Is the us part of the commonwealth: The USA – the former colony not a part of the CWG
Member countries | Commonwealth
Skip to main content
independent countries make up the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific
of the world’s 42 small states are Commonwealth members, each with a population of 1.5 million or less
citizens live in Commonwealth countries, with more than 60 per cent aged 29 or under
Commonwealth countries are diverse: they are among the world’s biggest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Together they work to pursue common goals and values.
Small states are especially vulnerable to issues such as climate change and developmental challenges. All Commonwealth members have an equal say regardless of size or wealth.
Leaders of member countries shape Commonwealth policies and priorities. Every two years, they meet at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Kingdom of Eswatini
United Republic of Tanzania
Caribbean and Americas
Antigua and Barbuda
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and The Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Papua New Guinea
Stay up to date
Subscribe to our newsletter
Is the United States in the Commonwealth?
Flags of the Commonwealth members. Editorial credit: Dominic Dudley / Shutterstock.com
Also known simply as the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth of Nations refers to an association that consists of 53 states from all over the world. Almost all of the states were once colonies of Britain or had some relation to British colonies. As the Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth although that role does not give her any special powers. Originally, the countries that made up the Commonwealth included the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State. As things stand, the United States is not a member of the Commonwealth although it eligible to join and has expressed interest in the past.
Within the Commonwealth, all the countries are regarded as equals and share common goals as per the 1971 Singapore Declaration and other agreements. Some of the common goals for these nations include good governance, promoting human rights, advocating for global peace, promoting democracy, and many other things. These goals are made possible through a number of projects such as the Commonwealth Games that take place once every four years.
History of US-British Relations
The US satisfies one of the first requirements of joining the Commonwealth, that is, it was a colony of Britain. Britain colonized the United States from the 16th century all the way to 1776 when it declared its independence. Upon its independence, the US became the first nation to get its independence from a colonial power originating from Europe.
One of the reasons why the US has not already joined the Commonwealth may have to do with how the US gained its independence from the British during colonial times. The US had an extremely brutal war with the UK. After gaining independence, the US also went ahead and fought the British again a few decades later during the War of 1812. All these were things that possibly created bad blood between the two nations.
Future of US Commonwealth Membership
In addition, the US and the UK probably had little to gain from the US joining the Commonwealth. For this reason, neither country has ever really had the need for the US to join. However, following the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (a move that is known as Brexit), the two countries began having talks for the US join. In fact, the Royal Commonwealth Society came up with the idea of opening a branch in the US with the plan for making the US an associate member.
The need for the US to join comes from the fact that Brexit will require the UK to renegotiate several things such as trade and foreign policy. In addition, there is a good relationship between the President of the United States and the British Royal Family. All these reasons have reaffirmed the need for the two countries to be closer allies through the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth would also make it more suitable for companies to operate in either country since the regulations of the body are less strict compared to those of individual governments.
Ferdinand Bada in World Facts
The Commonwealth of Nations: Seven Facts You Might Not Know
Image copyright, PA
Elizabeth II of India, 1997
This week, the Commonwealth of Nations heads of state, the oldest interstate association that includes Great Britain and almost all of it, will meet at Windsor Castle near London. former colonies.
53 independent states are members of the Commonwealth.
We’ve rounded up seven interesting facts about the Commonwealth that you may not have heard of.
1. Nearly a third of the world’s population lives in the Commonwealth countries
About 2.4 billion people live in the 53 Commonwealth countries. Most of them are under 30 years old. At the same time, the world’s population is 7.4 billion.
- The fate of the Commonwealth: will Prince Charles replace the queen?
- Canadians celebrated the country’s 150th anniversary
- Windsor-Romanov family tree
The most populous Commonwealth country is India, which accounts for about half of the population of 53 countries.
2. Some Commonwealth countries were never part of the British Empire
Photo credit, Reuters
Rwanda was a colony of Germany and Belgium, but not Britain
Rwanda and Mozambique became members of the Commonwealth in 2009 and 1995 years respectively, but none of these countries was a British colony in the past.
The Fellowship has lost members in the past. In 2003, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe terminated Commonwealth membership after Zimbabwe’s membership was suspended due to suspicions of electoral fraud.
In 1999, after a military coup in Pakistan, the country’s membership in the Commonwealth was suspended, and four years later — restored. South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961 after being criticized by other countries for its apartheid policies. At 19South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994.
The Maldives was the last to leave the community, this happened in 2016.
3. The Queen of Great Britain is considered the head of the 16 Commonwealth countries
Most Commonwealth countries today are republics. Six — Lesotho, Swaziland, Brunei, Malaysia, Samoa and Tonga — have their own monarchs.
Photo copyright, Reuters
King Tupou VI of Tonga (center) meets with Prince Charles
This is a very large organization
Commonwealth countries account for a quarter of the world’s land area.
The largest Commonwealth country is Canada, the second largest country in the world. India and Australia are also fairly large countries. However, there are also small states in the Commonwealth, such as the Pacific island countries of Nauru, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, as well as Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean region.
Image copyright Reuters
The Commonwealth consists of countries ranging from huge Canada…
Image copyright, Getty Images
…to the tiny island of Nauru
5. The Commonwealth changed names
Image copyright, Getty Images
Commonwealth Heads of State met in London in 1969
Skip the Podcast and continue reading.
What was that?
We quickly, simply and clearly explain what happened, why it’s important and what’s next.
The End of History Podcast
In its present form, the Commonwealth of Nations appeared in 1949, when the word «Britain» disappeared from its name, and the provision for allegiance to the British Crown disappeared from the charter.
In the history of the organization there were only two heads — King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. This post is not hereditary, although it is expected that when the Prince of Wales becomes king, he will take it.
