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The Commonwealth of Nations, often simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is an international association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations among member states. Numerous organisations are associated with and operate within the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth of Nations
|Headquarters||Marlborough House, London, United Kingdom|
|The Baroness Scotland of Asthal|
|19 November 1926|
|11 December 1931|
|28 April 1949|
|29,958,050 km2 (11,566,870 sq mi)|
• 2016 estimate
|75/km2 (194.2/sq mi)|
The Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nations through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, and formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931. The current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community and established the member states as "free and equal".
Member states have no legal obligations to one another but are connected through their use of the English language and historical ties. Citizenship of a Commonwealth country affords benefits in some member countries, particularly in the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth Charter defines their shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games.