Explore the history of the Commonwealth using the interactive timeline.
King George VI with Commonwealth leaders at the 1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers Meeting
1949

Beginning of the modern Commonwealth

Eight countries come together to form the modern Commonwealth. Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom decided to reform their old association into the modern Commonwealth.

Leaders agree that Commonwealth members are “free and equal members of the Commonwealth of Nations, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress.”

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1949

First meeting of Commonwealth Finance Ministers

London, United Kingdom, 21 July 1949. Ministers reviewed the economic position of the sterling area, in light of the recent fall in the level of gold and dollar reserves.

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1953

HM Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation

Prime Ministers and leading citizens from The Commonwealth attend the coronation at Westminster Abbey in London.

1957

Ghana joins the Commonwealth

6 March 1957 Ghana becomes the 9th country to join the Commonwealth.

Malaysia
1957

Malaysia joins the Commonwealth

31 August 1957 Malaysia becomes the 10th country to join the Commonwealth.

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1959

First Commonwealth Education Conference

15 - 28 July 1959, Oxford, United Kingdom. The meeting of Education ministers was convened in recognition of " the great importance of education and training as an indispensable condition of development. It is an objective of Commonwealth countries that their people should be able to share as widely as possible in the advantages of education of all kinds and at all levels".

1959

Marlborough House becomes Commonwealth centre

Head of the Commonwealth HM Queen Elizabeth II places Marlborough House in London, UK, at the disposal of the British Government as a Commonwealth centre.
1960

Nigeria joins the Commonwealth

1 October 1960 Nigeria becomes the 11th country to join the Commonwealth.

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1961

South Africa withdraws from The Commonwealth

South Africa withdraws from The Commonwealth, after pressure from member states against its apartheid policies

1961

Republic of Cyprus joins the Commonwealth

13 March 1961 Cyprus becomes the 12th country to join the Commonwealth.
1961

Sierra Leone joins the Commonwealth

27 April 1961 Sierra Leone becomes the 13th country to join the Commonwealth.
1961

Tanzania joins the Commonwealth

9 December 1961 United Republic of Tanzania becomes the 14th country to join the Commonwealth.

1962

Jamaica joins the Commonwealth

6 August 1962 Jamaica becomes the 15th country to join the Commonwealth.
1962

Trinidad and Tobago joins the Commonwealth

31 August 1962 Trinidad and Tobago becomes the 16th country to join the Commonwealth.
1962

Uganda joins the Commonwealth

9 October 1962 Uganda becomes the 17th country to join the Commonwealth.
1963

Kenya joins the Commonwealth

12 December 1963 Kenya becomes the 18th country to join the Commonwealth.
1964

Malawi joins the Commonwealth

6 July 1964 Malawi becomes the 19th country to join the Commonwealth.
1964

Malta joins the Commonwealth

21 September 1964 Malta becomes the 20th country to join the Commonwealth
1964

Zambia joins the Commonwealth

24 October 1964 Zambia becomes the 21st country to join the Commonwealth.
1965

Arnold Smith becomes the first Commonwealth Secretary-General

Arnold Smith of Canada becomes the first Commonwealth Secretary-General and served from 1965 to 1975.
1965

The Gambia joins the Commonwealth

18 February 1965 Gambia becomes the 22nd country to join the Commonwealth.
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1965

Commonwealth Secretariat is established

Housed in Marlborough House in London, UK, the Commonwealth Secretariat was set up to be at the service of all Commonwealth Governments and as a visible symbol of the spirit of co-operation which animates the Commonwealth.

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1965

First Commonwealth Medical Conference

4 - 13 October 1965, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Ministers concluded that "adequate medical services are an essential foundation of social and economic progress in developing countries. The Conference therefore took as its purpose a thorough review of the existing co-operation between Commonwealth countries in the fields of medicine and health and an examination of how this co-operation can be strengthened and extended."

1965

Singapore joins the Commonwealth

15 October 1965 Singapore becomes the 23rd country to join the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth Foundation logo
1966

Commonwealth Foundation is established

Housed in Marlborough House in London, UK, the Commonwealth Foundation was set up to administer the interchanges between Commonwealth organisations in professional fields throughout the Commonwealth.

