Canadas) (french: link=no, Province du Canada) was a British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, ...
(subsequently becoming the provinces of
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
and
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
),
Nova Scotia ) , image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English (''de facto'') , RegionalLang = French, Scots Gaelic , capital ...

Nova Scotia
and
New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , capital = Fredericton Fredericton (; ) is the capital city of the Canadian provinc ...

New Brunswick
into "One ''Dominion'' under the Name of Canada", the first federation internal to the British Empire. Tilley's suggestion was taken from the 72nd Psalm, verse eight, "He shall have ''dominion'' also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth", which is echoed in the national motto, "". The new government of Canada under the
British North America Act of 1867 The ''Constitution Act, 1867'The Constitution Act, 1867'', 30 & 31 Victoria (U.K.), c. 3, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsw retrieved on 2019-03-14. (french: Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, originally enacted as ''The British North America Act, 1867 ...
began to use the phrase "Dominion of Canada" to designate the new, larger nation. However, neither the Confederation nor the adoption of the title of "Dominion" granted extra autonomy or new powers to this new federal level of government. Senator
Eugene Forsey Eugene Alfred Forsey (May 29, 1904 – February 20, 1991) served in the Senate of Canada from 1970 to 1979. He was considered to be one of Canada's foremost constitutional experts. Biography Forsey was born on May 29, 1904 in Grand Bank, Newf ...
wrote that the powers acquired since the 1840s that established the system of
responsible government Responsible government is a conception of a system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ' ...
in Canada would simply be transferred to the new Dominion government: The constitutional scholar Andrew Heard has established that Confederation did not legally change Canada's colonial status to anything approaching its later status of a Dominion. Heard went on to document the sizeable body of legislation passed by the British Parliament in the latter part of the 19th century that upheld and expanded its Imperial supremacy to constrain that of its colonies, including the new Dominion government in Canada. For decades, none of the Dominions were allowed to have its own
embassies A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (new ...
or
consulate A consulate is the office of a consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known ...

consulate
s in foreign countries. All matters concerning international travel, commerce, etc., had to be transacted through British embassies and consulates. For example, all transactions concerning
visa Visa most commonly refers to: *Visa Inc., a US multinational financial and payment cards company ** Visa Debit card issued by the above company ** Visa Electron, a debit card ** Visa Plus, an interbank network *Travel visa, a document that allows e ...
s and lost or stolen
passport A passport is an official travel document A travel document is an identity document issued by a government or international entity pursuant to international agreements to enable individuals to clear border control measures. Travel documents ...

passport
s by citizens of the Dominions were carried out at British diplomatic offices. It was not until the late 1930s and early 1940s that the Dominion governments were allowed to establish their own embassies, and the first two of these that were established by the Dominion governments in
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...

Ottawa
and in
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices an ...

Canberra
were both established in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
, in the United States. As Heard later explained, the British government seldom invoked its powers over Canadian legislation. British legislative powers over Canadian domestic policy were largely theoretical and their exercise was increasingly unacceptable in the 1870s and 1880s. The rise to the status of a Dominion and then full independence for Canada and other possessions of the British Empire did not occur by the granting of titles or similar recognition by the British Parliament but by initiatives taken by the new governments of certain former British dependencies to assert their independence and to establish constitutional precedents. What was significant about the creation of the Canadian and Australian federations was not that they were instantly granted wide new powers by the Imperial centre at the time of their creation; but that they, because of their greater size and prestige, were better able to exercise their existing powers and lobby for new ones than the various colonies they incorporated could have done separately. They provided a new model which politicians in New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, Ireland, India, Malaysia could point to for their own relationship with Britain. Ultimately, " anada'sexample of a peaceful accession to independence with a Westminster system of government came to be followed by 50 countries with a combined population of more than 2-billion people."


Colonial Conference of 1907

Issues of colonial self-government spilled into foreign affairs with The Second Boer War (1899–1902). The self-governing colonies contributed significantly to British efforts to stem the insurrection, but ensured that they set the conditions for participation in these wars. Colonial governments repeatedly acted to ensure that they determined the extent of their peoples' participation in imperial wars in the military build-up to the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
. The assertiveness of the self-governing colonies was recognised in the Colonial Conference of 1907, which implicitly introduced the idea of the Dominion as a self-governing colony by referring to Canada and Australia as Dominions. It also retired the name "Colonial Conference" and mandated that meetings take place regularly to consult Dominions in running the foreign affairs of the empire. The Colony of New Zealand, which chose not to take part in Australian federation, became the
Dominion of New Zealand The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire. New Zealand became a separate British Crown colony in 1841 ...
on 26 September 1907;
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
became a Dominion on the same day. The
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost ...
was referred to as a Dominion upon its creation in 1910.


First World War and Treaty of Versailles

The initiatives and contributions of British colonies to the British war effort in the First World War were recognised by Britain with the creation of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917, which gave them a say in the running of the war. Dominion status as self-governing states, as opposed to symbolic titles granted various British colonies, waited until 1919, when the self-governing Dominions signed the Treaty of Versailles independently of the British government and became individual members of the League of Nations. This ended the purely colonial status of the Dominions.
The First World War ended the purely colonial period in the history of the Dominions. Their military contribution to the Allied war effort gave them claim to equal recognition with other small states and a voice in the formation of policy. This claim was recognised within the Empire by the creation of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917, and within the community of nations by Dominion signatures to the Treaty of Versailles and by separate Dominion representation in the League of Nations. In this way the "self-governing Dominions", as they were called, emerged as junior members of the international community. Their status defied exact analysis by both international and constitutional lawyers, but it was clear that they were no longer regarded simply as colonies of Britain.


