Commonwealth of Nations
Lesson Date : 2018-05-14


  • Commonwealth of Nations
  • The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) began on April 19.
  • It lasted for two days.
  • The meeting, or summit, was held at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
  • Both historic buildings are the homes of Queen Elizabeth the Second.
  • As well as Britain's ruling monarch and head of state, she is also the leader of the Commonwealth.
  • The organization's official name is the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Currently it has 53 members.
  • The majority of these countries' leaders attended the summit.
  • Senior politicians or officials represented those that didn't.
  • A 53-gun salute marked the meeting's formal opening.
  • The CHOGM takes place every two years.
  • This one was late.
  • It should have been at the end of last year.
  • That meeting was due to be held in Vanuatu, a Pacific Ocean island nation.
  • This was not possible.
  • Before the meeting, Vanuatu was struck by a cyclone, or very powerful storm.
  • Called Cyclone Pam, it destroyed or damaged much of Vanuatu's infrastructure and many buildings.
  • A decision was made to "move" the meeting to London.
  • To be a Commonwealth member, a country must have a political system that allows free speech, democracy, equality of races, free trade and a desire for world peace.
  • Members that do now follow these rules can be expelled or suspended.
  • In the past, Commonwealth members such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Fiji, and Zimbabwe have all been suspended.
  • Nearly all Commonwealth member countries used to be part of the British Empire.
  • Yet, some previous British colonies chose not to join.
  • These include Egypt and Iraq.
  • In recent years, three African countries that were not former British colonies have joined the Commonwealth.
  • These are Rwanda, Cameroon and Mozambique.
  • Several non-British and previous British colonies have recently applied to join.
  • It's thought that these include South Sudan, Djibouti and Yemen.
  • In total, the Commonwealth members encompass about 20% of the Earth's landmasses.
  • By area, Canada is the biggest.
  • With 18, the African continent has the greatest number of members.
  • All together, the 53 countries are home to 2.4 billion people.
  • This is roughly one-third of the world's population.
  • About 60% of these people are under 30 years old.
  • With 1.3 billion, India is the member with the largest population.
  • Nauru is the smallest.
  • About 10,000 people live on this Pacific island nation.
  • The Commonwealth includes predominantly Hindu, Islamic and Christian nations.
  • Queen Elizabeth is also the head of state of 16 Commonwealth member countries.
  • Known as Commonwealth realms, these nations include: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
  • Queen Elizabeth is known to take a great interest in the Commonwealth.
  • Her 92nd birthday was on April 21, or a few days after the Heads of Government Meeting.
  • Elizabeth became queen in 1952.
  • This was after her father, George the Sixth, died.
  • So far, Elizabeth has reigned for 66 years.
  • She is the longest-reigning and longest-lived British king or queen.
  • She is also the world's longest-reigning monarch.
  • Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh attended the 2015 summit in Malta.
  • Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall accompanied them.
  • During the latest summit, the member countries confirmed that Charles would succeed as the Commonwealth's head when his mother dies.
  • Due to Queen Elizabeth's age, Charles will now take over more of her Commonwealth duties.
  • Britain joined the European Union (EU) in 1973.
  • Then, it was a trading organization.
  • Today, the EU is both a trading and political union.
  • Before it became a EU member, much of Britain's trade was with Commonwealth countries.
  • Its EU membership caused economic difficulties in many Commonwealth countries.
  • Two years ago, a referendum on EU membership took place in Britain.
  • The majority of people voted to leave it.
  • Britain's membership will end in about 12 months' time.
  • It will continue to trade with other EU members.
  • Yet, this trade is likely to become more difficult and costly.
  • British politicians are now planning to increase the country's trade with the Commonwealth.
  • It is a smaller consumer market than the EU.
  • However, over time, this may change.
  • Today, the Commonwealth accounts for about 17% of the world's total economy.
  • India is a commonwealth member.
  • It's currently the fastest growing economy in the world.
  • Many of the discussions at the Heads of Government Meeting were about future trade and how members can work more closely together.