British Western Pacific Territories


British Western Pacific Territories

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 (compare other uses of this title), of a series of relatively minor Pacific islands in and around Oceania

The island entities

* Gilbert and Ellice Islands to 1971 (currently: Kiribati in Micronesia and Tuvalu in Polynesia, respectively)
* Phoenix Islands to 1939 (The nearly uninhabited eight atolls are currently part of Kiribati)

In Polynesia

* Cook Islands (The 15 small islands are now a self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand)
* Niue [to 1901] (also known as "Rock of Polynesia"; currently self-governing, in free association with New Zealand)
* Union Islands [to 1926] (currently Tokelau)
* the native kingdom of Tonga [to 1952]
* The Pitcairn Islands [to 1952] (five islands, of which only Pitcairn Island — the second largest — is inhabited, the only remaining British colony in the Pacific; became home of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and accompanying Tahitians)
* cfr. supra Tuvalu

In Micronesia

* Nauru till 1921 (After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations Mandate territory in 1920, administered by Australia; in 1947, a trusteeship was approved by the United Nations; it achieved independence in 1968)
* cfr. supra Kiribati

In Melanesia

* Fiji; its governor, in Suva, was also the joint High Commissioner until it was separated from the High commission in 1952
* the British Solomon Islands [to 1974] ; their governor, in Honoria, was also the High Commissioner, after Fiji had left, since 1952
* New Hebrides (present Vanuatu), a condominium shared with France, which appointed its own "Haut commissaire" here

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

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)

Administered from Suva, Fiji:

* Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon, 1877–January 1880
* Sir George William Des Vœux, January 1880–January 1887
* Sir Charles Bullen Hugh Mitchell, January 1887–February 1888
* Sir John Bates Thurston, February 1888–7 February 1897
* Sir George Thomas Michael O'Brien, March 1897–1901
* "William Lamond Allardyce, 1901–10 September 1902, acting"
* Sir Henry Moore Jackson, 10 September 1902–11 October 1904
* Sir Everard F. im Thurn, 11 October 1904–21 February 1911
* Sir Francis Henry May, 21 February 1911–25 July 1912
* Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott, 25 July 1912–10 October 1918
* Cecil Hunter Rodwell, 10 October 1918–25 April 1925
* Sir Eyre Hutson, 25 April 1925–22 November 1929
* Sir Arthur George Murchison Fletcher, 22 November 1929–28 November 1936
* Sir Arthur Frederick Richards, 28 November 1936–16 September 1938
* Sir Harry Charles Luke, 16 September 1938–1942Between 1942 and 1945, the high commission was suspended. While most islands were under British military administration, the Solomon Islands, Gilbert Islands and Phoenix islands came under Japanese occupation.
* Sir Alexander William George Herder Grantham, 1945–1946
* Sir Leslie Brian Freeston, 20 January 1948–3 July 1952

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

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.

* Sir Robert Christopher Stafford Stanley, 3 July 1952–1952
* Henry Graham Gregory-Smith, 1952–1955
* John Gutch, 1955–4 March 1961
* David Trench, 4 March 1961–16 June 1964
* Sir Robert Sidney Foster, 16 June 1964–6 March 1969
* Sir Michael David Irving Gass, 6 March 1969–July 1971:vacant
* Donald Collin Cumyn Luddington, 1973–2 January 1976

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

References

* [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Br_Western_Pacific.html WorldStatesmen]


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