Native State Indirect rule

The British Empire employed several systems of rule. Some territories were Crown Colonies, headed by a Governor. All posts were filled by the governor and members of the British Colonial Service.

However, in India , Nigeria and Uganda some parts of the colony were ruled by local rulers, "advised" by a British officer. In India the rulers were Maharajahs (Great Kings), Rajahs, Nizams (Moghul governors) and other titles. In Uganda there was the Kabaka of Buganda and other local kings. The northern states of Nigeria were headed by Emirs and Sultans.

Has there been an American Empire apparently ruled by local rulers but actually guided by the American Ambassador or CIA Station Chief? Some would regard Nicaragua under the Somozas as something of the kind, also Cuba under Batista, and other states.

During the Cold War the Soviet Union and its satellite states were ruled by Secretaries of the Communist Parties, actually appointed by Moskva. The real power was exerted by the Soviet army. Thus these could also have been regarded as Native States. The essence of such a state is that the rulers appear to belong to the people ruled, but do not have the real power.

The Romans also used the device, best known in the kingdoms ruled by the Herod family in Palestine, supervised by a Roman governor. Israel may be considered to be doing the same in modern Palestine.

Perhaps, too, European countries, such as Britain, are so heavily dominated by the United States that their own governments are not very influential.

Last revised 4/09/09


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