Decolonization in Britain’s Empire of Protectorates, 1945-1970


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




How far did the way in which empire was acquired impact the way in which it ended? Most would say not much. The British Empire was made up of a diverse combination of territories, acquired at different times, under different legal bases, and ruled under a variety of political systems—from directly ruled crown colonies to protectorates, protected states, and “the empire by treaty.” In the story of the end of empire, however, these differences seem irrelevant when confronted by the overriding desire of colonial peoples everywhere to achieve national independence and freedom. "Decolonization in Britain’s Empire of Protectorates" reveals unique legal, constitutional, and political challenges that arose in attempting to end a protected rather than a colonial empire, for imperial reformers and nationalist leaders alike, and offers a new perspective on the end of empire story that can challenge a range of familiar teleologies about the emergence of a world of nation-states after 1945.