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.
Commonwealth sets up a 'Small States Office' in New York, so that small states can take part in UN negotiations.
Commonwealth group observes elections for the first time in newly independent Zimbabwe
Commonwealth Heads of Government issued the Gleneagles Agreement on apartheid sport at their summit in Gleneagles, Scotland on 15 June 1977.
Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal QC of Guyana served as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975 to 1990.
Fund puts the skills of member countries at each others disposal
Arnold Smith of Canada becomes the first Commonwealth Secretary-General and served from 1965 to 1975.
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.
Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan helps graduates study in other member countries.
Prime Ministers and leading citizens from The Commonwealth attend the coronation at Westminster Abbey in London.