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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. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

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 Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 60 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most ...
, 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 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: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
,
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 300px, King George V (front, centre) with his prime ministers at the 1926 Imperial Conference.Standing (left to right): Walter Stanley Monroe, Monroe (Newfoundland), Gordon Coates, Coates (New Zealand), Stanley Bruce, Bruce (Australia), J. B. M. ...
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: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New ...
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 adminis ...
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 South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
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 that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, ...
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 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 Welsh statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was the final Liberal to hold the post of prime ministe ...
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, 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 country of the colonizers, the ''metropole, metropol ...

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 intended to deal with the consequences of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 (No. 22 of 1948) is an Act of the Oireachtas The Oirea ...
'', 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 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 territories transferred from the control of o ...
) 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 socia ...
. 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 or representative government, is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected persons representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy Image:Landsgemeinde Gla ...
"). 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 ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin ...
.
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 North America, British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations mad ...
(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 language, English (''d ...

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 ...
and the
North-Western Territory The North-Western Territory was a region of British North America extant until 1870 and named for where it lay in relation to Rupert's Land. Due to the lack of development, exploration, and cartographic limits of the time, the exact boundarie ...
, 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 500px, Boer Republics and Griqua states in Southern Africa, 19th century The Boer Republics (sometimes also referred to as Boer states) were independent, self-governing republic A republic () is a form of government A government i ...
, 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 col ...
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 The Colony of New Zealand was a British colony that existed in New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern P ...
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 South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
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 North America, British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations mad ...
(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 Sovereign state, state or an organization present in another state to represent the sending state or organization officially in the receiving state. In practice, the phrase ...
or
consulate A consulate is the office of a consul (representative), consul. A type of diplomatic mission, it is usually subordinate to the state's main representation in the capital of that foreign country (host state), usually an ''embassy'' or – betw ...

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, landscaped ...
, 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 The Colony of New Zealand was a British colony that existed in New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern P ...
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 South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
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 or ...
, 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 William Allardyce, 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 Her Majesty's Government, British government unable to countenance a republic in what had previously been the 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 of Ireland, constitution that included powers for a president of Ireland and a Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936, law confirming a role for the king in external relations.


Balfour Declaration of 1926 and Statute of Westminster

The
Balfour Declaration of 1926 300px, King George V (front, centre) with his prime ministers at the 1926 Imperial Conference.Standing (left to right): Walter Stanley Monroe, Monroe (Newfoundland), Gordon Coates, Coates (New Zealand), Stanley Bruce, Bruce (Australia), J. B. M. ...
, 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 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[—]confirming Dominion status[—]apply 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 of 1934 suspended self-government and instituted a "Commission of Government", which continued until Newfoundland became a Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada 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 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 300px, King George V (front, centre) with his prime ministers at the 1926 Imperial Conference.Standing (left to right): Walter Stanley Monroe, Monroe (Newfoundland), Gordon Coates, Coates (New Zealand), Stanley Bruce, Bruce (Australia), J. B. M. ...
, 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, reinforced the right of the overseas Dominions to appoint native-born governors-general, when he advised King George V of the United Kingdom, George V to appoint Sir Isaac Isaacs 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''.


Canada

The term ''Dominion'' is employed in the Constitution Act, 1867 (originally the British North America Acts, 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, but does appear in the List of Canadian constitutional documents, 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 capitalization, capitalised in British legislative style. Indeed, in the original text of the Constitution Act, 1867, "One" and "Name" were also capitalised. F. R. Scott, Frank Scott theorised that Canada's status as a Dominion ended when 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 to Canada Day in 1982. Official bilingualism 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, 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 since 1916 * Dominion Day (1867–1982): holiday marking Canada's national day; now called Canada Day * 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 * Dominion Lands Act (1872): federal lands act; repealed in 1918 * Dominion Bureau of Statistics (1918–1971): superseded by Statistics Canada * Dominion Police (1867–1920): merged to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) * Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (1918–present); now part of the National Research Council (Canada), National Research Council Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics * Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (1960–present); now part of the National Research Council (Canada), National Research Council Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics * Dominion of Canada Rifle Association 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, its successor since a 1955 merger with the Bank of Toronto; as of 2016 one of the country's major banks * The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, founded in 1887; bought out by The Travelers Companies, Travelers in 2013 * The Dominion Atlantic Railway, in Nova Scotia, formed by the 1894 merger of two railways; controlled by the Canadian Pacific Railway after 1911, shut down in 1994 * Dominion (supermarket), Dominion Stores, a supermarket chain founded in 1927; following a series of acquisitions the last Dominion stores were renamed as Metro Inc., Metro 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 in 2013


