dominion

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dominion,

power to rule, or that which is subject to rule. Before 1949 the term was used officially to describe the self-governing countries of the Commonwealth of NationsCommonwealth of Nations,
voluntary association of Great Britain and its dependencies, certain former British dependencies that are now sovereign states and their dependencies, and the associated states (states with full internal government but whose external relations are
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—e.g., Canada, Australia, or India. In 1949 India became a republic within the Commonwealth, and the use of the term dominion has since been largely abandoned because it is thought to imply subordination. Now these states are simply referred to as members of the Commonwealth.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dominion

 

until 1947, the designation of the members of the British Commonwealth. The king of England was the head of the dominions and was represented in them by governors-general.

The term “dominion” was first used at an imperial conference in 1926, which asserted that the United Kingdom and the dominions are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status and in no way subordinate to each other in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, although they are united by a common allegiance to the crown. However, the organization of power in terms of dominions had been introduced earlier. Dominion status was conferred on Canada in 1867, the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, New Zealand in 1907, the Union of South Africa in 1910, Newfoundland in 1917, and Ireland in 1921. The imperial conferences of 1926 and 1930 officially recognized the complete independence of the dominions in domestic and foreign policy and their political and legal equality with the motherland. The Statute of Westminster of 1931 legally established the sovereignty of the dominions.

Although the term “dominion” was officially replaced in 1947 by the term “member of the Commonwealth,” the form of rule in the former dominions and their legal status within the Commonwealth did not change. In 1971 the dominion form of rule existed in principle in Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, the island of Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Fiji, and Sierra Leone.

A. A. MISHIN

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

dominion

1. the land governed by one ruler or government
2. a name formerly applied to self-governing divisions of the British Empire
3. (capital) the. New Zealand
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005