Irish Free State

The
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
, set up in 1922 after the
Anglo-Irish War The Irish War of Independence ( ga, Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary ...
, was the third Dominion to appoint a non-UK born, non-aristocratic Governor-General when
Timothy Michael Healy Timothy Michael Healy, KC (17 May 1855 – 26 March 1931) was an Irish Irish nationalism, nationalist politician, journalist, author, barrister and one of the most controversial Irish Members of Parliament (MPs) in the British House of Commons, ...
, following the tenures of in Canada and of Sir Walter Davidson and Sir William Allardyce in Newfoundland, took the position in 1922. Dominion status was never popular in the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
where people saw it as a face-saving measure for a
British government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comm ...
unable to countenance a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
in what had previously been the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
. Successive Irish governments undermined the constitutional links with Britain until they were severed completely in 1949. In 1937 Ireland adopted, almost simultaneously, both a new
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
that included powers for a president of Ireland and a
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
confirming a role for the king in external relations.


Balfour Declaration of 1926 and Statute of Westminster

The
Balfour Declaration of 1926 The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued by the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependen ...
, and the subsequent Statute of Westminster, 1931, restricted Britain's ability to pass or affect laws outside of its own jurisdiction. Significantly, Britain initiated the change to complete sovereignty for the Dominions. The
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
left Britain saddled with enormous debts, and the Great Depression had further reduced Britain's ability to pay for defence of its empire. In spite of popular opinions of empires, the larger Dominions were reluctant to leave the protection of the then-superpower. For example, many Canadians felt that being part of the British Empire was the only thing that had prevented them from being absorbed into the United States. Until 1931, Newfoundland was referred to as a colony of the United Kingdom, as for example, in the 1927 reference to the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), somet ...
to delineate the Quebec-Labrador boundary. Full autonomy was granted by the United Kingdom parliament with the Statute of Westminster in December 1931. However, the government of Newfoundland "requested the United Kingdom not to have sections 2 to 6 onfirming Dominion status pply automatically to it until the Newfoundland Legislature first approved the Statute, approval which the Legislature subsequently never gave". In any event, Newfoundland's
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
of 1934 suspended self-government and instituted a "
Commission of Government Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration)Commissions are a form of variable-pay remuneration for services rendered or products sold. Commissions are a common way to motivate and reward salespeo ...
", which continued until Newfoundland became a
province of Canada The Province of Canada (or the United Province of Canada or the United Canadas) (french: link=no, Province du Canada) was a British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, ...
in 1949. It is the view of some constitutional lawyers that—although Newfoundland chose not to exercise all of the functions of a Dominion like Canada—its status as a Dominion was "suspended" in 1934, rather than "revoked" or "abolished". Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland and South Africa (prior to becoming a republic and leaving the Commonwealth in 1961), with their large populations of European descent, were sometimes collectively referred to as the "White Dominions".Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction; John Merriman and Jay Winter; 2006; see the British Empire entry which lists the "White Dominions" above except Newfoundland


Dominions


List of Dominions


Australia

Four colonies of Australia had enjoyed responsible government since 1856: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Queensland had responsible government soon after its founding in 1859. Because of ongoing financial dependence on Britain, Western Australia became the last Australian colony to attain self-government in 1890. During the 1890s, the colonies voted to unite and in 1901 they were federated under the British Crown as the
Commonwealth of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from ...
by the '' Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act''. The
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it ...

Constitution of Australia
had been drafted in Australia and approved by popular consent. Thus Australia is one of the few countries established by a popular vote. Under the
Balfour Declaration of 1926 The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued by the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependen ...
, the federal government was regarded as coequal with (and not subordinate to) the British and other Dominion governments, and this was given formal legal recognition in 1942 (when the '' Statute of Westminster'' was adopted retroactively to the commencement of the Second World War in 1939). In 1930, the Australian prime minister,
James Scullin James Henry Scullin (18 September 1876 – 28 January 1953) was an Australian Labor Party The Australian Labor Party (ALP), also simply known as Labor and historically spelt Labour, is the major , one of two in , along with the . I ...
, reinforced the right of the overseas Dominions to appoint native-born governors-general, when he advised King
George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother ...

George V
to appoint Sir
Isaac Isaacs Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs (6 August 1855 – 11 February 1948) was an Australian lawyer, politician, and judge who served as the List of Governors-General of Australia, ninth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1931 to 1936. He had pr ...
as his representative in Australia, against the wishes of the opposition and officials in London. The governments of the States (called colonies before 1901) remained under the Commonwealth but retained links to the UK until the passage of the ''
Australia Act 1986 The Australia Act 1986 is the short title of each of a pair of separate but related pieces of legislation: one an Act of the Commonwealth (i.e. federal) Parliament of Australia The Parliament of Australia (officially the Federal Pa ...

Australia Act 1986
''.


