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Encyclopedia > British overseas territory

A United Kingdom overseas territory (formerly known as a dependent territory or earlier as a crown colony) is a territory that is under the sovereignty and formal control of the United Kingdom but is not part of the United Kingdom proper (almost exclusively Great Britain and Northern Ireland). However, the term "crown colony" is still utilised when referring to the Falkland Islands, British Antarctic Territory, and Gibraltar. Dieu et mon droit (Royal motto) (French for God and my right)3 Northern Irelands location within the UK Official languages English, Irish, Ulster Scots Capital and largest city Belfast First Minister Office suspended Area  - Total Ranked 4th 13,843 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 4th 1,685... Flag of the British Antarctic Territory The British Antarctic Territory is the British claim to land and islands in Antarctica, and is the oldest territorial claim on the continent. ...


Overseas territories should be distinguished from crown dependencies (such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which have a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom), and protectorates (which were not formally under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom). They should also not be confused with Commonwealth realms, which are independent states sharing the same sovereign as the United Kingdom. Crown dependencies are possessions of the British Crown, as opposed to overseas territories or colonies of the United Kingdom. ... The Channel Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Normandy, France, in the English Channel. ... For the rule of Oliver Cromwell, see The Protectorate. ... A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the 16 sovereign states that recognize Queen Elizabeth II as their Queen and head of state. ...


At one time, most crown colonies were directly administered by officials appointed by the British government. Today, however, most overseas territories are self-governing colonies, only relying on the UK for defence, foreign affairs, and some trade issues. The United Kingdom is a unitary state and a democratic constitutional monarchy. ... 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. ...


Overseas territories have never been considered integral parts of the United Kingdom, and have never had representation in the British Parliament, on the grounds that they are separate jurisdictions. This is in contrast to other European countries, such as France, Denmark, and the Netherlands, whose dependencies have varying degrees of integration with their so-called 'mother countries'. Only in Malta was integration ever seriously considered by the British Government, in 1955, but this was later abandoned, while in Gibraltar it was rejected outright by the British government in 1976 (however, Gibraltarians vote in the elections to the European Parliament as part of the UK). Successive British governments have argued against integration, to the effect that it is not an appropriate alternative to the status quo or that it is not a modern form of existence, instead advocating the concept of 'partnership'. The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... The European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union (EU), directly elected by EU citizens once every five years. ...


Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in the overseas territories in her role as Queen of the United Kingdom, not in right of each territory. This contrasts with independent realms of the Commonwealth of Nations, such as Canada or Australia, where the Queen has a separate and distinct role in each realm as "Queen of Canada" or "Queen of Australia". Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born 21 April 1926, is the Queen regnant of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda... Queen Elizabeth II, is the Head of State in many Commonwealth countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Bahamas and many more, as well as crown colonies and overseas territories of the United Kingdom. ... The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ...


Each territory has a Governor (formally appointed by the Queen), who acts as a representative of the UK government. Unlike Governors-General in Commonwealth realms, the Governor may have real power, and is in charge of the territory's internal security matters, as well as acting as a delegate between the territory and the British government. Governors possess the power to dissolve the legislature and must give assent to all laws. Depending on the stage of the colony's evolution (see Stages of colonial evolution) these may be only exercised in a symbolic capacity. The Governor is usually from the United Kingdom. A governor is also a device that regulates the speed of a machine. ... The agencies responsible for the government of the United Kingdom consist of a number of ministerial departments (usually headed by a Secretary of State) and non-ministerial departments headed by senior civil servants. ... Governor-General (or Governor General) is a term used both historically and currently to designate the appointed representative of a head of state or their government for a particular territory, historically in a colonial context, but no longer necessarily in that form. ... The granting of Royal Assent is the formal method by which the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, or the Sovereigns representative in Commonwealth Realms, completes the process of the enactment of legislation by formally assenting to an Act of Parliament. ...


UK government policy on overseas territories is set out in the 1999 White Paper Partnership for Progress and Prosperity: Britain and the Overseas Territories.


