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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.

Singapore joins the Commonwealth Flag of Singapore

15 October 1965

15 October 1965

Singapore becomes the 23rd country to join the Commonwealth.

Pakistan joins the Commonwealth Flag of Pakistan

15 August 1947

15 August 1947

Pakistan becomes the 7th country to join the Commonwealth.

Nauru joins the Commonwealth Flag of Nauru

29 November 1968

29 November 1968

Nauru becomes the 30th country to join the Commonwealth.

Zimbabwe joins the Commonwealth Flag of Zimbabwe

18 April 1980

18 April 1980

Zimbabwe becomes the 45th country to join the Commonwealth.

Zambia joins the Commonwealth Flag of Zambia

24 October 1964

24 October 1964

Zambia becomes the 21st country to join the Commonwealth.

United Republic of Tanzania joins the Commonwealth Flag of the United Republic of Tanzania

9 December 1961

9 December 1961

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

Uganda joins the Commonwealth flag of Uganda

9 October 1962

9 October 1962

Uganda becomes the 17th country to join the Commonwealth.

Tuvalu joins the Commonwealth Flag of Tuvalu

1 October 1978

1 October 1978

Tuvalu becomes the 40th country to join the Commonwealth.

Trinidad and Tobago joins the Commonwealth Flag of Trinidad and Tobago

31 August 1962

31 August 1962

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

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