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Was last British colony Iraq or a rock?

When Did Britain Acquire Its Last Colony?

This is an interesting question. There are three possible answers depending on what you consider a suitable candidate as a colony. Options include a country taken over as a "Protectorate", the colonization of an unoccupied Pacific island, or the declaration of a rock in the middle of the ocean as part of Britain, or none of the above.

Careful reading of Wikipedia reveals some idea of the time line. The process of colonization went through several start/stop cycles and stuttered on until modern times. The colonization of New Zealand, which took place in 1840, and of South Africa 1899 were quite late in the most active period of true colonization where British subjects emigrated to new lands and took over control.

But Wikipedia states that Iraq and Palestine were "the last countries brought under British Rule" as a result of a decision by the League of Nations at the end of the first world war (1918-1919). Iraq, which became a British Protectorate in 1922, gained complete independence ten years later in 1932.

But the final answer appears to be the colonization of the Pacific Islands - Gilbert and Ellice Islands - in 1938.

Unless you wish to include the aquisition of an uninhabited rock called Rockall in 1955. British troops did land on the rock and it formally became part of Britain in 1972.

The full details are described in Wikipedia and I have taken several extracts below:

Britain's Pacific dependencies such as the Gilbert Islands (which had seen the last attempt at human colonization within the Empire - the Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme) underwent a similar process of decolonisation in the latter decades.

As decolonization and the Cold War were gathering momentum during the 1950s, an uninhabited rock in the Atlantic Ocean, Rockall, became the last territorial acquisition of the United Kingdom. Concerns that the Soviet Union might use the island to spy on a British missile test 2 prompted the the Royal Navy to land a party and officially claim the rock in the name of the Queen in 1955. In 1972 the Isle of Rockall Act formally incorporated the island into the United Kingdom.

In 1982, Britain's resolve to defend her remaining overseas territories was put to the test when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, acting on a long-standing claim that dated back to the Spanish Empire. Britain's ultimately successful military response to liberate the islands during the ensuing Falklands War prompted headlines in the US press that "the Empire strikes back", and was viewed by many to have contributed to reversing the downward trend in the UK's status as a world power.

So although Rockall may be the official contender as the last colony, the last inhabitited colony appears to be the Gilbert and Ellice Islands as outlined below.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search

The Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme was begun in 1938 in the western Pacific Ocean and was the last attempt at human colonization within the British Empire.

Conceived by Henry E. "Harry" Maude, lands commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, and approved by Sir Harry Luke, high commissioner of the western Pacific in Fiji, its goal was to reduce overpopulation in the southern Gilbert Islands by developing three mostly uninhabited atolls in the Phoenix Islands archipelago. A secondary goal was to leverage British presence in the western Pacific in response to growing American influence, especially on Canton (later Kanton), where a commercial seaplane base was being established.

The three atolls, Sydney, Hull and Gardner were renamed in Gilbertese as Manra, Orona and Nikumaroro respectively. Colonization efforts by Gilbertese settlers were almost immediately hampered by the onset of World War II, the islands' isolation and the 1941 death on Nikumaroro of the project's officer in charge, twenty-nine year old civil servant Gerald Gallagher. After 1945 the three settlements continued to struggle with supply problems, limited markets and drought until the British government determined the colony could not be self-sustaining and evacuated the settlers in 1963, ending the project. The Phoenix Islands are part of Kiribati and in 2005 were officially uninhabited except for a few families on was this.

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