Dominion

Dominion

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Dominion'
Start a new discussion about 'Dominion'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

 polities
Polity
Polity is a form of government Aristotle developed in his search for a government that could be most easily incorporated and used by the largest amount of people groups, or states...

 that were nominally under British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

, constituting the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and British Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included (at varying times) Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

, the Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

, and the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. Since 1948, the term "dominion" has been used to denote those independent nations of the British Commonwealth that shared with the United Kingdom the same person as their respective monarch. These have included (at varying times) Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Dominion of Ceylon
The Dominion of Ceylon, known today as Sri Lanka, was a dominion, in the British Empire between 1948 and 1972. In 1948, British Ceylon was granted independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. In 1972, the Dominion of Ceylon became a republic within the Commonwealth, and its name was changed to Sri Lanka...

, Kenya, and others, in addition to the earlier dominions. Many of the former British colonies that were granted independence in the decades following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 were called "Dominions" in their constitutions of independence. In many cases, these countries soon became republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

s, thus ending their status as Dominions (for example, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan, Kenya, and Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

). The United Kingdom and the other remaining monarchies are today referred to as Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s.

Definition



In English common law the Dominions of the British Crown referred to all the realms and territories under the sovereignty of the Crown. For example, the Order in Council that annexed the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 in 1914 provided that:
Use of the word Dominion, to refer to a particular territory, dates back to the 16th century, and was used to describe Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 from 1535 to around 1800. Dominion, as an official title, was first conferred on Virginia, circa 1660 and the Dominion of New England
Dominion of New England
The Dominion of New England in America was an administrative union of English colonies in the New England region of North America. The dominion was ultimately a failure because the area it encompassed was too large for a single governor to manage...

 in 1686. These dominions never had semi-autonomous or self-governing status. On the other hand, under the British North America Act 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

, eastern Canada received the status of "Dominion" upon the Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

 in 1867 of several British possessions
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

The Colonial Conference of 1907 was the first time that the self-governing colonies of Canada and the Commonwealth of Australia were referred to collectively as Dominions. Two other self-governing colonies
Self-governing colony
A self-governing colony is a colony with an elected legislature, in which politicians are able to make most decisions without reference to the colonial power with formal or nominal control of the colony...

, New Zealand and Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

, were also granted the status of Dominions that year. These were followed by the Union of South Africa (1910) and the Irish Free State (1922). At the time of the founding of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

, the League Covenant made specific provisions 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’ and a ‘State’."

Dominion status was formally defined in the Balfour Declaration of 1926, which recognised these countries as "autonomous Communities within the British Empire", thus acknowledging them as political equals of the United Kingdom; the Statute of Westminster 1931
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 converted this status into legal reality, making them essentially independent members of what was then called the British Commonwealth.

Following the Second World War, the decline of British colonialism led to Dominions generally being referred to as Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s, the use of the word gradually diminished within these countries after this time. Nonetheless, though disused, it remains Canada's legal title; moreover, the phrase Her Majesty's Dominions is still used occasionally in current-day legal documents in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

Overseas dominions


Dominions originally referred to any land in possession of the British Empire. Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

's full title in the 1650s was the "Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging". In 1660, King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 gave the Colony of Virginia the title of "Dominion" (in name only) in gratitude for Virginia's loyalty to the Crown during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. The Commonwealth of Virginia, a State of the United States still has "The Old Dominion" as one of its nicknames. The name "Dominion" also occurred in that of the short-lived Dominion of New England
Dominion of New England
The Dominion of New England in America was an administrative union of English colonies in the New England region of North America. The dominion was ultimately a failure because the area it encompassed was too large for a single governor to manage...

 (1686 – 89). In all of these cases, the word Dominion implied being a subject of the Empire.

Responsible government



The foundation of "Dominion" status was the achievement of internal self-rule in the form of "responsible government
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

". Responsible government in British colonies began to emerge in the 1840s—typically with Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 cited as the first colony to achieve it in early 1848—and then being granted to most of the major settler colonies—British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

—by 1856. Most of the territories of British North America were joined in a federal union between 1867 and 1873 under the authority of the British North America Act of 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

, which called the new entity a "Dominion" (Section 3 of the British North America Act of 1867).

