Countries that broke free from Britain’s empire

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Countries that broke free from Britain’s empire

Spanning over 400 years, historians continue to research and discover new things about the British Empire. And today more than ever, people are recognising, questioning and understanding the full story behind this important part of world history.

In the 16th Century, Britain began to build its empire – spreading the country’s rule and power beyond its borders through a process called ‘imperialism‘. This brought huge changes to societies, industries, cultures and the lives of people all around the world.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II set into motion a historic transition of power—not just in Great Britain but in 54 countries across the world that maintain ties to the royal family as members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an international organization composed mainly of former British colonies.

Change was felt most keenly among the 14 members known as Commonwealth realms, which still recognize the British monarch as their head of state. In the days after the queen’s death, the leaders of those nations—including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—issued proclamations declaring their loyalty to Elizabeth’s heir, Charles III, as their official head of state.

One Commonwealth realm, however, also announced its intention to hold a referendum on whether to remove the British monarch as its head of state. “This is not an act of hostility, or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy,” Gaston Browne, prime minister of the Caribbean nation, “It is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation.”

Source: National Geographic