Canada

The term ''Dominion'' is employed in the
Constitution Act, 1867 The ''Constitution Act, 1867'The Constitution Act, 1867'', 30 & 31 Victoria (U.K.), c. 3, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsw retrieved on 2019-03-14. (french: Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, originally enacted as ''The British North America Act, 1867 ...
(originally the
British North America Act, 1867 The ''Constitution Act, 1867'The Constitution Act, 1867'', 30 & 31 Victoria (U.K.), c. 3, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsw retrieved on 2019-03-14. (french: Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, originally enacted as ''The British North America Act, 1867 ...
), and describes the resulting political union. Specifically, the preamble of the act states: "Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom..." Furthermore, Sections 3 and 4 indicate that the provinces "shall form and be One Dominion under the Name of Canada; and on and after that Day those Three Provinces shall form and be One Dominion under that Name accordingly". According to the ''Canadian Encyclopedia,'' (1999), "The word came to be applied to the federal government and Parliament, and under the Constitution Act, 1982, 'Dominion' remains Canada's official title." Usage of the phrase ''Dominion of Canada'' was employed as the country's name after 1867, predating the general use of the term ''Dominion'' as applied to the other autonomous regions of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
after 1907. The phrase ''Dominion of Canada'' does not appear in the 1867 act nor in the
Constitution Act, 1982 The ''Constitution Act, 1982'' (french: link=no, Loi constitutionnelle de 1982) is a part of the Constitution of Canada The Constitution of Canada (french: Constitution du Canada) is the supreme law of Canada, law in Canada. It outlines C ...
, but does appear in the Constitution Act, 1871, other contemporaneous texts, and subsequent bills. References to the ''Dominion of Canada'' in later acts, such as the Statute of Westminster, do not clarify the point because all nouns were formally capitalised in British legislative style. Indeed, in the original text of the Constitution Act, 1867, "One" and "Name" were also capitalised. Frank Scott theorised that Canada's status as a Dominion ended when
Canadian parliament The Parliament of Canada (french: Parlement du Canada) is the federal legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patt ...

Canadian parliament
declared war on Germany on 9 September 1939, separately and distinctly from the United Kingdom's declaration of war six days earlier. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth". The government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using ''Dominion'' in the statutes of Canada in 1951. This began the phasing out of the use of ''Dominion'', which had been used largely as a synonym of "federal" or "national" such as "Dominion building" for a post office, "Dominion-provincial relations", and so on. The last major change was renaming the national holiday from
Dominion Day Dominion Day was a day commemorating the granting of Dominion status in certain countries. It was an official public holiday in Canada from 1879 to 1982, where it was celebrated on 1 July; that date is now known as Canada Day. In the Dominion of Ne ...
to
Canada Day Canada Day (french: Fête du Canada) is the national day A national day is a day on which celebrations mark the nationhood A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, re ...
in 1982. Official
bilingualism Multilingualism is the use of more than one language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of t ...
laws also contributed to the disuse of ''Dominion'', as it has no acceptable equivalent in French. While the term may be found in older official documents, and the Dominion Carillonneur still tolls at
Parliament Hill Parliament Hill (french: Colline du Parlement), colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = O ...

Parliament Hill
, it is now hardly used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces or (historically) Canada before and after 1867. Nonetheless, the federal government continues to produce publications and educational materials that specify the currency of these official titles. The Constitution Act of 1982 does not mention and does not remove the title, and therefore a constitutional amendment may be required to change it. The word ''Dominion'' has been used with other agencies, laws, and roles: * Dominion Carillonneur: official responsible for playing the carillons at the
Peace Tower The Peace Tower (french: link=no, Tour de la Paix), also known as the Tower of Victory and Peace (french: link=no, tour de Victoire et de Paix), is a focal bell and clock tower sitting on the central axis of the Centre Block of the Canada, Canad ...

Peace Tower
since 1916 *
Dominion Day Dominion Day was a day commemorating the granting of Dominion status in certain countries. It was an official public holiday in Canada from 1879 to 1982, where it was celebrated on 1 July; that date is now known as Canada Day. In the Dominion of Ne ...
(1867–1982): holiday marking Canada's national day; now called
Canada Day Canada Day (french: Fête du Canada) is the national day A national day is a day on which celebrations mark the nationhood A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, re ...
*
Dominion Observatory The Dominion Observatory was an astronomical observatory in Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. ...

Dominion Observatory
(1905–1970): weather observatory in
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...

Ottawa
; now used as Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Branch,
Natural Resources Canada Natural Resources Canada (NRCan; french: Ministère des Ressources naturelles Canada; RNCan), also known as the Department of Natural Resources, is the department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization i ...
*
Dominion Lands Act The ''Dominion Lands Act'' (long title: ''An Act Respecting the Public Lands of the Dominion'') was an 1872 Canadian law that aimed to encourage the settlement of the Canadian Prairies The Canadian Prairies (usually referred to as simply the ...
(1872): federal lands act; repealed in 1918 *
Dominion Bureau of Statistics The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Union of Sout ...
(1918–1971): superseded by
Statistics Canada Statistics Canada (StatCan; french: Statistique Canada), formed in 1971, is the agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of ...
*
Dominion Police The Dominion Police Force was the Law enforcement agency#fedpol, federal police force of Canada between 1868 and 1920, and was one of the predecessors of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was the first federal police force in Canada, formed t ...
(1867–1920): merged to form the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP; french: Gendarmerie royale du Canada; french: GRC, label=none), often known as the Mounties, are the federal and national police service of Canada, providing law enforcement at the federal level. The ...

