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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.

Fiji joins the Commonwealth

10 October 1970

10 October 1970

Fiji becomes the 33rd country to join the Commonwealth.

Mauritius joins the Commonwealth

12 March 1968

12 March 1968

Mauritius becomes the 28th country to join the Commonwealth.

Barbados joins the Commonwealth

30 November 1966

30 November 1966

Barbados becomes the 27th country to join the Commonwealth.

The Gambia joins the Commonwealth

18 February 1965

18 February 1965

Gambia becomes the 22nd country to join the Commonwealth.

Malawi joins the Commonwealth

6 July 1964

6 July 1964

Malawi becomes the 19th country to join the Commonwealth.

Kenya joins the Commonwealth

12 December 1963

Kenya becomes the 18th country to join the Commonwealth.

Jamaica joins the Commonwealth

6 August 1962

6 August 1962

Jamaica becomes the 15th country to join the Commonwealth.

Republic of Cyprus joins the Commonwealth

13 March 1961

13 March 1961

Cyprus becomes the 12th country to join the Commonwealth.

Nigeria joins the Commonwealth

1 October 1960

1 October 1960

Nigeria becomes the 11th country to join the Commonwealth.

Ghana joins the Commonwealth

6 March 1957

6 March 1957

Ghana becomes the 9th country to join the Commonwealth.

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