HOME

TheInfoList




The
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territorial evolution of the British Empire, territories of the British Empire. The chief ins ...

Commonwealth of Nations
is a
voluntary association A voluntary group or union (also sometimes called a voluntary organization, common-interest association, association, or society) is a group of individuals who enter into an agreement, usually as volunteers, to form a body (or organization ...
of 54
sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government ...
s. Most of them were
British colonies Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administ ...
or dependencies of those
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...
. No one government in the Commonwealth exercises power over the others, as is the case in a
political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social re ...
. Rather, the Commonwealth is an
international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations m ...
in which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status, and cooperate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the
Singapore Declaration The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state A sovere ...
issued in 1971. Such common values and goals include the promotion of
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polit ...

democracy
,
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
, good governance, the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
, individual liberty,
equality before the law Equality before the law, also known as equality under the law, equality in the eyes of the law, legal equality, or legal egalitarianism, is the principle that all people must be equally protected by the law. The principle requires a systematic rul ...
,
free trade Free trade is a trade policy A commercial policy (also referred to as a trade policy or international trade policy) is a government's policy governing international trade International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and service ...
,
multilateralism In international relations, multilateralism refers to an alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal. Definitions Multilateralism, in the form of membership in international institutions, serves to bind powerful nations, discourage ...
, and
world peace World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in it ...
, which are promoted through multilateral projects and meetings, such as the
Commonwealth Games The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the ''Friendly Games'', is an international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), in ...
, held once every four years. The symbol of this free association is
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mon ...

Queen Elizabeth II
, who serves as the
Head of the Commonwealth Head of the Commonwealth is a title used by the ceremonial leader who symbolises "the free association of independent member nations" of the Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is ...
. This position, however, does not imbue her with any political or executive power over any Commonwealth member states; the position is purely symbolic, and it is the
Commonwealth Secretary-General The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central body which has served the Commonwealth of Nations A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. ...
who is the chief executive of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth was first officially formed in 1926 when the
Balfour Declaration The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine (region), Palestine, then an ...
of the
Imperial Conference Imperial Conferences (Colonial Conferences before 1907) were periodic gatherings of government leaders from the self-governing colonies and dominions of the British Empire between 1887 and 1937, before the establishment of regular Meetings of ...
recognised the full sovereignty of dominions. Known as the "British Commonwealth", the original members were the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 60 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most ...
,
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
, and
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
. It was re-stated by the 1930 conference and incorporated in the Statute of Westminster the following year (although Australia and New Zealand did not adopt the statute until 1942 and 1947 respectively). In 1949, the
London Declaration The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the 1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth of Nations A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political commun ...
marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth and the adoption of its present name. The newest member is
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, ...

Rwanda
, which joined on 29 November 2009. The 54 members have a combined population of 2.4 billion, almost a third of the
Earth's
Earth's
population, of whom 1.21 billion live in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
, and 95% live in
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
and
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of i ...

Africa
combined. Currently, fifteen of the 54 member states are
Commonwealth realms A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permane ...

Commonwealth realms
, with the
Head of the Commonwealth Head of the Commonwealth is a title used by the ceremonial leader who symbolises "the free association of independent member nations" of the Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is ...
as their
heads of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of statebeing an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international persona." in its unity and leg ...
, five others are
monarchies A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legisl ...

monarchies
with their own individual monarchs (
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coa ...

Brunei
,
Eswatini Eswatini ( ; ss, eSwatini ), officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and formerly officially entitled (and still often known) in English as Swaziland ( ; officially renamed in 2018), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country ...

Eswatini
,
Lesotho Lesotho ( , ), officially the Kingdom of Lesotho ( st, Naha ea Lesotho), is an enclaved country surrounded entirely by South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. Wi ...

Lesotho
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
and
Tonga Tonga (, ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; ...

Tonga
), and the rest are republics. The
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
(as of 1949 according to the Commonwealth; 1936 according to Irish government) and
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...

Zimbabwe
(2003) are former members of the Commonwealth.
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
,
The Gambia The Gambia (), officially the Republic of The Gambia, is a country in West Africa. It is the smallest country within mainland AfricaHoare, Ben. (2002) ''The Kingfisher A-Z Encyclopedia'', Kingfisher Publications. p. 11. . and is surrounded by ...
, and the
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia, situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and ...

Maldives
left and later rejoined the Commonwealth, and Zimbabwe has formally applied to rejoin.


Current members

All dates below are provided by the Commonwealth of Nations Secretariat members list, and population figures are as of 1 February 2020. A. Unless otherwise noted, independence was gained from the United Kingdom on the date (shown in column 2) of joining the Commonwealth.
B. Not a member of the
Commonwealth Foundation The Commonwealth Foundation (CF) is an intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of o ...
.
C. Though Pakistan celebrates 14 August 1947 as its independence day, independence was officially granted at midnight, 15 August 1947. Therefore, its date of joining the Commonwealth would be 15 August 1947.
D. Geopolitically part of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
, but geographically part of
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
.
E. Constitutional monarchy that operates under a Westminster system. The monarch is not the same individual as the
British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established ...
, hence making it not a Commonwealth realm.


Former members


Dissolved members


Prospective members

F. The population figure is based on 2014 estimates.


Other candidates

Other states which have expressed an interest in joining the Commonwealth over the years or states which may be eligible to join the Commonwealth include:
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf. The Island country, island nation c ...

Bahrain
,
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
,
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is ma ...

Nepal
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, and
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
. Some countries and regions could also join the Commonwealth on the basis of having a constitutional historical link to an existing member of being part of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
including:
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
,
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regi ...

Kuwait
,
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
,
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
,
Qatar Qatar (, , or ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares it ...

Qatar
,
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...

Sudan
, the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
, and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
.


See also

*
CANZUK International CANZUK International, previously known as the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation, is a non-profit international organisation which aims to achieve the Freedom of movement, free movement of citizens, free trade agreements and foreign ...
a free movement and free trade initiative between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom *
Commonwealth of Nations membership criteria Commonwealth of Nations membership criteria are the corpus of requirements that member states and prospective member states must meet to be allowed to participate in the Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known ...
*
List of countries by English-speaking population The following is a list of English-speaking population by country, including information on both native speaker A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1), is a la ...
*
List of countries where English is an official language The following is a list of countries and territories where English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieva ...
*
List of viceregal representatives of Elizabeth II Queen Elizabeth II is sovereign of 15 countries informally known as the Commonwealth realms. She resides primarily in the oldest and most populous realm, the United Kingdom, and is represented in the other countries by the following Viceroy#C ...


References


External links


Commonwealth timeline
* * * {{Featured list Members by date joined History of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...