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) *
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, located on Observatory Hill, in Saanich, British Columbia, was completed in 1918 by the Canadian government. The Dominion Architect responsible for the building was Edgar Lewis Horwood. The main instrume ...
(1918–present); now part of the
National Research CouncilNational Research Council may refer to: * National Research Council (Canada), sponsoring research and development * National Research Council (Italy), scientific and technological research, Rome * National Research Council (United States), part of t ...
Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics Front of the Plaskett Telescope Dominion Astrophysical Observatory The NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre (NRC Herzberg, HAA), formerly the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (NRC-HIA), is the leading Canada, Canadian centr ...
* (1960–present); now part of the
National Research CouncilNational Research Council may refer to: * National Research Council (Canada), sponsoring research and development * National Research Council (Italy), scientific and technological research, Rome * National Research Council (United States), part of t ...
Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics Front of the Plaskett Telescope Dominion Astrophysical Observatory The NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre (NRC Herzberg, HAA), formerly the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (NRC-HIA), is the leading Canada, Canadian centr ...
* founded in 1868 and incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1890 Notable Canadian corporations and organizations (not affiliated with government) that have used ''Dominion'' as a part of their name have included: * The Dominion Bank, opened 1871 ** The
Toronto-Dominion Bank The Toronto-Dominion Bank (french: links=no, Banque Toronto-Dominion) is a Canadian multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, ...
, its successor since a 1955 merger with the
Bank of Toronto The Bank of Toronto was a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist ...
; as of 2016 one of the country's major banks * The
Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company Image:olddominionlogo.jpg, The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company Crest The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, operating as The Dominion, was a Canadian general insurance company in operation from 1887 to 2013. The Dominion ...
, founded in 1887; bought out by Travelers in 2013 * The
Dominion Atlantic Railway The Dominion Atlantic Railway was a historic railway which operated in the western part of Nova Scotia in Canada, primarily through an agricultural district known as the Annapolis Valley. The Dominion Atlantic Railway was unusually diverse for a ...
, in Nova Scotia, formed by the 1894 merger of two railways; controlled by the
Canadian Pacific Railway The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) , known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996 and simply Canadian Pacific, is a historic Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be res ...
after 1911, shut down in 1994 * Dominion Stores, a supermarket chain founded in 1927; following a series of acquisitions the last Dominion stores were renamed as
Metro Metro, short for metropolitan, may refer to: Geography * Metro (city), a city in Indonesia * A metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, urban core and its less-populated surro ...
stores in 2008 * The Dominion Institute, created in 1997 to promote awareness of Canadian history and national identity ** The Historica-Dominion Institute, its successor following a 2009 merger with the Historica Foundation; renamed
Historica Canada Historica Canada is Canada's largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of the Canadian history, country's history and Canadian citizenship, citizenship. All of its programs are offered bilingually and reach more than 28 million Canadia ...
in 2013


Ceylon

Ceylon Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island ...

Ceylon
, which, as a Crown colony, was originally promised "fully responsible status within the British Commonwealth of Nations", was formally granted independence as a
Dominion The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other D ...
in 1948. In 1972 it adopted a republican constitution to become the Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka. By a new constitution in 1978, it became the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.


India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
acquired a partially representative government in 1909, and the first Parliament was introduced in 1919. Discussions on the further devolution of power, and granting of Dominion status, continued through the 1920s, with The Commonwealth of India Bill 1925,
Simon Commission The Indian Statutory Commission also referred to as the Simon Commission, was a group of seven Members of Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern pa ...
1927–1930, and
Nehru Report The Nehru Report of 15 August 1928 (approved on 28 August) was a memorandum to appeal for a new dominion status The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion s ...
1928 being often cited proposals. Further powers were eventually devolved, following the 1930–32
Round Table Conferences (India) The three Round Table Conferences of 1930–1932 were a series of peace conferences organized by the British Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of ...
, to the locally elected legislatures, via the
Government of India Act 1935 The Government of India Act, 1935 was an Act of Parliament, Act adapted from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It originally received royal assent in August 1935. It was the longest Act of (British) Parliament ever enacted until Greater Lon ...
. The Cripps Mission of 1942 proposed the further devolution of powers, within Dominion status, to the political leadership of British India. Cripps's plan was rejected and full independence was sought.
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
(including Muslim-majority
East Bengal ur, , common_name = East Bengal , status = Province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...
forming
East Pakistan East Pakistan was a Pakistani province established in 1955 by the One Unit Policy, renaming the province as such from East Bengal , common_name = East Bengal , status = Province of the Dominion of Pakistan , p1 ...
) seceded from India at the point of Indian Independence with the passage of the
Indian Independence Act 1947 The 1947 Indian Independence Act 947 c. 30 (10 & 11. Geo. 6.)is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: ...
and ensuing , resulting in two dominions. For India, dominion status was transitory until its new was drafted and promulgated in 1950.The Statesman's Year Book, p. 635 Pakistan remained a dominion until 1956 when it became an Islamic Republic under its 1956 constitution. East Pakistan gained independence from Pakistan through
Liberation War Wars of national liberation or national liberation revolutions are conflicts fought by nations to gain independence. The term is used in conjunction with wars against foreign powers (or at least those perceived as foreign) to establish separat ...
, as
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-c ...

