British Leeward Islands

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Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands
Coat of arms (1871-1956) of Leeward Islands
Coat of arms (1871-1956)
Anthem: "God Save the Queen/King"
StatusColony of the United Kingdom
CapitalSt. John's
Common languagesEnglish (official)
Leeward Caribbean Creole English
Dominican Creole French
Christianity (Anglican, Catholic, Methodist)
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
• 1671–1685
Charles II (first)
• 1952–1958
Elizabeth II (last)
Governor in Chief 
• 1671-1683
Sir William Stapleton, 1st Baronet (first)
• 1956–1958
Alexander Thomas Williams (last)
• Established
• Divided
• Reformed
• Federal colony
• Dominica joined
• Dominica left
• Federation dissolved
31 May 1962
CurrencyPound sterling (official)
Spanish dollar, Mexican peso also used
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Saint Christopher
Virgin Islands
West Indies Federation
British Virgin Islands

The British Leeward Islands now refers to the Leeward Islands as an English overseas possession. It was a British colony from 1671 to 1958, except for the years from 1816 to 1833 where it was split into two separate colonies (Antigua-Barbuda-Montserrat and Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla-Virgin Islands), before being united again in 1833. It was dissolved in 1958 after the separation of the British Virgin Islands, and the remaining islands became parts of the West Indies Federation.


The Leeward Islands was established as an English colony in 1671. In 1816, the islands were divided in two regions: Antigua, Barbuda, and Montserrat in one colony, and Saint Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands in the other.

The Leeward Islands were united again as a semi-federal entity in 1833, coming together until 1872 under the administration of the Governor of Antigua. The islands then became known as the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872 to 1956. From 1833 to 1940, Dominica was part of the colony; in 1940, it was transferred to the British Windward Islands group.[1]

On 3 January 1958 all islands except the Virgin Islands were absorbed into the West Indies Federation. The British Leeward Islands finally ceased to exist with the abolition of the office of its governor, and the elevation of the British Virgin Islands to the status of a separate crown colony, in 1960.[2][3]

A representative Leeward Islands cricket team continues to participate in West Indian domestic cricket.

Armed forces structure in 1939

Includes the structures from Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, Dominica, and British Virgin Islands.[4]

Postage stamps[edit]

The islands of the Leeward Islands all used postage stamps inscribed "LEEWARD ISLANDS" between 1890 and 1 July 1956, often concurrently with stamps inscribed with the colony's name. The islands also issued revenue stamps between 1882 and the 1930s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Honychurch, Lennox (1995). The Dominica Story: A History of the Island (3rd ed.). London: Macmillan Publishers. pp. 129, 132, 175. ISBN 0-333-62776-8.
  2. ^ "Private Lands Conservation in the British Virgin Islands". University of Colorado Boulder. Natural Resources Law Center. 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Encyclopedia Britannica - BVI". Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Leeward Islands, 03.09.1939". Retrieved 19 January 2019.


External links[edit]