The Reign of Elizabeth II

October 7, 2022

1952              

6 February George VII dies, Elizabeth II ascends to the throne 

“Beginning with her first prime minister Winston Churchill, the queen’s ministers not only knew of systematic British-directed violence in the empire, they also participated in its crafting, diffusion, and cover-up, which was as routinized as the violence itself. They repeatedly lied to Parliament and the media and, when decolonisation was imminent, ordered the widespread removal and burning of incriminating evidence.”

Source:

https://time.com/6212824/queen-elizabeth-iis-reign-violence-british-empire/

                6 February:

Elizabeth is in Kenya when her father dies. Contrary to some reports, it is likely that she was not up a tree but, in a lodge, when she is informed of his death. There are some romantic reports that she climbed a tree as a Princess and came down the tree as a queen. 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/12/queen-death-kenya-colonial-rule-mau-mau-uprising

                 Four years before Elizabeth II’s accession, the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA) began to fight against occupying British forces as they sought independence from British rule. The fighting continued for 12 years, ending in 1960. The British attempted to suppress the MNLA, “the British military set fire to homes and farmland belonging to those suspected of having ties to the MNLA, relocated an estimated 400,000 to one million people into concentration camps called “new villages,” and sprayed crops with Agent Orange to starve insurgents.” During the 12-year uprising, almost 10,000 Malayans lost their lives. (Malaya is now known as Malaysia). 

Source: 

https://www.liberationnews.org/five-of-the-british-empires-worst-atrocities-under-queen-elizabeths-reign/

The Morning Star newspaper describes actions taken by the British to quell the fight for independence by the Malayan people. These actions included: 

“locking up all 500,000 of Malaya’s ethnic Chinese population in concentration camps called “New Villages,” burning farmland to starve rural areas of food, executing entire villages of people in incidents such as the infamous Batang Kali massacre and instituting a policy of terror against the Malayan population. At the height of the terror, the British would photograph executed independence fighters, place photographs of their mangled corpses onto millions of leaflets and drop these leaflets out of airplanes.”

Source:

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/how-morning-star-exposed-britains-decapitation-war-crimes

                In Kenya, the Mau Mau were the group fighting the British for freedom from colonial rule. The Mau Mau Rebellion lasted for a decade from 1952 until 1962, with Kenya gaining independence a year later. 

To suppress the Rebellion, the British forced over a 100,000 Kenyans into camps where they were tortured, maimed, sexually abused and killed. 

“According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission, 90,000 Kenyans were killed, tortured or maimed during the conflict, and 160,000 were held in inhumane prison camps.”

Source: 

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/britain-expresses-lsquosincere-regretsrsquo-for-torture-of-kenyans/

1953               

2 June: Elizabeth’s Coronation

                24-25 November: State visit to Bermuda

                25-27 November: State visit to Jamaica

                17-19 December: State visit to Fiji

                19-20 December: State visit to Tonga 

                23 December–30 January: State visit to New Zealand 

1954           

                3 February–1 April: State visit to Australia

             5 April: State visit to Cocos Islands 

                10–21 April: State visit to Ceylon 

                27 April: State visit to Aden

                28–30 April: State visit to Uganda 

                3–7 May: State visit to Malta 

                10 May: State visit to Gibraltar

1956

             28 January – 16 February: State visit to Nigeria

1957

                6 March: Ghana becomes the first colonised nation populated by People of African origin to achieve independence from British colonial rule.

“As Britain’s ruling classes scrambled to control the narrative of the loss of imperial power, they produced the myth of decolonisation as a managed and planned process. Elizabeth II’s involvement was central to this myth and also in mediating between opposing groups like African nationalists and white settlers.”

Source: 

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/9/14/the-queen-cannot-be-separated-from-the-crown

1960

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British prime minister Harold Macmillan addresses the Union of South Africa about the uprisings in British colonies demanding independence from the British Empire. He refers to these rightful demands as “the winds of change”.

