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Sir

Gilbert Thomas Carter
A black and white photograph showing an older man in a dark suit and tie, wearing a panama hat, with glasses and a light-coloured moustache. He is using a bow, his body is facing towards the camera, while he looks to the right, aiming the bow in the same direction. He is standing on grass, with shrubs and trees in the background.
Sir Gilbert in his retirement
Personal details
Born (1848-01-14)14 January 1848
London, United Kingdom
Died 18 January 1927(1927-01-18) (aged 79)
Barbados
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch/service  Royal Navy
Years of service 1864–1875
Rank Assistant Paymaster
Battles/wars Third Anglo-Ashanto War
Joined Navy
(Assistant Clerk)
14 December 1864
Became a Clerk 4 July 1866
Placed on Navy List
(Became an Assistant Paymaster)
1 December 1869
Placed on Retired List 16 August 1875

Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter KCMG (Greenwich, Kent, 14 January 1848 – Barbados, 18 January 1927) was an administrative officer in the Royal Navy and later a colonial official for the British Empire.

Starting as a Collector of Customs for the Gold Coast, he later became the Treasurer of the Gold Coast and The Gambia. Changing his career to administration, he started as the Administrator for The Gambia, where he dealt with the aggression of the native King of Gambia. He then became Governor for the Lagos where he negotiated on treaties with the local chiefs which protected Christian missionaries and ending human sacrifices. He later served as the Governors for The Bahamas and Barbados and finally as the Governor for Trinidad and Tobago.

Early life and career in the navy

Carter was the only son of Thomas Gilbert Carter who was a Commander in the Royal Navy. He was educated at the Royal Naval School in Greenwich.

Carter joined the Royal Navy in 1864, working as an Assistant Clerk on different ships. He also worked as a Clerk and as an Assistant Paymaster (the person responsible for paying everyone). His final job in the Royal Navy was on a Colonial steamer. While he was on this ship, he took part in the third war between England and the Ashanti people on the Gold Coast (now Ghana).

When the town of Elmina was sold to the British by the Dutch Government, he was a commissioner, responsible for valuing the military supplies left behind by the Dutch. He left the Navy on 21 July 1875.

Leeward Islands, the Gold Coast and the Gambia

In 1875, Carter became the private secretary to Sir George Berkeley who was the Governor of the Leeward Islands. In August 1879, he became Collector of Customs and Treasurer of the Gold Coast.

From 1882 until December 1888, Carter was in charge of the Settlement (the British colony) on The Gambia as a Treasurer and Postmaster. From 1886, he was acting Administrator of the Colony of the Gambia, until 1 December 1888, when he was given the job as full Administrator on the Gambia's separation from Sierra Leone.

On 1 January 1890, Carter was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).

In 1891, the native King of Gambia had been organising abusive acts towards the British colonists. Carter sent an envoy from his official residence in Bathurst with a message that if the abuses continued, "he might expect a visit of a disciplinary nature from the marine forces of the Queen of England." (This means that the British Navy would send warships to punish the King.) The King sent the envoy back damaged with a message: "This is the King's answer." In response, Carter sent three British gunboats to get revenge for the bad treatment shown to the envoy.

Lagos (Nigeria)

On 3 February 1891, Carter became Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of Lagos (now Nigeria). In 1892, Carter ordered an attack on the Ijebu tribe (of the Yoruba people) "in the interest of civilisation". Afterwards, he continued to say that this attack was a war to end slavery and promote civilisation. In early 1893, Carter travelled to various parts of Yorubaland, travelling with soldiers, in an attempt to show the power of the British. Some of the tribal chiefs did not want Carter there, and told him not to interfere with the slavery trade.

In January 1893, the Egba chiefs decided to sign a Treaty of Independence with the British Government. The Crown agreed that Her Majesty's Government would not try to take over any part of the Egba Nation without the permission of the lawful Authority of the nation. They also agreed that no aggressive actions should be made against the nation, and that its independence would be recognised. The Egba chiefs also said they would end human sacrifices.

He became a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) on 3 June 1893. This was for the work that he did in Yoruba country, and for bringing an end to a long war there.

Carter sent works of art made by the Ife peoples of Yoruba to Europe.

Later life, retirement and death

In 1898, Carter was moved to The Bahamas as the Governor and Commander-in-Chief. He also had a temporary job as the Governor of Trinidad and Tobago. In July 1904, he was moved to Barbados as Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

In the spring of 1903, Carter met Gertrude Codman Parker (born 6 February 1875). She was travelling in the Bahamas with her parents. Carter and Parker got married on 25 August 1903 in the Church of the Advent in Boston, USA. He had been married before this, and had three sons and two daughters. His son Humphrey was Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

Carter retired in 1910. In 1919, he changed his surname to Gilbert-Carter and in the early 1920s, he moved back to Barbados, and lived at Ilaro Court, which had been designed and built by his wife.

He died in Barbados on 18 January 1927.



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