The Commonwealth of Australia, and New Zealand, were both designated as dominions in 1907. The Australian Constitutions Act 1850 established the machinery for the four then existing Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n colonies (namely New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

, and South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

) to establish local parliaments and responsible government
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

s once certain conditions had been met. This act also separated the State of Victoria from New South Wales and established it as a separate colony—carried out in 1851—with a similar capability to attain self-government. New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

, South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

, and Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, along with New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, attained responsible government
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

s soon after in 1856. The self-government for Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

 was delayed until 1891, mainly because of its continuing dependence, financially, on the government of the United Kingdom. Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 was separated from New South Wales and established as a separate colony in the year 1859. These acts left a large piece of territory in northern Australia as being still part (technically) of New South Wales, though physically separated from it. This land was transferred in part to Queensland and in part to South Australia in 1863. In 1911, the large area of its land that had been governed by South Australia was transferred to the direct control of the Commonwealth of Australia to form the Northern Territory
Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, occupying much of the centre of the mainland continent, as well as the central northern regions...

.

The Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

 became a Dominion in 1910. It had contained several colonies that had become self-governing earlier, with the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take...

 being the first in 1872. This was followed by Natal
Colony of Natal
The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on May 4, 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia, and on 31 May 1910 combined with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa, as one of its...

 in 1893, Transvaal in 1906, and the Orange River Colony
Orange River Colony
The Orange River Colony was the British colony created after this nation first occupied and then annexed the independent Orange Free State in the Second Boer War...

 in 1907.

Canada and Confederation


The 20th century usage of the term "Dominion" can be traced to a suggestion by Samuel Leonard Tilley
Samuel Leonard Tilley
Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, PC, KCMG was a Canadian politician and one of the Fathers of Confederation. Tilley was descended from United Empire Loyalists on both sides of his family...

 at the London Conference of 1866
London Conference of 1866
The London Conference was held in the United Kingdom and began on 4 December 1866, and it was the final in a series of conferences or debates that led to Canadian confederation in 1867. Sixteen delegates from the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick gathered with officials of the...

 discussing the confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

 of five of the British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

n possessions, the Province of Canada
Province of Canada
The Province of Canada, United Province of Canada, or the United Canadas was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of...

 (subsequently becoming the Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec), New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

, and Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 into "One Dominion under the Name of Canada", the first internal federation in 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, "A Mari Usque Ad Mare
A Mari Usque Ad Mare
A Mari Usque Ad Mare is the Canadian national motto. The phrase comes from the Latin Psalm 72:8 in the Holy Bible, which reads "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae" .-History:The first recorded use of the phrase to represent Canada...

." The new government of Canada under the British North America Act of 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 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 Forsey
Eugene Alfred Forsey, served in the Canadian Senate from 1970 to 1979. He was considered to be one of Canada's foremost constitutional experts.- Biography :...

 wrote that the powers acquired since the 1840s that established the system of responsible government
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

 in Canada would simply be transferred to the new Dominion government:
"By the time of Confederation in 1867, this system had been operating in most of what is now central and eastern Canada for almost 20 years. The Fathers of Confederation simply continued the system they knew, the system that was already working, and working well."


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.
At its inception in 1867, Canada's colonial status was marked by political and legal subjugation to British Imperial supremacy in all aspects of government—legislative, judicial, and executive. The Imperial Parliament at Westminster could legislate on any matter to do with Canada and could override any local legislation, the final court of appeal for Canadian litigation lay with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, the Governor General had a substantive role as a representative of the British government, and ultimate executive power was vested in the British Monarch—who was advised only by British Ministers in its exercise. Canada's independence came about as each of these sub-ordinations was eventually removed.

