Empire into Commonwealth: The Chichele Lectures Delivered at Oxford in May 1960 on Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the Last Half Century

By Attlee | Go to book overview

IV

BEFORE DEALING with the problems of Africa it is worth noting the development of self-government by Africans overseas in the Caribbean. The Africans there were, of course, imported as slaves, and with the abolition of slavery in the early years of the nineteenth century the islands in the Caribbean were governed paternally by Europeans. Three of those islands, Bermuda, Barbados, and Bahamas, had enjoyed a measure of self-government from the days of Oliver Cromwell, much the same kind of self-government in fact as was enjoyed by the American colonies. But the Africans had no share in the government. It was, of course, obvious that in due time the majority population of these islands would claim their rights. One of the difficulties was the very small size of most of the islands in the Caribbean and, before the advent of air travel, the wide spaces that separated them. I remember many years ago being struck by the number of Governors, Chief Justices, and Attorney Generals knocking about in these small communities, and it seemed to me that sooner or later there should be a federation. When I was Prime Minister I set on foot inquiries to this end, and today there is full domestic self-government in the islands and a Federation has been set up, but it is not yet certain that it will endure. Inevitably there is a certain rivalry between the major constituents of the group, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados, but so far

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Empire into Commonwealth: The Chichele Lectures Delivered at Oxford in May 1960 on Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the Last Half Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • I 1
  • II 13
  • III 28
  • IV 44
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