After the Second World War, the shape of the British empire began changing drastically. India gained independence in 1947, the new state of Pakistan was simultaneously created, and a wave of decolonisation followed which saw several colonies become independent and sovereign states.
The first member to be ruled by an African majority was Ghana which joined in 1957. From 1960 onwards, new members from Africa, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific joined, increasing the diversity and variety that has enhanced the Commonwealth to this day.
With its commitment to racial equality and national sovereignty, joining the Commonwealth became a natural choice for many new nations that were emerging out of the decolonisation process of the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, the Commonwealth has grown in size and shape, expanding its reach and range of priorities. It is now involved in a wide spectrum of activities, all feeding the greater goals of good governance, respect for human rights, and peace and co-operation in the member countries and beyond.
In 1965, the leaders of the Commonwealth established the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, which became the association's independent civil service, headed by a Secretary-General. A year later, the Commonwealth Foundation was launched to assist the growing number of Commonwealth professional associations and, subsequently,NGOs.
Two significant events in the history of the Commonwealth occurred in 1971. The first was the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, which gave the association a formal code of ethics and committed members to improving human rights and seeking racial and economic justice. The second was the creation of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), which advanced the idea of technical co-operation among developing countries.