The first founding members of the Commonwealth were Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Republic of South Africa and the United Kingdom, forming the first «free association» of independent countries.
Prior to the adoption of the charter of the Commonwealth in 2012, it did not have a charter document. The current charter provides for the commitment of Commonwealth members to 16 ideas, including democracy, gender equality, sustainable development, peace and international security.
The Commonwealth has been criticized as a «post-colonial club» and an organization with very limited influence. The Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2013, calling the organization a «neo-colonial institution».
Commonwealth supporters say its members are getting development aid and allies on the world stage.
«Our members are committed to promoting and defending democracy, economic development and respect for diversity,» says Commonwealth Secretary General Lady Patricia Scotland.
6. Britain is the most economically developed member of the Commonwealth (so far)
Soon — perhaps as early as next year — India will overtake Britain.
The combined GDP of all 53 countries is $10 trillion, which is almost equal to that of China (11 trillion), but far from the GDP of the United States (19trillion).
Britain’s exports to the Commonwealth countries in 2016 were about the same as exports to Germany and accounted for about 8. 9% of the total goods exported by Britain.
Imports from the Commonwealth reached 7.8%, about the same as imports from China.
7. This is not the only commonwealth in the world
The author of the photo, EPA
A meeting of CIS representatives was recently held in Minsk. There is also the Commonwealth of Independent States, created in 1991 the former republics of the USSR.
Rumors about the imminent collapse of the British Commonwealth are not true / As I see it / Nezavisimaya gazeta
The countries participating in the Commonwealth of Nations are highlighted on the map. Graphic site academic.ru
The death of Elizabeth II gave rise to a lot of speculation, predictions and often completely divorced from reality forecasts. Chief among them was the “imminent demise” of the British Monarchy itself in its international dimension. No, the king, the son of the former queen, has already been approved for the throne, the farewell ceremony for Elizabeth II is broadcast for days on all television channels in more than a hundred states. But something significant and radical in relation to the British crown and «almost the whole world» that was once subject to it was about to happen.
Therefore, no one was surprised that a small island nation in the Caribbean called Antigua and Barbuda decided to leave the power of the British crown after the death of the queen. Its authorities said that they would hold a referendum on this topic over the next three years, and if the islanders so desire, then the head of their country will no longer be the British monarch, but their own president.
And earlier, the Prime Minister of Jamaica announced exactly the same intention of the leadership of his country at a meeting with the grandson of Elizabeth II, Prince William. Say, Jamaica itself is an independent, developed and very prosperous country. And therefore, to have the British king at the head is a clear discrepancy between modern realities and the long-obsolete anachronism of overseas subordination (even if purely symbolic).
They have someone to take an example from: another Caribbean state, Barbados, (by the way, the most “British” in terms of lifestyle, architecture, and observance of traditions in the region) has already proclaimed itself a parliamentary republic. The British Queen ceased to be the head of this state, and a president elected by the people took over his office. Then at the solemn ceremony in the half-asleep town of Bridgetown in the very center of the tropics, the current now British king, and at that moment the Prince of Wales Charles, was present.
By the way, like many other former British colonies, in Barbados, which gained independence in 1966, the British Queen was the head of state, and on the island she was represented by the Governor General. As a rule, such a figure is purely ceremonial. But the very fact of its presence in a particular country of the British Commonwealth is a kind of connecting link of the state with its past history, current economic and political realities. And just a tribute to close ties with those who brought European culture and customs to your land.
I note that Antigua with Barbuda, Jamaica and Barbados (it is possible that new ones will appear in the Caribbean who want to become “independent from London”) are small countries seeking to demonstrate to the outside world that they are allegedly “completely independent”. As for external, international sovereignty, yes, such a step may well attract the attention of the world community. But not more than a couple of days. Because their economic, political and financial sovereignty is fully controlled by the same Great Britain and the USA.
The question here, I think, is different. By and large, all former colonial empires decently “inherited” robberies and lawlessness in the territories once subject to them (suffice it to recall what London did in India for centuries, how mercilessly and cruelly plundered it, or what nightmares for the local population the colonization of the then Congo by Belgium turned out to be). But here they left the former colonies in different ways. The same France still literally clings to its former possessions in Africa with its teeth, and part of the countries of the continent Paris still controls not only the remaining military bases, but also the single currency regulated by the French Central Bank.
The British acted differently. They actually left outwardly — from Africa, partly from the Caribbean (the Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, Caymans remain under their control), left Asia. But at the same time, they retained the most attractive lure of relationships with themselves — the British Commonwealth. And not only for those who in one way or another were connected with London by history, language and culture, but also for those who have never had anything to do with Great Britain.
Today, the British Commonwealth includes almost all former colonies, protectorates, dominions, as well as Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda. In total, it includes 53 countries, and the British monarch is traditionally at the head. Again, all this is ensured not by an order from above of the «big and strong», but by good will. The country feels “British in spirit” (like the Portuguese-speaking Mozambique) — you are welcome to the commonwealth. And it doesn’t matter that in London in this case there will be nominally a “big boss” over you in the person of the English king.
The main thing is that it is under British, and not some other leadership, that everyone seems to be preserving the English language, classical British traditions. Moreover, no one in the UK is killed over the fact that it is necessary to spread the English language around the world, suppress the facts of Anglophobia or somehow fight against the proclamation of some “almost sovereignty” by individual countries that are members of the Commonwealth.
Therefore, I want the same Antigua and Barbuda with it (by the way, before the devastating hurricane of 2017, less than 1 thousand people lived there) to consider themselves sovereign with their own president at the head — so a multi-colored flag in their hands (but it is still in the corner flaunts the British «Union Jack»).