Source:

https://web-archives.univ-pau.fr/english/TD2doc1.pdf

                1 October: Nigeria independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

1961

                21 January – 1 February: State visit to India

16–26 February: State visit to India 

1–2 March: State visit to India 

                1–16 February:  State visit to Pakistan 

                27 April: Sierra Leone independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State

                9–20 November: State visit to Ghana 

                25 November – 1 December: State visit to Sierra Leone 

                3–5 December: State Visit to Gambia 

                9 December: Tanganyika independence; on 26 April 1964, Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to form Tanzania 

1962

                6 August: Jamaica attains independence from the British Empire; UK monarch retained as Head of State

                31 August: Trinidad and Tobago acquire independence from the British Empire. Retains UK monarch as Head of State until 1 August 1976  

                9 October: Uganda independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State

1963

             30 January – 1 February: State visit to Canada 

            2–3 February: State visit to Fiji 

            6–18 February: State visit to New Zealand

             18 February – 27 March: State visit to Australia 

             December 12: Kenya becomes independent from British rule

                   On leaving, the British burn 1000’s of documents detailing the atrocities committed against Kenyans 

under colonial rule, while the nation was a British colony. UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State. 

1964

               6 July: Malawi independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

              5–13 October: State visit to Canada 

               Zambia independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

1965               

    18 February: Gambia independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

“British officials secretly deployed…propaganda in the 1960s to incite prominent Indonesians to “cut out” the “communist cancer”.

It is estimated that at least 500,000 people linked to the Indonesia communist party (PKI) were eliminated between 1965 and 1966.” 

The exact number killed as a result of the British disinformation campaign inciting murder of supporters of communism is unknown but is believed to be up to 3 million. 

Source: 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/23/uks-propaganda-leaflets-inspired-1960s-massacre-of-indonesian-communists

1966

             1 February: State visit to Barbados 

            4–5 February: State visit to British Guinea 

             7–10 February: State visit to Trinidad

            11 February: State visit to Grenada     

            13 February: State visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines      

            14–15 February: State visit to Barbados

             16 February: State visit to Saint Lucia 

              18 February: State visit to Dominica

              19 February: State visit to Montserrat

             20 February: State visit to Antigua 

            22 February: State visit to Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla

            23 February: State visit to British Virgin Islands

             25 February: State visit to Turks and Caicos Islands

             27–28 February: State visit to The Bahamas

             3–6 March: State visit to Jamaica 

             26 May 1966: Guyana independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

             30 September: Botswana independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

             4 October: Kingdom of Lesotho independence; UK monarch not retained as Head of State. 

             30 November: Barbados independence; UK monarch retained as Head of State 

1967

                Kenyan officials write to the Foreign Office in London, requesting 

                        The return of missing colonial files covering the time that 

                        Kenya was under colonial rule. The officials receive a response that 

                        the requested files did not exist/there was no entitlement to them.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/aug/18/uncovering-truth-british-empire-caroline-elkins-mau-mau

6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970:

The Biafran-Nigerian War took place during this time. An area of eastern Nigeria (Biafra) seceded from the Republic of Nigeria in May of 1967. The Republic created blockades which prevented food and supplies getting through to Biafra. Populated mainly by the Igbo community, Biafra had declared itself a republic following the actions of the governing body in the (then) capital of Nigeria, Lagos. The UK supplied arms to the Federal Military Government of Nigeria, who were fighting against the Biafrans. 

“British policy was mainly shaped by its oil interests, declassified government documents from the time show. “Our direct interests are trade and investment, including an important stake by Shell/BP in the eastern region,” the Foreign Office noted a few days before the outbreak of the war in 1967.” 