Delegates at the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting 1966
1966

First Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting

26 April - 3 May 1966, London, United Kingdom. The meeting reviewed arrangements for the extradition of fugitive offenders within the Commonwealth and recommended the creation of a Legal Section within the Commonwealth Secretariat.

1966

Guyana joins the Commonwealth

26 May 1966 Guyana becomes the 24th country to join the Commonwealth.
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1966

First meeting of Commonwealth Trade Ministers

13 - 16 June 1966, London, United Kingdom. "It was agreed that Commonwealth countries should act in concert wherever possible in wider international organisations concerned with international trade and trade policy."

1966

Botswana joins the Commonwealth

30 September 1966 Botswana becomes the 25th country to join the Commonwealth.
1966

Lesotho joins the Commonwealth

4 October 1966 Lesotho becomes the 26th country to join the Commonwealth.
1966

Barbados joins the Commonwealth

30 November 1966 Barbados becomes the 27th country to join the Commonwealth.
1968

Mauritius joins the Commonwealth

12 March 1968 Mauritius becomes the 28th country to join the Commonwealth.
Swaziland
1968

Swaziland joins the Commonwealth

6 September 1968 Swaziland becomes the 29th country to join the Commonwealth.

1968

Nauru joins the Commonwealth

29 November 1968 Nauru becomes the 30th country to join the Commonwealth.
1970

Tonga joins the Commonwealth

4 June 1970 Tonga becomes the 31st country to join the Commonwealth.
1970

Samoa joins the Commonwealth

28 August 1970 Samoa becomes the 32nd country to join the Commonwealth.
Fiji
1970

Fiji joins the Commonwealth

10 October 1970 Fiji becomes the 33rd country to join the Commonwealth.

1971

Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) set up

The Fund puts the skills of Commonwealth member countries at each other's disposal.

1971

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Singapore, Singapore

14 – 22 January 1971 First meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM).

1971

Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles

Commonwealth Heads of Government issued the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles at their summit in Singapore in 1971
Pakistan
1972

Pakistan withdraws from the Commonwealth

  

Bangladesh
1972

Bangladesh joins The Commonwealth

18 April 1972 Bangladesh becomes the 34th country to join the Commonwealth.

Senior Officials Meeting 1973
1972

First Commonwealth Senior Officials Meeting

16 - 19 October 1972, Ottawa, Canada. The meeting considered comparative techniques of government across the Commonwealth and tasked the Secretariat with establishing procedures for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings which would ensure 'flexibility, informality and the opportunity to engage in frank discussion of common problems, even from opposing standpoints.'

1973

Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) fund established

CYP works to engage and empower young people (ages 15-29) to enhance their contribution to development.
Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, Lusaka, Zambia, January 1973
1973

First meeting of Commonwealth Youth Ministers

29 January 1973, Lusaka, Zambia. Ministers met to consider the creation of a Commonwealth Youth Programme.

1973

The Bahamas joins the Commonwealth

10 July 1973 The Bahamas becomes the 35th country to join the Commonwealth.
1973

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Ottawa, Canada

2 – 10 August 1973 The second meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government. The summit issued a Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water.

Grenada
1974

Grenada joins the Commonwealth

7 February 1974 Grenada becomes the 36th country to join the Commonwealth.

1975

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kingston, Jamaica

29 April –6 May 1975

1975

Sir Shridath Ramphal becomes second Commonwealth Secretary-General

Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal QC of Guyana served as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975 to 1990.

1975

Papua New Guinea joins the Commonwealth

16 September 1975 Papua New Guinea becomes the 37th country to join the Commonwealth.
Seychelles
1976

Seychelles joins the Commonwealth

28 Jun 1976 Seychelles becomes the 38th country to join the Commonwealth.

1977

First simultaneously observed Commonwealth Day

Canada proposed that a “simultaneously observed Commonwealth Day would focus attention upon the association and its contribution to a harmonious global environment”.

