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Five Interesting Facts About The Commonwealth
May 24 is being observed as commonwealth day in India. The commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
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May 24 is being observed as commonwealth day in India. The commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. Here are five interesting facts about The commonwealth you probably didn’t know.
1. The first collectively observed Commonwealth Day was in 1977
Initially known as ‘Empire Day’, the switch was proposed by Canada in 1975 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Kingston, Jamaica. The current date was agreed in 1976 at a meeting in Canberra. Queen Elizabeth’s emphasis on the importance of school and western education led to this day being chosen as one when all Commonwealth children would be in school.
2. Total Gross Domestic Product for Commonwealth countries is greater than that of the EU
This might come as surprising news, but it makes sense in terms of numbers as The Commonwealth (52 members) is twice as large as the EU(26 members). GDP for the Commonwealth is predicted to grow by 7.3% between 2012 and 2017.
3. The Queen is Head of State in 16 of the 54 Commonwealth member countries, all of them fully independent
Queen Elizabeth II is represented by a Governor-General in all Realms except the United Kingdom. Some countries that come under her authority are Australia, New Zealand and many islands in The West Indies, like Antigua and Bermuda.
4. Commonwealth countries make up 26% of the world’s population and account for 15% of global Gross National Income
These are staggering numbers and show the great progress The Commonwealth countries have made since gaining independence. The largest country by population is India, with more than 1.2 billion and Canada is the biggest country by area. Nauru is the smallest in terms of both size and population.
5. No country has ever been expelled from the Commonwealth
However, a number of countries have been suspended and others have withdrawn on their own terms. These include Ireland in 1949, South Africa in 1961 and Zimbabwe in 2003. South Africa then rejoined The Commonwealth in 1994.
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