Talk:Dominion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject British Empire
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject British Empire, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of British Empire on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 

Dominions to Commonwealth realms - List of Dominions[edit]

This article is mentioned at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard[1] in connection with Commonwealth realm. Qexigator (talk) 12:13, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

TThis section errs in stating that Ceylon was the last country officially made a Dominion...Fiji was officially "the Dominion of Fiji" from 1970 to 1987.--L.E./12.144.5.2 (talk) 13:30, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Well; firstly; the name 'Dominion of Fiji' was only in sporadic official use; and Fiji 1970-1987 was a Commonwealth Realm rather than a Dominion. More to the point; Australia, Ceylon South Africa and the Irish Free State; all unquestionably dominions, were never officially called 'Dominion of ___'

JWULTRABLIZZARD (talk) 09:51, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

List of Dominions, table col. 4: "status"[edit]

It would agree more with the facts to change the fourth column by making the heading Reason for end to dominion status, leaving out "Became Commonwealth Realm in 1953", and adjusting the third and fourth columns for the three which later ceased to be a dominion on becoming a republic, per[2], [3], [4]. The section "From Dominions to Commonwealth realms"[5] carefully explains that only three dominions had changed status before 1953, two on becoming republics, and one on becoming part of Canada, while the others did not change status in 1953: Present-day general usage prefers the term realm because it includes the United Kingdom as well... The generic language of dominion... 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 phrase that refers to all the realms and territories of the Sovereign, whether independent or not. (Note: the passage here part quoted may need some copyedit.) Qexigator (talk) 09:56, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

After changing the heading of col. 4 to Reason for end to dominion status, changes in the List of Dominions which would then be appropriate:

  • In column 3 and 4, blank except
  • Newfoundland - 1949 - Became a province of Canada under the British North America Act, 1949 (now the Newfoundland Act) passed in the U.K. parliament, 31 March 1949[6]
  • Irish Free State / Ireland[‡ 2] no change
  • India no change
  • Ceylon, Pakistan, South Africa - Became a republic (year).

Qexigator (talk) 12:25, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Changes now done. Qexigator (talk) 08:20, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Would not a little note to say Newfoundland continued technically to be a Dominion until 1949 not go amiss?JWULTRABLIZZARD (talk) 15:59, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

The text under Newfoundland states "In 1949, the Dominion of Newfoundland joined Canada and the legislature was restored". We need not have too much repetition. Qexigator (talk) 19:58, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Terminology - D/dominion - status[edit]

Something to have in mind when making revising edits. Change of "status" in a formal, legal constitutional sense can usually be tied to some definite act or event, but there can be an interim period of uncertainty, such as Irish Free State or Newfoundland; and in the meantime, partly due to negotiating positions taken by governments, the terminology commonly used from time to time may not allow a clear-cut point in time when "D/dominion" lapsed and was usurped by "Commonwealth R/realm" in all places and contexts. Questions of terminolgy, about the varying uses of "D/dominion" and "R/realm" (generic, descriptive, denoting constitutional or quasi-constitutional status) have been recurrent here and at Talk:Commonwealth realm from way back Talk:Dominion/Archive 1 (2005: status of Newfoundland) and more recently from May (including Talk:Commonwealth realm/Archive 14). The contents of the relevant articles, including those about the particular countries and connected topics, are enough to show that there is an important distinction between determining "status" in point of law or accepted constitutional practice between governments, and the terminology used in various other contexts about the countries, at the time of the Imperial Parliament and Imperial Conferences, later on and currently (say, from 2010). Qexigator (talk) 12:21, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Countries became dominions when they were declared such by statute or order in council. When or if that status ever ended is not clear. All we know is that the term came into disuse. Similarly it is not clear when the status of Commonwealth Realm begaan. All we know is that term came into use. There is an implication that the term Dominion was changed to Commonwealth Realm. There are parallels - the term colony was changed to British Overseas Territory and the term British subject was changed to Commonwealth citizen under 1981 Nationality Act. Those changes in names reflected the changed political reality, but in themselves reflected no change in status. I will remove or change the misleading information. TFD (talk) 15:10, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Commonwealth Realms Styled as Dominions[edit]

This is getting ridiculous. A five-second search on google books shows numerous sources in which newly independent commonwealth realms in Africa and the Americas were referred to as dominions. Now I'll have to go to the trouble of footnoting these sources when I have a free evening. However, to the know-it-all who now insists that no one ever referred to these countries as dominions, even colloquially, he really should do a tiny bit of research before pronouncing so definitively on a subject he knows less about than he realizes. I invite him to visit St Brides Church on Fleet Street in London, and view the choir stall with a donor plaque which reads "Dominion of Ghana" - this is just one small example among many. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 17:23, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

See my note above. There was no law or order that changed the term dominion to commonwealth realm, hence nothing requiring governments to cease using the term dominion. TFD (talk) 17:29, 27 November 2013 (UTC)


Ok; first of all quit it with the personal insults. Secondly, stop edit warring or threatening to edit war.