1977

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, London, UK

8 –15 June 1977

1977

Gleneagles Agreement starts apartheid South Africa's sporting isolation

Commonwealth Heads of Government issued the Gleneagles Agreement on apartheid sport at their summit in Gleneagles, Scotland on 15 June 1977.
Solomon
1978

Solomon Islands joins the Commonwealth

7 July 1978 Solomon Islands becomes the 39th country to join the Commonwealth.

Tuvalu
1978

Tuvalu joins the Commonwealth

1 October 1978 Tuvalu becomes the 40th country to join the Commonwealth.

1978

Dominica joins the Commonwealth

3 November 1978 Dominica becomes the 41st country to join the Commonwealth.
1979

St Lucia joins the Commonwealth

22 February 1979 St Lucia becomes the 42nd country to join the Commonwealth.
1979

Kiribati joins the Commonwealth

12 July 1979 Kiribati becomes the 43rd country to join the Commonwealth.
Family photo of leaders at the 1979 CHOGM in Lusaka, Zambia
1979

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Lusaka, Zambia

1 – 7 August 1979

1979

Lusaka Declaration on Racism and Racial Prejudice

Commonwealth Heads of Government issued the Lusaka Declaration on Racism and Racial Prejudice on 7 August 1979 at their summit in Lusaka, Zambia.
1979

St Vincent and The Grenadines joins the Commonwealth

27 October 1979 St Vincent and The Grenadines becomes the 44th country to join the Commonwealth.
1980

First election observation by Commonwealth

Commonwealth group observes elections for the first time in newly independent Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
1980

Zimbabwe joins the Commonwealth

18 April 1980 Zimbabwe becomes the 45th country to join the Commonwealth.

vanuatu
1980

Vanuatu joins the Commonwealth

30 July 1980 Vanuatu becomes the 46th country to join the Commonwealth.
1981

Commonwealth establishes 'Small States Office' in New York

Commonwealth sets up a 'Small States Office' in New York, so that small states can take part in UN negotiations.

Belize
1981

Belize joins the Commonwealth

21 September 1981 Belize becomes the 47th country to join the Commonwealth.

1981

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Melbourne, Australia

30 September – 7 October 1981

1981

Antigua and Barbuda join the Commonwealth

1 November 1981 Antigua & Barbuda becomes the 48th country to join the Commonwealth.
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1982

First Commonwealth Employment / Labour Ministers Meeting

1 June 1982, Geneva, Switzerland. Meeting in Geneva in the wings of the International Labour Conference ministers discussed the effect of the world recession on employment, particularly its impact on young people and women who were disproportionately affected.

1982

Maldives joins the Commonwealth

9 July 1982 Maldives becomes the 49th country to join the Commonwealth.
1983

St Kitts and Nevis joins the Commonwealth

19 September 1983 St Kitts & Nevis becomes the 50th country to join the Commonwealth.
1983

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, New Delhi, India

23-29 November 1983

1983

Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus

Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus set up to assist UN Security Council efforts to resolve hostilities in Cyprus.

1984

Brunei Darussalam joins the Commonwealth

7 May 1984 Brunei Darussalam becomes the 52nd country to join the Commonwealth.
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1985

First Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting

13 July 1985, Nairobi, Kenya. Ministers considered means to empower national machineries and the bodies responsible for ensuring government policies and programmes addressed the needs of women.

1985

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Nassau, Bahamas

16-22 October 1985

1986

Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group visits Nelson Mandela

Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group visits Nelson Mandela in prison and sets out negotiating concept to end apartheid in South Africa peacefully.
1986

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Mini Summit, London

3-5 August, 1986 The leaders of seven Commonwealth member countries gathered to consider the report of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, Mission to South Africa. They concluded that there had not been adequate progress and agreed a programme of economic sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa.   

1987

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Vancouver, Canada

13-17 October 1987

Fiji
1987

Fiji's membership of The Commonwealth lapses

Fiji's membership of the Commonwealth lapses after it declares itself a republic following a military coup.

