Which countries belong to the Commonwealth?

The countries of the Commonwealth will come together to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, which marks her 70th year on the throne

Countries around the world will celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th jubilee as part of the upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The group of countries is known as the Commonwealth and is historically linked to Great Britain and the Royal Family.

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But what are the origins of the Commonwealth and which countries are members of the group?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth of Nations. (Image credit: Getty Images)

What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth, officially known as the Commonwealth of Nations, is a voluntary political association in which almost all members are former territories of the British Empire.

It was first referred to as the “Commonwealth of Nations” in 1884 by Lord Roseberry, who used the term during a speech in Adalaide, Australia.

The British Empire once covered one-fifth of the world’s surface, so after the Empire’s dissolution, the Commonwealth was a way for Britain to retain a sphere of influence over its former territories.

According to The Commonwealth, the aim of the group is to support the member states in “common goals” such as “development, democracy and peace”.

Which countries are members of the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth currently has 54 independent countries as members.

About 2.5 billion people live in the Commonwealth area, which stretches across Africa, Asia, Europe, America and the Pacific.

The current members of the group are:


  • Botswana
  • Cameroon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia


  • Bangladesh
  • brunei
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Pakistan
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka

Caribbean and America

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominika
  • Granada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago


  • Cyprus
  • Malta
  • United Kingdom


  • Australia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

The group has a voluntary membership process, which is open to countries that were not members of the British Empire.

Have countries ever left the Commonwealth?

Memebr countries may terminate their membership in accordance with the voluntary membership process.

Although not common, some countries have left the group while others have been suspended.

Nigeria was suspended from November 1995 to May 1999 for the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa on the eve of the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1995.

Pakistan served the group’s longest suspension, being expelled from October 1998 to May 2004 as a result of a military coup orchestrated by Pervez Musharraf.

Other countries set to be suspended include Fiji and Zimbabwe, with the latter opting to step out of the organization after the suspension ended.

Ireland opted to leave the country in the 1930s, but its status as a republic was disputed by the Commonwealth, which continued to recognize the country as a member until 1949.

The organization removed South Africa in 1961, with countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas pointing to racial apartheid as a pressure point. The country was then reinstated in 1994 after the country’s first multiracial elections.

In 1997, Hong Kong ended membership in the group after transferring sovereignty in the region. The membership rules state that non-sovereign states or regions cannot be members of the Commonwealth.

Who is the head of the Commonwealth?

The current head of the Commonwealth is Queen Elizabeth II.

Although it is commonly believed that the next in line to the throne automatically becomes the next head, this is not the case.

If the reigning monarch dies, the title is not automatically passed on.

However, it has already been agreed that Prince Charles will take on the role once he takes the throne. Which countries belong to the Commonwealth?


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