An apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and some accompanying study. Apprenticeship enables practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continued labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies. Apprenticeships last 3 to 7 years. People who complete an apprenticeship reach the "journeyman" or professional certification level of competence. Although the formal boundaries and terminology of the apprentice/journeyman/master system do not extend outside guilds and trade unions, the concept of on-the-job training leading to competence over a period of years is found in any field of skilled labor. In early modern usage, the clipped form prentice was common; the system of apprenticeship first developed in the Middle Ages and came to be supervised by craft guilds and town governments.
A master craftsman was entitled to employ young people as an inexpensive form of labour in exchange for providing food and formal training in the craft. Most apprentices were males, but female apprentices were found in crafts such as seamstress, cordwainer and stationer. Apprentices began at ten to fifteen years of age, would live in the master craftsman's household. Most apprentices aspired to becoming master craftsmen themselves on completion of their contract, but some would spend time as a journeyman and a significant proportion would never acquire their own workshop. In Coventry those completing seven-year apprenticeships with stuff merchants were entitled to become freemen of the city. Subsequently, governmental regulation and the licensing of technical colleges and vocational education formalized and bureaucratized the details of apprenticeship. Australian Apprenticeships encompass all traineeships, they cover all industry sectors in Australia and are used to achieve both'entry-level' and career'upskilling' objectives.
There were 475,000 Australian Apprentices in-training as at 31 March 2012, an increase of 2.4% from the previous year. Australian Government employer and employee incentives may be applicable, while State and Territory Governments may provide public funding support for the training element of the initiative. Australian Apprenticeships combine time at work with formal training and can be full-time, part-time or school-based. Australian Apprentice and Traineeship services are dedicated to promoting retention, therefore much effort is made to match applicants with the right apprenticeship or traineeship; this is done with the aid of aptitude tests and information on'how to retain an apprentice or apprenticeship'. Information and resources on potential apprenticeship and traineeship occupations are available in over sixty industries; the distinction between the terms apprentices and trainees lies around traditional trades and the time it takes to gain a qualification. The Australian government uses Australian Apprenticeships Centres to administer and facilitate Australian Apprenticeships so that funding can be disseminated to eligible businesses and apprentices and trainees and to support the whole process as it underpins the future skills of Australian industry.
Australia has a unusual safety net in place for businesses and Australian Apprentices with its Group Training scheme. This is where businesses that are not able to employ the Australian Apprentice for the full period until they qualify, are able to lease or hire the Australian Apprentice from a Group Training Organisation, it is a safety net, because the Group Training Organisation is the employer and provides continuity of employment and training for the Australian Apprentice. In addition to a safety net, Group Training Organisations have other benefits such as additional support for both the Host employer and the trainee/apprentice through an industry consultant who visits to make sure that the trainee/apprentice are fulfilling their work and training obligations with their Host employer. There is the additional benefit of the trainee/apprentice being employed by the GTO reducing the Payroll/Superannuation and other legislative requirements on the Host employer who pays as invoiced per agreement.
Apprenticeship training in Austria is organized in a dual education system: company-based training of apprentices is complemented by compulsory attendance of a part-time vocational school for apprentices. It lasts two to four years – the duration varies among the 250 recognized apprenticeship trades. About 40 percent of all Austrian teenagers enter apprenticeship training upon completion of compulsory education; this number has been stable since the 1950s. The five most popular trades are: Retail Salesperson, Car Mechanic, Cook. There are many smaller trades with small numbers of apprentices, like "EDV-Systemtechniker", completed by fewer than 100 people a year; the Apprenticeship Leave Certificate provides the apprentice with access to two different vocational careers. On the one hand, it is a prerequisite for the admission to the Master Craftsman Exam and for qualification tests, on the other hand it gives access to higher education via the TVE-Exam or the Higher Education Entrance Exam which are prerequisites for taking up studies at colleges, universities, "Fachhochschulen", post-secondary courses and post-secondary colleges.
