I continue my journey through the Hidden Commonwealth, the territories, dependencies and associated states of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Our next stop is the internationally protected continent of Antarctica that has separate claims by all three Commonwealth realms.
Thank you for joining us on our journey through The Hidden Commonwealth: the territories, dependencies and associated states of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Our first stop on this tour is one of the northern most islands of the Caribbean – Anguilla.
Let’s get the awkward part out of the way; I have never been to Anguilla. When I first started preparing for this series I thought, “How can someone write about somewhere that they’ve never been to before?” It’s a big challenge I’ve had to face, but you’ll be surprised just how much information is out there, if you’re prepared to look. With that out of the way, let’s begin…
The Commonwealth of Nations is an association of over 86 nations which spans the globe. Wait a minute, did I say 86? I’ll count them again. Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Canada…India, Jamaica…New Zealand, Papua New Guinea…Tuvalu, United Kingdom. I counted 54 this time, so where did I find the others?
Tucked away in the world’s nooks and crannies are a collection of nations proud of their histories and unique systems of government. 32 individual nations made up of all different shapes and sizes. Some have populations as little as 50 people (Pitcairn Islands). Some have populations as big as 64,600 (Bermuda). They are the territories, dependencies and associated states of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The overseas territories of these three great nations are viewed by many as relics of the once mighty British Empire. They are seen as objects that the three nations should now discard: reminders of the injustices of colonialism. But that is a very narrow view. The benefits of empire will continue to be debated for as long as mankind exists, but one thing the British Empire did do was to evolve, with a lot of persuasion, into the modern Commonwealth. And the territories, however tiny or eccentric, are all pieces of the jigsaw that make up the Commonwealth family. Each piece unique, with its own set of circumstances. Read more
To someone only familiar with the Jungle Book series and its Disneyfied film adaptations, the 1905 short story With the Night Mail is a rather mundane entry in the Rudyard Kipling bibliography. No tales of exotic creatures in exotic locales, no epics of adventure in far-flung corners of the British Empire, just the story of a humble courier accompanying a load of mail on the transatlantic post office airship to Quebec City in the year 2000.
Kipling’s steampunk-esque vision of the future appears highly anachronistic today. Although far more advanced in its development at the time, the passenger airship would live for only another three decades, meeting an untimely demise from fiery crashes and the rise of the passenger plane. Nevertheless, the tale’s core is surprisingly prophetic: ‘Postal Packet 162’ is scheduled to complete the London-Quebec run in twelve hours – not much different from an average transatlantic flight today, and a great improvement over the five-day voyage the British traveller faced at the time. Read more
The United Commonwealth Society is a new vision for the Commonwealth, but at the same time a very old one. Founded in 2002, the UCS is inspired by the Round Table Movement of the 19th and 20th centuries (see our History of the UCS Page). We are a cross-party organization dedicated to encouraging closer diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties between the member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. In particular, the UCS advocates closer economic and political links between the Commonwealth Realms, the sixteen nations that have Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.
We believe the Commonwealth Realms have the potential to form a global alliance of like-minded countries, with a shared language, history and culture. Such a union would be home to more than 120 million people, have a territorial presence in most corners of the globe, possess significant military and diplomatic power, and be a major player in many sectors of the global economy.
Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our feed or check back frequently as we update this site with UCS developments, Commonwealth news, and comment from UCS directors and members. See our Membership page to learn how to get involved in making our vision reality!
United Commonwealth Society
Map of the Commonwealth Realms (source: Wikipedia)