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

Contents


Stages of colonial evolution

  1. In the first stage, there is no elected government of any sort. A governor, administrator or commissioner and a group of advisors run the affairs of the colony single-handedly.
  2. In the second stage, a small elected legislature, usually called the legislative council, is founded. From the legislature, the governor appoints an executive council that the governor chairs. The highest ranking bureaucrat is known as the chief secretary.
  3. In the third stage the legislature becomes larger, and political parties usually begin to appear. The cabinet is led by a Chief Minister, who is the leader of the majority party in parliament. The governor's powers are weakened, and deal mostly with foreign affairs and economic issues, while the elected government controls most "domestic" concerns.
  4. In the fourth stage the Chief Minister becomes known as the Premier, and by this time virtually all executive authority has been delegated from the governor. At this stage or possibly the third stage, such a state may be described as a self-governing colony. The colony may be given 'Associated Statehood', as in the case of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent, before they were granted full independence.
  5. The final stage is complete sovereignty and independence from the United Kingdom. The Premier becomes the Prime Minister, and the Governor becomes a Governor General. The new nation only maintains superficial ties to the UK as a Commonwealth Realm, with the British monarch as head of state and (in some cases) the Privy Council as the highest court of appeal. This was originally known as Dominion status, and after 1931 did not include control of foreign affairs or defence policy.

Canada was the first to achieve Dominion status and served as the prototype for devolution elsewhere (Australia, New Zealand). That term has fallen into disuse for reasons of political correctness, and no longer applies to Canada since the 1982 Constitution, which repatriated powers above and beyond those already devolved through the previous Dominion status. The country remains a Commonwealth realm and part of the Commonwealth. A legislature is a governmental deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. ... the term General Secretary (alternatively First Secretary) denotes a leader of various unions, parties or associations. ... A political party is an organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking members of government, typically representing the executive branch. ... A Chief Minister is the elected Head of Government of a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British overseas territory that has attained self-government. ... An aerial view of Parliament of India at New Delhi. ... A premier is an executive official of government. ... 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. ... An associated state is a territory that effectively has independence, but chooses to have constitutional links with another, larger, country that handles its external affairs, unless it decides to seek full independence. ... Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise supreme authority over a geographic region, group of people or oneself. ... Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister A prime minister may be either: chief or leading member of the cabinet of the top-level government in a country having a parliamentary system of government; or the official, in countries with a semi-presidential system of government, appointed to manage the... Governor-General (in Canada, Governor General) is a term used both historically and currently to designate the appointed representative of a head of state or their government for a particular territory, historically in a colonial context, but no longer necessarily in that form. ... A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the 16 sovereign states of the Commonwealth that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their Queen and head of state. ... Her Majestys Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the British Sovereign. ... A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the 16 sovereign states of the Commonwealth that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their Queen and head of state. ... // Definition and linguistics The original phrase common wealth or the common weal is a calque translation of the Latin term res publica (public matters), from which the word republic comes, which was itself used as a synonym for the greek politeia as well as for the republican (i. ...


Most other countries have become republics after independence, as a sort of sixth step, in which constitutional amendments are passed removing the British monarch as Head of State. India was the first country to become a republic while remaining in the Commonwealth, recognising the British monarch as "Head of the Commonwealth". This set a precedent for most other former British colonies, which have since become republics within the Commonwealth. A constitutional amendment is an alteration to the constitution of a nation or a state. ... The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ...


Alternatively, some Commonwealth countries may choose to immediately become a republic upon independence, as did Cyprus, Zambia, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe, or have its own monarchy, like Malaya (now reformed as Malaysia). The fact that many colonies quickly abolished the monarchy after becoming independent made this "automatic" republican status common in the 70's and 80's. It has been suggested that The republican form of government be merged into this article or section. ... A monarchy, (from the Greek monos, one, and archein, to rule) is a form of government that has a monarch as Head of State. ...


Since the process of decolonisation began in the 1960s, steps have been made to remove colonial reference to overseas territories. In 1983, all colonies were known as dependent territories, which later officially became overseas territories in 2002. Even though the nomenclature usually has little effect on the government of these territories, these definitions have implications on British overseas citizenship and immigration in those territories. The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ...


For example, the British Nationality Act 1981 explicitly redefines citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies as: The British Nationality Act 1981 was an Act of Parliament passed by the British Parliament. ...

  1. British citizenship;
  2. British Dependent Territories citizenship; and
  3. British Overseas citizenship, effective 1 January 1983.

The Act had been superseded by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 which granted full British citizenship to all British overseas territories. By this Act, the redefined status of all British territories was evident. January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 is an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom in 2002, which superseded the British Nationality Act 1981. ...


UN Resolution 1514

A milestone of major importance towards decolonisation was the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV), on 14 December 1960. Main article: League of Nations The term United Nations was coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, to refer to the Allies. ... United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. ... December 14 is the 348th day of the year (349th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


89 countries voted in favour, none voted against, 9 abstained. Eight of the abstaining countries were colonial powers, including the United Kingdom.


In 2000, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Resolution 1514, UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 55/146 that declared 2001-2010 the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. This article is about the year 2000. ...


