Secretary of State for the Colonies: Wikis

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Joseph Chamberlain; Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1895-1903

The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet official in charge of managing the various British colonies. The position was first created in 1768 to deal with the increasingly troublesome North American colonies. Previously those responsibilities had fallen to the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, who was responsible for Southern England, Wales, Ireland, the American colonies, and relations with the Catholic and Muslim states of Europe.

In 1782, following the loss of the American colonies, the office was abolished, and its duties given to the Home Secretary, then Lord Sydney. In 1794 a new office was created for Henry Dundas — the Secretary of State for War, which now took responsibility for the Colonies, and was renamed the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1801. In 1854, military reforms led to the Colonial and Military responsibilities of this secretary of state being split into two separate offices, with Sir George Grey becoming the first Secretary of State for the Colonies under the new arrangement.

Until 1925, when the office of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was created, the Colonial Office had responsibility for all British colonies and dominions besides India, which had its own Secretary of State. In 1966, with most of the colonies gone, the office was merged with that of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to create the new office of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs. In 1968 the Commonwealth Office was subsumed into the Foreign Office, which became known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

From 1768 until 1966 the Secretary of State was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (at times an Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies), and latterly by a Minister of State.

Secretaries of State for the Colonies, 1768-1782

Name Portrait Took office Left office
The Earl of Hillsborough 1stMarquessOfDownshire.jpg 27 February 1768 27 August 1772
The Earl of Dartmouth William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth.jpg 27 August, 1772 10 November 1775
Lord George Germain Lord george germaine.jpg 10 November 1775 February 1782
Welbore Ellis Welbore Ellis.jpg February 1782 8 March 1782

Responsibility for the Colonies held by:

Secretaries of State for the Colonies, 1854-1903

Name Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Sir George Grey, Bt George Grey, 2nd Bt.jpg 12 June 1854 8 February 1855 Whig
(Coalition)
Earl of Aberdeen
Sidney Herbert Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea.jpg 8 February 1855 23 February 1855 Whig Viscount Palmerston
Lord John Russell Lord john russell.jpg 23 February 1855 21 July 1855 Whig
Sir William Molesworth, Bt WilliamMolesworth.jpg 21 July 1855 21 November 1855 Whig
Henry Labouchere Henry Labouchere, Baron Taunton by William Menzies Tweedie.jpg 21 November 1855 21 February 1858 Whig
Lord Stanley Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby 2.jpg 26 February 1858 5 June 1858 Conservative Earl of Derby
Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Bt Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton by Henry William Pickersgill.jpg 5 June 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative
The Duke of Newcastle 5thDukeOfNewcastle.jpg 18 June 1859 7 April 1864 Liberal Viscount Palmerston
Edward Cardwell 1stViscountCardwell.jpg 7 April 1864 26 June 1866 Liberal
Earl Russell
The Earl of Carnarvon 4th Earl of Carnarvon.jpg 6 July 1866 8 March 1867 Conservative Earl of Derby
The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos.png 8 March 1867 1 December 1868 Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg 9 December 1868 6 July 1870 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley.png 6 July 1870 17 February 1874 Liberal
The Earl of Carnarvon 4th Earl of Carnarvon.jpg 21 February 1874 4 February 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt St Aldwyn Michael Edward Hicks-Beach (1st Earl).jpg 4 February 1878 21 April 1880 Conservative
The Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley.png 21 April 1880 16 December 1882 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Derby Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby 2.jpg 16 December 1882 9 June 1885 Liberal
Frederick Stanley Lordstanley.jpg 24 June 1885 28 January 1886 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Edward Stanhope Edward Stanhope.JPG 3 August 1886 14 January 1887 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
The Lord Knutsford Knutsford1.JPG 14 January 1887 11 August 1892 Conservative
The Marquess of Ripon George Robinson 1st Marquess of Ripon.jpg 18 August 1892 21 June 1895 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Earl of Rosebery
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain in colour.jpg 29 June 1895 16 September 1903 Liberal Unionist Marquess of Salisbury
Arthur Balfour

