Commonwealth Definition

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Commonwealth Definition

Founded in 1949, the Commonwealth refers to one of the oldest political associations of states. The roots of this union trade back to the native British Empire when some states were entirely ruled by Britain. Besides, some of these countries progressively became self-governed while they retained Britain’s monarch as the leader of nation. They created the British Commonwealth of Nations. Since its founding, the foundation has accepted various states and continents including Africa, Asia, Europe, as well as the Pacific Ocean. Membership is often based on equal as well as free voluntary cooperation. As such, the recent two states to join the Commonwealth are such as Rwanda and Mozambique. However, they don’t have any historical ties with the British.

A Little More on What a Commonwealth

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is a trading platform that has one member states stretching between Tunisia and Eswatini. Founded in 1994, the organization has since replaced the Preferential Trade Area which has been in existence since 1981. Over the years, nine member states established a trade free area. These states are such as Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, and Sudan. Other countries would later join the organization in 2004. They include Comoros and Libya. COMESA is the backbone of economic growth in Africa. In 2008, the foundation agreed to form an expanded trade-free zonal area that included two trading blocs namely the Southern Africa Development as well as the Eastern African Community.


The Commonwealth remains to be one of the universe’s oldest political associations of states. It traces its roots back to the British Empire when Britain ruled most countries. Over the years, some of these states became self-governing. In 1891, the Commonwealth was incorporated with Australia as its co-founding member. As such, Commonwealth was generated from the Federation of six colonies from Australia. These states held a meeting in Sydney to discuss a way forward in regards to the adoption of the organization.  The process was met by some republicanism thereby making it seem controversial. The idea was upheld in subsequent drafts of the same constitution.

The Bahamas

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas refers to a coral archipelago that occurred across the 700 islands of the Bahamas as well as more than 2,000 rocks and cays found in the West Atlantic and South-East of the Coast of Florida.


The Commonwealth of Dominica refers to an island country situated in the West Indies. Its Capital, Roseau, is located in the western area of the island. It is part of the Windward Islands found in the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles. Dominica is one of the few republics in the Caribbean.

Certain U.S. States and Territories

The Commonwealth of Nations is associated with 53 sovereign states. Almost all of them are colonies. Being an international organization where countries have diverse social as well as economic backgrounds, the Commonwealth has outlined its goals in every portfolio. In the United States, four main countries have taken up special tags as commonwealths. They are:

Virginia – officially known as the Commonwealth of Virginia, this is a state situated in the Southeastern as well as the Mid-Atlantic regions of the US. Virginia was named the ‘Old Dominion’ because of its economic status as the leading English colonial possession founded in North America. The capital of this city is Richmond which is a populous city.

Kentucky- Officially called the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this state is situated in the east and south central region of the United States of America. Even though it is often referred to as the State of Kentucky when dealing with matters of law, this is one of the four prominent states of the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts- From 1780, the words State of Massachusetts Bay was often used to refer to the top acts of conflict resolution. In 1780, the Massachusetts Constitution was affected. Therefore, Part Two of the entire Constitution was termed the Frame Government. It stated that the people from themselves by becoming a free sovereign as well as an independent body named The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Pennsylvania- the Seal of Pennsylvania doesn’t use the term. But, legal processes are in the Commonwealth, as a traditional official designation utilized to refer to the state. In 1776, the first state constitution of Pennsylvania related to it as a Commonwealth as well as State. The pattern usage was perpetuated in different laws such as the 1838 and 1958.


Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – On July 4, President Harry S. Truman signed the Public Act 600, which paved the way for Puerto Ricans to write their own constitution thereby creating the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. As such, the US has conferred Commonwealth status on Puerto Rico thus upgrading Puerto Rico’s political and economic status to the commonwealth.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – The Northern Mariana Islands is officially known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The area is an insular geographical location and commonwealth of the United States of America. It consists of 14 islands in the Pacific Ocean including a separate U.S. territory.

Commonwealth of Nations

As the British Empire started its process of decolonization as well as the creation of various independent states from British colonies, there arose the need for an organization of countries as part of the Empire. The Commonwealth of Nations was created in 1931, and later on, 53 independent states came together to form colonies. The foundation was established under the Statute of Westminster with five members initially. These were the United Kingdom, the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State, and Newfoundland.

Commonwealth of Independent States

In 1991, the Commonwealth of Independent States was formed immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As such, meetings were held periodically on a constantly rotating basis at the convention of the CIS country capitals. A convention was also held in Sochi Russia to discuss the basis of various meetings such as the Council of Heads of State and the Council of Prime Ministers. Following its foundation, members of the union adopted the Alma-Ata Declaration that confirmed the promise of the former republics to cooperate in different fields of external as well as internal policies. It was announced that there would be guarantees of the implementation of the civil commitments of the former Soviet Union.

