- List of members of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nationsis a voluntary associationof 53 independent sovereign states, most of which are former British colonies, or dependencies of these colonies. No one government in the Commonwealth, British or otherwise, exercises power over the others, as in a political union. Rather, the relationship is one of an international organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status, and co-operate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. [cite web |url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/FAQs/20706/faqs/ |date= |title=FAQs |accessdate=2008-06-16 |publisher= Commonwealth Secretariat] These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace, and are carried out through multilateral projects and meetings, as well as the quadrennial Commonwealth Games.cite web |url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/20723/32987/singapore_declaration_of_commonwealth_principles/ |title=Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles 1971 |accessdate=2008-06-12 |publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat ] The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II, known for this purpose as Head of the Commonwealth. This position, however, does not imbue her with any political or executive power over any Commonwealth member states; the position is purely symbolic, and it is the Commonwealth Secretary-Generalwho is the chief executive of the organisation. [cite web |url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/150757/head_of_the_commonwealth/ |title=Head of the Commonwealth|accessdate=2008-06-16 |publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat] The Commonwealth was first officially formed in 1931 when the Statute of Westminster gave legal recognition to the independence of dominions. Known as the "British Commonwealth", the first members were the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Irish Free Stateand Newfoundland, although Australia and New Zealand did not adopt the statute until 1942 and 1947 respectively. [cite web |url=http://www.commonwealth-of-nations.org/article.php?&id=4&subsection=3&page=3 |title=The Commonwealth–History–Dominion Status|accessdate=2008-06-16 |publisher=Commonwealth of Nations] In 1949, the London Declarationwas signed and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth and the renaming to its present name. [cite web |url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/34493/38150/modern_commonwealth/ |title=The Commonwealth–History–Modern Commonwealth|accessdate=2008-06-16 |publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat] As of 2008, there are 53 states that are members of the Commonwealth of Nationswhich consists of over 1.9 billion people. Three members are in Europe, twelve in North America, one in South America, eighteen in Africa, eight in Asia, and eleven in Oceania. There is one suspended member, Fiji, and six former members, four of which no longer exist.
:"All table information based on figures provided by the Commonwealth of Nations Secretariat members list, most population figures are based on 2007 estimates, unless otherwise noted. [cite web|url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/142227/members/|title=Members|publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat|accessdate=2008-02-15]
Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.
*cite web|url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/142227/members/|title=Members|publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat|accessdate=2008-02-15
*cite web|url=http://www.commonwealth-of-nations.org/article.php|title=Commonwealth of Nations |publisher=Commonwealth of Nations |accessdate=2008-02-15
*cite web|url=http://www.direct.gov.uk/Gtgl1/GuideToGovernment/InternationalBodies/InternationalBodiesArticles/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4003092&chk=JXlogH|title=The Commonwealth|publisher=
* [http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/34493/140633/timeline/ Commonwealth timeline]
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