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What Is The Commonwealth? 🧐
The World's current Commonwealth of Nations (🧐Map Facts Series)
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What is “The Commonwealth?”
The Current Commonwealth Nations
What the heck is the Commonwealth? In my broad strokes explanation of the commonwealth realms, a lot of people had questions about the Commonwealth in general, which makes sense, since I tried to fit centuries of geopolitical history in about a minute (sorry).
A commonwealth (little “c”) is just a grouping of like-minded anything really… Puerto Rico’s official title is a commonwealth, so are Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. It was sometimes preferred over other terms like state to emphasize that these places are a free and independent group for their greater good (or “common wealth”). It was a trendy thing to emphasize when breaking free from the very not-free and independent British Empire.
The Commonwealth (big “C”) of Nations is a specific association of 56 countries, almost all of which have historical ties to the British Empire. That’s what most people mean when they just say “the Commonwealth.” It’s a voluntary union of independent nations that cooperate and support each other in common goals, like development, democracy, and peace. It started in 1926 when Britain formerly agreed to give equal status to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada (along with New Foundland but that’s now a part of Canada). These places were formerly considered Dominions of the British Empire, which is like a step up from colonies, but after 1926 they were considered equal to Britain and each other, “though united by the common allegiance to the Crown.” Essentially, after ditching official ties, they formed a union to cooperate and support each other, and they called it the Commonwealth of Nations. From then to now, more than 50 countries have gained independence from the former British Empire, and almost all of them join the Commonwealth soon after.
15 of these countries joined the Commonwealth and also have kept the monarch as their head of state – those are the realms explained in the last video. Those realms are independent nations, they just have a king, and it’s a British one.
Now, the Commonwealth actually includes more than just former British colonies and is open to all. It’s currently made up of 56 countries covering 2.5 billion people on 6 continents, ranging from giants like India to small islands like Nauru. So next time I see the Commonwealth Games on TV, I still won’t understand cricket, but at least I’ll know whos playing… 😊
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