1988

Commonwealth of Learning established

Commonwealth governments sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of The Commonwealth of Learning on 1 September 1988. Set up in Canada, its purpose is to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.
Pakistan
1989

Pakistan rejoins the Commonwealth

Pakistan rejoins the Commonwealth after an absence of 17 years.

1989

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

18-24 October 1989

1990

Emeka Anyaoku becomes the third Commonwealth Secretary-General

Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria served as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1990 to 2000.
1990

Namibia joins the Commonwealth

21 March 1990

Namibia becomes the 52nd country to join the Commonwealth.

1991

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Harare, Zimbabwe

16 - 21 October 1991

1991

Harare Commonwealth Declaration

The Harare Commonwealth Declaration sets the association's priorities for the 1990's and beyond. Strengthened emphasis on Commonwealth contribution to democracy, human rights and equality.
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1992

Regular meeting of Commonwealth Youth Ministers begin

Male, Maldives, 10 -12 May 1992. The discussions explored ways in which Ministries of Youth could be strengthened and the effectiveness of youth literacy and community service schemes improved.

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1993

First Commonwealth Consultative Group of the Environment meeting

New York, Unites States of America, 22 June 1993. The Secretary-General convened the meeting of Environmental officials at Ministerial level to strengthen Commonwealth dialogue and cooperation on sustainable development.

1993

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Limassol, Cyprus

21-25 October 1993

Victoria Falls
1994

The Victoria Falls Declaration

The Victoria Falls Declaration of Principles for the Promotion of the Human Rights of Women.

1994

South Africa rejoins the Commonwealth

South Africa rejoins The Commonwealth following the end of apartheid.  “The Commonwealth was proud to have been so closely associated with the cause of ending apartheid, for which Nelson Mandela sacrificed so many years of his life in prison," - Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma in a speech that marked the 20 year anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from incarceration.

1995

Cameroon joins the Commonwealth

1 November 1995. Cameroon becomes the 53rd country to join the Commonwealth.

1995

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Auckland, New Zealand

10-13 November 1995

1995

Nigeria suspended from the Commonwealth

Military ruled Nigeria suspended from the Commonwealth after a 'serious violation of the principles set out in the Harare Declaration', including the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and ten others.
1995

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) established

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) set up by Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Zealand to "deal with persistent and serious violators of the Commonwealth's shared principles".
1995

Millbrook Commonwealth Action Plan on the Harare Declaration

12 November 1995. Heads of Government issued the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Plan on the Harare Declaration in New Zealand.

Mozambique
1995

Mozambique joins the Commonwealth

13 November 1995. Mozambique becomes the 54th country to join the Commonwealth.

Fiji
1997

Fiji rejoins the Commonwealth

"The Commonwealth responded warmly to the wish of the people of Fiji that their country resume its membership of the Commonwealth now that a new constitution has been approved which enjoys national consensus and which conforms with the Commonwealth's Harare principles." - Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

1997

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Edinburgh, UK

24-27 October, 1997

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1997

New criteria for Commonwealth membership

At their Edinburgh meeting Heads of Government received and endorsed a report from the Intergovernmental Group on Criteria for Commonwealth Membership.

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1999

Chair-in-Office position created

Created at the 1999 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in South Africa, the Chairperson-in-Office plays a representational role in intergovernmental organisations, during periods between Heads of Government meetings. In 2002, the role was extended to include Good Offices of the Secretary-General.

Commonwealth logo
1999

Commonwealth celebrates 50 years

26 April 1999 marked the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of London where leaders agreed that Commonwealth members are “free and equal members of the Commonwealth of Nations, freely co-operating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress”.

1999

Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth lifted

"The Commonwealth rejoices with the Nigerian people as they enter this new era. This fresh start is a victory for democracy, a victory for Nigeria - and a victory for a fundamental principle of the Commonwealth." - Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

Pakistan
1999

Pakistan suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth

CMAG unanimously condemn the unconstitutional overthrow of the democratically elected Government of Pakistan as a serious violation of the Commonwealth's fundamental political principles.

