The Commonwealth - Maxicours
1. Britain as a powerful country
In the 1920s, the British Empire was large and powerful and 25% of the world's population lived under British rule and more than a quarter of the land in the world belonged to Britain.

The Commonwealth is an association of countries that were once part of the British Empire and that still have political and other links with each other.

The British Commonwealth of Nations was created in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster, based on decisions made at the 1926 Imperial Conference.

Since 1949, it has been known simply as the Commonwealth and is an association of 53 independent nations plus several British dependencies such as Bermuda, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar. All member states recognise the British King or Queen as head of the Commonwealth, even if he or she is not necessarily the head of each individual state.

2. The Commonwealth
Members of the Commonwealth have special links with the United Kingdom and with each other. All members are equal and agree to work together towards world peace, the encouragement of trade, the defence of democracy and improvements in human rights, health and education.

During World War II, Commonwealth forces played an important role in the war effort.

Commonwealth nations later united to oppose apartheid in South Africa.

3. The Monarch's role in the Commonwealth
As head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth's role is symbolic and has no constitutional functions attached to it. The Monarch personally reinforces the links by which the Commonwealth joins people together from around the world thanks to numerous visits.

During her reign, the Queen has visited every country in the Commonwealth. She visited India and Pakistan in October 1997 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of their independence from Britain, which led to the formation of the modern Commonwealth.

She also paid an important number of visits in other countries from the Commonwealth such as: Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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