Commonwealth of Nations facts
The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of countries. Originally, it was called the British Commonwealth of Nations which was founded in 1926 when the British Empire began to break-up. Now, there are 53 member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. Some countries such as the United States that were once in the Empire are not in the Commonwealth.
Some other associations have similar sounding names. For example, the Commonwealth of Australia, Commonwealth of Virginia, or Commonwealth of Independent States. The Commonwealth of Nations is different and a separate organization.
The term the Commonwealth of Nations originated in 1884. Lord Rosebery was on a visit to Australia in 1884. At Adelaide he told that over a period of time a number of colonies of the British Empire will become free and many may become more independent. He further told that all of these countries would then become the Commonwealth of Nations. The use of the term continued, though in its present form and in a practical sense the Commonwealth of Nations originated decades later.
The Commonwealth of Nations is not a political organization. Queen Elizabeth II is also head of state of 16 Commonwealth countries, referred to as Commonwealth realms. Canada and Australia are two of the largest realms. A Secretary General manages the day-to-day matters of the Commonwealth of Nations. However, the United Kingdom or the Secretary General does not have any direct or indirect control over these countries. In fact, almost all the 53 members are independent countries with their own governments. These countries have come together to form an association with some common aims. Such common aims include:
- To increase economic cooperation among the member countries.
- To encourage democracy in the member countries.
- To ensure that member countries follow human rights
- The total population of all the 52 countries of the Commonwealth is about 2.245 billion. This is almost a third of the population of the whole world. About half of these live in India.
- The four largest Commonwealth nations by population are India at 1.3 billion, Pakistan at 160 million, Bangladesh at 140 million.
- Tuvalu and Nauru are the smallest members, each with less than 11,000 people.
- These 53 countries cover an area of 12.1 million square miles. This is about 21 % of the total land area of the world.
- The three largest Commonwealth nations by area are Canada at 3.8 million square miles, Australia at 3.0 million square miles, and India at 714 thousand square miles.
- The economy of these countries is about 16 % of the world economy.
- Based on the purchasing power parity, the four largest economies are India at 2,600 billion US dollars, the United Kingdom at 1,500 billion US dollars, Canada at 930 billion US dollars, and Australia at 520 billion US dollars.
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