Milner, Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount

Milner, Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount,

1854–1925, British statesman and colonial administrator. He distinguished himself as a student at Oxford and was briefly a journalist in London. He became (1887) private secretary to George Goschen, chancellor of the exchequer, and served (1890–92) as undersecretary of finance in Egypt. His England in Egypt (1892) effectively argued for greater British involvement there. In 1897, Milner was appointed high commissioner for South AfricaSouth Africa,
Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2015 est. pop. 55,291,000), 471,359 sq mi (1,220,813 sq km), S Africa. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, on Namibia in the northwest, on Botswana and Zimbabwe in the north, on
..... Click the link for more information.
 and governor-general of Cape Colony. His efforts to gain political rights for British settlers in Boer territories heightened growing tension between the rival groups and helped precipitate (1899) the South African WarSouth African War
or Boer War,
1899–1902, war of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State against Great Britain. Background
..... Click the link for more information.
. After the war, Milner's financial policies aided economic recovery, but his importation of indentured Chinese laborers raised strong opposition. He remained in South Africa until 1905, working for the assimilation of the Boer territories into a South African federation firmly linked to Britain. During this period he gathered around him a group of able young administrators, including Philip Kerr, later marquess of LothianLothian, Philip Henry Kerr, 11th marquess of
, 1882–1940, British statesman. He served (1905–10) on various government commissions in South Africa and was a member of Milner's "kindergarten" (see Milner,
..... Click the link for more information.
, who became known as "Milner's kindergarten." Milner was one of the Conservative lords who opposed the revolutionary budget of 1909 introduced by David Lloyd GeorgeLloyd George, David, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor
, 1863–1945, British statesman, of Welsh extraction.
..... Click the link for more information.
, but in 1916 Lloyd George appointed him to his war cabinet. After serving (1918) as secretary of war, he was (1919–21) colonial secretary and in 1920 led a commission to Egypt that recommended Egyptian independence. He was created viscount in 1902.


See C. Headlam, ed., The Milner Papers, 1897–1905 (1931–33); biography by J. Marlowe (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.