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.
When the Dominion of Canada was created in 1867, it was granted powers of self-government to deal with all internal matters, but Britain still retained overall legislative supremacy. This Imperial supremacy could be exercised through several statutory measures. In the first place, the British North America Act of 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 provided in Section 55 that the Governor General may reserve any legislation passed by the two Houses of Parliament for "the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure," which is determined according to Section 57 by the British Monarch in Council. Secondly, Section 56 provides that the Governor General must forward to "one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State" in London a copy of any Federal legislation that has been assented to. Then, within two years after the receipt of this copy, the (British) Monarch in Council could disallow an Act. Thirdly, at least, four pieces of Imperial legislation constrained the Canadian legislatures. The Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865 provided that no colonial law could validly conflict with, amend, or repeal Imperial legislation that either explicitly, or by necessary implication, applied directly to that colony. The Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, as well as the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act of 1890 required reservation of Dominion legislation on those topics for approval by the British Government. Also, the Colonial Stock Act of 1900 provided for the disallowance of any Dominion legislation the British government felt would harm British stockholders of Dominion trustee securities. Most importantly, however, the British Parliament could exercise the legal right of supremacy that it possessed over common law to pass any legislation on any matter affecting the colonies.


Furthermore, for decades none of the Dominions was allowed to have its own embassies or consulates 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 (document)
A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

s and lost or stolen passport
Passport
A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

s by citizens of the Dominions were carried out at British diplomatic offices. It was not until the late 1930s and early 40s 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
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 and in Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

 were both established in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine the federal governments of the United States and of Canada not having their own embassies in Ottawa and in Washington.

However, as Heard later explained, the British government seldom invoked its powers over Canadian legislation. Indeed, in the Canadian context, 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 the new governments of certain former British dependencies to assert their independence and to establish constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

al precedents.
What is remarkable about this whole process is that it was achieved with a minimum of legislative amendments. Much of Canada's independence arose from the development of new political arrangements, many of which have been absorbed into judicial decisions interpreting the constitution—with or without explicit recognition. Canada's passage from an integral part of the British Empire to an independent member of the Commonwealth richly illustrates the way fundamental constitutional rules evolved through the interaction of constitutional convention, international law, and municipal statute and case law, although British statutory law
Statutory law
Statutory law or statute law is written law set down by a legislature or by a legislator .Statutes may originate with national, state legislatures or local municipalities...

 was also involved.

The Colonial Conference of 1907


Issues of colonial self-government spilled into foreign affairs with the Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 (1899–1902). The self-governing colonies contributed significantly to British efforts to stem the insurrection, but assured that they set the conditions for participation in these wars. Colonial governments repeatedly acted to assure that they determined the extent of their peoples' participation in imperial wars in the military build-up to the First World War.

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 the running the foreign affairs of the empire.

The Colony of New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, which chose not to take part in Australian federation, quickly became the Dominion of New Zealand
Dominion of New Zealand
The Dominion of New Zealand is the former name of the Realm of New Zealand.Originally administered from New South Wales, New Zealand became a direct British colony in 1841 and received a large measure of self-government following the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852...

 on 26 September 1907; Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

 became a Dominion on the same day. The newly-created Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

 would also be referred to as a Dominion in 1910.

The First World War and the 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."

The Irish Free State


The Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 set up in 1922, after the Anglo-Irish War was the first Dominion to appoint a non-British, non-aristocratic Governor-General, when Timothy Michael Healy
Timothy Michael Healy
Timothy Michael Healy, KC , also known as Tim Healy, was an Irish nationalist politician, journalist, author, barrister and one of the most controversial Irish Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 took the position in 1922. Dominion status was never popular in the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 where people saw it as a face-saving measure for a British government unable to countenance a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 in what had previously been the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. 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
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

 that included powers for a President of Ireland and a law confirming the king's role of head of state in external relations.

The Second Balfour Declaration and the Statute of Westminster


The Balfour Declaration of 1926, and the subsequent Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

, 1931, restricted Britain's ability to pass or affect laws outside of its own jurisdiction. Significantly, Britain initiated the change to complete independence for the Dominions. World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 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
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. Established by the Judicial Committee Act 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King in Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is one of the highest courts in the United...

 to delineate the Quebec-Labrador boundary. Full autonomy was granted by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 parliament with the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 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
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 of 1934 suspended self-government and instituted a "Commission of Government
Commission of Government
The Commission of Government was a non-elected body that governed Newfoundland from 1934 to 1949...

," which continued until Newfoundland became a province of Canada
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 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, 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." Today Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are sometimes referred to collectively as the "White Commonwealth."

