The Commonwealth

Photo of a statue of a lion

The Commonwealth is a unique family of 53 developed and developing countries, but there will be representation from 71 nations and territories at Glasgow 2014. This is because some countries, like the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), are made up of a number of territories or dependencies.

The Commonwealth contains over 2 billion people – almost a third of the world’s population – and over 60% of them are under the age of 30.

These nations and territories work together to promote peace, democracy, sustainable development, human rights and health, and to share ideas, knowledge and experience. And of course every four years they all come together to take part in the Commonwealth Games.

Origins of the Commonwealth - the British Empire

The roots of the Commonwealth go back over 140 years, when most of the Commonwealth nations and territories were part of the British Empire. After World War II the Empire was gradually dismantled and the Commonwealth came into its present form in 1949, when it was agreed that all member nations should be free and equal to each other. This focus on equality has helped the Commonwealth tackle issues such as racism, poverty and decolonisation.

Find out more about the British Empire through the following BBC videos:

The Commonwealth today

Today the Commonwealth still works on tackling the big issues that affect us all, such as universal education, health and disease, and our impact on the environment. It is this commitment that binds the member nations of the Commonwealth together.

The Commonwealth is part of the world that it serves, sharing the same interests as those of its citizens: democratic freedom and economic and social development.

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