Friday, March 19, 2010

The Commonwealth of Nations

The Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations

With the slow dissolution of the British Empire, the British Commonwealth was born, then, in 1949, the "British" part was dropped, and the Commonwealth of Nations was born. The Commonwealth consists of nations that used to be part of the British Empire, mostly, but it is open to any nation that qualifies to get in. 

Membership is open to nations that have some kind of link to an existing member within the Commonwealth. This has led to some interesting admissions, for example, Rwanda. A Belgian protectorate, and before, German. As well as Mozambique, a Portuguese colony. At the moment, Algeria, Sudan, Madagascar, and Yemen have all applied for membership. Algeria and Madagascar where never British colonies. Also, the Commonwealth has announced that both Israel and Palestine could both apply to join.

The Commonwealth was set up to promote the principles of democracy, individual liberty, free trade, and combating racism and intolerance. The Commonwealth tries to operate by consensus, which does lead to heated debates, but also has many other functions.

The Commonwealth has active health programmes, as well as education programmes, and the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games is the most visible activity of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Games is the second biggest multi-sports event in the world behind the Olympics, and the third largest in the world, behind the Olympics, and the World Cup. The Commonwealth Games covers nations that make up over 25% of the world. They include many sports popular around the Commonwealth such as Bowls, and Rugby. 

The flag of the Commonwealth is a golden globe representing the global reach of the organisation on a blue field, and 61 rays arranged round the world in the form of a "C." These do not represent member nations, however, the large number represents the large number of ways in which the Commonwealth cooperates round the world. 

Member States

Alderney               Antigua & Barbuda
Anguilla              Australia
Bermuda            Bahamas
Belize                     Bangladesh
Botswana               Barbados
British Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei
British Virgin IslandsCameroon
Canada              Cook Islands
Cayman Islands  Cyprus
Dominica            Falkland Islands
The Gambia           Ghana
Gibraltar            Grenada
Guernsey              Guyana
India                      Isle of Man
Jamaica             Jersey
Kenya                   Kiribati
Lesotho                 Maldives
Malaysia            Malta
Malawi                  Montserrat
Mauritius               Mozambique
Namibia                Nauru
Nigeria              Niue
New Zealand     Pakistan
Papua New Guinea Pitcairn Islands
Rwanda                 Samoa
Sark                    Seychelles
South Georgie   Sierra Leone
Singapore              South Africa
Solomon IslandsSri Lanka
St Helena          St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia            St Vincent & The Grenadines
Swaziland             Tanzania
Tonga               Trinidad & Tobago
Turks & Cacos IslesTuvalu
Uganda                United Kingdom
Vanuatu              Zambia

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