The Countries of the Commonwealth and Ireland

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General information[editovat]

The Commonwealth of Nations also known as simply the Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.


The Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonization of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. In the Balfour Deceleration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, Britain and its dominions agreed that they were equal in states, though united by common allegiance to the crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. These aspects to the relationship were formalized by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Newfoundland (which never ratified the statute and later joined Canada). In 1949, the London Declaration was issued that allowed the Commonwealth to admit and retain members that were not Dominions, including both republic and monarchies, and it changed the name of the organization from the British Commonwealth to the Commonwealth of Nations. The symbol of the association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth, and while there are over 31 republics and five monarchies who have a different monarch, the Queen is head of state and reigning monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms.

Countries of the Commonwealth[editovat]

The Commonwealth comprises 53 countries, across all continents. The members have a combined population of 2.3 billion people, almost a third of the world population.


  • India is a member of Commonwealth since its independence in 1947.
  • It was a Commonwealth realm until 1950, when a new constitution was adopted, and India became republic.
  • Headquarters of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is located in India.
  • The most populous Commonwealth member (1.26 billion inhabitants) and the second-most populous country in the world
  • Seventh-largest country by area
  • India comprises most of the Indian subcontinent located in the southern region of Asia.

New Zealand[editovat]

  • New Zealand was a founder member of the Commonwealth in 1931 when its independence was recognized under the Statute of Westminster
  • It is a Commonwealth realm.
  • New Zealand is situated about 1500 km east of Australia across the Tasman Sea.
  • The country geographically comprises two main landmasses — the North Island, and the South Island — and around 600 smaller islands.


  • Australia was a founding member of the Commonwealth in 1931 when its independence was recognized under the Statute of Westminster
  • It is a Commonwealth realm.
  • Australia comprises the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area.

Trinidad & Tobago[editovat]

  • Trinidad and Tobago is a member of Commonwealth since its independence in 1962
  • It was a Commonwealth realm until 1976, when a new constitution was adopted, and Trinidad and Tobago became republic.
  • It is a twin island sovereign state that is the southernmost nation in the Caribbean.


  • Canada was a founding member of the Commonwealth in 1931 when its independence was recognized under the Statue of Westminster
  • It is a Commonwealth realm.
  • It a country located in the northern part of North America. It is the world's second-largest country by total area.


Commonwealth realms[editovat]

The Commonwealth realms are sovereign states that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and share the same person, currently Queen Elizabeth II, as their head of state and reigning constitutional monarch. There are currently sixteen Commonwealth realms (Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom). The Commonwealth realms are, for purposes of international relations, sovereign states. They are united only in their voluntary connection with the institution of the monarchy, the succession, and the Queen herself; the person of the sovereign and the Crown are considered the most important and vital link between the realms. The Queen is represented by the governor-general appointed by her authority on the advice of her prime minister of the given country. The governor-general is the local representative of the sovereign and performs the same duties as they carried out historically (e.g. summons and dissolves the parliament), though their role is almost purely ceremonial (there were, however, some controversial exceptions in the past). Therefore, the governor-general can be considered the commanders-in-chief of the army and has right to grant Royal Assent in the Queen's name (which makes the bill law) or withhold Royal Assent (which vetoes the bill).

Commonwealth of Nations[editovat]

The Commonwealth's objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of word peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade. To those were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979, and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989. However, in the recent years, the Commonwealth has been accused of not defending its core values. The leaked memo from the Secretary General instructing staff not to speak out on human rights attracted heavy criticism.

Common features of the countries[editovat]

  • Most of the member states were originally parts of British Empire (with some exceptions e.g. Rwanda and Mozambique).
  • Majority of the Commonwealth countries uses English as the official language (with some exceptions – e.g. Mozambique (Portuguese) and partially India (Hindi is the official language of the government while English has status of a "subsidiary official language")). British rather than American spelling is commonly used.
  • The states are united by common allegiance to the Crown.
  • Due to their shared constitutional histories, several countries in the commonwealth have similar legal and political systems. The Commonwealth requires its members to be functioning democracies that respect human rights and the rule of law. Most Commonwealth countries have the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.
  • Many Commonwealth nations possess traditions and customs that are elements of a shared Commonwealth culture. Examples include common sports such as cricket and rugby, driving on the left, and military and naval ranks.
  • Survey has found that most people in the member states are largely ignorant of the Commonwealth's activities. Support for the Commonwealth was found to be the lowest in Great Britain.


  • Ireland is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying most of the island of Ireland.
  • The population of the country is ~4.8 million.
  • The official languages are Irish and English.
  • The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern part of the island.
  • The state shares its only border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, saint George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east.
  • It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature (Oireachtas) consists of a lower house (Dáil Éireann), an upper house (Seanad Éireann), and an elected President (Uachtarán) who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of the government is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister, literally 'Chief'), who is elected by the lower house and appointed by the president; the Prime Minister in turn appoints other government ministers.
  • The state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and effectively became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state. It was officially declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948.
  • Ireland used to a member of the Commonwealth. It's link with the organization was terminated with the passage of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, which came into force on 1949 and declared that the state was a republic. At the time, a declaration of a republic terminated Commonwealth membership. This rule was changed 10 days after Ireland declared itself a republic, with the London Declaration. Ireland did not reapply when the rules were altered to permit republics to join.


The Commonwealth (official website)