Commonwealth of Nations

Commonwealth of Nations
Logo of Commonwealth of Nations
Member states of the Commonwealth
Headquarters Marlborough House, London, England, United Kingdom
Working language English
Type Intergovernmental organisation
Member states
• Head
Elizabeth II
Patricia Scotland
Joseph Muscat
19 November 1926
11 December 1931[1]
28 April 1949
• Total
29,958,050 km2 (11,566,870 sq mi)
• 2016 estimate
• Density
75/km2 (194.2/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
• Total
$14.623 trillion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
• Total
$10.450 trillion
• Per capita

The Commonwealth of Nations[2] (formerly the British Commonwealth),[3][1] also known as simply the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.[4] The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.[5]

The Commonwealth dates back to the mid-20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and equal".[6] The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth, and while there are over 31 republics and five monarchies who have a different monarch, the Queen is the ceremonial head of state and reigning constitutional monarch of only 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The position of the crown remains legally distinct from the position of monarch and the position of the Head of the Commonwealth.

The Queen has since ceased to be the head of state or have any formal position in several nations of the commonwealth including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.[7]

Member states have no legal obligation to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, free speech, human rights, and the rule of law.[5] These values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter[8] and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth covers more than 29,958,050 km2 (11,566,870 sq mi), equivalent to 20% of the world's land area. It spans all six inhabited continents. With an estimated population of 2.419 billion people, nearly a third of the world population,[9] the Commonwealth in 2014 produced a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $10.45 trillion, representing 14% of the gross world product when measured nominally and 17% of the gross world product when measured in purchasing power parity (PPP).

  1. ^ "Annex B — Territories Forming Part of the Commonwealth" (PDF). Her Majesty's Civil Service. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  2. ^ The London Declaration 1949: "free and equal members of the Commonwealth of Nations, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress".
  3. ^ "BBC News - Profile: The Commonwealth". 
  4. ^ "About us". The Commonwealth. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  5. ^ a b "The Commonwealth". The Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "The London Declaration". The Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "About the commonwealth". The Foreign and Commonwealth office, UK. Retrieved 12 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "Charter of the Commonwealth". The Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "US and World Population Clock". US Census Bureau. 29 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 

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