The United Kingdom and its component parts never aspired to the title of "Dominion," remaining anomalies within the network of free and independent equal members of the empire and Commonwealth. However, the idea has on occasions been floated by some in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 as an alternative to a United Ireland
United Ireland
A united Ireland is the term used to refer to the idea of a sovereign state which covers all of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland. The island of Ireland includes the territory of two independent sovereign states: the Republic of Ireland, which covers 26 counties of the island, and the...

 if they felt uncomfortable within the United Kingdom.

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 but, 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 by the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. The Constitution of Australia
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth 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 second Balfour Declaration, 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
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

was retroactively adopted to the commencement of the Second World War 1939). In 1930, the Australian Prime Minister, James Scullin
James Scullin
James Henry Scullin , Australian Labor politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Two days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the beginning of the Great Depression and subsequent Great Depression in Australia.-Early life:Scullin was...

, reinforced the right of the overseas Dominions to appoint native-born governors-general, when he advised King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 to appoint Sir Isaac Isaacs
Isaac Isaacs
Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs GCB GCMG KC was an Australian judge and politician, was the third Chief Justice of Australia, ninth Governor-General of Australia and the first born in Australia to occupy that post. He is the only person ever to have held both positions of Chief Justice of Australia and...

 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
Australia Act 1986
The Australia Act 1986 is the name given to a pair of separate but related pieces of legislation: one an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, the other an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

thus becoming fully independent.

Canada



Dominion is the legal title conferred on Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 in the Constitution of Canada
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

, namely the Constitution Act, 1867
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 (British North America Acts
British North America Acts
The British North America Acts 1867–1975 are the original names of a series of Acts at the core of the constitution of Canada. They were enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the Parliament of Canada. In Canada, some of the Acts were amended or repealed by the Constitution Act, 1982....

), and describes the resulting political union. Specifically, the preamble of the BNA Act indicates:
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 ...


and, 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.
Unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, the Name Canada shall be taken to mean Canada as constituted under this Act.


Usage of the term Dominion of Canada was sanctioned as the country's formal political name in 1867 and it predates the general use of the term 'dominion' as applied to the other autonomous regions of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 in 1907.

Some still read the BNA Act passage as specifying this phrase – rather than Canada alone – as the name. The term Dominion of Canada does not appear in the 1867 act nor in the Constitution Act, 1982
Constitution Act, 1982
The Constitution Act, 1982 is a part of the Constitution of Canada. The Act was introduced as part of Canada's process of "patriating" the constitution, introducing several amendments to the British North America Act, 1867, and changing the latter's name in Canada to the Constitution Act, 1867...

 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
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

, do not clarify the point because all nouns were formally capitalised
Capitalization
Capitalization is writing a word with its first letter as a majuscule and the remaining letters in minuscules . This of course only applies to those writing systems which have a case distinction...

 in British legislative style. Indeed, in the original text of the BNA Act, "One" and "Name" were also capitalised.

Frank Scott
F. R. Scott
Francis Reginald Scott, CC commonly known as Frank Scott or F.R. Scott, was a Canadian poet, intellectual and constitutional expert. He helped found the first Canadian social democratic party, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, and its successor, the New Democratic Party...

 theorised that Canada's status as a Dominion ended with the Canadian parliament's declaration of war on Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 on 9 September 1939.

From the 1950s, the federal government began to phase out 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
Dominion Day is a commemoration day of the granting of national status in various Commonwealth countries.-Canada:Dominion Day was the name of the holiday commemorating the formation of Canada as a Dominion on 1 July 1867...

 to Canada Day
Canada Day
Canada Day , formerly Dominion Day , is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act , which united three British colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire...

 in 1982. Official bilingualism laws also contributed to the disuse of dominion, as it has no acceptable equivalent in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

.

While the term may be found in older official documents, and the Dominion Carillonneur still tolls at Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill , colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildingsthe parliament buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada and contains a number of architectural...

, 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.