1999

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Durban, South Africa

11-20 November, 1999. Theme: Globalisation & People-Centred Development

2000

Fiji suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth 1

Following the overthrow of the elected government, Fiji Islands suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law.

2000

Don McKinnon becomes fourth Commonwealth Secretary-General

Sir Don McKinnon of New Zealand served as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 2000 to 2008.

Fiji
2001

Fiji suspension lifted

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon warmly welcomed the completion of the parliamentary elections held in Fiji Islands from 25 August to 5 September 2001.

Zimbabwe
2002

Zimbabwe suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth

Zimbabwe is suspended from Commonwealth councils following the presidential election, which was marred by a high level of politically motivated violence and during which the conditions did not adequately allow for a free expression of will by the electors.

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2002

Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe set up

Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe set up by CHOGM "to determine appropriate Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe" after a highly adverse report on the Presidential elections by Commonwealth observers.

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2002

First Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting

24 July 2002, Manchester, United Kingdom. Government ministers responsible for sport in the Commonwealth met on 24 July 2002 in Manchester on the eve of the XVIIth Commonwealth Games. Participants affirmed their commitment to the development of sport and sporting co-operation in three key areas: Anti-doping, social cohesion and women in sport.

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2002

First Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting

14 September 2002, New York, United States of America. Secretary-General Don McKinnon stated that "with more than half of the Commonwealth's membership made up of small states, there was concern among foreign ministers about the increasing vulnerabilities of these countries and their ability to compete in the globalised world."

2002

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Coolum, Australia

6-9 October, 2002. Theme: The Commonwealth in the 21st Century: Continuity & Renewal

Zimbabwe
2003

Zimbabwe withdraws from the Commonwealth

Following the CHOGM Statement on Zimbabwe, the Government of Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth.

2003

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Abuja, Nigeria

5-8 December, 2003. Theme: Development & Democracy: Partnership for Peace & Prosperity

2004

Latimer House Principles

The Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles govern issues such as the harmonious balancing of power and the interaction between parliament, the executive and the judiciary in democratic societies. They set out in detail the consensus arrived at by representatives of the three branches of government in the Commonwealth on how each of their national institutions should interrelate in the exercise of their institutional responsibility.

Pakistan
2004

Pakistan suspension lifted

Pakistan's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth in 1999 is lifted.

2005

Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation

"Genuine democratic elections are an expression of sovereignty, which belongs to the people of a country, the free expression of whose will provides the basis for the authority and legitimacy of government."

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2005

Declaration on International Humanitarian Law

21 July 2005. Declaration of the Nairobi Meeting of Commonwealth National Committees on International Humanitarian Law.

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2005

Revised Agreed Memorandum

The Revised Agreed Memorandum on the establishment and functions of the Commonwealth Secretariat was first published at the conclusion of the 1965 meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London. Later amended by member governments following the 2002 meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government in Australia, it was most recently revised following the enactment of the International Organisations Bill in the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Valletta, Malta
2005

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Valletta, Malta

25-27 November, 2005. Theme: Networking the Commonwealth for Development

2006

Fiji suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth

Fiji Islands suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law after the military takeover of Fiji's democratically elected government.

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2006

Commonwealth Ministers' Forum on Public Sector Development

26 - 27 October 2006, Sydney, Australia. The aim of the Forum was to advance public sector development in the Commonwealth, modernise governance for integrated service delivery, renew human resources for leadership development and bridge the digital divide for networked government.

The Commonwealth
2007

'Civil Paths to Peace' launched

‘Civil Paths to Peace’ is the result of a mandate from Commonwealth leaders to look into the causes of conflict, violence and extremism in Commonwealth countries.

Pakistan
2007

Pakistan suspended from the Commonwealth

Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth, following a decision of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), 22 November 2007 in Kampala, Uganda. The decision follows CMAG’s statement of 12 November to suspend Pakistan if it failed to fulfil its obligations in accordance with Commonwealth principles.

2007

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kampala, Uganda

23-25 November 2007. Theme:  Transforming Societies to Achieve Political, Economic and Human Development

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2007

Criteria for Commonwealth membership revised

Heads of Government reviewed the recommendations of the Committee on Commonwealth Membership from 1997 and agreed on core criteria for Membership.