Thirdly, sign your posts.

In fact; if you look at the official names of the Dominions/commonwealth realms we find:

  • Canada: 'Dominion of Canada, a term later dropped semi-officially for 'Canada'
  • Australia: 'Commonwealth of Australia'; which it remains called to this day.
  • New Zealand: 'Dominion of New Zealand',a term later officially for 'New Zealand'
  • Newfoundland: 'Dominion of Newfoundland'
  • South Africa: 'Union of South Africa'
  • Ireland: 'Irish Free State'
  • India: 'Dominion of India'
  • Pakistan: 'Dominion of Pakistan'
  • Ceylon: simply 'Ceylon' or; semi-officially, 'Island of Ceylon and its dependencies'
  • Ghana: simply 'Ghana'
  • Nigeria: 'Federation of Nigeria'
  • Sierra Leone: simply 'Sierra Leone'
  • Tanganyika: simply 'Tanganyika'
  • Jamaica: simply 'Jamaica'
  • Trinidad and Tobago: simply 'Trinidad and Tobago'
  • Uganda: simply 'Uganda'
  • Kenya: simply 'Kenya'
  • Malaŵi: simply 'Malawi'
  • Malta: 'State of Malta'
  • The Gambia: simply 'The Gambia'
  • Guyana: simply 'Guyana'
  • Barbados: simply 'Barbados'
  • Mauritius: simply 'Mauritius'
  • Fiji: simply 'Fiji'; though 'Dominion of Fiji' was in occasional official use
  • The Bahamas: 'Commonwealth of the Bahamas'
  • Grenada: simply 'Grenada'
  • Papua New Guinea: 'Independent State of Papua New Guinea'
  • Solomon Islands: simply 'Solomon Islands'
  • Tuvalu: simply 'Tuvalu'
  • Saint Lucia: simply 'Saint Lucia'
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: simply 'Saint Vincent and the Grenadines'
  • Belize: simply 'Belize'
  • Antigua and Barbuda: simply 'Antigua and Barbuda'
  • Saint Christopher and Nevis: simply 'Saint Christopher and Nevis' or 'Saint Kitts and Nevis'; though the terms 'Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis' or 'Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis' are also in occasional constitutional use.

none of these states post-1953 officially used the term 'dominion'; using instead the term 'realm' and such states were described in commonwealth correspondence (CHOGMs, etc.) as 'commonwealth countries' or 'members' per the 1949 London Declaration, with the notable exception of Fiji (which is a special case anyway). In 1953, the term 'Dominions beyond the seas' in the royal title was changed to 'other realms and territories'. In 1947; the Dominions Office was renamed the 'Commonwealth Office' (Office of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations as opposed to the Secretary of State for Dominion Relations).

Also; we can distinguish between the status of 'Dominion'-as the term was used to refer to autonomous polities in the British Empire that were in personal union with the UK- and countries that just had the name 'Dominion' in their name. To wit: Australia, South Africa and Ireland had the status of 'Dominion'; but Australia was a 'commonwealth', South Africa was a 'Union' and Ireland was a 'Free State'. Likewise, Pakistan 1953-1956 and Fiji both had the word 'Dominion' in their name, but they were both Commonwealth realms rather than Dominions.


'Colloquial'...so, not official then. People often describe the Queen of the United Kingdom as the 'Queen of England'-that doesn't mean that she is, or that she should be described as such in an encyclopedia.

JWULTRABLIZZARD (talk) 17:36, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

And I'm not saying there was a distinct point where the dominions became commonwealth realms. But the term 'dominion' certainly fell out of use after about 1953, and was never used to describe any of the commonwealth realms in their official names after 1948.

