Harry Edward Spiller Cordeaux

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Major Sir
Harry Edward Spiller Cordeaux
K.C.M.G., C.B.
Commissioner of British Somaliland
In office
8 May 1906 – 1909
Preceded byEric John Eagles Swayne
Succeeded byWilliam Henry Manning
Commissioner of Uganda
In office
1 Feb 1910 – 18 Oct 1910
Preceded byHenry Hesketh Joudou Bell
Governor of Uganda
In office
18 Oct 1910 – 1911
Succeeded byFrederick John Jackson
Governor of Saint Helena
In office
Preceded byHenry Galway
Succeeded byRobert Francis Peel
Governor of the Bahamas
In office
8 December 1920 – 1926
Preceded byWilliam Lamond Allardyce
Succeeded byCharles William James Orr
Personal details
Born15 November 1870
Poona, India
Died2 July 1943 (1943-07-03) (aged 72)

Major Sir Harry Edward Spiller Cordeaux K.C.M.G., C.B. (15 November 1870 – 2 July 1943) was a British army officer and colonial administrator who became in turn Governor of Uganda, Saint Helena and the Bahamas.

Birth and education[edit]

Cordeaux was born on 15 November 1870 in Poona, India. His father Edward Cordeaux was a judge in Bombay. He was educated at Brighton College and Cheltenham College. In 1888 he won a scholarship to St. John's College, Cambridge, graduating with a B.A. in 1892.[1][2]

Early career[edit]

Cordeaux joined the Indian Staff Corps in 1895. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1896, Captain in 1903 and Major in 1912. He entered the Bombay Political Department in 1898, and that year was appointed Assistant Resident at Berbera, on the Somali Coast.[1] Cordeaux was appointed Vice-Consul at Berbera on 15 October 1900.[3] He was Consul (1902-1906), Deputy Commissioner of British Somaliland (1904-1906) and Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief (1906-1910).[1] He took a keen interest in the fauna of Somaliland. He identified the small antelope Cordeaux's Dik-dik Madoqua (saltiana) cordeauxi, now usually seen as a subspecies of Salt's Dik-dik.[4]

Colonial governor[edit]

Cordeaux was appointed Governor of Uganda (1910-1911).[1] He supervised construction of the railway from Jinja to Kakindu.[4] He was appointed Governor of St Helena (1911-1920) and Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Bahama Islands (1920-1926).[1] In 1920 he laid the foundation stone of the Supreme Court of the Bahamas.[5] In 1923 concessions were granted to Sir Harry Cordeaux and Arthur Sands to cut the pine forest on New Providence. They built a sawmill south of Gambier Village near Jack Pond, but the licence was never profitable and was relinquished in 1930.[6]

During the period of Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933) there was a huge increase in exports of whiskey from Britain to the Bahamas. By February 1921, Cordeaux reported that there were thirty-one bonded warehouses in the island. Revenue rose from 81,049 pounds in 1919 to 1,065,899 pounds in 1923, and remained above 500,000 per year until 1930.[7] Speaking in Montreal, Cordeaux said that the liquor traffic was the reason for the island's healthy economy, including the ability to finance a 250,000 pound improvement to the harbor in Nassau. This statement was widely circulated in the American press. The British took no measures to stop the trade.[8]

He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1902 Coronation Honours list on 26 June 1902,[9][10] a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1904 and knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1921. Cordeaux died on 2 July 1943.[1]


Cordeaux married Maud Wentworth-Fitzwilliam on 2 October 1912.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lincolnshire and Fenland Families: Harry Edward Spiller Cordeaux". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  2. ^ Andrew Alexander Hunter, ed. (1890). Cheltenham college register, 1841-1889. G. Bell and sons. p. 376.
  3. ^ "Foreign Office, October 15, 1900" (PDF). The London Gazette: 6854. 9 November 1900. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
  4. ^ a b Bo Beolens; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson (2009). The eponym dictionary of mammals. JHU Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-8018-9304-6.
  5. ^ "About The Supreme Court of The Bahamas". The Supreme Court of The Bahamas. Archived from the original on 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  6. ^ Larry Smith (July 5, 2011). "Protecting Bahamian Forests". Bahama Pundit. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  7. ^ Michael Craton; Gail Saunders (2000). Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People: Volume 2: From the Ending of Slavery to the Twenty-First Century. University of Georgia Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-8203-2284-9.
  8. ^ Roy A. Haynes; President Warren Harding (2004). Prohibition Inside Out. Kessinger Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 1-4179-1535-8.
  9. ^ "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.
  10. ^ "No. 27456". The London Gazette. 22 July 1902. p. 4669.