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2008

Commonwealth Day - Our Environment, Our Future.

10 March 2008. Secretary-General Don McKinnon said that "A far-reaching Commonwealth report in the 1980s led to the 1989 Langkawi Declaration on the environment, in which our Heads of Government said that ‘any delay in taking action to halt this progressive deterioration will result in permanent and irreversible damage’.

2008

Kamalesh Sharma becomes fifth Commonwealth Secretary-General

1 April 2008. Kamalesh Sharma of India becomes the fifth Commonwealth Secretary-General.

Pakistan
2008

Pakistan's suspension from councils of the Commonwealth lifted

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which addresses serious or persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s values and principles, said on 12 May 2008 that it had lifted Pakistan’s suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth with immediate effect.

2008

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Mini Summit

Heads met in London from 9-10 June 2008, and then again In New York on 24 September 2008. They aimed to "identify underlying principles and the actions that should be taken, as a global priority, to achieve reform of international institutions and lead to new institutions where necessary."

Chogm 2009
2009

Commonwealth Heads of Government establish the Eminent Persons Group

The Eminent Persons Group was established by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their summit in November 2009. The group’s goals are to sharpen the impact, strengthen the networks, and raise the profile of the Commonwealth.

2009

Commonwealth Day - Commonwealth at 60

9 March 2009. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "the essence of a team is that – like the Commonwealth – its members know the advantage of working together and the strength of mutual support. The essence of a team also is that it has shared aspirations and a sense of common purpose, and relies on the range of contributions and different strengths of each of its members."

2009

Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversary

Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversary since the London Declaration was signed and the modern Commonwealth was born.
Fiji
2009

Fiji suspended from the Commonwealth

  

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

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

27 - 29 November 2009. Theme:  Partnering for a more Equitable and Sustainable Future

Rwanda
2009

Rwanda joins the Commonwealth

29 November 2009. Rwanda becomes the 55th country to join the Commonwealth.

2010

Commonwealth Day - Science, Technology and Society

8 March 2010. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "In the Commonwealth, we place great emphasis on ensuring that progress embraces all. It is well recognised that science and technology are integral to our future as a global community, and that future possibilities are beyond our present imagining."

2011

Commonwealth Day - Women as Agents of Change

14 March 2011. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "Women are the barometers of society: they are an indication of its internal pressure levels, and their fortunes can be the clearest forecasts of good or bad things to come. Where women prosper, societies prosper; and where women suffer, so too do the societies in which they live."

2011

Commonwealth sets up a 'Small States Office' in Geneva

The Commonwealth Small States Office provides subsidised office space for diplomatic missions of Commonwealth small states, as well as a business centre for tenants and visiting small states delegations attending multilateral meetings in Geneva.
2011

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Perth, Australia

28 - 30 October 2011. Theme:  Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience

2012

Commonwealth Day - Connecting Cultures

12 March 2012. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "'Connecting Cultures’ is about appreciating and celebrating these ways in which others live their lives and express themselves. It is about exploring how we can bring cultures together, how we can connect them in order to learn, to deepen the appreciation we have of one another."

2013

Commonwealth Charter, signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Charter expresses the commitment of member states to the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth. The Charter also acknowledges the role of civil society in supporting the goals and values of the Commonwealth.

2013

Commonwealth Day - Opportunity Through Enterprise

11 March 2013. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "The Commonwealth is a unique enterprise. We work together to open up new prospects for individuals and communities, and through national, regional, and international endeavour."

2013

The Gambia withdraws from the Commonwealth

Sri Lanka
2013

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Colombo, Sri Lanka

15 - 17 November 2013. Theme:  Growth with Equity; Inclusive Development

Commonwealth Day - Team Commonwealth
2014

Commonwealth Day - Team Commonwealth

10 March 2014. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "the essence of a team is that – like the Commonwealth – its members know the advantage of working together and the strength of mutual support. The essence of a successful team – such as the Commonwealth – is that together it achieves more than the sum of its parts."

