The Path to Independence of the British Colonies

The Path to Independence of the British Colonies

This has brought Britain and China to agree in 1985, that the colony will be handed over to China when the “lease” of the New Territories expires in 1997. Some of the members of the Commonwealth also had dependent territories – in particular, Australia and New Zealand – but in all such cases the status of dependency was likely to continue.

Therefore, it could be seen that the map of red, of the British empire stretching around the world, was virtually ripped up in less than three decades and in its place a pink Commonwealth emerged. Overall, the emergence of the ‘New Commonwealth’ was a peaceful operation. In most cases the use of armed forces and violence was avoided, but there were a number of hitches. In Kenya “the excessive practice of the Mau Mau movement led Britain to doubt that political advanced there were moving in the correct direction; of course, the presence of a vocal group of white settlers did complicate the issue for the British government. In the long run, however, the use of force there was only a temporary diversion from the final achievement of a black union.”14 The communal situation in some territories was one of the most difficult problems. How to protect minority groups, such as the Asians in the three east African colonies, the Chinese in Malaya, the Indians in Fiji. “Many of the constitutional arrangements, both leading up to independence and in the constitution conferring independence, had to go through tortuous convolutions to try to protect and please the different communities. In both Malaya and Fiji the indigenes were determined to ensure that they retained a determining stake in the future of their countries.”15


1. W. R. JOHNSTON, Great Britain, Great Empire: (Queensland: Queensland U. P., 1981), p. 170.
2. ibid., p. 171.
3. ibid.
4. ibid.
5. ibid., p. 172.
6. ibid., p. 174.
7. ibid.
8. ibid.
9. ibid., p. 175.
10. ibid.
11. ibid.
12. D. JUDD and P. SLINN, The Evolution of the Modern Commonwealth 1902-80 (London: McMillan, 1982), p. 136.
13. ibid., p. 137.
14. W. R. Johnston, Op. Cit., p. 172.
15. ibid., pp. 176-77.

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