JWULTRABLIZZARD (talk) 17:39, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

The term "dominion" was never officially defined. Canada became called a dominion after 1867, and Australia, NZ, SA, Nfld and Ireland were considered dominions when they received the de facto autonomy that Canada had. There was not law or order that made dominions cease to be dominions, just that the term fell out of use. Notice that Information Canada was called the "Dominion Bureau of Statistics" until 1971. The national holiday was called "Dominion Day" until 1982. I do not know if the term remains in official use at all today, but there was no specific law or order that has abolished its use. TFD (talk) 18:14, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Yep. It's that simple. I don't understand why people want to keep raking this issue up.I can tell you, if you call Australia a 'dominion' in my country, you'll possibly learn a few words you didn't know before! Gazzster (talk) 02:36, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

JWULTRABLIZZARD, my frustration comes from your shifting standards when it comes to the meaning of the word 'Dominion', combined with your ruthless deletion of edits to the 'Dominion' wikipedia article. Your note accompanying one of your deleting edits said that 'Dominion' was not used with respect to the countries I listed, colloquially or otherwise. Then, above, you've limited yourself to official uses of the word 'Dominion', and apparently abandoned your claim that no one has used the term colloquially. So please don't blame me if there is a conflict here. You are responsible. And, by the way, TFD is absolutely correct in pointing out that the truth is more complex that you allow.

I told you that a brief search in 'google books' would prove my point. Merely taking one country - Ghana - as an example, I found the following sources in a matter of a few seconds:

1. "At midnight on March 6, 1957, the Union Jack was lowered and Ghana became sub-Saharan Africa's first independent state. The fractious and disunited opposition engaged in a great deal of hyperbole and violence in the first years of independent government. Nkrumah, who already viewed the procedural restraints of democracy as an impediment to his grand political vision, pushed through parliament the Preventive Detention Act of 1959 curtailing individual free speech and freedom of assembly. This prompted Kofi Busia to go into exile in Britain. The following year, 1960, Nkrumah's CPP voted to convert Ghana from a parliamentary Dominion of the British Commonwealth into a Presidential Republic, transferring much broader powers into Nkrumah's hands." Chris McCarty, "Public Opinion in Ghana, 1997" (Washington D.C.: International Foundation for Election Systems, 1997) p. 5.

2. "The first conference of independent African states brought together seven very disparate polities: the two Arab kingdoms of Morocco and Libya, the empire of Ethiopia and the Creole republic of Liberia (both clients of the United States), the radical republic of Egypt and the conservative republic of Tunisia, with the commonwealth dominion of Ghana acting as host." David Birmingham, "The decolonization of Africa" (London: UCL Press, 1995) p. 21.

3. "Pakistan followed India's example and adopted a republican constitution within the Commonwealth in 1955. Two years later Ghana, then Gold Coast, attained dominion status and in 1960 became a republic within the Commonwealth." "New Ghana" (periodical) vols. 8-9 (1964) p. 221.

4. "There is nothing at the moment in print, apart from political and biographical writings, led by Dr. Nkrumah's Autobiography, which attempts to portray, in however modest a way, the life of the people of one of the world's newest sovereign states, and the ninth Dominion." "The Ghanaian" (periodical) (Star Publishing Co., 1958) p. 19.

Must I provide evidence of this kind for each and every country that I listed in the section of the article that you insist on deleting? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 20:44, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

JWULTRABLIZZARD, please read this excerpt from Brandon Jernigan's article "British Empire" in M. Juang & Noelle Morrissette, eds., "Africa and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History" (ABC-CLIO, 2008) p. 204:

"After World War II, Britain attempted to repeat the dominion model in decolonizing the Caribbean. However, following the failed attempt to establish a West Indian Federation (1958-1962), former colonies separated into independent nations after Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago refused to accept the proposed distribution of powers. In 1959 Britain conceded full Jamaican independence, and self-governance was gradually extended to other former Caribbean colonies. Though several colonies, such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, maintained their formal allegiance to the British monarch, they soon revised their status to become republics. Britain also attempted to establish a dominion model in decolonizing Africa, but it, too, was unsuccessful. Britain maintained its influence in Egypt through treaty and partial occupation for more than thirty years after Egypt's formal independence (1922). In 1956, however, Egypt severed all constitutional links with Britain. Ghana, the first former colony declared a dominion in 1957, soon demanded recognition as a republic. Other African nations followed a similar pattern throughout the 1960s: Nigeria, Tanganyika, Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. In fact, only Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Mauritius retained their dominion status for more than three years."

