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Our history

The Commonwealth is one of the world’s oldest political association of states. Its roots go back to the British Empire when some countries were ruled directly or indirectly by Britain. Some of these countries became self-governing while retaining Britain’s monarch as Head of State. They formed the British Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1949 the association we know today, the Commonwealth came into being. Since then, independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific have joined the Commonwealth.

Membership today is based on free and equal voluntary co-operation. The last two countries to join the Commonwealth - Rwanda and Mozambique - have no historical ties to the British Empire.

Swaziland joins the Commonwealth Flag of the Kingdom of eSwatini (formally Swaziland)

6 September 1968

6 September 1968

Swaziland becomes the 29th country to join the Commonwealth.

Solomon Islands joins the Commonwealth Flag of the Solomon Islands

7 July 1978

7 July 1978

Solomon Islands becomes the 39th country to join the Commonwealth.

Sierra Leone joins the Commonwealth Flag of Sierra Leone

27 April 1961

27 April 1961

Sierra Leone becomes the 13th country to join the Commonwealth.

Samoa joins the Commonwealth Flag of Samoa

28 August 1970

28 August 1970

Samoa becomes the 32nd country to join the Commonwealth.

St Vincent and The Grenadines joins the Commonwealth Flag of St Vincent and The Grenadines

27 October 1979

27 October 1979

St Vincent and The Grenadines becomes the 44th country to join the Commonwealth.

St Lucia joins the Commonwealth Flag of Saint Lucia

22 February 1979

22 February 1979

St Lucia becomes the 42nd country to join the Commonwealth.

Mozambique joins the Commonwealth Flag of Mozambique

13 November 1995

13 November 1995

Mozambique becomes the 54th country to join the Commonwealth.

Malta joins the Commonwealth Flag of Malta

21 September 1964

21 September 1964

Malta becomes the 20th country to join the Commonwealth

Malaysia joins the Commonwealth Flag of Malaysia

31 August 1957

31 Agusut 1957

Malaysia becomes the 10th country to join the Commonwealth.

Lesotho joins the Commonwealth Flag of Lesotho

4 October 1966

4 October 1966

Lesotho becomes the 26th country to join the Commonwealth.

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