The person responsible for overseeing the training in
Family Records Centre
The Family Records Centre provided access to family history research sources for England and Wales. It was administered jointly by The National Archives, it opened in March 1997 and was operational by the following month. It was situated at 1 Myddelton Street, London, close to the London Metropolitan Archives, it closed in 2008. Throughout the FRC, there was free access to a wide range of family history material and internet websites. Staff were always available to provide help and advice on family history research and there were regular one-to-one family history surgeries and computer skills tutorials. Talks on family history topics took place every week and other events, including exhibitions and conferences, were organised. There were good facilities for customers with special needs, there was a small bookshop next to the entrance on the ground floor and a refreshment area with vending machines and lockers for personal belongings in the basement, its main resources were indexes to civil registration of births and deaths on the ground floor, the Victorian census returns on the first floor.
The births and deaths indexes were in large, hardcover books in three sections with each section arranged in date order. Using the details from an index, a copy of the corresponding birth, marriage or death entry could be applied for at the cashiers' section on the same floor. Other indexes at the FRC included some births and deaths of British nationals which took place abroad, indexes of legal adoptions in England & Wales from 1927 onwards, various indexes of war deaths in the armed forces in both World Wars; the births and deaths indexes were at Somerset House until the 1970s. In the early 1980s, the births and marriages indexes were at St Catherine's House, at the northeast corner of the intersection of Kingsway and Aldwych, the deaths indexes were at Alexandra House, farther up Kingsway. After more space was made available at St Catherine's House, the deaths indexes were moved from Alexandra House, they were all moved to the FRC in 1997. The 1841 to 1901 census returns for England and Wales could be consulted at the FRC and were accessed online by searching for individuals by name.
The 1841 to 1891 census returns were available on microfilm, while the 1901 census was available on microfiche. A selection of street indexes and other search aids were available. Before the FRC opened, the census microfilms were at the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane for some years, after having been moved from the Land Registry building, Portugal Street, where they had been since the mid-1970s. Other microfilm resources available included wills and administrations from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury up to 1858, which could be searched online, death duty registers, from 1796 to 1858, many nonconformist registers. On 21 June 2006, it was announced that the National Archives' staff and residual services at the FRC would be relocating to the National Archives at Kew by the end of 2008. Official press releases were vague about plans for the births and deaths indexes housed on the ground floor. During October 2007 the index volumes in question were progressively removed from public access to a closed archive in Christchurch, Dorset.
The closure date was brought forward to early 2008. The ground floor of the FRC closed on 27 October 2007 and the rest of the FRC closed on 15 March 2008. Family Records Centre UKBMD - Births and Deaths on the Internet FreeBMD - GRO indexes online GRO article, 6 March 2008: Library scheme widens access to family records
A marriage license is a document issued, either by a church or state authority, authorizing a couple to marry. The procedure for obtaining a license has changed over time. Marriage licenses began to be issued in the Middle Ages, to permit a marriage which would otherwise be illegal. Today, they are a legal requirement in some jurisdictions and may serve as the record of the marriage itself, if signed by the couple and witnessed. In other jurisdictions, a license is not required. In some jurisdictions, a "pardon" can be obtained for marrying without a license, in some jurisdictions, common-law marriages and marriage by cohabitation and representation are recognized; these do not require a marriage license. There are some jurisdictions where marriage licenses do not exist at all and a marriage certificate is given to the couple after the marriage ceremony had taken place. Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
They are entitled to equal rights as during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses." For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families. Until the 16th century, Christian churches accepted the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s declarations. If two people claimed that they had exchanged marital vows—even without witnesses—the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married; some states in the US hold. Marriage license application records from government authorities are available starting from the mid-19th century; some are available dating from the 17th century in colonial America. Marriage licenses have been required since 1639 in Massachusetts, with their use expanding to other jurisdictions. A requirement for banns of marriage was introduced to England and Wales by the Church in 1215; this required a public announcement of a forthcoming marriage, in the couple's parish church, for three Sundays prior to the wedding and gave an opportunity for any objections to the marriage to be voiced, but a failure to call banns did not affect the validity of the marriage.
