The British Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 49 independent states that have been or still are ruled by Britain. Independent states are “full members of the Commonwealth”. Among these states are Barbados, Australia, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Singapore, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Cyprus, etc. Dependent territories (colonies + protectorates) are “Commonwealth countries”, among them are Bermuda, Falkland Island, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands and other. The new Commonwealth has grown out of the old British Commonwealth and British Empire. In the days of the old Commonwealth the only self-governing nations were Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The population of Australia, New Zealand and Canada (except for the French-speaking Canadians of Quebec) was almost entirely of people of British descent. When the old British Commonwealth and the British Empire came to an end with the 2nd World War, the
The Commonwealth people are drawn from all the world main races, from all continents. The Commonwealth people confess many different religions. Among Commonwealth countries are those in which the dominating religious confessions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism. The queen is recognized as head of Commonwealth; she is also head of state in 18 countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand. The Commonwealth Secretariat is in London. It is headed by a Secretary-General appointed by the heads of governments of member states. In 1990, for example it was headed by Emeka Anyaoko from Nigeria. The Secretariat promotes consultations, spreads information on matters of Commonwealth interests, organizes meetings and conferences. It coordinates Commonwealth activities related to economic, social and political affairs including youth programs, food, production, technology, science, law and health.
Britain plays an active part in the Commonwealth activities,