Secretaries of State for the Colonies, 1903-1966

Name Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Alfred Lyttelton AlfredLyttelton.jpg 11 October 1903 4 December 1905 Liberal Unionist Arthur Balfour
The Earl of Elgin 9thEarlOfElgin.jpg 10 December 1905 12 April 1908 Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
The Earl of Crewe Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg 12 April 1908 3 November 1910 Liberal H. H. Asquith
Lewis Vernon Harcourt Lewis Harcourt.JPG 3 November 1910 25 May 1915 Liberal
Andrew Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law 02.jpg 25 May 1915 10 December 1916 Conservative
(Coalition)
Walter Long Walter Hume Long, 1st Viscount Long portrait.jpg 10 December 1916 10 January 1919 Conservative
(Coalition)
David Lloyd George
The Viscount Milner Lord Milner.jpg 10 January 1919 13 February 1921 Liberal
(Coalition)
Winston Churchill Churchill 1904 Q 42037.jpg 13 February 1921 19 October 1922 Liberal
(Coalition)
The Duke of Devonshire GG Duke of Devonshire.jpg 24 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
James Henry Thomas No image.svg 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Leo Amery No image.svg 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
The Lord Passfield Sidney Webb.jpg 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
James Henry Thomas No image.svg 25 August 1931 5 November 1931 National Labour
(National Govt)
Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister Swinton1929.png 5 November 1931 7 June, 1935 Conservative
(National Govt)
Malcolm MacDonald No image.svg 7 June 1935 22 November 1935 National Labour
(National Govt)
Stanley Baldwin
James Henry Thomas No image.svg 22 November 1935 22 May 1936 National Labour
(National Govt)
William Ormsby-Gore No image.svg 28 May 1936 16 May 1938 Conservative
(National Govt)
Neville Chamberlain
Malcolm MacDonald No image.svg 16 May 1938 12 May 1940 National Labour
(National Govt; War Govt)
The Lord Lloyd Lord Lloyd.JPG 12 May 1940 8 February 1941 Conservative
(Coalition)
Winston Churchill
The Lord Moyne Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne.jpg 8 February 1941 22 February 1942 Conservative
(Coalition)
Viscount Cranborne Lord Cranborne.jpg 22 February 1942 22 November 1942 Conservative
(Coalition)
Oliver Stanley No image.svg 22 November 1942 26 July 1945 Conservative
(Coalition)
George Hall No image.svg 3 August 1945 4 October 1946 Labour Clement Attlee
Arthur Creech Jones No image.svg 4 October 1946 28 February 1950 Labour
Jim Griffiths No image.svg 28 February 1950 26 October 1951 Labour
Oliver Lyttelton No image.svg 28 October 1951 28 July 1954 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Alan Lennox-Boyd No image.svg 28 July 1954 14 October 1959 Conservative
Sir Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Iain Macleod No image.svg 14 October 1959 9 October 1961 Conservative
Reginald Maudling Maudlingwins cropped.jpg 9 October 1961 13 July 1962 Conservative
Duncan Sandys No image.svg 13 July 1962 16 October 1964 Conservative
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Anthony Greenwood No image.svg 18 October 1964 23 December 1965 Labour Harold Wilson
The Earl of Longford Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl Longford.jpg 23 December 1965 6 April 1966 Labour
Frederick Lee No image.svg 6 April 1966 1 August 1966 Labour

Responsibility for the colonies held by:

Following the British Nationality Act 1981 the term "colony" ceased to be used; Britain's rule over the last significant former colony, Hong Kong, ceased in 1997. Britain retains certain overseas territories.

History of UK Government Departments with Responsibility for Foreign Affairs
Colonial Office
1768 – 1782
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Home Office
1782 – 1794
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
War Office
1794 – 1801
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
War and Colonial Office
1801 – 1854
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1854 – 1925
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1925 – 1966
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Commonwealth Office
1966 – 1968
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1968 – Present
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Dominions Office
1925 – 1947
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Commonwealth Relations Office
1947 – 1966
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
. India Office
1858 – 1937
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
India and Burma Office
1937 – 1947
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Foreign Office
1782 – 1968
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
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Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1895-1903]]

The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet official in charge of managing the various British colonies. The position was first created in 1768 to deal with the increasingly troublesome North American colonies. Previously those responsibilities had fallen to the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, who was responsible for Southern England, Wales, Ireland, the American colonies, and relations with the Catholic and Muslim states of Europe.

In 1782, following the loss of the American colonies, the office was abolished, and its duties given to the Home Secretary, then Lord Sydney. In 1794 a new office was created for Henry Dundas — the Secretary of State for War, which now took responsibility for the Colonies, and was renamed the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1801. In 1854, military reforms led to the Colonial and Military responsibilities of this secretary of state being split into two separate offices, with Sir George Grey becoming the first Secretary of State for the Colonies under the new arrangement.

Until 1925, when the office of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was created, the Colonial Office had responsibility for all British colonies and dominions besides India, which had its own Secretary of State. In 1966, with most of the colonies gone, the office was merged with that of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to create the new office of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs. In 1968 the Commonwealth Office was subsumed into the Foreign Office, which became known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

From 1768 until 1966 the Secretary of State was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (at times an Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies), and latterly by a Minister of State.

