Here is a glossary of common terms used in discussions of the colonization processes of the British Empire:


AnnexTo incorporate a country or other territory within the domain of a ruling body.

BAME– Acronym of Black and other Minority Ethnic immigrants to the UK.

British Empire- The dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. The Empire started with trading posts during the 16th to 18th centuries.

British Raj– The rule of the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 to 1947.

ColonyA body of people living in a new territory but retaining ties with the parent state.

CommonwealthAn association of self-governing autonomous states loosely associated in a common allegiance. Comprises the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly known as the British Commonwealth.

Crown ColonyA British colony over which the Crown retains some control.

DependencyA territorial unit under the jurisdiction of a nation but not formally annexed by it.

DecolonizationTo free former colonies from colonial status.

Dominions–  In the Empire, these were semi-independent areas under the British Crown, constituting the British Empire, beginning with Canadian Confederation in 1867. Now, they are self-governing nations of the Commonwealth of Nations other than the United Kingdom that acknowledges the British monarch as chief of state.

Empire Windrush- The former German cruise ship carrying 492 Jamaican immigrants (and a debated number of stowaways) from Kingston, Jamaica to London, England. She arrived on 22 June 1948 and carried primarily ex-Royal Air Force members who’d served in World War Two.

Imperialism– The policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas.

Mandates– A legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the documentation that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for governing the territory on behalf of the League of Nations.

ProtectorateA dependent territory that has been granted local control and some independence while still being controlled mostly by a greater ruling body. They are different from colonies as they have local rulers and sometimes, people from the land controlling the protectorate will immigrate there.

Territory– A land that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside of the controlling state’s integral area.


Sources used: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 18 March 2017.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Accessed 18 March 2017.