Defenders of the title Dominion—including monarchists
Monarchism in Canada
Canadian monarchism is the appreciation amongst Canadians for, and thus also advocacy for the retention of, their distinct system of constitutional monarchy, countering anti-monarchical reform as being generally revisionist, idealistic, and ultimately impracticable...

 who see signs of creeping republicanism in Canada—take comfort in the fact that the Constitution Act, 1982 does not mention and therefore does not remove the title, and that a constitutional amendment is 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
    Peace Tower
    The Peace Tower is a focal bell and clock tower, sitting on the central axis of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. The present incarnation replaced the Victoria Tower after the latter burned down in 1916, along with most of the Centre Block...

     since 1916
  • Dominion Day
    Dominion Day
    Dominion Day is a commemoration day of the granting of national status in various Commonwealth countries.-Canada:Dominion Day was the name of the holiday commemorating the formation of Canada as a Dominion on 1 July 1867...

     (1867–1982) – holiday marking Canada's national day; now called Canada Day
    Canada Day
    Canada Day , formerly Dominion Day , is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act , which united three British colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire...

  • Dominion Observatory
    Dominion Observatory
    The Dominion Observatory was an astronomical observatory in Ottawa, Canada that operated from 1902 to 1970. The Observatory was also an institution within the Canadian Federal Government. The observatory grew out of the Department of the Interior's need for the precise coordinates and timekeeping...

     (1905–1970) – weather observatory in Ottawa
    Ottawa
    Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

    ; now used as Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Branch, Natural Resources Canada
    Natural Resources Canada
    The Department of Natural Resources , operating under the FIP applied title Natural Resources Canada , is the ministry of the government of Canada responsible for natural resources, energy, minerals and metals, forests, earth sciences, mapping and remote sensing...

  • Dominion Lands Act
    Dominion Lands Act
    The Dominion Lands Act was an 1872 Canadian law that aimed to encourage the settlement of Canada's Prairie provinces. It was closely based on the United States Homestead Act, setting conditions in which the western lands could be settled and their natural resources developed...

     (1872) – federal lands act; repealed in 1918
  • Dominion Bureau of Statistics
    Dominion Bureau of Statistics
    The Dominion Bureau of Statistics was a Canadian government organization responsible for censuses.It was formed in 1918 by the Statistics Act and replaced by Statistics Canada in 1971....

     (1918–1971) – superseded by Statistics Canada
    Statistics Canada
    Statistics Canada is the Canadian federal government agency commissioned with producing statistics to help better understand Canada, its population, resources, economy, society, and culture. Its headquarters is in Ottawa....

  • Dominion Police
    Dominion Police
    In 1868 the Dominion Police began as a police force protecting the Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and by 1911 it served as Canada's eastern police force .In May 1918, the 969...

     (1867–1920) – merged to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
    Royal Canadian Mounted Police
    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

     (RCMP)
  • Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
    Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
    The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, located on Observatory Hill, in Saanich, British Columbia, was completed in 1918 by the Canadian government. Proposed and designed by John S...

     (1918–1975); now operated as National Research Council (Canada) Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
    Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
    The NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics is the leading Canadian centre for astronomy and astrophysics.Named for the Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, it was formed in 1975 as part of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario...

  • Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
    Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
    The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory is a research facility founded in 1960 and located south-west of Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada. The site houses three instruments – an interferometric radio telescope, a 26-m single-dish antenna, and a solar flux monitor – and...

     (1960–present); now operated by National Research Council (Canada)
  • Dominion of Canada Rifle Association
    Dominion of Canada Rifle Association
    The Dominion of Canada Rifle Association ' was founded in 1868 and incorporated by an Act of Parliament 63-64 Victoria Chapter 99, assented to July 7, 1890, to promote and encourage the training of marksmanship throughout Canada.-Mission:...

     founded in 1868 and incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1890

Toronto-Dominion Bank
Toronto-Dominion Bank
The Toronto-Dominion Bank , is the second-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and based on assets. It is also the sixth largest bank in North America. Commonly known as TD and operating as TD Bank Group, the bank was created in 1955 through the merger of the Bank of Toronto and the...

 (founded as the Dominion Bank in 1871 and later merged with the Bank of Toronto), the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company
Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company
The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company has been in operation since 1887. It one of Canada's oldest insurance companies, and one of the largest property and casualty insurers...

