Commonwealth in History

International Organisations: ASEAN - European Union - IMF - NATO - OPEC - United Nations - Warsaw Pact - World Bank

Historical Events


Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1621-09-28 Battle at Chocim Dniester: King Sigismund III Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth defeats an invading Ottoman Imperial army

  • 1652-08-26 Battle of Plymouth: General-at-Sea George Ayscue of the Commonwealth of England attacked a convoy of the Dutch Republic commanded by Vice-Commodore Michiel de Ruyter. Dutch victory

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1657-02-04 Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, grants residency to Luis Caravajal

English Military and Political Leader Oliver Cromwell
English Military and Political Leader
Oliver Cromwell
  • 1658-09-03 Richard Cromwell ("Tumbledown Dick") succeeds his father as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth
  • 1856-01-29 Victoria Cross established to acknowledge valour in the face of the enemy (United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries)
  • 1901-01-01 The Commonwealth of Australia is formed when the British (Imperial) Parliament Act, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900, comes into effect

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1910-08-31 Theodore Roosevelt makes a speech in Kansas advocating a 'square deal': property shall be 'the servant and not the master of the commonwealth'

26th US President Theodore Roosevelt
26th US President
Theodore Roosevelt
  • 1914-10-01 The first division of Canadian troops, 33,000 sail for Britain; most Canadians are volunteers, anxious to prove their loyalty to the Commonwealth
  • 1921-06-21 The UK, the Dominions, and India, become the British Commonwealth of Nations
  • 1922-06-16 Irish republicans are beaten in a national election; the vote is in favor of the Treaty of London, which leaves the Irish Free State as a dominion within the British Commonwealth
  • 1923-09-26 The Commonwealth Conference is held in London, where Britain recognizes the right of the Dominions to make treaties with foreign powers
  • 1926-11-22 Imperial Conference ends, giving autonomy inside British Commonwealth
  • 1947-07-01 British Dominion Affairs office becomes Commonwealth Relations office
  • 1949-04-18 Republic of Ireland withdraws from British Commonwealth
  • 1949-11-26 India adopts a constitution as a British Commonwealth Republic
  • 1954-07-30 5th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games open in Vancouver, Canada
  • 1954-08-07 5th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games close in Vancouver, Canada
  • 1956-03-23 Pakistan proclaimed an Islamic republic in Commonwealth (National Day)
  • 1958-03-12 British Empire Day is renamed "Commonwealth Day"
  • 1958-07-18 6th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games open in Cardiff, Wales
  • 1958-07-26 6th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games close in Cardiff, Wales
  • 1959-05-24 Empire Day renamed Commonwealth Day in Great Britain
  • 1960-05-09 Nigeria becomes a member of British Commonwealth
  • 1961-03-15 South Africa withdrews from British Commonwealth
  • 1961-03-17 South Africa leaves British Commonwealth
  • 1961-05-31 Union of South Africa becomes a republic, leaves Commonwealth
  • 1961-10-09 Tanganyika becomes independent within British Commonwealth
  • 1961-11-16 United Kingdom limits immigration from Commonwealth countries
  • 1962-10-09 Uganda becomes independent from the United Kingdom
  • 1962-11-22 7th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games open in Perth, Australia
  • 1962-12-01 7th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games close in Perth, Australia
  • 1962-12-09 Tanganyika becomes a republic within British Commonwealth
  • 1963-12-10 Zanzibar gains independenence from Great Britain
  • 1966-08-04 8th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games open in Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1966-08-13 8th British Empire Games and Commonwealth Games close in Kingston, Jamaica
  • 1970-04-24 Gambia becomes a republic within Commonwealth
  • 1970-07-16 9th British Commonwealth Games open in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1970-07-25 9th British Commonwealth Games close in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1971-01-23 Britain allowed to sell arms to S. Africa, after Commonwealth Conference in Singapore ends in compromise

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1971-11-25 British Labour Party leader Harold Wilson proposes Britain should work towards a withdrawal from Northern Ireland, and after 15 years; the Republic of Ireland could rejoin the British Commonwealth

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson
British Prime Minister
Harold Wilson
  • 1972-01-30 Pakistan withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations
  • 1972-04-19 Bangladesh becomes a member of British Commonwealth
  • 1974-01-24 10th British Commonwealth Games open in Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 1974-02-02 10th British Commonwealth Games close in Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 1978-08-03 11th Commonwealth Games open in Edmonton, Canada
  • 1978-08-12 11th Commonwealth Games close in Edmonton, Canada
  • 1982-09-30 12th Commonwealth Games open in Brisbane, Australia
  • 1982-10-09 12th Commonwealth Games close in Brisbane, Australia
  • 1986-07-13 Zola Budd and Annette Cowley are banned from the Commonwealth Games, a direct consequence of Britain's refusal to support economic sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa
  • 1986-07-24 13th Commonwealth Games open in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1986-08-02 13th Commonwealth Games close in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1986-11-03 Northern Mariana Islands becomes a Commonwealth associated with US
  • 1990-01-24 14th Commonwealth Games open in Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1990-02-03 14th Commonwealth Games close in Auckland, New Zealand

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1991-01-15 Elizabeth II signs letters patent that allows Australia to institute its own Victoria Cross, the first Commonwealth realm to do so

Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II
Queen of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II
  • 1992-03-12 Mauritius becomes a republic while remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • 1994-08-18 15th Commonwealth Games open in Victoria, Canada
  • 1994-08-28 15th Commonwealth Games close in Victoria, Canada
  • 1998-09-11 16th Commonwealth Games open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia making Malaysia the first Asian country to host the games
  • 2002-07-25 17th Commonwealth Games open in Manchester, England
  • 2002-08-04 17th Commonwealth Games close in Manchester, England
  • 2006-03-15 18th Commonwealth Games open in Melbourne, Australia
  • 2006-03-26 18th Commonwealth Games close in Melbourne, Australia
  • 2010-10-03 19th Commonwealth Games open in Delhi, India
  • 2010-10-14 19th Commonwealth Games close in Delhi, India
  • 2014-07-23 2oth Commonwealth Games open in Glasgow, Scotland

Famous Birthdays

  • 1754-11-26 Georg Forster, German writer, naturalist (A Voyage Round the World) and revolutionary, born in Nassenhuben (Mokry Dwór), Royal Prussia, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (d. 1794)
  • 1870-05-24 Jan Christiaan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa and proponent of Commonwealth & League of Nations (d. 1950)
  • 1924-06-09 Peter Heatly, Scottish diver and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation, born in Leith, Scotland (d. 2015)
  • 1926-04-17 Arthur Hockaday, director-Gen (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
  • 1928-10-02 James Porter, CEO (Commonwealth Institute)

Famous Deaths

  • 1994-02-09 Arnold Smith, British 1st sec-gen of Commonwealth (1965-75), dies at 79