dominion, power to rule, or that which is subject to rule. Before 1949 the term was used officially to describe the self-governing countries of the Commonwealth of Nations—e.g., Canada, Australia, or India. In 1949 India became a republic within the Commonwealth, and the use of the term dominion has since been largely abandoned because it is thought to imply subordination. Now these states are simply referred to as members of the Commonwealth.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.