Ceylon

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 of Ceylon, Dominion 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 acquired a partially representative government Indian Councils Act 1909, in 1909, and the first Parliament was introduced Government of India Act 1919, 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 1927–1930, and Nehru Report 1928 being often cited proposals. Further powers were eventually devolved, following the 1930–32 Round Table Conferences (India), to the locally elected legislatures, via the Government of India Act 1935. 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 (including Muslim-majority East Bengal forming East Pakistan) seceded from India at the point of Indian Independence with the passage of the Indian Independence Act 1947 and ensuing partition of India, partition, resulting in two dominions. For India, dominion status was transitory until its new Constitution of India, republican constitution 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 Constitution of Pakistan of 1956, 1956 constitution. East Pakistan History of Bangladesh#Independence movement, gained independence from Pakistan through Bangladesh Liberation War, Liberation War, as 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 1922, Irish Free State Constitution Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom Parliament on 6 December 1922 the new state—which had Dominion status in the likeness of that enjoyed by Canada within the Commonwealth of Nations, British Commonwealth of Nations—comprised the whole of Ireland. However, provision was made in the Act for the Parliament of Northern Ireland 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, Constitution of Ireland, a new constitution came into force on 29 December of that year, establishing a Republic of Ireland, 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 Irish head of state from 1936 to 1949, unusual role accorded to the British Monarch under the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936, Irish External Relations Act of 1936. Ultimately, however, Ireland's Oireachtas passed the Republic of Ireland Act 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 Colony of Newfoundland, Newfoundland 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 Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, legislature was restored.


New Zealand

The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 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 The Colony of New Zealand was a British colony that existed in New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern P ...
. 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 South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
. New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947, 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, 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 South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
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 ...
, Colony of Natal, Natal, 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 col ...
(the last two were former Boer republics). The South Africa Act 1909 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 South Africa, Republic of South Africa.


Southern Rhodesia

Southern Rhodesia (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 company rule in Rhodesia, territories of the British South Africa Company 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. 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 and Nyasaland in the Central African Federation, 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, but Britain did not recognise this latter change. Appendix to Rhodesia Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965 as a result of the British government's insistence on no independence before majority rule, no independence before majority rule (NIBMAR). London regarded this declaration as illegal, and applied sanctions and expelled Rhodesia from the 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 Rhodesian constitutional referendum, 1969, referendum the previous year. This endured until the state's reconstitution as Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979 under the terms of the Internal Settlement; this lasted until the Lancaster House Agreement 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 (formerly the Gold Coast (British colony), Gold Coast) existed from 1957 until 1960, when it became the Republic of Ghana. The Federation of Nigeria was established as a dominion in 1960, but became the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1963. The Dominion of Uganda (1962–1963), Uganda existed from 1962 to 1963. Kenya (1963–1964), Kenya was a dominion upon independence in 1963, but a republic was declared in 1964. Tanganyika (1961–1964), Tanganyika 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. The Dominion of The Gambia (1965–1970), Gambia existed from 1965 until 1970, when it was renamed the The Gambia, Republic of Gambia. Sierra Leone (1961–1971), Sierra Leone was a dominion from 1961 to 1971. Mauritius (1968–1992), Mauritius was a dominion from 1968 to 1992, when it became a republic. State of Malta, Malta was a dominion from 1964 to 1974.


Foreign relations

Initially, the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 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 Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Department of External Affairs 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 German Empire, Germany 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 Afrikaners, Afrikaner 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, landscaped ...
, 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, which had been negotiated by a British-led united Empire delegation. In September 1922, Dominion reluctance to support Chanak Crisis, British military action against Ottoman Empire, Turkey 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 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 principle of Dominion equality with Britain and independence in foreign relations was formally recognised by the Balfour Declaration 1926, Balfour Declaration, adopted at the Imperial Conferences, Imperial Conference 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 (Commonwealth), 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 for Dominion Affairs, 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 World War II, 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, 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). Republic of Ireland, 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 Canadian Embassy in Washington, embassy 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, 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, 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's unprecedented action (February 1942) in successfully countermanding an order from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that Australian troops be diverted to defend British-held Myanmar, 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 as the Commonwealth Relations Office upon the independence of India and Pakistan in August 1947. The last country officially made a Dominion was Sri Lanka, Ceylon in 1948. The term "Dominion" fell out of general use thereafter. Republic of Ireland, 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. 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 of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II in 1952, when she was proclaimed not just as Queen of the United Kingdom, but also Canadian Monarchy, Queen of Canada, Monarchy in Australia, Queen of Australia, Monarchy in New Zealand, Queen of New Zealand, Monarchy of South Africa, 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 Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II's Style of the British sovereign#Styles of British sovereigns, 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 as head of state (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 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 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 republics, 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 *
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 * 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 Peter Hogg, Hogg, Peter W.).
Constitutional Keywords
'. University of Alberta, Centre for Constitutional Studies: Edmonton. * Holland, R. F., ''Britain and the Commonwealth Alliance 1918-1939'', MacMillan, 1981. * Eugene Forsey, 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: Toronto; p. 183-4 (). * Marsh, James H., ed. 1988.
Dominion of Canada
''et al.'' ''Canadian Encyclopedia, The Canadian Encyclopedia''. 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: 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