West Indian Federation

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West Indies Federation
West Indian Federation
Flag of the West Indian Federation
West Indian Federation coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : To dwell together in unity
Official language English
Capital Chaguaramas (The city was never completed, however, the seat of government was Port of Spain )
Form of government monarchy
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II ( Governor General : Patrick George Thomas Buchan-Hepburn )
Head of government Prime Minister Grantley Herbert Adams
surface 20,253 km²
population 3,117,300 (1960)
Population density 154 inhabitants per km²
currency West Indian dollar
founding January 3, 1958
National anthem God Save the Queen
Time zone UTC −4 and −5, summer: −3, −4
Internet TLD n / A
Telephone code + 1-809
Map of the West Indies Federation.svg

The West Indies Federation ( English : West Indies Federation ) was a short-lived federation in the Caribbean , which existed from January 3, 1958 to May 31, 1962. The federation consisted of twelve provinces, which emerged from the British colonies in the Caribbean.


It was created in 1958 by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to create a political entity that would become independent as a single state modeled on the Australian or Canadian Federation. But before this could happen, the Federation collapsed because of internal political conflicts.

The provinces were:

An area called Chaguaramas was planned as the capital, a few kilometers west of Port of Spain , today's capital of Trinidad and Tobago . The actual capital was Port of Spain itself, as the planned capital was not completed until the state was dissolved.

Although the Federation initially enjoyed broad approval and had optimistic prospects for the future, the unity did not last long. The two largest provinces, Jamaica and Trinidad, soon took control of the affairs of the Federation, much to the annoyance of the smaller provinces. The two large provinces felt more and more undesirable, as the small islands were hostile to them and hostile to them.

In 1961, the governor of the Jamaican province held a referendum. Independence was accepted and Jamaica left the federation. The idea of ​​a federal state failed and the West Indian Federation was quickly dissolved. Most of the provinces became independent members of the Commonwealth of Nations . However, some preferred to become a British colony again.

The only Prime Minister of the West Indian Federation was Sir Grantley Herbert Adams , the only Governor General was Patrick George Thomas Buchan-Hepburn . Queen Elizabeth II was head of state .


As before, each member country issued its own postage stamps . The currency was the West Indies dollar , which was later replaced by the East Caribbean dollar in most of the former provinces .

Relations with Canada

The Federation had particularly close ties with Canada, which had a similar past. Canada also emerged from the amalgamation of several British colonies . In the early years, some suggested that the West Indian Federation be incorporated into Canada as a province . But there was never more than a fleeting interest in it.


  • John Mordecai: Federation of the West Indies . Northwestern University Press, Evanston 1968
  • Special Federation Number. In: Social and Economic Studies. Volume 6, No. 2, June 1957, ISSN  0037-7651 .