Commonwealth map: 54 nations still in – but two at risk of following Barbados out the door
Queen will ‘quietly accede to choice of Barbados’ says expert
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The modern Commonwealth has existed since 1949 and is made up of more than fifty separate members. As Monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, is Head of State for all Commonwealth countries. But this week, Barbados will officially part ways with the Commonwealth at the end of this month as it bids to cut ties with its “colonial past”.
The Commonwealth is still currently made up of 54 countries from around the world.
However, that number will become 53 from this Tuesday when Barbados’ exit is officially confirmed.
Members hail from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific, and make up some of the largest and smallest nations the world has to offer.
Australia, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and Singapore are all examples of member countries.
In September 2020, Barbados voted to remove the Queen as its Head of State and leave the Commonwealth altogether.
After a vote was passed in the Barbados Parliament – 25 votes to none – the Caribbean island will officially exit on December 01, becoming the world’s newest republic.
Announcing the news, the country’s government said: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.
“This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
Barbados could be soon joined in leaving the Commonwealth by Jamaica and Australia.
Speaking to Express.co.uk about republicanism in the Commonwealth, Dr Bob Morris – a professor at UCL’s constitution unit – said that Australia has “kept the idea alive”.
He said: “The Australians may be dusting off their plans. They’ve kept the idea alive, Australia.”
In July, the opposition political leader in Jamaica also said that the Queen should be removed as Head of State for the country to become “truly independent”.
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Historically, the Commonwealth is one of the world’s oldest political associations of states, whose roots can be traced back to the British Empire.
As a consequence, all members of the early Commonwealth were ruled over at one point by Great Britain.
Over time many of these countries gained different levels of freedom from Britain. Those who were semi-independent became known as ‘Dominions’.
The early Commonwealth was formed in 1926 when leaders from Great Britain and the existing Dominions chose to form an ‘equal community’ within the British Empire.
As Dominions and other territories within the British Empire became more independent the modern Commonwealth was established in 1949.
After a meeting between Commonwealth Prime Ministers, which led to the London Declaration, it was agreed that other countries and republics could join the Commonwealth.
Membership today is based on free and equal voluntary cooperation.
In fact, the last two nations to join the Commonwealth – Rwanda and Mozambique – do not have any historical ties to the British Empire.
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