Bangladesh
, in 1971.


Irish Free State / Ireland

The
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
(Ireland from 1937) was a British Dominion between 1922 and 1949. As established by the Irish Free State Constitution Act of the
United Kingdom Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
on 6 December 1922 the new state—which had Dominion status in the likeness of that enjoyed by Canada within the
British Commonwealth of Nations British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...

British Commonwealth of Nations
—comprised the whole of Ireland. However, provision was made in the Act for the
Parliament of Northern Ireland The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule Home rule is government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens. It is thus the power of a part (administrative division Administrative division, administrativ ...
to opt out of inclusion in the Irish Free State, which—as had been widely expected at the time—it duly did one day after the creation of the new state, on 7 December 1922. Following a plebiscite of the people of the Free State held on 1 July 1937, a new constitution came into force on 29 December of that year, establishing a
successor state Succession of states is a theory A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic ...

successor state
with the name of "Ireland" which ceased to participate in Commonwealth conferences and events. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom and other member states of the Commonwealth continued to regard Ireland as a Dominion owing to the unusual role accorded to the British Monarch under the Irish External Relations Act of 1936. Ultimately, however, Ireland's
Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, count ...
passed the
Republic of Ireland Act A republic () is a List of forms of government, form of government in which "supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives". In republics, the country is considered a "public matter", not the Res privata, private concer ...
1948, which came into force on 18 April 1949 and unequivocally ended Ireland's links with the British Monarch and the Commonwealth.


Newfoundland

The colony of
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
enjoyed responsible government from 1855 to 1934. It was among the colonies declared Dominions in 1907. Following the recommendations of a Royal Commission, parliamentary government was suspended in 1934 due to severe financial difficulties resulting from the depression and a series of riots against the Dominion government in 1932. In 1949, it joined Canada and the
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
was restored.


New Zealand

The
New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 (15 & 16 Vict. c. 72) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: ...
gave New Zealand its own Parliament (General Assembly) and home rule in 1852. In 1907 New Zealand was proclaimed the
Dominion of New Zealand The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire. New Zealand became a separate British Crown colony in 1841 ...
. New Zealand, Canada, and Newfoundland used the word Dominion in the official title of the nation, whereas Australia used
Commonwealth of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from ...
and South Africa
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost ...
. New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster in 1947 and in the same year legislation passed in London gave New Zealand full powers to amend its own constitution. In 1986, the New Zealand parliament passed the
Constitution Act 1986 The Constitution Act 1986 is an Act of the New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 7 ...
, which repealed the Constitution Act of 1852 and the last constitutional links with the United Kingdom, formally ending its Dominion status.


South Africa

The
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost ...
was formed in 1910 from the four self-governing colonies of the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Cro ...
,
Natal NATAL or Natal may refer to: Places * Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, a city in Brazil * Natal, South Africa (disambiguation), a region in South Africa ** Natalia Republic, a former country (1839–1843) ** Colony of Natal, a former British colony (18 ...
, the
TransvaalTransvaal is a historical geographic term associated with land north of (''i.e.'', beyond) the Vaal River in South Africa. A number of states and administrative divisions have carried the name Transvaal. * South African Republic (1856–1902; af, Z ...
, and the
Orange River Colony The Orange River Colony was the British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign co ...
(the last two were former
Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans-speaking colonist A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize Colonization, or colonisation ...

Boer
republics). The
South Africa Act 1909 The South Africa Act 1909 was an Act of the British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assemb ...
provided for a Parliament consisting of a Senate and a House of Assembly. The provinces had their own legislatures. In 1961, the Union of South Africa adopted a new constitution, became a republic, left the Commonwealth (and re-joined following end of Apartheid rule in 1994), and became the present-day
Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 milli ...

Republic of South Africa
.


Southern Rhodesia

Southern Rhodesia The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a landlocked self-governing colony, self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa, established in 1923 and consisting of British South Africa Company (BSAC) territories lying south of the Zambezi R ...
(renamed Zimbabwe in 1980) was a special case in the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. Although it was never a Dominion de jure, it was treated as a Dominion in many respects, and came to be regarded as a de facto Dominion. Southern Rhodesia was formed in 1923 out of
territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In most country, countries, a ''territory'' is an organized division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally d ...
of the
British South Africa Company The British South Africa Company (BSAC or BSACo) was charteredChartered may refer to: * Charter, a legal document conferring rights or privileges ** University charter ** Chartered company * Chartered (professional), a professional credential * ...
and established as a self-governing colony with substantial autonomy on the model of the Dominions. The imperial authorities in London retained direct powers over foreign affairs, constitutional alterations, native administration and bills regarding mining revenues, railways and the governor's salary. Southern Rhodesia was not one of the territories that were mentioned in the 1931 Statute of Westminster although relations with Southern Rhodesia were administered in London through the Dominion Office, not the
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of governmen ...
. When the Dominions were first treated as foreign countries by London for the purposes of diplomatic immunity in 1952, Southern Rhodesia was included in the list of territories concerned. This semi-Dominion status continued in Southern Rhodesia between 1953 and 1963, when it joined
Northern Rhodesia Northern Rhodesia was a protectorate in southern Africa, south central Africa, formed in 1911 by Amalgamation (politics), amalgamating the two earlier protectorates of Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia.''Commonwealth ...
and
Nyasaland Nyasaland () was a British protectorate located in Africa that was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate The British Central Africa Protectorate (BCA) was a British protectorate A protectorate is a stat ...
in the
Central African Federation Central is an adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign languag ...
, with the latter two territories continuing to be British protectorates. When Northern Rhodesia was given independence in 1964 it adopted the new name of Zambia, prompting Southern Rhodesia to shorten its name to
Rhodesia Rhodesia (, ), officially from 1970 the Republic of Rhodesia, was an unrecognised state in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is p ...