References for Commonwealth

Academic Research on Commonwealth

  • Electronic governance: re-inventing good governanceOkot-Uma, R. W. O., & London, C. S. (2000). London: Commonwealth Secretariat. This paper highlights critical issues about the significance of the emergence of various Electronic Governance, also known as e-Governance as a primary mode of practice primarily in the re-invention and re-creation of Good Governance. The research presents eGovernance as inclusive of Electronic Democracy, Electronic Government as well as Electronic Business. It also examines the current nature of the scope of various developments based in the emerging field of business. It further gives essential examples of the embedded concepts of practice.
  • British Commonwealth of Nations, Hall, H. D. (1920). British Commonwealth of Nations. Methuen & Co. Ltd., London. This paper was written to highlight the relationship of the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United Kingdom. It was recalled that the British Commonwealth of Nations is the oldest international organization of states to be in existence. Its distinctive features lie in the unbroken historical continuity, their solidarity when it comes to addressing crucial matters and the fluidity of their machinery when dealing with such situations. The article delved into the symbiotic relationship between humans where two parties in the same platform encountering the same experiences of the revolution emerged from the situation with different experiences, lessons, and assumptions.
  • The link between immigration and trade: Evidence from the United Kingdom, Girma, S., & Yu, Z. (2002). Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 138(1), 115-130. This paper analyses the growing evidence that has been established to support the idea that immigration has some of the positive effects on trade between foreigners and immigrants as well as home countries. Pioneering research studies conducted by Gould (1994), as well as Head and Ries (1998), publish that such immigrant links have an impact on imports as well as exports of the US alongside Canada. Recent research studies by Dunlevy as well as Hutchinson (1999) also presented evidence of significant trade impact of immigration on the US imports in the 19th and 20th centuries. The research findings are crucial especially when it comes to an understanding the economic effect of immigrants on the host and home countries. It also addresses the relevant implications of various policies for host countries. The main agenda of this paper is to investigate the robustness of the immigrant link effect through the United Kingdom data then to identify a viable mechanism behind the linkage.
  • Multiple sclerosis among United Kingdom-born children of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the West Indies., Elian, M., Nightingale, S., & Dean, G. (1990). Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 53(10), 906-911. This paper addresses the imminent health hazard of multiple sclerosis and the fact that it tends to be more uncommon in the ethnic Asian communities including in the Indian subcontinent and among Asians as well as Africans in the emerging Commonwealth states. It was stated that multiple sclerosis is also uncommon in more than 30 countries that recently joined the Commonwealth. In contrast, however, the prevalence of multiple sclerosis is higher in areas such as England and Wales. Studies indicate that the high
  • Foreign study: Patterns and challenges, Altbach, P. (2015). International Higher Education, (30). This paper discusses the aspect of foreign study as a global business that has recently been ignored and written off as an intellectual enterprise and not a profitable business. Research continues to highlight that academic institutions are currently aspiring to cash in the developing trade of foreign studies in higher education. As such, the paper dives in a lot into the flow of international students and how they have been admitted to higher learning institutions in foreign states. The most significant number of students is traveling from various developing as well as middle-income countries to a small amount of industrialized nations. Research also indicates that globally, most international students are self-supporting. They can also pay university fees as well as their living expenses.
  • Inequities in access to medical care in five countries: findings from the 2001 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey, Schoen, C., & Doty, M. M. (2004). Health Policy, 67(3), 309-322. This paper analyzes five countries and their inequities when it comes to accessing health care as well as quality care in matters pertaining to income alongside determining if these issues persist after issuing control over the effect of insurance coverage and immigration status. The research used multivariate analysis that entailed a cross-sectional random research survey that included about 1400 adults in Canada, New Zealand, United States, and Australia. The outcome measures entailed accessing difficulties as well as waiting times, physician ratings, as well as quality of health care provided. The research study establishes a wide disparity in care experiences with above as well as below average incomes that remain stagnant immediately the insurance coverage and other significant factors have been determined.
  • Collaborations: The rise of research networks, Adams, J. (2012). Nature, 490(7420), 335. This research paper highlights the rising need for new collaboration patterns and how they are transforming the global balance of science. The paper dives into the superpowers needed to maintain the economic health status of a country or be left behind. It was also discovered that there’s a new important move taking place in science such that networks of research unions are vastly expanding in different parts of the world. The United States as well as Europe has dominated the industry of research. Besides, new regional networks are currently reinforcing the competence as well as the capacity of emerging research economies and transforming the international presence of the research activity. This may reveal various methods of approaching challenges as well as solutions that are unique to the ones of Western institutions. Supposing the powers of science are left behind, they shall need to explore revolutionary systems of handling businesses in order to maintain their level of dynamism in the landscape.
  • What is the Commonwealth?, Bull, H. (1959). World Politics, 11(4), 577-587. This research paper analyses the association of the Commonwealth and other foreign countries and its impact on world politics. The discussion delves into how these states have received little to no attention from foreign students who major in international politics such that outside the Commonwealth, the organization has been ignored and its significance eroded. Also, foreign policies from ten states that currently belong to the Commonwealth can be accounted for. At the same time, within the Commonwealth is an impulse that has been less studied by curious intellectuals than by optimistic researchers who aspire to see the organization prosper. As such, some of British students have encountered the myth as well as grip of the Commonwealth, which transformed into a subject that requires extensive research.
  • Is the Commonwealth an international organisation?, Dale, W. (1982). International & Comparative Law Quarterly, 31(3), 451-473. This research paper addresses a question of how Law writers are baffled by the way the Commonwealth of Nations has presented itself over the last couple of years. The entire research was based on a passing reference that Eagleton stated in regards to what the Commonwealth is including its mission and vision. The research goes on to highlight that the organization has no constitution to dictate its terns of operations. As such, one may find it complicated to go through the laws of the Commonwealth. This doesn’t imply that the writers are at fault. It only means that they have a great initiative toward other matters.
  • Recognising teacher qualifications in the Commonwealth: Exploring the language of comparability, Keevy, J. (2011). Global mobility and migration of teachers: Issues, identities and infringements, Kamla-Raj Enterprises, Delhi, 123, 128. This research paper answers questions regarding the language of exploring compatibility. It poses a question about the possibilities of recognizing a teacher who has been awarded in the United Kingdom when most teachers migrate to Canada, Barbados, and to New Zealand. As the number of teachers migrating between these states to the Commonwealth countries, to seek better employment opportunities and comfort in life, an in-depth understanding of the requirements as well as needed qualifications that give these teachers the ability to practice is more crucial.

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