 (founded in 1887), the Dominion Institute (created in 1997), and Dominion (founded in 1927, renamed as Metro stores beginning in August 2008) are notable Canadian corporations not affiliated with government that have used Dominion as a part of their corporate name.

Ceylon/Sri Lanka


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
Dominion of Ceylon
The Dominion of Ceylon, known today as Sri Lanka, was a dominion, in the British Empire between 1948 and 1972. In 1948, British Ceylon was granted independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. In 1972, the Dominion of Ceylon became a republic within the Commonwealth, and its name was changed to Sri Lanka...

 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 and Pakistan


India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 acquired responsible government in 1909, though the first Parliament did not meet until 1919. India and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 separated as independent dominions in 1947. India became a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 in 1950 and Pakistan adopted a republican form of government in 1956.

Irish Free State/Ireland


The Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 was a British Dominion between 1922 and 1949. In 1937 the Irish people established a new state with the name of "Ireland" under a new constitution and ceased participating in Commonwealth conferences and events. However, the United Kingdom and other members of the Commonwealth continued to regard Ireland as being a dominion owing to the unusual role accorded to the British Monarch under the Irish External Relations Act
External Relations Act
The Executive Authority Act 1936 was an Act of the Oireachtas . The Act, which was signed into law on 12 December 1936, was one of two passed hurriedly in the aftermath of the abdication of King Edward VIII to sharply reduce the role of the British monarchy in relation to the Irish Free State...

. Ultimately, however, Ireland's Oireachtas
Oireachtas
The Oireachtas , sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the "national parliament" or legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:*The President of Ireland*The two Houses of the Oireachtas :**Dáil Éireann...

 passed the Republic of Ireland Act
Republic of Ireland Act
The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 is an Act of the Oireachtas which declared the Irish state to be a republic, and vested in the President of Ireland the power to exercise the executive authority of the state in its external relations, on the advice of the Government of Ireland...

, which came into force in 1949 and unequivocally ended Ireland's links with the British Monarch and the Commonwealth.

On establishment of the Irish Free State on 6 December 1922, with dominion status to be in the likeness of Canada, provision was made for Northern Ireland to join the new dominion but with the right to opt out. However, as was widely expected at the time, on the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 chose, under the terms of that treaty, to opt out.

Newfoundland


The colony of Newfoundland enjoyed responsible government from 1855-1934. It was among the colonies declared dominions in 1907. Following the recommendations of a Royal Commission, parliamentary government was suspended in 1934. In 1949, the Dominion of Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

 joined Canada and the legislature was restored.

New Zealand


The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that granted self-government to the colony of New Zealand...

 gave the colony of New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 its own Parliament (General Assembly) and home rule in 1852. In 1907 New Zealand was proclaimed the Dominion of New Zealand
Dominion of New Zealand
The Dominion of New Zealand is the former name of the Realm of New Zealand.Originally administered from New South Wales, New Zealand became a direct British colony in 1841 and received a large measure of self-government following the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852...

. New Zealand, Canada, and Newfoundland actually used the word dominion in the official title of the nation, whereas Australia used the name Commonwealth of Australia and South Africa used the name Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

. New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster in 1947
Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947
The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 was a constitutional Act of the New Zealand Parliament that formally accepted the full external autonomy offered by the British Parliament...

 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 thus becoming fully independent of the United Kingdom.

South Africa


The Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

 was formed in 1910 from the four self-governing colonies of the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

, Natal
Colony of Natal
The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on May 4, 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia, and on 31 May 1910 combined with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa, as one of its...

, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State
Orange Free State
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

 (the last two were former Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

 republics). The South Africa Act 1909
South Africa Act 1909
The South Africa Act 1909 was an Act of the British Parliament which created the Union of South Africa from the British Colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal Colony. The Act also made provisions for admitting Rhodesia as a fifth province of the Union in...

