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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 now meant 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.
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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Added to this is the matter of the Commonwealth having a long history and suffering as a result and, one might say, of necessity periods when its fortunes may wane.
Just three years ago, in Glasgow, we saw the power and potential of what happens when an open, ambitious and warm-hearted city throws its arms around the Commonwealth's finest athletes.
The Commonwealth is made up of 53 independent countries with a combined population of 2.2 billion.
A notice of motion to the meeting of the city council will call on councillors to back the plans and if approved Mayor Joe Anderson will be asked to write to the Commonwealth Secretariat supporting "the formal accreditation of the Liverpool Commonwealth Association" and to ask that Liverpool be considered as host city for a future Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Commonwealth has most recently developed IBSchek, a test that uniquely addresses the needs of IBS patients suffering with GI discomfort by either confirming an IBS diagnosis, or potentially eliminating it as a cause of symptoms.
Members of Team Wales' Commonwealth Youth Games squad at Treforest
Sheikh Hasina hailed the contribution of the Commonwealth secretary general to the umbrella organisation of 53 countries.
The CPA aims to promote knowledge of the constitutional, legislative, economic, social and cultural aspects of parliamentary democracy, with particular reference to the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The opening remarks were delivered by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC.
Qureshi said the event was an opportunity for Pakistan to present its point of view amongst the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth.
The Fly the Flag initiative, now in its fifth year, marks the collective public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth.

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