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Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations



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Current Commonwealth members (dark blue), former members (orange), and the British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies (light blue)

The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of 54 countries, most of which used to be apart of the British Empire. It is an international organisation that has Queen Elizabeth II as its head. [1]

Current members

All dates below are provided by the Commonwealth of Nations Secretariat members list, and population figures are as of 1 February 2020.[2]

Country First Joined Region Population[3] System of government Notes[A]
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 1981-11-011 November 1981 West Indies 94,195 Unitary Commonwealth realm
Australia Australia 1931-12-1119 November 1926 Continent of Australia

(Australasia)

25,215,000 Federal Commonwealth realm Australia was one of the original Dominions at the time of the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and the Statute of Westminster 1931, evenvthough the statute was not done in Australia until 1942.[4] The Australia Act 1986 ended any chance of the UK to be involved in Australian government.
The Bahamas The Bahamas 1973-07-1010 July 1973 West Indies 402,576 Unitary Commonwealth realm
Bangladesh Bangladesh 1972-04-1818 April 1972[5] South Asia 165,867,307 Unitary Westminster republic Became independent from Pakistan in 1971.[6]
Barbados Barbados 1966-11-3030 November 1966 West Indies 286,618 Unitary Commonwealth realm Barbados is planning to get rid of Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic by 30 November 2021.[7]
Belize Belize 1981-09-2121 September 1981 Central America 379,636 Unitary Commonwealth realm
Botswana Botswana 1966-09-3030 September 1966 Southern Africa 2,377,831 Unitary parliamentary republic with an executive presidency
Brunei Brunei 1984-01-011 January 1984 Southeast Asia 439,022 Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy
Cameroon Cameroon 1995-11-1313 November 1995[8] Central Africa 24,836,674 Unitary semi-presidential republic Most of the country was a French mandate territory (later UN trust territory) of Cameroun, which got independence from France on 1 January 1960. It united with the much smaller British mandate/trust territory of Southern Cameroons, which got independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1961.
Canada Canada 1931-12-1119 November 1926 Northern America 37,653,350 Federal Commonwealth realm Canada was the first of the original Dominions at the time of the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and the Statute of Westminster 1931.[9] It took another original Dominion, Newfoundland, on 31 March 1949.[10] The Canada Act 1982 ended the "request and consent" provisions of the Statute of Westminster 1931 in relation to Canada, where the British parliament could make laws that affected Canada.
Republic of Cyprus Cyprus[D] 1961-03-1313 March 1961[11] Eurasia 1,197,667 Unitary presidential republic Got independence from the United Kingdom on 16 August 1960.
Dominica Dominica 1978-11-033 November 1978 West Indies 72,975 Unitary Westminster republic
Eswatini Eswatini 1968-09-066 September 1968 Southern Africa 1,336,933 Unitary absolute monarchy Joined as Swaziland, changed its name to Eswatini on 19 April 2018.
Fiji Fiji[B] 1970-10-1010 October 1970 Oceania (Melanesia) 909,024 Unitary Westminster republic Left in 1987; rejoined in 1997; suspended on 6 June 2000;[12] suspension lifted on 20 December 2001;[13] again suspended on 8 December 2006 because of the 2006 Fijian coup d'état.[14][15] Suspension lifted on 26 September 2014.
The Gambia The Gambia 1965-02-1818 February 1965 West Africa 2,155,958 Unitary presidential republic Left on 3 October 2013 saying that it was "neocolonialism".[16][17] After the election of Adama Barrow as President of Gambia in 2016, it asked to join the Commonwealth again on 22 January 2018,[18] and was allowed to join again on 8 February 2018.[19]
Ghana Ghana 1957-03-066 March 1957 West Africa 29,088,849 Unitary presidential republic
Grenada Grenada 1974-02-077 February 1974 West Indies 107,894 Unitary Commonwealth realm
Guyana Guyana 1966-05-2626 May 1966 South America 773,808 Unitary presidential republic
India India 1947-08-1515 August 1947 South Asia 1,353,014,094 Federal democratic Republic
Jamaica Jamaica 1962-08-066 August 1962 West Indies 2,819,888 Unitary Commonwealth realm
Kenya Kenya 1963-12-1212 December 1963 East Africa 49,167,382 Unitary presidential republic
Kiribati Kiribati 1979-07-1212 July 1979 Oceania (Micronesia) 117,636 Unitary parliamentary republic with an executive presidency
Lesotho Lesotho 1966-10-044 October 1966 Southern Africa 2,199,492 Unitary Westminster monarchy[E]
Malawi Malawi 1964-07-066 July 1964 East Africa 18,558,768 Unitary presidential republic
Malaysia Malaysia 1957-08-3131 August 1957[20][21] Southeast Asia 31,505,208 Federal Westminster monarchy[E] Joined as the Federation of Malaya in 1957; became as Malaysia on 16 September 1963 when it joined with Singapore (which became a separate country on 9 August 1965), North Borneo, and Sarawak.[22]
Maldives Maldives 1982-07-099 July 1982 South Asia 515,696 Unitary presidential republic Got independence from the United Kingdom on 26 July 1965.[23] A special member from 9 July 1982 until 20 July 1985.[24] Left on 13 October 2016.[25][26] Joined again on 1 February 2020.[27]
Malta Malta 1964-09-2121 September 1964 Southern Europe 422,212 Unitary Westminster republic Got independence from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1964.
Mauritius Mauritius 1968-03-1212 March 1968 East Africa 1,286,240 Unitary Westminster republic