 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, left the Commonwealth, and became the present-day Republic of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

Southern Rhodesia


Southern Rhodesia was a special case in the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. Although it was never a dominion, it was treated as a dominion in many respects. Southern Rhodesia was formed in 1923 out of the territories of the British South Africa Company
British South Africa Company
The British South Africa Company was established by Cecil Rhodes through the amalgamation of the Central Search Association and the Exploring Company Ltd., receiving a royal charter in 1889...

 and established as a self-governing colony with substantial autonomy on the model of the dominions. However, the imperial authorities in London continued to retain direct powers over native affairs. Southern Rhodesia was not included as one of the territories that were mentioned in the 1931 Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 although relations with Southern Rhodesia were administered in London through the Dominion Office, not the Colonial Office
Colonial Office
Colonial Office is the government agency which serves to oversee and supervise their colony* Colonial Office - The British Government department* Office of Insular Affairs - the American government agency* Reichskolonialamt - the German Colonial Office...

. When the dominions were first treated as foreign countries by London for the purposes of diplomatic immunity in 1952, Southern Rhodesia was also included in the list of territories concerned. This semi-dominion status continued in Southern Rhodesia even for the ten years, 1953–1963, when it was joined with Northern Rhodesia
Northern Rhodesia
Northern Rhodesia was a territory in south central Africa, formed in 1911. It became independent in 1964 as Zambia.It was initially administered under charter by the British South Africa Company and formed by it in 1911 by amalgamating North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia...

 and Nyasaland
Nyasaland
Nyasaland or the Nyasaland Protectorate, was a British protectorate located in Africa, which was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate changed its name. Since 1964, it has been known as Malawi....

 in the Central African Federation, even though the latter two continued with their own status as British protectorates. When Northern Rhodesia was given independence in 1964 it adopted the new name of Zambia, and Southern Rhodesia simply reverted to the name Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

.
Rhodesia declared unilateral independence from Britain in 1965 as a result of being pressed into accepting the principles of black majority rule. London regarded this state of unilateral declaration of independence as illegal. It applied sanctions and expelled Rhodesia from the sterling area
Sterling Area
The sterling area came into existence at the outbreak of World War II. It was a wartime emergency measure which involved cooperation in exchange control matters between a group of countries, which at the time were mostly dominions and colonies of the British Empire...

. Nevertheless, Rhodesia continued with its dominion style constitution until 1970, and continued to issue British passports to its citizens. These Rhodesian-issued British passports were only recognised by Portugal and South Africa. In the period from 1965 to 1970, the Rhodesian government continued its loyalty to the Sovereign despite being in a state of rebellion against Her Majesty's government in London. However, in 1970, Rhodesia adopted a republican constitution and in 1980 it was finally granted legal independence by the UK following the transition to black majority rule
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

. The new name of Zimbabwe was then adopted.

Foreign relations


Initially, the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 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 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
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 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 militants in South Africa later that year. A Canadian War Mission in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 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
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, which had been negotiated by a British-led united Empire delegation. In September 1922, Dominion reluctance to support British military action
Chanak Crisis
The Chanak Crisis, also called Chanak Affair in September 1922 was the threatened attack by Turkish troops on British and French troops stationed near Çanakkale to guard the Dardanelles neutral zone. The Turkish troops had recently defeated Greek forces and recaptured İzmir...

 against Turkey
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 influenced Britain's decision to seek a compromise settlement. Diplomatic autonomy soon followed, with the U.S.-Canadian Halibut Treaty
Halibut Treaty
The Halibut Treaty was a 1923 Canadian–American agreement concerning fishing rights in the northern Pacific Ocean.The treaty established the International Pacific Halibut Commission as a mechanism for the joint management of the Pacific halibut which, at that time, was in severe decline...

 (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
Colonial Office
Colonial Office is the government agency which serves to oversee and supervise their colony* Colonial Office - The British Government department* Office of Insular Affairs - the American government agency* Reichskolonialamt - the German 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
Secretary of State for the Colonies
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

.

The principle of Dominion equality with Britain and independence in foreign relations was formally recognised by the Balfour Declaration
Balfour Declaration 1926
The Balfour Declaration of 1926, a report resulting from the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London, was named after the British statesman Arthur Balfour, first Earl of Balfour, Lord President of the Council and a previous Prime Minister of the United Kingdom...