Current overseas territories

Stage Four: Bermuda,
Stage Three: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands
Stage Two: Falkland Islands, Saint Helena, Pitcairn Islands
Stage One: British Indian Ocean Territory, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory (under Antarctic Treaty overlaps Argentine and Chilean claims)

In addition there are the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus. Motto: Leo Terram Propriam Protegat (Latin: The Lion is to exclusively protect this earth) Official language English Capital Grytviken Civil Commissioner Howard Pearce Area  - Total  - % water not ranked 3,093 km² - Population  - Total (2006 E)  - Density not ranked ~20 n/a; Currency GBP Time zone UTC/GMT -2 National anthem... Flag of the British Antarctic Territory The British Antarctic Territory is the British claim to land and islands in Antarctica, and is the oldest territorial claim on the continent. ... The UK Sovereign Base Areas are those British military base areas located in countries formerly ruled by the United Kingdom which were retained by it and not handed over when those countries attained independence. ... There is also an Akrotiri peninsula on the island of Crete. ...


Alphabetically:

Territory Population
Akrotiri and Dhekelia 3,500 military
Anguilla 12,800
Bermuda 64,482
British Antarctic Territory (under Antarctic Treaty overlaps Argentine and Chilean claims) 200 staff
British Indian Ocean Territory (also claimed by Mauritius and Seychelles) 3,200 military and staff
British Virgin Islands 21,730
Cayman Islands 41,934
Falkland Islands (also claimed by Argentina as Malvinas Islands) 2,967
Gibraltar 27,776
Montserrat 9,000
Pitcairn Islands 50
Saint Helena [1] 6563
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (also claimed by Argentina) 11-26 staff
Turks and Caicos Islands 19,500

^  Includes Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha There is also an Akrotiri peninsula on the island of Crete. ... Flag of the British Antarctic Territory The British Antarctic Territory is the British claim to land and islands in Antarctica, and is the oldest territorial claim on the continent. ... The Falkland Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic consisting of two main islands known as East Falkland and West Falkland and a number of smaller islands. ... Motto: Leo Terram Propriam Protegat (Latin: The Lion is to exclusively protect this earth) Official language English Capital Grytviken Civil Commissioner Howard Pearce Area  - Total  - % water not ranked 3,093 km² - Population  - Total (2006 E)  - Density not ranked ~20 n/a; Currency GBP Time zone UTC/GMT -2 National anthem... Ascension Island from space, December 1990 Ascension Island is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean, and includes tiny satellite islands and rocks such as Boatswain Bird Island, Boatswain Bird Rock (East), White Rocks (South), and Tartar Rock (West, at the shore of Georgetown). ... Tristan da Cunha is a group of remote islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and also the name of its main island. ...


Former crown colonies

For a list of countries which were formerly crown colonies, or which include former crown colonies, see Commonwealth of Nations. Note that many Commonwealth countries were protectorates rather than colonies, such as Brunei. Some members were previously administered by other Commonwealth countries, such as Samoa (by New Zealand), Papua New Guinea (by Australia) and Namibia (by South Africa), while Mozambique was formerly a Portuguese colony. The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ... For the rule of Oliver Cromwell, see The Protectorate. ...


Colonies that did not join the Commonwealth are Burma, Aden (now part of Yemen), and the original thirteen United States of America. Zimbabwe, a former crown colony, was formerly a member of the Commonwealth but left the Commonwealth of nations on the 7th of December 2003. Prior to this they had been suspended from the Commonwealth. The oil refinery and Tanker port of Little Aden were operated by British Petroleum (now Beyond Petroleum) It was the capital of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen until that countrys unification with the Yemen Arab Republic when it was declared a free trade zone. ...


There has been one case in which a former colony was not granted independence, but rather, its sovereignty was transferred to another country: Hong Kong. It was handed over to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997 by the Sino-British Joint Declaration. July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong ( Chinese: (Trad. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Ultimate British overseas territory - American History Information Guide and Reference (1032 words)
Overseas territories should be distinguished from crown dependencies (the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which have a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom), and protectorates (which were not formally under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom).
Overseas territories have never been considered integral parts of the United Kingdom, and have never had representation in the British Parliament, on the grounds that they are separate jurisdictions.
Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in the overseas territories in her role as Queen of the United Kingdom, not in right of each territory.
British overseas territories - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2882 words)
The territories of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, though also under the sovereignty of the British Crown, have a slightly different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom, and are consequently classed as Crown dependencies rather than overseas territories.
The growth of the British Empire in the early 18th century, to its peak in the 1920s, saw the UK acquire over one quarter of the world's land mass, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa, which were held for commercial and strategic reasons rather than for settlement.
In territories with a permanent population, a Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British Government, usually a retired senior military officer, or a senior civil servant.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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