Mozambique Mozambique 1995-11-1313 November 1995[28] East Africa 29,977,238 Unitary semi-presidential republic Got independence from Portugal on 25 June 1975. The first country to join the Commonwealth that wasn't once ruled by the United Kingdom.[29]
Namibia Namibia 1990-03-2121 March 1990 Southern Africa 2,600,857 Unitary semi-presidential republic Got independence from South Africa.[30] Includes Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands given by South Africa at midnight 28 February 1994.
Nauru Nauru[B] 1968-11-01†1 November 1968 Oceania (Micronesia) 10,387 Unitary parliamentary republic with an executive presidency Got independence on 31 January 1968 from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. A special member from 1 November 1968 until 1 May 1999, when it became a full member,[31] before going back to special status in January 2006.[32] A full member again since June 2011.[33]
New Zealand New Zealand 1931-12-1119 November 1926 Oceania (Polynesia) 4,609,755 Unitary Commonwealth realm Given Dominion status on 26 September 1907. One of the original Dominions at the time of the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and the Statute of Westminster 1931, even though the Statute was not adopted in New Zealand until 1947.[34] Got rid of final links with the British Parliament in 1986. Got rid of the final link with the British legal system (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council) in 2003.
Nigeria Nigeria 1960-10-011 October 1960 West Africa 194,615,054 Federal presidential republic Incorporated the former British mandate/trust territory of Northern Cameroons on 31 May 1961. Suspended in 1995, suspension lifted in 1999.[35]
Pakistan Pakistan 1947-08-1414 August 1947[C] South Asia 224,019,136 Federal Westminster republic Includes the city of Gwadar, transferred from Muscat and Oman on 8 September 1958. Included Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan) until 1971.[6] Left Commonwealth in 1972, rejoined 1989; suspended in 1999, suspension lifted in 2004; again suspended in 2007,[36] suspension lifted in 2008.[37]
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea 1975-09-1616 September 1975 Oceania (Melanesia) 8,034,630 Unitary Commonwealth realm Gained independence from Australia.
Rwanda Rwanda 2009-11-2929 November 2009[38] East Africa 12,322,920 Unitary presidential republic Gained independence from Belgium on 1 July 1962. The second country (after Mozambique) to be admitted to the Commonwealth without any former colonial or constitutional links with the United Kingdom.[29]
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis[B] 1983-09-1919 September 1983 West Indies 56,632 Federal Commonwealth realm
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia 1979-02-2222 February 1979 West Indies 189,000 Unitary Commonwealth realm
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1979-10-2727 October 1979 West Indies 109,501 Unitary Commonwealth realm A special member from 27 October 1979 until 1 June 1985.
Samoa Samoa[B] 1970-08-2828 August 1970 Oceania (Polynesia) 196,954 Unitary Westminster republic Gained independence from New Zealand on 1 January 1962. Joined as Western Samoa, subsequently changing its name to Samoa on 4 July 1997.[39]
Seychelles Seychelles 1976-06-2929 June 1976 East Africa 98,248 Unitary presidential republic
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone 1961-04-2727 April 1961 West Africa 6,818,117 Unitary presidential republic
Singapore Singapore[B] 1965-10-15†9 August 1966 (effective from 9 August 1965)[40] Southeast Asia 5,889,117 Unitary Westminster republic Gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. Became independent on 9 August 1965.[41]
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands 1978-07-077 July 1978 Oceania (Melanesia) 614,497 Unitary Commonwealth realm
South Africa South Africa 1931-12-1119 November 1926 Southern Africa 56,007,479 Unitary parliamentary republic with an executive presidency Granted nominal independence (Dominion status) on 31 May 1910. One of the original Dominions at the time of the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and Statute of Westminster 1931. Left on 31 May 1961; rejoined 1 June 1994.[42]
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 1948-02-044 February 1948 South Asia 20,979,811 Unitary semi-presidential republic Joined as the Dominion of Ceylon, subsequently changing its name in 1972. Became a republic in 1972
Tanzania Tanzania 1961-12-099 December 1961 East Africa 57,790,062 Unitary presidential republic Joined as Tanganyika and later Zanzibar, which subsequently merged to form Tanzania on 26 April 1964.[43]
Tonga Tonga 1970-06-044 June 1970 Oceania (Polynesia) 107,228 Unitary constitutional monarchy
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago 1962-08-3131 August 1962 West Indies 1,376,801 Unitary Westminster republic Granted nominal independence (Dominion status) on 31 August 1962. Became a republic within the Commonwealth on 1 August, 1976 under the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Constitution Act 1976, passed by the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.
Tuvalu Tuvalu[B] 1978-10-011 October 1978 Oceania (Polynesia) 10,116 Unitary Commonwealth realm A special member from 1 October 1978 until 1 September 2000.[44]
Uganda Uganda 1962-10-099 October 1962 East Africa 42,288,962 Unitary presidential republic
United Kingdom United Kingdom 1931-12-1119 November 1926 Northern Europe 65,746,853 Unitary Commonwealth realm Balfour Declaration of 1926 and the Parliament of the United Kingdom enacted the Statute of Westminster 1931.
Vanuatu Vanuatu[B] 1980-07-3030 July 1980 Oceania (Melanesia) 279,953 Unitary Westminster republic Gained independence from joint rule (Condominium) of France and United Kingdom.
Zambia Zambia 1964-10-2424 October 1964 Southern Africa 17,470,471 Unitary presidential republic

