October 20, 2020

Features of the Crown Colony System of British Colonial Administration in West Africa

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You are welcome to yet another important WAEC/WASSCE tutorial on Government, a General Arts Subject.

The focus in this post is on the key features of the Crown Colony system of British colonial administration in West Africa.

We are going to first find out the meaning of the term “Crown Colony”. It is only after this that I will give you a concise, easy-to-follow outline of the features of the Crown Colony system.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Meaning of “Crown Colony”

“Crown colony” was the term used by the British to refer to their overseas dependent territories in order to emphasize the control the monarch (Crown) had over their administration.

This administrative system was practiced in places like Ghana and Nigeria.

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The major eatures of the Crown Colony System were as follows.

1. The British Monarch

  • Ceremonial head of colonial administration
  • All actions carried in his/her name

2. Secretary of State for the Colonies

  • Cabinet minister in Britain
  • Member of parliament
  • Responsible for general colonial administration
  • Recommended appointments or dismissal of governor

3. Governor

  • Appointed by and represented the crown
  • Responsible for secretary of state for colonies
  • Administered affairs of the colony
  • Appointed legislative council members
  • President of legislative and executive councils
  • Ensured the passage of laws consistent with British colonial policy
  • Exercised veto power (could reject bills from legislative council)
  • Exercised the power of certification (could enforce/implement bills rejected by legislative council
  • Assented to bills

Related question:

Discuss the functions of the Governor during the colonial period in British West Africa.

4. Executive Council

  • Before the 1940s, membership was reserved for British officials only. But educated Africans allowed in after the 1940s.
  • Advised the governor on policy formulation and implementation

5. Legislative Council

  • Made up of official and unofficial (nominated) members.
  • Official (British) members were in the majority before World War II
  • Africans became majority members after World War II.

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  • Passed bills into ordinances (laws)
  • Deliberated on policies
  • Responsible to the governor.

Related Question:

What were the functions of the Legislative Council during the colonial period in British West Africa?

Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

View all posts by Ralph Nyadzi →

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