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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.

The Bahamas joins the Commonwealth Image of The Bahamas flag

10 July 1973

10 July 1973

The Bahamas becomes the 35th country to join the Commonwealth.

Bangladesh joins The Commonwealth Image of Bangladesh flag

18 April 1972

18 April 1972

Bangladesh becomes the 34th country to join the Commonwealth.

Fiji joins the Commonwealth Flag of Fiji

10 October 1970

10 October 1970

Fiji becomes the 33rd country to join the Commonwealth.

Mauritius joins the Commonwealth Flag of Mauritius

12 March 1968

12 March 1968

Mauritius becomes the 28th country to join the Commonwealth.

Barbados joins the Commonwealth Flag of Barbados

30 November 1966

30 November 1966

Barbados becomes the 27th country to join the Commonwealth.

The Gambia joins the Commonwealth Flag of The Gambia

18 February 1965

18 February 1965

Gambia becomes the 22nd country to join the Commonwealth.

Malawi joins the Commonwealth Flag of Malawi

6 July 1964

6 July 1964

Malawi becomes the 19th country to join the Commonwealth.

Kenya joins the Commonwealth Flag of Kenya

12 December 1963

12 December 1963

Kenya becomes the 18th country to join the Commonwealth.

Jamaica joins the Commonwealth Flag of Jamaica

6 August 1962

6 August 1962

Jamaica becomes the 15th country to join the Commonwealth.

Republic of Cyprus joins the Commonwealth Flag of the Republic of Cyprus

13 March 1961

13 March 1961

Cyprus becomes the 12th country to join the Commonwealth.

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