British Commonwealth of Nations

Between 1649 and 1660, Oliver Cromwell’s government already used the term Commonwealth in England , in reference to the community of peoples that made up the British kingdom.

Denominated in English The Commonwealth of Nations or simply The Commonwealth, the British Commonwealth of Nations is an association of sovereign states formed by the United Kingdom and some of its former colonies, which spontaneously decided to maintain bonds of friendship and mutual cooperation, recognizing how symbolic chief the British monarch. In its first phase, between 1931 and 1946, the entity was called British Commonwealth of Nations. The adjective “British” was excluded from the official name, but it continued to be used unofficially.

The British Commonwealth of Nations was born out of the historic evolution of the British empire. The traditional English policy of admitting a high degree of autonomy in the colonies led in the 19th century to the formation of true dependent states – largely populated by Europeans accustomed to parliamentary government – who enjoyed reasonable sovereignty. In 1931, they were given special status within the empire, thanks to the Westminster Statute, which referred specifically to a “British Commonwealth of Nations”.

At the same time, the rapid rise of nationalism in many parts of the empire, beginning in the 1920s, led a series of colonies to become independent. First it was India in 1947, which demanded a redefinition of the Community. In 1948, India, Pakistan and Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) became members. They were the first ones whose population in the vast majority was not predominantly European. In the same year, Burma (later Myanmar) gained independence, but refused to participate. The meaning given to the word Commonwealth later expanded, giving its members the choice between republican or non-parliamentary forms of government, as well as the right to leave the association, as was the case in Ireland in 1948, from South Africa in 1961 and Pakistan in 1972.

The ties that united the members of the community have always been very diverse: historical and sentimental ties, especially in the former colonies; trade, investments and monetary agreements; and finally, migrations, cultural, professional, legal, sporting and other traditions. Most countries that gained independence in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s decided to join the organization. In 1965 a secretariat was set up in London to organize and coordinate the activities of the Commonwealth of Nations, including the regular meetings of its representatives.

According to computerminus, the Community has supported the policy of its members in the United Nations, as long as there is a justification for their actions. In 1982, the British reaction to the occupation of the Malvinas Islands by Argentina counted on the solidarity of the member countries, mainly those that were the target of territorial claims by neighbors (Guyana, Belize etc.) and, therefore, they feared that the Argentine initiative would open precedents. In addition, the fact that Granada is a member of the Community favored an institutional solution to the crisis caused by the invasion of the islands by the United States, supported by the Caribbean countries, in October 1983.

British Commonwealth of Nations