JWULTRABLIZZARD, how much additional documentation do you want before you stop deleting my additions to wikipedia's 'Dominion' article? Your interpretation of the word 'Dominion', even if it were consistent, does not correspond with historical fact. If you are looking for the reason that 'Dominion' was not inserted in the constitutions of newly independent British colonies in Africa and elsewhere, it is simply that agreement from existing dominions would have been required each time a colony became independent, so instead Britain granted de facto Dominion status, and everyone understood that this was happening, but the legal documents were silent about this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 22:32, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

JWULTRABLIZZARD, to continue, here are some sources found in 'google books' using the search term "dominion tanganyika":

1. "The 1961 Independence Constitution featured the dominion Westminster type of government which separates the head of state from the head of government. ... But for independent Tanganyika, the dominion arrangement meant retaining the British monarch as head of state, thereby raising a constitutional problem regarding the sovereignty of the newly independent state of Tanganyika. Following the 1961 constitution, in 1962 that constitution was amended to provide for a republic system which merged the powers of the head of state with that of the independence head of government/Prime Minister to create an executive president." Ulf Engel, Gero Erdmann & Andreas Mehler, "Tanzania Revisited: Political Stability, Aid Dependency, and Development Constraints" (Hamburg: Institute of African Affairs, 2000) p. 115.

2. "REPUBLIC OF TANGANYIKA: Became independent dominion in the British Commonwealth, December 9, 1961." Martena Tenney Sasnett & Inez Hopkins Sepmeyer, "Educational Systems of Africa: Interpretations for Use in the Evaluation of Academic Credentials" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967) p. 289.

3. “But on December 9, 1961, Tanganyika became a self-governing dominion, under the Tanganyika Independence Act, 1961.” Thomas M. Franck, “Comparative Constitutional Process: Cases and Materials; Fundamental Rights in the Common Law Nations” (F. A. Praeger, 1968) p. 33. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 22:47, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

I do not see the point of your edit.[7] You wrote, "several of Britain's newly independent colonies were legally defined as Commonwealth realms, but were colloquially styled as dominions." What law defined these independent nations as "Commonwealth Realms" and was it their law or the UK's? "Colloquially styled as dominions" is incorrect - it was just that the term continued to be used, although it has now gone into disuse except in historical writing. The term dominion had never been defined, but was used in law and official orders to refer to a specific group of countries.
Ghana was never declared a dominion. The Ghana Independence Act 1957 says, "The territories included...in the Gold Coast...shall as from that day together form part of Her Majesty’s dominions under the name of Ghana." Whether people want to call it a dominion or commonwealth realm, neither term has any legal status, but is descriptive of the state.
TFD (talk) 23:31, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

TFD, I agree with you. If you examine my original edit, I did not mention the legal change from Dominion to Commonwealth realm that JWULTRABLIZZARD has emphasized, but in an attempt to be collegial and to avoid the instantaneous deleting of my edits by JWULTRABLIZZARD, I included language that I believed would mollify him. But he is adamant that his own interpretation of the legal change that he believes took place means that de facto usage of the word 'Dominion' is unimportant. I, on the other hand, believe that this usage is very important, and since wikipedia is an encyclopedia of facts, not law, I should be allowed to add to the "Dominion" article information about countries that were, however, briefly, referred to as Dominions in the immediate post-colonial period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 00:16, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

TFD, your "correction" of my edit makes me feel as if this debate is taking place in quicksand - you say that 'Dominion' was used in law and official orders, but that it has no firm definition or legal status - this is extremely muddy. 'Dominion' was a term that had legal but also political meaning. I just quoted and cited numerous examples showing that newly independent colonies felt the term 'Dominion' accurately described their constitutional arrangements. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 00:24, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Here are some sources found in 'google books' using the search term "dominion trinidad":

“On 31 August 1962, the Dominion of Trinidad and Tobago took full responsibility for its own affairs. The PNM, six years after its foundation, had achieved its aim of taking the country into independence.” F. S. J. Ledgister, “Class Alliances and the Liberal Authoritarian State: The Roots of Post-colonial Democracy in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Surinam” (Africa World Press, 1998), p. 116.

“In 1942 Trinidad and Tobago was a British colony. On December 04, 1961, it gained internal self-government. On August 31, 1962, the country became independent with Dominion status. On September 24, 1976, it became a Republic within the Commonwealth.” “Forestry Policies in the Caribbean: Volume 2: Reports of 28 selected countries and territories” (Food & Agriculture Org., 1998) p. 571.

“Self-government was often referred to as ‘Dominion Status’. Britain ceased to exercise control over the affairs (national or international) of the former colony. The first Commonwealth Caribbean state to reach this position was Jamaica, on 6 August 1962. Trinidad and Tobago followed on 31 August 1962.” B.A. Rohlehr, “Social Studies for the Caribbean: CXC Core Units and Options” (Heinemann, 2002) p. 47. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 01:19, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Here are some sources found in 'google books' using the search term "dominion sierra leone":

“This situation continued to be so up to 1971 when Sierra Leone was transformed from a Dominion to a Republican State, and a Presidential, instead of a Parliamentary, Government, was established, with the President not sitting in Parliament and also exempted from the “indignity” of contesting in popular elections.” Solomon E. Berewa, “A New Perspective on Governance, Leadership, Conflict and Nation Building in Sierra Leone” (AuthorHouse, 2011) p. 191.