Secretaries of State for the Colonies, 1768-1782

Name Portrait Took office Left office
The Earl of Hillsborough 27 February 1768 27 August 1772
The Earl of Dartmouth 27 August, 1772 10 November 1775
Lord George Germain 10 November 1775 February 1782
Welbore Ellis February 1782 8 March 1782

Responsibility for the Colonies held by:

Secretaries of State for the Colonies, 1854-1903

Name Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Sir George Grey, Bt 12 June 1854 8 February 1855 Whig
(Coalition)
Earl of Aberdeen
Sidney Herbert 8 February 1855 23 February 1855 Whig Viscount Palmerston
Lord John Russell 23 February 1855 21 July 1855 Whig
Sir William Molesworth, Bt 21 July 1855 21 November 1855 Whig
Henry Labouchere 21 November 1855 21 February 1858 Whig
Lord Stanley 26 February 1858 5 June 1858 Conservative Earl of Derby
Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Bt 5 June 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative
The Duke of Newcastle 18 June 1859 7 April 1864 Liberal Viscount Palmerston
Edward Cardwell 7 April 1864 26 June 1866 Liberal
Earl Russell
The Earl of Carnarvon 6 July 1866 8 March 1867 Conservative Earl of Derby
The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 8 March 1867 1 December 1868 Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli
The Earl Granville 9 December 1868 6 July 1870 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Kimberley 6 July 1870 17 February 1874 Liberal
The Earl of Carnarvon 21 February 1874 4 February 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt 4 February 1878 21 April 1880 Conservative
The Earl of Kimberley 21 April 1880 16 December 1882 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Derby 16 December 1882 9 June 1885 Liberal
Frederick Stanley 24 June 1885 28 January 1886 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
The Earl Granville 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Edward Stanhope 3 August 1886 14 January 1887 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
The Lord Knutsford 14 January 1887 11 August 1892 Conservative
The Marquess of Ripon 18 August 1892 21 June 1895 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Earl of Rosebery
Joseph Chamberlain 29 June 1895 16 September 1903 Liberal Unionist Marquess of Salisbury
Arthur Balfour

Secretaries of State for the Colonies, 1903-1966

Name Portrait Took office Left office Political party Prime Minister
Alfred Lyttelton 11 October 1903 4 December 1905 Liberal Unionist Arthur Balfour
The Earl of Elgin 10 December 1905 12 April 1908 Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
The Earl of Crewe 12 April 1908 3 November 1910 Liberal H. H. Asquith
Lewis Vernon Harcourt 3 November 1910 25 May 1915 Liberal
Andrew Bonar Law 25 May 1915 10 December 1916 Conservative
(Coalition)
Walter Long 10 December 1916 10 January 1919 Conservative
(Coalition)
David Lloyd George
The Viscount Milner 10 January 1919 13 February 1921 Liberal
(Coalition)
Winston Churchill 13 February 1921 19 October 1922 Liberal
(Coalition)
The Duke of Devonshire 24 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
James Henry Thomas 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Leo Amery 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
The Lord Passfield 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
James Henry Thomas 25 August 1931 5 November 1931 National Labour
(National Govt)
Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister 5 November 1931 7 June, 1935 Conservative
(National Govt)
Malcolm MacDonald 7 June 1935 22 November 1935 National Labour
(National Govt)
Stanley Baldwin
James Henry Thomas 22 November 1935 22 May 1936 National Labour
(National Govt)
William Ormsby-Gore 28 May 1936 16 May 1938 Conservative
(National Govt)
Neville Chamberlain
Malcolm MacDonald 16 May 1938 12 May 1940 National Labour
(National Govt; War Govt)
The Lord Lloyd 12 May 1940 8 February 1941 Conservative
(Coalition)
Winston Churchill
The Lord Moyne 8 February 1941 22 February 1942 Conservative
(Coalition)
Viscount Cranborne 22 February 1942 22 November 1942 Conservative
(Coalition)
Oliver Stanley 22 November 1942 26 July 1945 Conservative
(Coalition)
George Hall 3 August 1945 4 October 1946 Labour Clement Attlee
Arthur Creech Jones 4 October 1946 28 February 1950 Labour
Jim Griffiths 28 February 1950 26 October 1951 Labour
Oliver Lyttelton 28 October 1951 28 July 1954 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Alan Lennox-Boyd 28 July 1954 14 October 1959 Conservative
Sir Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Iain Macleod 14 October 1959 9 October 1961 Conservative
Reginald Maudling 9 October 1961 13 July 1962 Conservative
Duncan Sandys 13 July 1962 16 October 1964 Conservative
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Anthony Greenwood 18 October 1964 23 December 1965 Labour Harold Wilson
The Earl of Longford 23 December 1965 6 April 1966 Labour
Frederick Lee 6 April 1966 1 August 1966 Labour

Responsibility for the colonies held by:

Following the British Nationality Act 1981 the term "colony" ceased to be used; Britain's rule over the last significant former colony, Hong Kong, ceased in 1997. Britain retains certain overseas territories.

History of UK Government Departments with Responsibility for Foreign Affairs
Colonial Office
1768 – 1782
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Home Office
1782 – 1794
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
War Office
1794 – 1801
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
War and Colonial Office
1801 – 1854
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1854 – 1925
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Colonial Office
1925 – 1966
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Commonwealth Office
1966 – 1968
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1968 – Present
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
Dominions Office
1925 – 1947
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Commonwealth Relations Office
1947 – 1966
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries
. India Office
1858 – 1937
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
India and Burma Office
1937 – 1947
Secretaries
Undersecretaries
Foreign Office
1782 – 1968
Secretaries
Ministers
Undersecretaries


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