Crown colony

Crown colony

A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as a royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire.[1][2]

Crown, or royal, colonies were ruled by a governor appointed at first by the Monarch and later by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.[3] Under the name of "royal colony", the first of what would later become known as Crown colonies was the English Colony of Virginia in the present-day United States, after the Crown took control from the Virginia Company in 1624.[4]

Until the mid-nineteenth century, the term "Crown colony" was primarily used to refer to those colonies which had been acquired through wars, such as Trinidad and Tobago[5] and British Guiana, but after that time it was more broadly applied to any colony other than the Presidencies and provinces of British India and the colonies of settlement, such as The Canadas, Newfoundland, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, and New Zealand, later to become the Dominions.[6]

The term continued to be used up until 1981, when the British Nationality Act 1981 reclassified the remaining British colonies as "British Dependent Territories". From 2002 they have been known as British Overseas Territories.


Types of Crown colony

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

Crown colonies with representative councils such as Bermuda, Jamaica, Ceylon, British Columbia and Fiji contained one or two legislative chambers, consisting of Crown appointed and some locally elected members.

Crown colonies with nominated councils such as British Honduras, Sierra Leone, Grenada and Hong Kong were staffed entirely by Crown appointed members, with some appointed representation from the local population. It should be noted that Hong Kong became a Crown colony with a representative council following the introduction of election for the Hong Kong Legislative Council in 1985.

Crown colonies ruled directly by a Governor such as Basutoland,[7] Gibraltar, Saint Helena and Singapore were fewest in number and had the least autonomy.

See also



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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Crown colony — A colony of the British Empire not having an elective magistracy or a parliament, but governed by a chief magistrate (called Governor) appointed by the Crown, with executive councilors nominated by him and not elected by the people. [Webster 1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crown Colony — ► NOUN ▪ a British colony controlled by the Crown …   English terms dictionary

  • crown colony — n a ↑colony controlled by the British government …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • crown colony — n. a British colony directly under the control of the home government in London …   English World dictionary

  • Crown Colony — noun a British colony controlled by the British Crown, represented by a governor • Hypernyms: ↑colony, ↑dependency * * * noun, pl ⋯ nies [count] : a colony (such as Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands) that is under the control of the British… …   Useful english dictionary

  • crown colony — crown′ col′ony n. gov a British colony in which the crown controls legislation and administration, as distinguished from one having a constitution and representative government • Etymology: 1835–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • crown colony — colony of the British commonwealth ruled by British law …   English contemporary dictionary

  • crown colony — noun Usage: often capitalized both Cs Date: 1828 a British colony over which the Crown retains some control …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • crown colony — a British colony in which the crown has the entire control of legislation and administration, as distinguished from one having a constitution and representative government. [1835 45] * * * …   Universalium

  • Crown Colony — noun a British colony whose legislature and administration is controlled by the Crown, represented by a governor …   English new terms dictionary

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