Source: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-04-29-how-britains-labour-government-facilitated-the-massacre-of-biafrans-in-nigeria-to-protect-its-oil-interests/

The war is estimated to have caused the death of over half a million Igbo children, 2.5 million Igbo adults  and the displacement of 3 million refugees. 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/21/buried-50-years-britain-shamesful-role-biafran-war-frederick-forsyth

http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/59261/1/Smith_UK-and-genocide-in-Biafra_2014.pdf

Biafran child, photo: CDC (USA)

1968

                6 September: Swaziland independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State          

1970

             2–3 March: State visit to Canada 

             4–5 March: State visits to Fiji 

             7 March: State visit to Tonga

             12–30 March: State visit to New Zealand 

             30 March – 3 May: State visit to Australia

              5–15 July: State visit to Canada 

              3–12 May: State visit to Canada

1973  

                10 March: British Governor Richard Sharples assassinated by a Black Beret Cadre in Bermuda.

Bermuda remains a British Overseas Territory (colony) at the time of writing

                25 June – 5 July: State visit to Canada

                10 July: Bahamas independence; UK monarch retained as Head of State 

                31 July – 4 August: State visit to Canada

                16–17 October: State visit to Fiji 

                17–22 October: State visit to Australia

1974

                28–29 January: State visit to the Cook Islands

                7 February: Grenada independence; UK monarch retained as Head of State 

                30 January – 8 February: New Zealand

                11 February: Norfolk Island 

                15–16 February: New Hebrides

                18–21 February: Solomon Islands 

                 22–27 February: Papua New Guinea 

                27–28 February: Australia 

1975

                16–18 February: Bermuda 

                18–20 February: Barbados 

                20–21 February: Bahamas 

                26–30 April: Jamaica 

                4–7 May: Hong Kong 

1976

                13–25 July: Canada 

1977

                10–11 February: Western Samoa

                14 February: Tonga 

                16-17 February: Fiji

                22 February – 7 March: New Zealand 

                7–23 March: Australia 

                 23–26 March: Papua New Guinea

                26–30 March: Australia 

                14–19 October: Canada

                19–20 October: Bahamas

                26 October: British Virgin Islands 

                28 October: Antigua and Barbuda

                31 October – 2 November: Barbados

1978 

                26 July – 6 August: Canada 

                3 November: Dominica independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

1979

                19–22 July: Tanzania 

                22–25 July: Malawi 

                25–27 July: Botswana 

                27 July – 4 August: Zambia

                27 October: St Vincent and the Grenadine (SVG) independence; UK monarch retained as Head of State 

1980

                24–28 May: Australia

1981

                26 September – 12 October: Australia 

                12–20 October: New Zealand 

                20–21 October: Australia 

                21–25 October: Sri Lanka            

                1 November: Antigua and Barbuda independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

1982

                15–18 April: Canada

                5–13 October: Australia 

                 13–14 October: Papua New Guinea

                18 October: Solomon Islands 

                21 October: Nauru

                23 October: Kiribati

                26-27 October: Tuvalu

                30 October – 1 November: Fiji 

1983

                13 February: Bermuda 

                13-16 February: Jamaica 

                16-17 February: Cayman Islands 

                8–11 March: Canada 

                9–10 November: Cyprus 

                10–14 November: Kenya 

                14-17 November: Bangladesh 

                17-26 November: India 

1984

                25–26 March: Cyprus 

                24 September – 7 October: Canada 

1985

                9–11 October: Belize 

                11–18 October: Bahamas 

                23 October: Saint Kitts and Nevis 

                24 October: Antigua and Barbuda 

                25 October: Dominica

                26 October: Saint Lucia 

                27 October: Saint Vincent and The Grenadines

                28–29 October: Barbados 

                31 October: Grenada 

                1-3 November: Trinidad and Tobago 

1986

                22 February – 2 March: New Zealand 

                2–13 March: Australia 

                21–23 October: Hong Kong 

1987

                9–24 October: Canada

1988

                19 April – 10 May: Australia 

1989

                8–11 March: Barbados 

