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Our history

The Commonwealth is one of the world’s oldest political association of states. Its roots go back to the British Empire when some countries were ruled directly or indirectly by Britain. Some of these countries became self-governing while retaining Britain’s monarch as Head of State. They formed the British Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1949 the association we know today – The Commonwealth – came into being. Since then, independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific have joined The Commonwealth.

Membership today is based on free and equal voluntary co-operation. The last two countries to join The Commonwealth - Rwanda and Mozambique - have no historical ties to the British Empire.

21st CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government at CHOGM in Perth, Australia, 2011

28 October 2011

The 21st Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Perth, Australia, 2011

20th CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government at CHOGM in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 2009

27 November 2009

The 20th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 2009

19th CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government at CHOGM in Kampala, Uganda, 2007

23 November 2007

The 19th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kampala, Uganda, 2007

18th CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government at CHOGM in Valletta, Malta, 2005

25 November 2005

The 18th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Valletta, Malta, 2005

17th CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government at CHOGM in Abuja, Nigeria, 2003

5 December 2003

The 17th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Abuja, Nigeria, 2003

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