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form of administration signifying government by the common consent of the people. To Locke and Hobbes and other 17th-century writers the term meant an organized political community similar to what is meant in the 20th cent. by the word state. Certain states of the United States are known as commonwealths (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky), and the federated states of Australia are known collectively as the Commonwealth of Australia. In the same collective sense, the now independent components of the former British Empire and Britain's remaining dependencies are described as the Commonwealth of NationsCommonwealth of Nations,
voluntary association of Great Britain and its dependencies, certain former British dependencies that are now sovereign states and their dependencies, and the associated states (states with full internal government but whose external relations are
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. The Commonwealth in English history was the government set up by the victorious army power following the English civil war and the execution (1649) of King Charles I. The Commonwealth was dominated from the outset by Oliver CromwellCromwell, Oliver
, 1599–1658, lord protector of England. Parliamentary General

The son of a gentry family, he entered Cambridge in 1616 but probably left the next year.
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, who by the Instrument of Government (1653) was made lord protector of the Commonwealth. The subsequent government is usually known as the ProtectorateProtectorate,
in English history, name given to the English government from 1653 to 1659. Following the English civil war and the execution of Charles I, England was declared (1649) a commonwealth under the rule of the Rump Parliament.
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, though the Commonwealth formally continued until Restoration in 1660.


1. the people of a state or nation viewed politically; body politic
2. a state or nation in which the people possess sovereignty; republic
3. the body politic organized for the general good


1. an association of sovereign states, almost all of which were at some time dependencies of the UK. All member states recognize the reigning British sovereign as Head of the Commonwealth
a. the republic that existed in Britain from 1649 to 1660
b. the part of this period up to 1653, when Cromwell became Protector
3. the official designation of Australia, four states of the US (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia), and Puerto Rico
References in periodicals archive ?
Commonwealth literature (from the Commonwealth of Nations, hence written in English) and postcolonial literature (translated into English)" (1).
Mr Donaldson said: "It would be good to see the Irish Republic joining the Commonwealth of nations.
Singapore gained independence from Britain, and became a self-governing state within the Commonwealth of Nations.
Secondly, the ICJ does not acquire compulsory jurisdiction pursuant to India's Article 36 declaration since it features a reservation that bars ICJ jurisdiction over any dispute with a Member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Commonwealth of Nations, formed in 1931 out of the remnants of the British Empire, is now merely an out-of-date club for third-ranking foreign states.
In addition to joining the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations, the government of Tuvalu is spending the $18 million it has so far received from dotTV on infrastructure improvements, road repair, electricity, medical personnel, Internet connections, and international scholarships and education.
Since 1931, the members of the Commonwealth of Nations have formed a network in a spirit of cooperation, partnership, and understanding.
The Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary cooperative association, encompasses 52 member states, with 16 of them, including the United Kingdom, opting to maintain the British monarch as its head of state as members of the Commonwealth Realm.
Now Queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations, Queen Elizabeth's presence around the world is strong.
Bangladesh is a member of various regional and international organizations such as the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organizations of Islamic Cooperation, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the Non-Aligned Movement.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN also said, " I was proud of our Prime Minister at the time, Mrs Sirimao Bandaranayaka, who was vocal in the efforts to suspend apartheid South Africa from the Commonwealth of Nations despite the threat of losing the lucrative market for our tea exports to that country.