December 11 1931 — The Statute of Westminster

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In one of its more significant and, in fact, truly historic moves, the Westminster parliament in London approved the Statute of Westminster on this day, December 11 1931.

Whilst largely forgotten today, this act effectively began the major phase of reducing the power and reach of the British Empire, marking the beginning of the Commonwealth. The dominions of Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland were granted equal status and full autonomy, whilst still adhering allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain.

A lot has changed since then; Newfoundland is now a province of Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador since March 31 1949), for example. The Republic of Ireland is truly independent, whilst within the bounds of the EU.

Even the integrity of Great Britain itself has come under threat with strong nationalist movements in Wales and particularly Scotland.

Time will tell if the United Kingdom breaks apart, or re-constitutes itself, once outside the of the EU.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020