Rhodesia
, but Britain did not recognise this latter change. Appendix to Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965 as a result of the British government's insistence on no independence before majority rule (NIBMAR). London regarded this declaration as illegal, and applied sanctions and expelled Rhodesia from the
sterling area The sterling area (or sterling bloc, legally scheduled territories) was a group of countries that either pegged their currencies to the pound sterling, or actually used the pound as their own currency. The area began to appear informally duri ...

sterling area
. Rhodesia continued with its Dominion-style constitution until 1970, and continued to issue British passports to its citizens. The Rhodesian government continued to profess its loyalty to the Sovereign, despite being in a state of rebellion against Her Majesty's Government in London, until 1970, when it adopted a republican constitution following a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
the previous year. This endured until the state's reconstitution as
Zimbabwe Rhodesia Zimbabwe Rhodesia (), alternatively known as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and also informally known as Zimbabwe, was a de facto sovereign state that existed from 1 June 1979 to 11 December 1979. Zimbabwe Rhodesia was preceded by another unrecognised st ...
in 1979 under the terms of the
Internal Settlement The Internal Settlement was an agreement which was signed on 3 March 1978 between Prime Minister of Rhodesia Ian Smith and the moderate African nationalist leaders comprising Bishop Abel Muzorewa Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa (14 April 1925 – 8 Ap ...

Internal Settlement
; this lasted until the
Lancaster House Agreement The Lancaster House Agreement, signed on 21 December 1979, declared a ceasefire, ending the Rhodesian Bush War The Rhodesian Bush War—also called the Second Chimurenga as well as the Zimbabwe War of Liberation—was a civil conflict ...
of December 1979, which put it under interim British rule while fresh elections were held. The country achieved independence deemed legal by the international community in April 1980, when Britain granted independence under the name Zimbabwe.


Other Dominions

Several of Britain's newly independent colonies were dominions during the period from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. Their gradualist constitutions, featuring a Westminster-style parliamentary government and the British monarch as head of state, were typically replaced by republican constitutions in less than a generation: In Africa, the
Dominion of Ghana Ghana was the first African country colonised by European powers to achieve independence under majority rule. During the first three years after independence, from 1957 to 1960, a Westminster system of government was in place and the British mon ...
(formerly the
Gold Coast Gold Coast may refer to: Places Africa * Gold Coast (region), in West Africa, which was made up of the following colonies, before being established as the independent nation of Ghana: ** Portuguese Gold Coast (Portuguese, 1482–1642) ** Dutch Gol ...
) existed from 1957 until 1960, when it became the
Republic of Ghana Ghana (), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It spans the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, sharing borders with the Ivory Coast in Ghana–Ivory Coast border, the west, Burkina Faso in Burkina Fa ...
. The
Federation of Nigeria The Federation of Nigeria was a predecessor to modern-day Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It borders Niger in Niger–Nigeria border, the north, Chad in Chad–Nigeria border, th ...
was established as a dominion in 1960, but became the
Federal Republic of Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, ...
in 1963. The Dominion of
Uganda Uganda (Ugandan Languages: Yuganda), officially the Republic of Uganda ( sw, Jamhuri ya Uganda), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic ba ...
existed from 1962 to 1963.
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally written in Swahili language, Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya ...
was a dominion upon independence in 1963, but a republic was declared in 1964.
Tanganyika Tanganyika may refer to: * Tanganyika (territory) Tanganyika was a territory located on the continent of Africa, and administered by the United Kingdom from 1916 until 1961. The UK initially administered the territory as an occupying power with ...
was a dominion from 1961 to 1962, after which it became a republic and then merged with the former British protectorate of Zanzibar to become
Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the Africa Africa is the world's second-larges ...

Tanzania
. The Dominion of
Gambia The Gambia (), officially the Republic of The Gambia, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ca ...
existed from 1965 until 1970, when it was renamed the Republic of Gambia.
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone (, also , ), officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 co ...
was a dominion from 1961 to 1971.
Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: Maurice, link=no ; mfe, label=Mauritian Creole Mauritian Creole or Morisien or formerly Morisyen ( mfe, kreol morisien, links=no ) is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: ...
was a dominion from 1968 to 1992, when it became a republic.
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...
was a dominion from 1964 to 1974.


