1884: Lord Rosebery (later British PM) calls Empire a '
|Jawaharlal Nehru (left) and Mahatma Gandhi helped lead India to independence.|
1887: First Colonial Conference for consultation between
1926: Imperial Conference: UK and its dominions agree they are "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."
Regular Prime Ministers meetings become the forerunners of today's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.
1930: First Commonwealth Games held in Hamilton, Canada.
1931: Statute of
1949: Beginning of the Modern Commonwealth.
1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II who becomes Head of the Commonwealth.
|HM Queen Elizabeth II with Prime Minister Blair and Chief Emeka Anyaoku.|
1960: Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan helps graduates study in other member countries.
Arnold Smith of Canada becomes the first Commonwealth Secretary-General.
1971: Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles gives the association a set of ideals and agreed values.
Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) added to Secretariat, to put skills of member countries at each others disposal
1975: Commonwealth begins to train 10,000 Namibian exiles in much-needed skills.
Shridath 'Sonny' Ramphal of Guyana becomes the second Commonwealth Secretary-General.
1977: Gleneagles Agreement starts apartheid South Africa's sporting isolation.
|Commonwealth Observers arrive in Zimbabwe in 1980.|
Commonwealth sets up a 'Small States Office' in
Commonwealth Action Group on
1986: Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group visits Nelson Mandela in prison and sets out negotiating concept to end to apartheid in South Africa peacefully.
1987: Fiji's membership of the Commonwealth lapses after it declares itself a republic following a military coup.
Langkawi Declaration on the Environment commits the Commonwealth to an active role in protecting natural balances and preventing environmental deterioration.
1990: Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria becomes the third Commonwealth Secretary-General.
|Nelson Mandela with Michael Manley (former Prime Minister of Jamaica) Commonwealth Observer Group mission, South Africa 1994.|
1995: Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) set up by Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Zealand to deal with persistent and serious violators of the Commonwealth's shared principles.
Military ruled Nigeria suspended from the Commonwealth after a 'serious violation of the principles set out in the Harare Declaration' (including the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa).
Mozambiqué becomes the first country with no colonial links to Britain to join the Commonwealth.
Predominantly Francophone Cameroon also joins.
2002: Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe set up by CHOGM "to determine appropriate Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe" after a highly adverse report on the Presidential elections by Commonwealth observers.
|In 2008 Kamalesh Sharma became the fifth Commonwealth Secretary-General.|
'Civil Paths to Peace', the report of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding, chaired by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, was endorsed by Heads of Government.
It argues that the solution to conflicts within the Commonwealth should be rooted in the association's agreed principles of human rights, democracy, gender equality, the rule of law and a transparent and accountable political culture.
2008: Kamalesh Sharma of India becomes fifth Commonwealth Secretary-General.
2009: Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversary since the London Declaration was signed and the modern Commonwealth was born.
Following the decisions taken by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on 31 July 2009, Fiji Islands was suspended from membership of the Commonwealth on 1 September 2009.
Rwanda becomes the 54th member of the Commonwealth. Leaders agreed to admit Rwanda as the 54th member on 28 November 2009 during their biennial summit in Trinidad and Tobago.