                9–11 October: Singapore 

                14–17 October: Malaysia 

1990

                1–16 February: New Zealand 

                27 June – 1 July: Canada 

1991

                7 October: Kenya

                8-10 October: Namibia 

                10-15 October: Zimbabwe 

1992 

                18–25 February: Australia 

                28–30 May: Malta 

                30 June – 2 July: Canada 

1993

                18–24 October: Cyprus

1994

                18 February: Cayman Islands      

                19 February: Dominica 

                19–22 February: Guyana 

                22–24 February: Belize 

                26–27 February: Cayman Islands 

                1–3 March: Jamaica 

                6–8 March: Bahamas

                8–10 March: Bermuda 

                13–22 August: Canada

1995 

                19-25 March: South Africa

                30 October-11 November: New Zealand 

                13 November: Cameroon  independence; UK monarch NOT retained as Head of State 

1997

                30 June – 2 July: Canada 

                6-12 October: Pakistan

                12-18 October: India 

1998

                17–20 September: Brunei 

                20–23 September: Malaysia 

1999

                7–9 November: Ghana 

                9–15 November: South Africa 

                15 November: Mozambique 

2000

                17 March – 1 April: Australia 

2002

                18–20 February: Jamaica

                22–27 February: New Zealand

                27 February – 3 March: Australia 

                4-15 October: Canada 

2003

                3–6 December: Nigeria 

2005

                17–25 May: Canada 

                23–26 November: Malta 

2006

                11–16 March: Australia 

                16–18 March: Singapore 

2007

                20 November: Malta 

                21–24 November: Uganda 

2009

                24–26 November: Bermuda 

                26–28 November: Trinidad & Tobago 

2010

                28 June – 6 July: Canada 

                19–29 October: Australia

                26–28 November: Malta 

2011

                24 February:  Report by Anthony Cary re British Colonial Administration papers published. It confirms that the British government were in possession of the papers requested by Kenya in 1967, and proceeded to deny their existence/refuse to hand them over. 

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/625667/cary-report-release-colonial-administration-files.pdf

6 April: Kenyans detained in British concentration camps and subjected to torture take their case to the High Court in London, England. Seeking acknowledgement of the ordeal suffered at the hands of the British colonial army during the Mau Mau uprising in 1952, the Kenyans also seek compensation. 

2013               

6 June: The British Government admitted to the torture carried out in the Kenyan detention camps during British attempts to suppress the Mau Mau Rebellion.  5,228 Kenyans who were tortured and abused during the insurrection. Each would receive about £3,800. “The British government recognises that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” Foreign Secretary Hague said, reading from a statement in Parliament. Britain “sincerely regrets that these abuses took place.”

                        Source: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/aug/18/uncovering-truth-british-empire-caroline-elkins-mau-mau

                3 October: Gambia withdraws from the Commonwealth:

                        “The government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism”

                        Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/gambia-quits-commonwealth-yahya-jammeh

2018

                Gambia rejoins the Commonwealth

https://thecommonwealth.org/news/gambia-rejoins-commonwealth

                19 April: Swaziland changes the name of the nation to the Kingdom of eSwatini

2021

30 November 2021: 56 years after independence, Barbados removed the UK monarch as Head of State

2022               

Elizabeth II dies, Charles III ascends to the throne 

At the time of her death, 14 Commonwealth Realms retained the monarch of the UK as their head of state:

 Antigua and BarbudaAustraliaThe BahamasBelizeCanadaGrenadaJamaicaNew ZealandPapua New GuineaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.

“In fact, the queen was the guardian of Britain’s imperial past and curator of its present and future. Like her predecessors, she self-consciously wrapped herself in the empire, deploying images and symbols, as well as the language of fictive kinship, to project claims to British benevolence and exceptionalism. In so doing, she detracted from all that was being carried out in her name while beckoning her colonial subjects to revere her.”

Caroline Elkins

Source:

https://www.news18.com/news/explainers/was-queen-elizabeth-ii-ever-completely-aware-of-the-atrocities-done-under-her-reign-news18-explains-5952895.html

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