Foreign relations

Initially, the Foreign Office of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
conducted the foreign relations of the Dominions. A Dominions section was created within the Colonial Office for this purpose in 1907. Canada set up its own
Department of External Affairs A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawe ...
in June 1909, but diplomatic relations with other governments continued to operate through the governors-general, Dominion High Commissioners in London (first appointed by Canada in 1880; Australia followed only in 1910), and British legations abroad. Britain deemed her declaration of war against
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
in August 1914 to extend to all territories of the Empire without the need for consultation, occasioning some displeasure in Canadian official circles and contributing to a brief anti-British insurrection by
Afrikaner Afrikaners () are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from Free Burghers, predominantly Dutch settlers first arriving at the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th and 18th centuries.Entry: Cape Colony. ''Encyclopædia Britannica Volume 4 Par ...
militants in South Africa later that year. A Canadian War Mission in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
, dealt with supply matters from February 1918 to March 1921. Although the Dominions had had no formal voice in declaring war, each became a separate signatory of the June 1919 peace
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
, which had been negotiated by a British-led united Empire delegation. In September 1922, Dominion reluctance to support British military action against
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...
influenced Britain's decision to seek a compromise settlement. Diplomatic autonomy soon followed, with the U.S.-Canadian Halibut Treaty (March 1923) marking the first time an international agreement had been entirely negotiated and concluded independently by a Dominion. The Dominions Section of the
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of governmen ...
was upgraded in June 1926 to a separate Dominions Office; however, initially, this office was held by the same person that held the office of
Secretary of State for the Colonies The secretary of state for the colonies or colonial secretary was the British Cabinet The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown in the government of the United Kingdom The Government of ...
. The principle of Dominion equality with Britain and independence in foreign relations was formally recognised by the
Balfour Declaration The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine (region), Palestine, then an ...
, adopted at the
Imperial Conference Imperial Conferences (Colonial Conferences before 1907) were periodic gatherings of government leaders from the self-governing colonies and dominions of the British Empire between 1887 and 1937, before the establishment of regular Meetings of ...
of November 1926. Canada's first permanent diplomatic mission to a foreign country opened in Washington, D.C., in 1927. In 1928, Canada obtained the appointment of a British high commissioner in
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...

Ottawa
, separating the administrative and diplomatic functions of the governor-general and ending the latter's anomalous role as the representative of the British government in relations between the two countries. The Dominions Office was given a separate secretary of state in June 1930, though this was entirely for domestic political reasons given the need to relieve the burden on one ill minister whilst moving another away from unemployment policy. The Balfour Declaration was enshrined in the
Statute of Westminster 1931 The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and ...
when it was adopted by the British Parliament and subsequently ratified by the Dominion legislatures. Britain's declaration of hostilities against Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939 tested the issue. Most took the view that the declaration did not commit the Dominions. Ireland chose to remain neutral. At the other extreme, the conservative Australian government of the day, led by
Robert Menzies Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, (; 20 December 189415 May 1978), was an Australian politician who served as the 12th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either th ...
, took the view that, since Australia had not adopted the Statute of Westminster, it was legally bound by the UK declaration of war—which had also been the view at the outbreak of the First World War—though this was contentious within Australia. Between these two extremes, New Zealand declared that as Britain was or would be at war, so it was too. This was, however, a matter of political choice rather than legal necessity. Canada issued its own declaration of war after a recall of Parliament, as did South Africa after a delay of several days (South Africa on 6 September, Canada on 10 September).
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, which had negotiated the removal of British forces from its territory the year before, remained neutral. There were soon signs of growing independence from the other Dominions: Australia opened a diplomatic mission in the US in 1940, as did New Zealand in 1941, and Canada's mission in Washington gained
embassy A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (new ...
status in 1943.


From Dominions to Commonwealth realms

Initially, the Dominions conducted their own trade policy, some limited foreign relations and had autonomous
armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
, although the British government claimed and exercised the exclusive power to declare wars. However, after the passage of the Statute of Westminster the language of dependency on the Crown of the United Kingdom ceased, where the Crown itself was no longer referred to as the Crown of any place in particular but simply as "the Crown".
Arthur Berriedale Keith Arthur Berriedale Keith (5 April 1879 – 6 October 1944) was a Scottish constitutional lawyer, scholar of Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the In ...
, in Speeches and Documents on the British Dominions 1918–1931, stated that "the Dominions are sovereign international States in the sense that the King in respect of each of His Dominions (Newfoundland excepted) is such a State in the eyes of international law". After then, those countries that were previously referred to as "Dominions" became Commonwealth realms where the sovereign reigns no longer as the British monarch, but as monarch of each nation in its own right, and are considered equal to the UK and one another. The
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, which fatally undermined Britain's already weakened commercial and financial leadership, further loosened the political ties between Britain and the Dominions. Australian Prime Minister
John Curtin John Curtin (8 January 1885 – 5 July 1945) was an Australian politician who served as the 14th prime minister of Australia from 1941 until his death in 1945. He led the country for the majority of World War II, including all but the last few ...
's unprecedented action (February 1942) in successfully countermanding an order from British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Winston Churchill
that Australian troops be diverted to defend British-held
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...