“On 24 Aug. 1895, with the establishment of the protectorate in the hinterland, Sierra Leone became Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate. On 27 April 1961 the whole country became a dominion, and on 19 April 1971 the country became a republic, still within the Commonwealth.” John Stewart, “The British Empire: An Encyclopedia of the Crown's Holdings, 1493 Through 1995” (McFarland, 1996) p. 240.

“From 1961 to 1971, the Dominion model held good, to be supplanted by a mildly-modified Republican constitution.” “The Courier” (periodical) Issue 86 (Commission of the European Communities, 1984) p. 24. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 01:39, 3 December 2013 (UTC)


Here are some sources found in 'google books' using the search term "dominion nigeria":

“For the first three years of its independence, Nigeria was a dominion. As a result its head of state was Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. She was represented in country by a governor-general.” Jonathan Hill, “Nigeria Since Independence: Forever Fragile?” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) p. 146, n. 22.

“On 1 October 1960 the Federation of Nigeria achieved independence, initially as a Dominion.” “Nigeria National Assembly and Presidential Elections, 9 and 16 April 2011: Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group” (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2011) p. 4.

“By the Nigeria Independence Act 1960, Nigeria was a dominion of the British monarch as the country had not become a Republic.” Ameze Guobadia & Ameze Guobadia, “Nigeria: the legal dynamics of her constitutional development: an appraisal” (Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 1994) p. 3.

Subsection 1(1) of the UK Parliament’s Nigeria Independence Act 1960 states: “On the first day of October, nineteen hundred and sixty (in this Act referred to as ‘the appointed day’), the Colony and the Protectorate as respectively defined by the Nigeria (Constitution) Orders in Council, 1954 to 1960, shall together constitute part of Her Majesty’s dominions under the name of Nigeria.” — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.220.184.210 (talk) 02:56, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Proposed rewording: Tilley's suggestion[edit]

The section "Canadian Confederation and the evolution of the term Dominion" purports to trace 20th-century usage of the term "Dominion" primarily or exclusively to a Canadian politician's suggestion at the London Conference 1866. The source mentions that the use of the term for Canada specifically was a concern not to anger the United States if the term Kingdom were used. But the pre-existing use of the term in connection with the English (later British) Crown has been mentioned above it, in "Definition". And, as Heraldica shows, the term had long been in use, for example, in proclamations from 16c. (Ed VI, Ch II, Wm & My; but not in the proclamation on Victoria's accession)[8]; and this would be a more generically consistent reason for letting the term be used for the newly constituted Canadian federation, though the Australian federation later preferred the use of "Commonwealth". In the case of Ireland, the term had been used before it became a kingdom in H VIII's reign. Note also the use of the term in The Royal Proclamation of 1763 (text linked'[9]); and an example of its use in acts from the reign of Elizabeth is the Act Against Jesuits and Seminarists (1585), 27 Elizabeth, Cap. 2[10] As used in the preamble to the British North America Act, 1867, 30 & 31 Victoria, c. 3 (U.K.)[11] and s.3. the term is merely stating that three territories shall be united under the name of "Canada" and shall be constituted as one "Dominion", which there is being used synonymously with "realm" (not as if the word was creating a status, as if a knight batchelor were advanced to baronet, or a baronet to baron), and s. 9 expressly provided that the "Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen". With that in view, and for the avoidance of SYN, the following rewording is proposed:

  • The 20th-century usage of the term "Dominion" can be traced to a suggestion In connection with proposals concerning the future government of British North America, use of the term "Dominion" was suggested by Samuel Leonard Tilley at the London Conference of 1866, when discussing the confederation of three of the British North American possessions, the Province of Canada (subsequently becoming the Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into "One Dominion under the Name of Canada", the first federation internal to the British Empire....

Qexigator (talk) 22:23, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Or this revised version:

  • In connection with proposals for concerning the future government of British North America, use of the term "Dominion" was suggested by Samuel Leonard Tilley at the London Conference of 1866, when discussing the confederation of three of the British North American possessions, the Province of Canada (subsequently becoming the Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into "One Dominion under the Name of Canada", the first federation internal to the British Empire....

Qexigator (talk) 10:09, 27 December 2013 (UTC)