British Western Pacific Territories

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The British Western Pacific Territories was the name of a colonial entity, created in 1877, for the administration, under a single representative of the British Crown, styled High Commissioner, of a series of relatively minor Pacific islands in and around Oceania.


The position of Western Pacific High Commissioner (compare other colonial and dipomatic uses of that title) was created by the Western Pacific Order in Council 1893 made by the Privy Council. It was initially aimed at extending the jurisdiction of British law to British subjects in the Western Pacific Region.

Today, after many island (group)s changed status, the Pitcairn Islands are the sole remaining British territory in the Pacific.

Island groups[edit]

SS Tokelau - Government Steamer Gilbert & Ellice Islands Protectorates (30 April 1909)

In Polynesia[edit]

In Micronesia[edit]

In Melanesia[edit]

List of High Commissioners for the Western Pacific (1877–1976)[edit]

The office was never an independent one, but always filled ex officio the Governorship of one of the constitutive British islands colonies

High Commissioners for the Western Pacific and Governors of Fiji (1877–1953)[edit]

Administered from Suva, Fiji:

High Commissioners for the Western Pacific and Governors of the Solomon Islands (1953–1976)[edit]

In 1953, Fiji was separated from the High Commission. Following this, the High Commissioner's post moved to Honiara, Solomon Islands, and the High Commissioner was also the Governor of the Solomon Islands.

On 2 January 1976 the office and the entity were abolished, after nearly all island groups had been given separate statehood.

In 2002 the archived records of this High Commission were transferred to New Zealand, and are now held at The University of Auckland Library, Special Collections.[1]

Sources, References & External Links[edit]

  1. ^ Correspondent (5 June 1913). "Modern buccaneers in the West Pacific" (PDF). New Age: 136–140. 
  • WorldStatesmen
  • Deryck Scarr, Fragments of Empire. A History of the Western Pacific High Commission. 1877-1914, Canberra: Australian National University Press & London: C. Hurst & Co., 1967.