The building of the Empire began with a sea voyage to North America in 1497. The arms of the Empire stretched far and wide. Because it was so widespread, it would always be daylight in some part. The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire
Flag Quiz...answers • The Union Jack • The New Zealand Flag • The Australian Flag • The Fiji Flag
The British Empire • was the largest empire in history. • was for a substantial time the foremost global power. • was a product of the European age of discovery, which began with the maritime explorations of the 15th century, that started the era of the European colonial empires. • During the five decades following World War II, most of the territories of the Empire became independent. • Many went on to join the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states.
The Commonwealth of Nations engages in work to promote international understanding and world peace. The citizens of the Commonwealth are drawn from the broadest range of faiths, races, cultures and traditions.
World map: The Commonwealth of Nations 2006Current member states are coloured blue
The Commonwealth • is a group of fifty-three of the world's countries. • countries used to be part of the British Empire. • has a combined population of 1.9 billion people. • has about a quarter of the world’s total population. • has over twice as many people as the whole of the Americas (North and South) put together. • Of the 1.9 billion people, 1.4 billion live in the Indian Subcontinent. • 93% live in Asia or Africa.
Flags of the members of the Commonwealth in Horse Guards Road next to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
The Commonwealth does not have a written constitution. It does have a series of agreements. Declarations or Statements have been issued at various Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. The first, fundamental statement was issued at the 1971 summit in Singapore. The Declaration of Commonwealth Principles stresses the need to foster: international peace and security democracy liberty of the individual and equal rights for all the importance of eradicating poverty, ignorance and disease it opposes all forms of racial discrimination. Foreign Office Grand Staircase Declarations and Statements
The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth, is a symbol of the free association of independent states. Republics could be members - they could accept the monarch as Head of the Commonwealth without her being their own Head of State. When Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 she became Head of the Commonwealth. Today the Queen is Head of State in 16 of the 53 Commonwealth member countries When the Queen dies or if she abdicates, her heir will not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen has laid considerable stress on her role as Head of the Commonwealth, and made a great contribution to the association. Queen Elizabeth is Head of the Commonwealth
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office • Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, is a member of the British Government. • He/she is responsible for relations with foreign countries. • He/she heads the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. • Current Foreign Secretary: David Miliband
Current Members Africa Botswana (1966) Cameroon (1995) Gambia (1965) Ghana (1957) Kenya (1963) Lesotho (1966) Malawi (1964) Mauritius (1968) Mozambique (1995) Namibia (1990) Nigeria (1960; suspended in 1995; readmitted in 1999) Seychelles (1976) Sierra Leone (1961) South Africa (1931; left in 1961; rejoined in 1994) Swaziland (1968) Tanzania (1961) Uganda (1962) Zambia (1964)
Current Members Asia Bangladesh (1972) Brunei (1984) India (1947) Malaysia (1957 as Malaya; Malaysia since 1963) Maldives (1982) Pakistan (1947; left in 1972; rejoined 1989; suspended in 1999; readmitted in 2004) Singapore (1965) Sri Lanka (1948)
Oceania Australia (1931; ratified in 1942) Kiribati (1979) Nauru (1968) New Zealand (1931; ratified in 1947) Papua New Guinea (1975) Samoa (1970) Solomon Islands (1978) Tonga (1970) Tuvalu (1978) Vanuatu (1980) Europe Cyprus (1961) Malta (1964) United Kingdom (1931) Current Members
North America Antigua and Barbuda (1981) Bahamas (1973) Barbados (1966) Belize (1981) Canada (1931) Dominica (1978) Grenada (1974) Jamaica (1962) Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983) Saint Lucia (1979) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1979) Trinidad and Tobago (1962) South America Guyana (1966) Current Members