^ 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.
^ 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, but geographically part of Asia.
^ E. Constitutional monarchy that operates under a Westminster system. The monarch is not the British monarch, making it not a Commonwealth realm.

Related pages

References

  1. "FAQs". Commonwealth Secretariat. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/FAQs/20706/faqs. 
  2. "Members". Commonwealth Secretariat. https://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/142227/members. 
  3. "World population - Countrymeters". http://countrymeters.info/en/. 
  4. "Australia". Commonwealth Secretariat. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Templates/YearbookHomeInternal.asp?NodeID=138122. 
  5. Kohen, Marcelo G. (2006). Secession. London: Cambridge University Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-521-84928-9 . https://archive.org/details/secession00kohe. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Wind of Change". Commonwealth of Nations. 2016. http://www.commonwealthofnations.org/commonwealth/history. 
  7. Yasharoff, Hannah. "Barbados announces plan to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state next year" (in en-US). https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/09/16/queen-elizabeth-removed-barbados-head-state-barbados-says/5814409002/. 
  8. Pondi, Jean-Emmanuel (October 1997). "Cameroon and the Commonwealth of Nations". The Round Table 86 (344): 563–570. doi:10.1080/00358539708454389 . 
  9. "Canada – History". Commonwealth Secretariat. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookInternal/145152/history. 
  10. "Dominion Status". Commonwealth of Nations. 2016. http://www.commonwealthofnations.org/commonwealth/history. 
  11. McIntyre, W. David (January 2000). "Britain and the creation of the Commonwealth Secretariat". Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 28 (1): 135–158. doi:10.1080/03086530008583082 . 
  12. Ingram, Derek (July 2000). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 89 (355): 311–55. doi:10.1080/00358530050083406 . 
  13. Ingram, Derek (April 2002). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 91 (364): 131–59. doi:10.1080/00358530220144148 . 
  14. Ingram, Derek; Soal, Judith (February 2007). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 96 (388): 2–28. doi:10.1080/00358530701189734 . 
  15. Fiji suspended from the Commonwealth Archived 2011-04-29 at the Wayback Machine. Commonwealth Secretariat, 1 September 2009; retrieved 11 April 2011.
  16. "Statement by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on The Gambia". The Commonwealth. 4 October 2013. http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/statement-commonwealth-secretary-general-kamalesh-sharma-gambia. 
  17. "Gambia quits the Commonwealth". The Guardian. 2 October 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/gambia-quits-commonwealth-yahya-jammeh. 
  18. (Media Release) The Gambia presents formal application to re-join the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth. 23 January 2018. http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/gambia-presents-formal-application-re-join-commonwealth. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  19. "The Gambia rejoins the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. 8 February 2018. http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/gambia-rejoins-commonwealth. 
  20. Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957
  21. Malaysia Act 1963
  22. "Malaysia – History". Commonwealth Secretariat. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookInternal/145165/history. 
  23. "Maldives – History". Commonwealth Secretariat. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookInternal/145167/history. 
  24. "The Maldives and the Commonwealth". Republic of Maldives. http://www.maldiveshighcommission.org/?id_w=8. 
  25. "Commonwealth Secretariat". 2016-10-13. http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/secretary-general-statement-maldives-decision-leave-commonwealth. 
  26. "Maldives quits Commonwealth over alleged rights abuses". The Guardian. 13 October 2016.
  27. "Maldives becomes 54th member of Commonwealth family". 1 February 2020. https://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/maldives-becomes-54th-member-commonwealth-family. 
  28. Ingram, Derek (April 1996). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 85 (338): 153–165. doi:10.1080/00358539608454302 . 
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Rwanda becomes a member of the Commonwealth". BBC News. 29 November 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8384930.stm. 
  30. Chronology of Namibian Independence
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