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 The Commonwealth

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Join date : 2010-10-10

PostSubject: The Commonwealth   Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:35 am

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".[6] Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers had occurred periodically since 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911.[7] 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."[8] Smuts successfully argued that the Empire should be represented at the all-important Versailles Conference of 1919 by delegates from the dominions as well as Britain.[9][10] In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, Britain and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations". These aspects to the relationship were eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Australia, New Zealand, and Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect— which Newfoundland never did. Australia and New Zealand did in 1942 and 1947 respectively.

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