Glossary: crown colony

A system of British colonial administration under which Britain retained control over defense, foreign affairs, internal security, and various administrative and budget matters. Crown colonies were governed internally by a British-appointed governor and a locally elected assembly. Prior to the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica in 1865, crown colony government was limited to Trinidad and St. Lucia. In 1871 in Belize and in 1928 in Guyana, the representative assemblies were dissolved, and the colonies were governed directly by the Colonial Office in London and by a British-appointed governor who was assisted by a local council, most of whose members were appointed by the governor. In time, however, an increasing number of officials were locally elected rather than appointed. Following the report of the Moyne Commission in 1938, the crown colony system was modified to make local councils even more representative and to give local officials more administrative responsibility. Nevertheless, defense, foreign affairs, and internal security remained the prerogatives of the crown.

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