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.
The 21st Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Perth, Australia, 2011
The 20th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 2009
The 19th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kampala, Uganda, 2007
The 18th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Valletta, Malta, 2005
The 17th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Abuja, Nigeria, 2003