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The Commonwealth of Nations
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    (December 11, 1931- )
    Established as the British Commonwealth of Nations by the Statute of Westminster
    The London Declaration dropped 'British' from the name declared member states to be 'free and equal' (April 28, 1949)
    54 members (as of 2021), mostly former territories of the British Empire
    Headed by Queen Elizabeth II
    Holds biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings
    As a means of projecting power and kicking butt, a commonwealth can't hold a candle to an empire.
    Although the office Head of the Commonwealth is not officially hereditary, the member states voted to designate Prince Charles as Elizabeth's successor (2018).
    Despite the Commonwealth's goal of promoting democracy, its members include absolute monarchies like Eswatini and Brunei.
    A public opinion poll conducted in seven member states (Great Britain, Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, and South Africa) found that respondents were largely ignorant of Commonwealth activities other than the Commonwealth Games (2009).
    In addition, a majority of respondents were indifferent towards the Commonwealth's future, with the lowest support in Great Britain.
    According to the Singapore Declaration (1971), members are dedicated to the principles of world peace, liberty, equality, human rights, and free trade.
    Nations have been suspended from Commonwealth membership for particularly egregious violations of democracy and human rights, including Nigeria (1995-99), Pakistan (1999-2004, 2007-08), and Zimbabwe (suspended in 2003, withdrew in 2004).
    The Commonwealth Games are the third largest multi-sport event, after the Olympics and the Asian Games.

Credit: C. Fishel

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