The Commonwealth

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The Commonwealth, also identified as the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly the British Commonwealth of Nations (from 1931 to 1949), is the United Kingdom and many of its dependent countries that have chosen to maintain friendly relations and substantial cooperation. It is a free federation of sovereign nations, recognizing the British monarch as the symbolic head of their association.


The Commonwealth was a by product of the evolution of the British Empire. Concurrent with its departure from mercantile philosophy, in the mid-to-late 19th century, the empire began to introduce “good governance” into Canada and parts of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland. More and more sovereign states acquired sovereignty, their autonomy subject only to British vetoes.

The Imperial Conference of 1926 stated that such nations “should be regarded as self-governing communities within the British Empire, Paris-Pas, and not be subordinate to each other in any respect in internal or external affairs. The Westminster Statutes (1931) 2003) implemented the decisions made at both this and subsequent conferences, duly authorizing each Dominion to manage its own internal and external administrations, establish its powers, and establish its diplomacy. group.

Membership And Criteria

For some time after the Statute of Westminster broadcast, membership in the Commonwealth depended on loyalty to the British monarch. However, the rapid growth of nationalism in parts of the empire, populated mainly by non-Europeans, from the 1920s onwards forced a reassessment of the nature of the federation. India, in particular, was a special case within the British Empire. It was an empire in its own right, with a ruler, another foreign minister in London, its army, and even to some extent, its foreign policy.

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When India and Pakistan developed independence in 1947, they became members of the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1949, India proclaimed its intention to become a republic, but under existing rules, secession from the federation requires. The British crown is accepted only as a “symbol of free association” for Commonwealth members. This declaration was the first to drop the adjective British, after which the organization’s full name was the Commonwealth of Nations, or simply Common Wealth has become.


India’s funding of independence was the first in an extended series of endowments that saw a dramatic increase in Commonwealth membership in the second half of the 20th century as former dependent states gained sovereignty. Most of the dependent conditions that remain granted independence chose to join the Commonwealth. Like India, many have chosen not to recognize the crown as head of state. In 1995, Mozambique became the first country to admit to the United Kingdom that had never been part of the British Empire or under the control of a member state. Rwanda is also not part of the British Empire but joined in 2009.

1989). Some states became independent and declined membership, like Burma (Myanmar) in 1948. The Commonwealth was also pressured by some members who chose to leave the organization, such as Ireland (1949), South Africa (1961) and Pakistan (1972). However, South Africa and Pakistan eventually rejoined (the former in 1994, the latter).

Structure And Activity

The Commonwealth of Nations is different from other international bodies, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. There is no formal constitution or law. Members have no legal or formal obligations to each other. Shared traditions, institutions, experiences, and economic selfishness bind them. Federation actions are based on consultations between members and carry out through correspondence and discussion at meetings. Each member state sends special envoys, called high commissioners, to the capitals of other member states. The heads of governments of member states form the main decision-making elements of the Commonwealth. A title historically held by the British royal family, Head of Commonwealth is mainly ceremonial.

Succession to posts is determine by the head of government, not by heredity. The Federal Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General, organizes and coordinates the activities of the Commonwealth and facilitates relations between Member States. The Secretariat reports to the Council, which consists of the High Commissioners of the UK Member States. At high-level international events, the Commonwealth represented by the Executive Director, who rotates between member states every two years.


The Federal Council of Chiefs meets every other year. At the 1971 Singapore Conference, Member States reaffirmed the voluntary and cooperative nature of the Commonwealth and committed themselves to promote international peace, combating racial discrimination, opposing colonial rule, and reducing wealth inequality. Adopt a declaration committing the organization to This statement was repeated at a conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1991, where political leaders continue to defend the organization for human rights and democracy.

In 2011 in Perth, Australia, the Heads of State and Government asked the Commonwealth to draft a Charter. The Charter, which set out basic principles such as democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, sustainable development. And, access to health and education, and gender equality, was adopt at the end of 2012.


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Written by Dr. Traveller

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