Burma
(the 7th Division was then en route from the Middle East to Australia to defend against an expected Japanese invasion) demonstrated that Dominion governments might no longer subordinate their own national interests to British strategic perspectives. To ensure that Australia had full legal power to act independently, particularly in relation to foreign affairs, defence industry and military operations, and to validate its past independent action in these areas, Australia formally adopted the Statute of Westminster in October 1942''Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942'' (Act no. 56 of 1942). The long title for the Act was "To remove Doubts as to the Validity of certain Commonwealth Legislation, to obviate Delays occurring in its Passage, and to effect certain related purposes, by adopting certain Sections of the Statute of Westminster, 1931, as from the Commencement of the War between His Majesty the King and Germany." Link
''www.foundingdocs.gov.au''
.
and backdated the adoption to the start of the war in September 1939. The Dominions Office merged with the
India Office 275px, The western or park end of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's building in 1866. It was then occupied by the Foreign and India Offices, while the Home and Colonial Offices occupied the Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the C ...
as the
Commonwealth Relations Office The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a British Cabinet minister responsible for dealing with the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,U ...
upon the independence of India and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
in August 1947. The last country officially made a Dominion was
Ceylon Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island ...

Ceylon
in 1948. The term "Dominion" fell out of general use thereafter.
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
ceased to be a member of the Commonwealth on 18 April 1949, upon the coming into force of the
Republic of Ireland Act 1948 The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 (No. 22 of 1948) is an Act of the Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the aut ...
. This formally signalled the end of the former dependencies' common constitutional connection to the British Crown. India also adopted a republican constitution in January 1950. Unlike many dependencies that became republics, Ireland never re-joined the Commonwealth, which agreed to accept the British monarch as head of that association of independent states. The independence of the separate realms was emphasised after the accession of Queen
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...
in 1952, when she was proclaimed not just as
Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or ...
, but also
Queen of Canada The monarchy of Canada is the institution in which a person serves as Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic O ...
,
Queen of Australia The monarchy of Australia refers to the institution in which a person serves as Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent) ...
,
Queen of New Zealand The monarchy of New Zealand is the constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a genera ...
, Queen of South Africa, and of all her other "realms and territories" etc. This also reflected the change from ''Dominion'' to ''realm''; in the proclamation of
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...
's new titles in 1953, the phrase "of her other Realms and Territories" replaced "Dominion" with another mediaeval French word with the same connotation, "realm" (from ''royaume''). Thus, recently, when referring to one of those fifteen countries within the Commonwealth of Nations that share the same monarch, the phrase ''
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
'' has come into common usage instead of ''Dominion'' to differentiate the Commonwealth nations that continue to share the
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
as
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
(Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, etc.) from those that do not (India, Pakistan, South Africa, etc.). The term "Dominion" is still found in the
Canadian constitution The Constitution of Canada (french: Constitution du Canada) is the supreme law in Canada. It outlines Canada's system of government and the civil and human rights of those who are citizens of Canada and non-citizens in Canada. Its contents ar ...
where it appears numerous times, but it is largely a vestige of the past, as the Canadian government does not actively use it (''see
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...
section''). The term "realm" does not appear in the Canadian constitution. The generic language of Dominion did not cease in relation to the Sovereign. It was, and is, used to describe territories in which the monarch exercises sovereignty. Many distinctive characteristics that once pertained only to Dominions are now shared by other states in the Commonwealth, whether
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
s, independent realms, associated states or territories. The practice of appointing a High Commissioner instead of a diplomatic representative such as an ambassador for communication between the government of a Dominion and the British government in London continues in respect of Commonwealth realms and republics as sovereign states.


See also

* Changes in British sovereignty *
Colonisation Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their—or their ancestors'—former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such ...

Colonisation
*
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
*
Sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
* Timeline of national independence


Notes


References

* Buckley, F. H., ''The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America'', Encounter Books, 2014. * Choudry, Sujit. 2001 (?)
"Constitution Acts"
(based on looseleaf by Hogg, Peter W.).
Constitutional Keywords
'.
University of Alberta The University of Alberta, also known as U of A or UAlberta, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organizatio ...

University of Alberta
, Centre for Constitutional Studies: Edmonton. * Holland, R. F., ''Britain and the Commonwealth Alliance 1918-1939'', MacMillan, 1981. * Forsey, Eugene A. 2005
''How Canadians Govern Themselves''
6th ed. () Canada: Ottawa. * Hallowell, Gerald, ed. 2004. ''The Oxford Companion to Canadian History''.
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for fre ...

Oxford University Press
: Toronto; p. 183-4 (). * Marsh, James H., ed. 1988.
Dominion of Canada
''et al.'' ''
The Canadian Encyclopedia ''The Canadian Encyclopedia'' (TCE; french: L'Encyclopédie canadienne) is the national encyclopedia An encyclopedia (American English), encyclopædia (archaic spelling), or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendi ...
''. Hurtig Publishers: Toronto. * Martin, Robert. 1993 (?)
1993 Eugene Forsey Memorial Lecture: A Lament for British North America
''The Machray Review''. Prayer Book Society of Canada. A summative piece about nomenclature and pertinent history with abundant references. * Rayburn, Alan. 2001. ''Naming Canada: stories about Canadian place names'', 2nd ed. ()
University of Toronto Press The University of Toronto Press is a Canadian university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or fo ...
: Toronto.


Further reading

* {{Subject bar, portal1=Australia, portal2=British Empire, portal3=United Kingdom , portal4=Canada, portal5=History, portal6=India, portal7=Ireland, portal8=Monarchy, portal9=Pakistan, portal10=Sri Lanka, portal11=South Africa, portal12=New Zealand, portal13= Trinidad and Tobago, d=y, d-search=Q29051969 Governance of the British Empire History of the Commonwealth of Nations History of the Republic of Ireland Legal history of Canada Monarchy Client state