, adopted at the Imperial Conference
Imperial Conferences
Imperial Conferences 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 Commonwealth Prime Ministers in 1944...

 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
High Commissioner
High Commissioner is the title of various high-ranking, special executive positions held by a commission of appointment.The English term is also used to render various equivalent titles in other languages.-Bilateral diplomacy:...

 in Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, 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
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet level position created in 1925 responsible for British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State, as well as the self-governing colony of...

 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
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 when it was adopted by the British Parliament and subsequently ratified by the Dominion legislatures.

Britain's declaration of hostilities against Nazi Germany
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 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
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

, 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 World War I—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 September 6, Canada on September 10). Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, which had negotiated the removal of British forces from its territory the year before, chose to remain neutral throughout the war. 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
Canadian Embassy in Washington
The Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. is Canada's main diplomatic mission to the United States. The embassy building is located at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. between the Capitol and the White House, just north of the National Gallery of Art.- Overview :The embassy had...

 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
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, although the British government claimed and exercised the exclusive power to declare wars. However, after the passage of the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 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 independent 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.

World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, 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
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

's unprecedented action (February 1942) in successfully countermanding an order from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 that Australian troops be diverted to defend British-held Burma
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

 (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 and backdated the adoption to the start of the war in September 1939.

The Dominions Office merged with the India Office
India Office
The India Office was a British government department created in 1858 to oversee the colonial administration of India, i.e. the modern-day nations of Bangladesh, Burma, India, and Pakistan, as well as territories in South-east and Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of the east coast of Africa...

 as the Commonwealth Relations Office upon the independence of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in August 1947. The last country officially made a Dominion was Ceylon
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 in 1948. The term "Dominion" fell out of general use thereafter. Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 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 signaled 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 of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in 1952, when she was proclaimed not just as Queen of the UK, but also Queen of Canada, Queen of Australia
Monarchy in Australia
The Monarchy of Australia is a form of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign of Australia. The monarchy is a constitutional one modelled on the Westminster style of parliamentary government, incorporating features unique to the Constitution of Australia.The present monarch is...

, Queen of New Zealand
Monarchy in New Zealand
The monarchy of New Zealand also referred to as The Crown in Right of New Zealand, Her Majesty in Right of New Zealand, or The Queen in Right of New Zealand is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of the Realm of New Zealand,...

, 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 of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

'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 sixteen countries within the Commonwealth of Nations that share the same monarch, the term Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

has come into common usage instead of Dominion to differentiate the Commonwealth nations that continue to share the monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 as head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 (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; however, it is largely a vestige of the past, as the Canadian government does not actively use it (see Canada section). The term "realm" does not appear in the Canadian constitution. Present-day general usage prefers the term realm because it includes the United Kingdom as well, emphasising equality, and no one nation being subordinate to any other. Dominion, however, as a title, technically remains a term that can be used in reference those self-governing countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, other than the United Kingdom itself, that share the same person as monarch.

The generic language of dominion, however, did not cease in relation to the Sovereign. It was, and is, used to describe territories in which the Monarch exercises her sovereignty. The phrase Her Majesty's dominions being a legal and constitutional term that refers to all the realms and territories of the Sovereign, whether independent or not. Thus, for example, the British Ireland Act, 1949 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), but were protectorates or trust territories (of the United Nations) 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"; become part of the territory in which the Queen exercises sovereignty, not merely suzerainty.

Many distinctive characteristics that once pertained only to Dominions are now shared by other states in the Commonwealth, whether republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

s, independent realms, self-governing colonies or Crown colonies. Even in a historical sense the differences between self-governing colonies and Dominions have often been formal rather than substantial.

See also

  • Name of Canada
  • Crown colony
    Crown colony
    A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

  • Self-governing colony
    Self-governing colony
    A self-governing colony is a colony with an elected legislature, in which politicians are able to make most decisions without reference to the colonial power with formal or nominal control of the colony...

  • Changes in British sovereignty
    Changes in British sovereignty
    A list of former British colonies, dependencies and dates when they severed legal ties with Britain:-Losses in sovereignty or other jurisdiction:*Wei-hai-Wei - fully restored to Chinese sovereignty on 1 October 1930....