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Winding up the British Empire in the Pacific Islands$
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W. David McIntyre

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702436

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702436.001.0001

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‘The British Empire is Past History’

‘The British Empire is Past History’

Retreat from ‘Never’ Land Begins: Tonga and Fiji, 1970

(p.146) (p.147) 11 ‘The British Empire is Past History’
Winding up the British Empire in the Pacific Islands

W. David McIntyre

Oxford University Press

The influence of the Western Samoa and Nauru precedents and the UN mood of anti-colonialism lead the British government to extend decolonization into the Pacific islands. Tonga, as a protected state, had long been largely self-governing under its constitutional monarch. Ending the last colonial ties was done by a simple exchange of letters in 1970 and saw Tonga ‘return to the comity nations’. In Fiji a compromise between the ruling indigenous-Fijian-dominated Alliance Party and the Indo-Fijian Federation Party agreed to independence based on a complex communally based electoral system. At the Singapore Commonwealth conference in 1971, Heath declared that the British empire was ‘past history’.

Keywords:   Protected state, Tonga, Fiji, indigenous Fijians, Indo-Fijians, Edward Heath

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