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The Imperial Federation of Britain (IFB) is an economic and political union made of the former colonies of the British Empire. The IFB was established in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster.
In the early 20th century, the future of the British Empire remained uncertain. Rising nationalism in Ireland and other colonies foretold a future where all the colonies would become self-governing, making it difficult for the British to maintain control over colonies that were already sovereign.
The creation of an "Imperial Federation" was seen as an alternative to colonial imperialism. The foundation of the Imperial Federation League in 1884 promoted this idea. The general proposal was to create a single federal state among all colonies of the British Empire. The federation would have a common parliament and would be governed as a superstate. Thus, Imperial unity could be maintained while still allowing for democratic government. The colonies would increase their influence while Britain would be able to share the costs of imperial defense.
The idea proved popular among Liberal and Conservative members of Parliament and in 1931 the "Imperial Federation of Britain" was established for Great Britain and the Dominions. The first Imperial Parliament was elected and the British Pound was agreed to be the common currency of the Federation. One of the more controversial aspect of the Statute of Westminster were certain provisions that gave Great Britain privileges over the other members. These "perks" wouldn't become a major issue until later though.
As British colonies began attaining self-governance, not all were interested in joining the Federation. It soon became practice to allow colonies to hold referenda to decide whether to become a dominion and join the federation or become completely independent of Great Britain (as Egypt did). The only exception to this practice was in 1958 with Palestine, since it was feared that civil war would erupt between the Muslims and the Zionist Jews who had been immigrating to the area for several decades. The Imperial Federation instead negotiated the creation of a union government between the two groups and elevated the colony to dominion status.
The Federation almost collapsed in 1985 with the proposed Second Statute of Westminster. The statute would do away with the perks that Great Britain received as a member of the Federation, essentially putting Great Britain on the same footing as every other member of the Federation. The statute proved incredibly unpopular with the general British population, but was very popular among the other members of the Federation. With many members threatening to leave the Federation if Britain did not back the proposal, a crisis was averted when Queen Elizabeth II spoke out in support of the Statute. Reluctantly, the British delegates of the Imperial Parliament approved the statute.
Today the combined economic and military might of the Imperial Federation of Britain makes it one of the most powerful nations in the world today. The only nations that can match the power of the Federation is Russia, the United States of America and the Pan-Asian League.
- United Kingdom of Great Britain
- Irish Free State
- Dominion of Canada
- Dominion of Newfoundland
- Commonwealth of Australia
- Dominion of New Zealand
- Union of South Africa
- Dominion of Guyana
- United Provinces of India
- Dominion of Kenya
- Federation of Nigeria
- Union of Palestine
- Dominion of Ghana
- West Indies Federation
IFB Administered Territories
There are some territories administered directly by the IFB:
- Suez Canal - Was transfered to IFB control after Egypt threatened to nationalize the canal in 1954.
- Jerusalem - Came under direct IFB control in 1958 after the creation of the Union of Palestine.