Origins of the Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations dates back to the British Empire, which consisted of more and more colonies and occupied territories from the 15th to the early 20th century. In 1922 it had 458 million inhabitants worldwide. At that time, this corresponded to a quarter of the world's population on a quarter of the entire earth. After the end of the First World War, the 4 largest colonies allied themselves with the kingdom, although they were already considered sovereign states. The first 4 partners were initially referred to as "Dominions", and since 1952 as "Commonwealth Realms". Over the years more and more countries were added, almost all of which were once an English colony or at least a territory occupied by England. The only exceptions are Mozambique and Rwanda.
The Commonwealth of Nations sees itself more as a partnership than as a contractually binding construct. All states of today's Commonwealth of Nations are sovereign states and not interdependent. However, they commit themselves to common loyalty to the British Crown. Originally, this was also the only part of the treaty ever promised. It could well be that the member states themselves had an autocratic government. In Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the British royal house was adopted and referred to as the "Queen of Australia" (or Canada and New Zealand), which meant Queen Elizabeth II, who had been in office since 1952. The symbolic head of the Commenwealth is always the head of the British Crown. Thus, also the administrative seat is always in London.
Until 1962 all Commonwealth citizens were considered British citizens and were therefore able to immigrate to the United Kingdom and received British citizenship.
Former member states
Some of the above member states have other dependent outlying areas. These are not independent states, but they do have some economic and political autonomy. The treaties concluded by the Commonwealth of Nations apply to them at least in part. However, these countries are not listed as official member states.