Headqaurters: Marlborough House, London, United Kingdom
800px-Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg
Official Laungauge: English


Suspended Members:


(since 1 April 2008)

(since 28 October 2011)


  • Balfour Declaration - 18 November 1926
  • Statute of Westminster - 11 December 1931
  • London Declaration - 28 April 1949


  • Total - 31,462,574 km2
    12,147,768 sq mi


  • 2005 estimate - 2,100,000,000
  • Density - 61.09/km2
    158.2/sq mi

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states. All but two of these countries (Mozambique and Rwanda) were formerly part of the British Empire, out of which it developed.

The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace. The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.

Activities of the Commonwealth are carried out through the permanent Commonwealth Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General, and biennial meetings between Commonwealth Heads of Government. The symbol of their free association is the Head of the Commonwealth, which is a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II is also monarch, separately and independently, of sixteen Commonwealth members, which are known as the "Commonwealth realms".

The Commonwealth is a forum for a number of non-governmental organisations, collectively known as the Commonwealth Family, which are fostered through the intergovernmental Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Games, the Commonwealth's most visible activity,[2] are a product of one of these organisations. These organisations strengthen the shared culture of the Commonwealth, which extends through common sports, literary heritage, and political and legal practices.[3] Due to this, Commonwealth countries are not considered to be "foreign" to one another.[4] Reflecting this, diplomatic missions between Commonwealth countries are designated as High Commissions rather than embassies.