Commonwealth of Nations
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Member States
Commonwealth of Nations

The 52 states of the Commonwealth of Nations are basically an association of countries of the former British Empire. It was founded in 1931, when the largest and most influential former colonies, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, were to become independent of the British Crown.

The 52 current members of the Commonwealth of Nations cover an area of 31.51 million km² on all continents with a population of around 2.53 billion. This corresponds to 20.93% of all land masses and 32.95% of the world population.
CountryCommencementRegionAreaPopulation
Antigua and Barbuda1981Caribbean440 km²0.10 M
Australia1931Australia/New Zealand7,741,000 km²25.36 M
Bahamas1973Caribbean14,000 km²0.39 M
Bangladesh1972South Asia148,000 km²163.05 M
Barbados1966Caribbean430 km²0.29 M
Belize1981Central America23,000 km²0.39 M
Botswana1966Southern Africa582,000 km²2.30 M
Brunei1984Southeast Asia5,770 km²0.43 M
Cameroon1995Central Africa475,000 km²25.88 M
Canada1931North America9,985,000 km²37.59 M
Cyprus1961Western Asia9,250 km²1.20 M
Dominica1978Caribbean750 km²0.07 M
Gambia1965Western Africa11,000 km²2.35 M
Ghana1957Western Africa239,000 km²30.42 M
Grenada1974Caribbean340 km²0.11 M
Guyana1966South America215,000 km²0.78 M
India1947South Asia3,287,000 km²1,366.42 M
Jamaica1962Caribbean11,000 km²2.95 M
Kenya1963Eastern Africa580,000 km²52.57 M
Kiribati1979Micronesia810 km²0.12 M
Lesotho1966Southern Africa30,000 km²2.13 M
Malawi1964Eastern Africa118,000 km²18.63 M
Malaysia1957Southeast Asia330,000 km²31.95 M
Malta1964Southern Europe320 km²0.50 M
Mauritius1968Eastern Africa2,040 km²1.27 M
Mozambique1995Eastern Africa786,000 km²30.37 M
Namibia1990Southern Africa824,000 km²2.49 M
Nauru1999Micronesia20 km²0.01 M
New Zealand1931Australia/New Zealand268,000 km²4.92 M
Nigeria1960Western Africa924,000 km²200.96 M
Pakistan1947South Asia796,000 km²216.57 M
Papua New Guinea1975Melanesia463,000 km²8.78 M
Rwanda2009Eastern Africa26,000 km²12.63 M
Saint Kitts and Nevis1983Caribbean260 km²0.05 M
Saint Lucia1979Caribbean620 km²0.18 M
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1979Caribbean390 km²0.11 M
Samoa1970Polynesia2,840 km²0.20 M
Seychelles1976Eastern Africa460 km²0.10 M
Sierra Leone1961Western Africa72,000 km²7.81 M
Singapore1965Southeast Asia719 km²5.70 M
Solomon Islands1978Melanesia29,000 km²0.67 M
South Africa1931Southern Africa1,219,000 km²58.56 M
Sri Lanka1948South Asia66,000 km²21.80 M
Swaziland1968Southern Africa17,000 km²1.15 M
Tanzania1961Eastern Africa947,000 km²58.01 M
Tonga1970Polynesia750 km²0.10 M
Trinidad and Tobago1962Caribbean5,130 km²1.39 M
Tuvalu1978Polynesia30 km²0.01 M
Uganda1962Eastern Africa242,000 km²44.27 M
United Kingdom1931British Isles244,000 km²66.83 M
Vanuatu1980Melanesia12,000 km²0.30 M
Zambia1964Eastern Africa753,000 km²17.86 M



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

CountryExitRegionAreaPopulation
Fiji2009Melanesia18,000 km²0.89 M
Ireland1949British Isles70,000 km²4.94 M
Maldives2016South Asia300 km²0.53 M
Zimbabwe2003Eastern Africa391,000 km²14.65 M


Dependent territories

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.

CountryRegionDependency
AnguillaCaribbeanselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
BermudaNorth Americaselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
British Indian Ocean TerritoryEastern AfricaTerritory of the United Kingdom
British Virgin IslandsCaribbeanselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
Cayman IslandsCaribbeanselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
Christmas IslandAustralia/New Zealandnicht selbstregiertes Territorium Australiens
Cocos (Keeling) IslandsAustralia/New Zealandnicht selbstregiertes Territorium Australiens
Falkland IslandsSouth Americaselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
GibraltarSouthern Europeselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
GuernseyBritish Islesautonomer Kronbesitz des Vereinigten Königreiches
Heard Island and McDonald IslandsAustralia/New ZealandTerritory of Australia
Isle of ManBritish Islesautonomer Kronbesitz des Vereinigten Königreiches
JerseyBritish Islesautonomer Kronbesitz des Vereinigten Königreiches
MontserratCaribbeanselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
Norfolk IslandAustralia/New ZealandTerritorium Australiens
Pitcairn IslandsPolynesiaBritisches Überseegebiet
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaWestern Africabeschränkt selbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches
South Georgia and South Sandwich IslandsSouth AmericaTerritory of the United Kingdom
TokelauPolynesiaTerritorium Neuseelands
Turks and Caicos IslandsCaribbeanselbstregiertes Territorium des Vereinigten Königreiches