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|Imperial Commonwealth of Nations|
|Motto||God Save the Queen|
|Queen of the Imperial Commonwealth||Queen Elizabeth II|
The Imperial Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth, and formally referred as the British Imperial Commonwealth of Nations, is an intergovernmental organisation of sixteen independent member states, the 5 countries of Britain, and 3 Crown Colonies. All of these countries were formerly part of the British Empire.
These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace. The Commonwealth is a political union, and an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.
Its activities are carried out through the permanent Imperial Commonwealth Secretariat, headed by the Imperial Secretary-General, and biennial Meetings between Imperial Commonwealth Heads of Government. The symbol of their free association is the Imperial Head of the Commonwealth, which is a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II is also monarch of the sixteen Imperial Commonwealth members, which are known as the "Imperial Commonwealth realms".
In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Roseberry described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations". Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers had occurred periodically since 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Christian Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term the " British Commonwealth of Nations," and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in the British Empire."
At the time, the British Empire consisted of many colonies, some of which were largely self-governing dominions (Canada, Dominion of Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) and others not (India, West Indies, Fiji). The future of the empire remained uncertain, as it was unclear what the end result would be if all colonies eventually became self-governing. Among other concerns, it would be very difficult for British interests to be maintained if every colony was essentially already sovereign.
Creating an Imperial Federation thus became a popular alternative proposal to colonial imperialism. The plan was never firm, but the general proposal was to create a single federal state among all colonies of the British Empire. The federation would have a common parliament and would be governed as a superstate. Thus, Imperial unity could be maintained while still allowing for democratic government. The colonies would increase their influence while Britain would be able to share the costs of imperial defence. The best features of large states could be combined with the best features of small states.
It was seen as a method of solving the Home Rule problem in Ireland, as England, Scotland, and Ireland (along with the other members of the Old Commonwealth) would have their own Parliaments. Westminster would become a purely Imperial body.
Supporters of Imperial Federation regarded the United Kingdom as having two possible futures; imperial union and continued long-term importance or imperial dissolution and the reduction of the status of the UK to a second-class nation.
In response to claims that geography was against federation on such a large scale, it was said that scientific advancements would solve the difficulty. Morris in 1885 reminded listeners to his lecture that London was no more difficult to reach from Melbourne in 1885 than it was to reach from Orkney Island after the Act of Union in 1707. It was no more difficult for a colonist to reach England in 1885, he said, than it was for a Californian delegate to reach Washington DC before passes over the Rockies were made.
The Imperial Federation League was founded in London in 1884 and subsequently branches were established in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Barbados, and British Guiana. While the proposal was often associated with segments of the British Conservative Party, it was popular among also proponents of Liberal or New Imperialism such as E. M. Forster. The movement was also a vehicle for British race nationalism, inspired by such writers as Charles Dilke and John Robert Seeley and ideas of a greater Britain encompassing the largely white self-governing colonies and dominions.
It was formed in 1919 after Britain lost most of its African possessions to the Germans and because of the Treaty of Munich in which Britain not only ceded the colonies mentioned above but gave independence to Canada, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, India, Newfoundland, and New Zealand. To at least keep some control over its former colonies Britain decided to set up an international confederation in which the individual member states would be autonomous in all affairs except for Foreign Affairs and Defence. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1918 created Imperial Meeting of the same year, Britain and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, except in their Foreign Affairs and Defence which Britain will be in charge, and united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Imperial Commonwealth of Nations". The Imperial Commonwealth also served to protect Britain's trading interests in it former colonies as it also functions as a free trade zone. Ireland and India would abandoned the Commonwealth in 1920.
Post World War II
Edward VIII was established as King of Britain by the Germans after the German occupation of Britain in WW2. Britain lost many colonies during WWII especially to the Italians and Japanese.
After the war, particularly since the 1960s when some of the Commonwealth countries disagreed with poorer, African members about various issues at Imperial Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings. Accusations that the old, "White" Commonwealth had different interests from African Commonwealth nations in particular, and charges of racism and colonialism, arose during heated debates about Uganda in the 1960s and 1970s, the imposition of sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa in the 1980s and, more recently, about whether to press for democratic reforms in Nigeria.
|Photo||Name||Reign of the Commonwealth|
|George V||July 27, 1918 - 20 January 1936|
|Edward VIII||20 January 1936 - 11 December 1936|
|George VI||11 December 1936 - 17 September 1942|
|Edward VIII||17 September 1942 - 28 May 1972|
|Elizabeth II||28 May 1972 - Present|
List of Members of the Commonwealth.
|West Indies Federation||West Indies Federation without Jamaica and with Belize, Bahamas, Guyana, and Bermuda.|
|Commonwealth of Jamaica||Jamaica with Cayman, Turks and Caicos Island|
|Commonwealth of Malta||Malta|
|Commonwealth of Cyprus||Cyprus|
|Republic of Australia||Australia without Norfolk, Cocos and Christmas Islands|
|Commonwealth of Gold Coast||Ghana|
|Commonwealth of Bechuanaland||Bostwana|
|Commonwealth of Sierra Leone||Sierra Leone|
|Kingdom of Basutoland||Lesotho|
|Commonwealth of South Africa||South Africa|
|Kingdom of Swaziland||Swaziland|
|Commonwealth of Nigeria||Nigeria|
|Commonwealth of the Gambia||Gambia|
|Commonwealth of Zanzibar||Zanzibar|
|Commonwealth of Kenya||Kenya|
|Commonwealth of Uganda||Uganda|
|Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland||
Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi
|Commonwealth of New Zealand|
Imperial Crown Colonies
|Falkland Islands||Falkland Islands|
|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha||Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha|
|South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands||South Geogria and South Sandwich Islands|
This members are not sovereign states but instead are the 5 countries that are members of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.
|Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland|
|Isle of Man||Isle Man|
- Imperial Federation - Proposed Federation in OTL from which is this based