Resident Commissioner
Resident Commissioner is the title of several, quite different types of Commissioner
Commissioner is in principle the title given to a member of a commission or to an individual who has been given a commission ....

 in overseas possession or protectorate of the British Crown or of the United States.

British English

Resident Commissioners appointed by the British crown have in common that they, but also most otherwise styled Commissioners, reside in the territorial unit they are in charge of.

Notably in certain complex colonial units within the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, the High Commissioner
High Commissioner
High Commissioner is the title of various high-ranking, special executive positions held by a commission of appointment.The English term is also used to render various equivalent titles in other languages.-Bilateral diplomacy:...

 to whom was given the highest 'regional' supervision (either residing in one of the constitutive territories, e.g. in the British Western Pacific Territories (BWPT), first by the Governor on Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, then from 1952 onwards on the Solomon Islands; or even in a neighbouring colony, e.g. the Governor of the Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

 as High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with the Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay...

) would commonly be represented in territories not comprising his residence by a Resident Commissioner, though in some places (including some of the Federated Malay States) similar officials were formally styled as Residents
Resident (title)
A Resident, or in full Resident Minister, is a government official required to take up permanent residence in another country. A representative of his government, he officially has diplomatic functions which are often seen as a form of indirect rule....

, a more diplomatic title; otherwise another type of official was also possible (e.g. the British Consul
Consul (representative)
The political title Consul is used for the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of the two countries...

 in the protected state of Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

, a Polynesian kingdom; an Administrator
Administrator of the Government
An Administrator in the constitutional practice of some countries in the Commonwealth is a person who fulfils a role similar to that of a Governor or a Governor-General...

 on Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

; a mere Chief Magistrate
Chief Magistrate
Chief Magistrate is a generic designation for a public official whose office—individual or collegial—is the highest in his or her class, in either of the fundamental meanings of Magistrate : as a major political and administrative office , and/or as a judge Chief Magistrate is a generic designation...

 on tiny Pitcairn). In some cases one could compare his task to the Lieutenant-governor of a minor colony, especially as the High Commissioner indeed could be a British colonial Governor doubling as such.

In the British Western Pacific Territories this was the case for:
  • The British Solomon Islands from 1893 until they got a Governor (who also became the High Commissioner) in 1952.

  • Since 9-16 October 1892 on the Gilbert and Ellice Islands
    Gilbert and Ellice Islands
    The Gilbert and Ellice Islands were a British protectorate from 1892 and colony from 1916 until 1 January 1976, when the islands were divided into two different colonies which became independent nations shortly after...

     (British protectorate
    In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

    , presently in Kiribati), i.e. before they became a colony within the BWPT in 1916 (since 1916 including the Union Group protectorate, later a separate state called Tokelau).

  • The Cook Islands
    Cook Islands
    The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

    , since the 11 June 1901 incorporation into New Zealand (previously there was a British Resident).

  • Niue
    Niue , is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as the "Rock of Polynesia", and inhabitants of the island call it "the Rock" for short. Niue is northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga to the southwest, the Samoas to the northwest, and the Cook Islands to...

     since 1901 (later under high commissioners) soon annexed to the dominion of New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

     (1901-1904 as part of the Cook Islands
    Cook Islands
    The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...


  • A special case were the New Hebrides
    New Hebrides
    New Hebrides was the colonial name for an island group in the South Pacific that now forms the nation of Vanuatu. The New Hebrides were colonized by both the British and French in the 18th century shortly after Captain James Cook visited the islands...

    , for these were an Anglo-French colonial condominium
    A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where a specified part of a piece of real estate is individually owned while use of and access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating system, elevators, exterior areas is executed under legal rights...

    , so he had a French colleague styled Résident
    Resident may refer to:*Resident, a person who maintains residency in a given place*Resident, a person who has tax residence in a country or jurisdiction*Resident, a patient at a long-term care facility...

    , subordinate to France's haut commissaire (high commissioner) in the Pacific Ocean (from 22 March 1907 the Governor of New Caledonia); both were abolished at the independence of the Republic of Vanuatu in 1980.

While the post of High commissioner for Southern Africa (HCSA) was held 27 January 1847 - 31 May 1910 by the Governors of the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take...

, then till 6 April 1931 by the Governors-general of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, after that date filled separately till 1963, there have been resident representatives in the constituent territories:
  • In (British) Bechuanaland, after a few Deputy - and Special Commissioners, there were Resident Commissioners since it was made dependent on the HCSA on 9 May 1891; in 1892-1923 there were also two Assistant Commissioner
    Assistant Commissioner
    Assistant commissioner is a rank used in many police forces across the globe. It is also a rank used in revenue administrations in many countries.-Australia:...

    s, for the North and the South respectively.

  • In the British Swaziland
    Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

     protectorate, since it was dependent on the HCSA in 1902 (before administered through Transvaal, under an Administrator
    Administrator of the Government
    An Administrator in the constitutional practice of some countries in the Commonwealth is a person who fulfils a role similar to that of a Governor or a Governor-General...

    ); afterwards both got a separate Commissioner.

  • Since on 18 March 1884 Basutoland
    Basutoland or officially the Territory of Basutoland, was a British Crown colony established in 1884 after the Cape Colony's inability to control the territory...

     became a separate colony, as one of the High Commission Territories, it got its Resident Commissioner, instead of a Cape Government Agent
    Government Agent
    A function called Government Agent exist or existed in the past in several countries, such as* Sri Lanka - see Government Agent * Canada - see Government Agent...

     (since it became a British protectorate in 1868).

American English

  • Resident Commissioners from the Philippines
    Resident Commissioners from the Philippines
    From 1907 until 1946, the Philippines sent Resident Commissioners to the United States House of Representatives to represent the island state, which was a U.S. territory from 13 August 1898...

     held a similar position when that Asia
    Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

    n country was a United States Territory from 1905 (Commonwealth from 1935) until the conferring of independence
    Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

     on the Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     in 1946

United States

  • The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
    Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
    The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives elected by the voters of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico every four years...

     does not reside there but represents the U.S. Commonwealth in the continental United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , particularly in the capital of Washington, DC. He or she represents Puerto Rico in the United States House of Representatives
    United States House of Representatives
    The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

    , where the Resident Commissioner has a status equivalent to a territorial delegate, as well as before executive departments.
  • In most other U.S. overseas (and historically pre-state) territories, a similar representative position is styled Delegate
    Delegate (United States Congress)
    A delegate to Congress is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives who is elected from a U.S. territory and from Washington, D.C. to a two-year term. While unable to vote in the full House, a non-voting delegate may vote in a House committee of which the delegate is a member...


Sources and references

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.