Fiji
2014

Fiji's suspension from membership of the Commonwealth lifted

Fiji was reinstated as a full member of the Commonwealth following a decision by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) at their 44th meeting in New York.

2015

Commonwealth Day - A Young Commonwealth

9 March 2015. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma stated, "Youth and progress through innovation are at the heart of the Commonwealth. New approaches and fresh thinking help us to realise our potential, and continually to replenish the collective wisdom that is our shared Commonwealth inheritance, and a rich resource adding global value."

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Malta
2015

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Malta

27-29 November 2015. Theme:  Adding Global Value

Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform established
2016

Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform established

The Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform (OCCJR) supports Commonwealth countries in delivering access to justice and sustainable development through the creation of fair and effective national laws.

2016

Commonwealth Day - An Inclusive Commonwealth

14 March 2016. In his Commonwealth Day message Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "taking strength from its diversity, the Commonwealth succeeds in creating common ground on which to stand together in answering the challenges of our times."

2016

Patricia Scotland becomes sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General

In a breakthrough for gender equality in the Commonwealth, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC of Dominica was selected new Secretary-General - the first woman to hold the post.

Hub
2016

Commonwealth Hub launched

Launched by Her Majesty The Queen the Commonwealth Hub brings Commonwealth organisations together in the same location to create a collaborative, dynamic and innovative way of working.

2016

Maldives withdraws from the Commonwealth

2017

Countering violent extremism unit established

In line with the mandate given by leaders at their Malta summit, a dedicated unit was established within the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2017 to support national strategies to counter violent extremism (CVE).

2017

Commonwealth Day - A Peace-building Commonwealth

13 March 2017. "Deep-rooted and resilient, Commonwealth solidarity bears us up individually and collectively. It helps us in troubled and troubling times to make the world a safer place." - Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.

Gambia
2018

The Gambia rejoins the Commonwealth

8 February 2018. The Gambia today rejoined the Commonwealth, almost five years after leaving the organisation. The West Africa nation’s return was marked by a flag-raising ceremony at Marlborough House, the London headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Commonwealth Day - Towards a Common Future
2018

Commonwealth Day - Towards a Common Future

12 March 2018. Secretary-General Patricia Scotland stated, “By agreeing to protect the health of oceans and marine life, and to use the precious resources they yield in responsible and sustainable ways, we will be sharing more fairly the benefits they bestow, and preserving these for future generations.”

CHOGM London 2018
2018

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, London

16-20 April 2018. Theme: Towards a Common Future

Commonwealth Day - A Connected Commonwealth
2019

Commonwealth Day - A Connected Commonwealth

11 March 2019. The Secretary-General Patricia Scotland recalled how “From its earliest beginnings, and through successive stages of expansion and development, the Commonwealth has been a pioneer of invention and innovation, with diversity and inclusiveness as watchwords.”

70 Years
2019

Commonwealth at 70

The modern Commonwealth came into being 70 years ago with the London Declaration, signed on 26 April, 1949. Across the Commonwealth, organisations are celebrating the 70th Anniversary with a series of events, conferences, competitions and workshops throughout the next year.

2020

Maldives re-joins the Commonwealth

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are delighted to welcome the country and its people back to the Commonwealth. The reform process underway in Maldives aligns with the values and principles of the Commonwealth and we encourage the nation to continue on this path.”

Commonwealth Day - Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming
2020

Commonwealth Day - Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming

The theme for the 2020 Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and for the work of the Commonwealth more generally is 'Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming'.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda
2022

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022 took place during the week of 20 June 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda. 

CHOGM was due to take place in June 2020 but was postponed twice due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: TheCommonwealth.org/CHOGM

Gabon flag
2022

Gabon joins the Commonwealth

Togo becomes the 55th country to join the Commonwealth in June 2022 after the country's application was approved by Heads of Government at the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.

Togo flag
2022

Togo joins the Commonwealth

Togo becomes the 56th country to join the Commonwealth in June 2022 after the country's application was approved by Heads of Government at the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.

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