Marriage licences were introduced in the 14th century, to allow the usual notice period under banns to be waived, on payment of a fee and accompanied by a sworn declaration, that there was no canonical impediment to the marriage. Licences were granted by an archbishop, bishop or archdeacon. There could be a number of reasons for a couple to obtain a licence: they might wish to marry quickly. There were two kinds of marriage licences that could be issued: the usual was known as a common licence and named one or two parishes where the wedding could take place, within the jurisdiction of the person who issued the licence; the other was the special licence, which could only be granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury or his officials and allowed the marriage to take place in any church. To obtain a marriage licence, the couple, or more the bridegroom, had to swear that there was no just cause or impediment why they should not marry; this was the marriage allegation. A bond was lodged with the church authorities for a sum of money to be paid if it turned out that the marriage was contrary to Canon Law.
The bishop kept the allegation and bond and issued the licence to the groom, who gave it to the vicar of the church where they were to get married. There was no obligation for the vicar to keep the licence and many were destroyed. Hence, few historical examples of marriage licences, in England and Wales, survive. However, the allegations and bonds were retained and are an important source for English genealogy. Hardwicke's Marriage Act 1753 affirmed this existing ecclesiastical law and built it into statutory law. From this date, a marriage was only valid, if it followed the calling of banns in church or the obtaining of a licence —the only exceptions being Jewish and Quaker marriages, whose legality was recognised. From the date of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act up to 1837, the ceremony was required to be performed in a consecrated building. Since 1 July 1837, civil marriages have been a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act 1836, which provided the statutory basis for regulating and recording marriages.
So, today, a couple has a choice between being married in the Anglican Church, after the calling of banns or obtaining a licence or else, they can give "Notice of Marriage" to a civil registrar. In this latter case, the notice is publicly posted for 15 days, after which a civil marriage can take place. Marriages may take place in churches other than Anglican churches, but these are governed by civil marriage law and notice must be given to the civil registrar in the same way; the marriage may take place without a registrar being present if the church itself is registered for marriages and the minister or priest is an Authorised Person for marriages. The licence does not record the marriage itself, only the permission for a marriage to take place. Since 1837, the proof of a marriage has been by a marriage certificate, issued at the ceremony
Findmypast is a UK-based online genealogy service owned, since 2007, by British company DC Thomson. The website hosts over 4 billion searchable records of census and historical record information, it originated in 1965 when a group of genealogists formed a group named "Title Research". The first internet website went live in 2003; as of 2018, Findmypast has partnered with many other genealogical organisations and hosts much of their data. It produced a series of programmes. In 2014 a change in its website user interface was subject to much discussion. In 1965, a small group of professional genealogists and probate researchers called themselves "Title Research", they did much of their research using microfiche records. In 2001, Title Research started an in-house project, called "1837 online", to produce a computerised version of the birth and death register pages of the General Register Office, the following year began work to put this on an internet website. Another online project, FreeBMD, had been working on this since 1999 transcribing the indexes through the efforts of volunteers and publishing searchable indexes on the internet.
In April 2003, www.1837online.com went live on the internet. This was a pay-per-view service allowing access to images of the pages of the original GRO registers. There was no index of individual entries for the period before 1984, but subsequent years had been electronically recorded by the GRO and were searchable; the UK Censuses, passenger lists, other databases were added to the site, the first being an index of the 1861 England and Wales Census in 2005. 1837online rebranded as Findmypast in November 2006 because its scope had spread beyond the GRO registers, was awarded the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2007 for the "provision of public internet access to official genealogy records". In 2007 it was purchased from Title Research Group by DC Thomson. In 2008 Findmypast published the 1851 and 1901 censuses online, it gained a license to publish the United Kingdom Census 1911. In 2011 it became sponsor of the Society of Genealogists in their centenary year and agreed a reciprocal arrangement where each would give access to one another's online databases.
A sister site for Australia and New Zealand was launched in May 2010 with findmypast.ie launched in the Republic of Ireland a year followed by findmypast.com in the United States and Canada in July 2012. As of 2017, the website hosted a wide variety of census, historical record and newspaper information available from across the English-speaking world and tends to concentrate on the former British empire and the UK. Findmypast had over 4 billion searchable records worldwide but, though it is possible to search their indexes for free, a payment or subscription was required to access the full data. In November 2015, Findmypast and the National Archives made the 1939 national identity register available online. Findmypast has partnerships with several family history organisations, libraries & archives including the Federation of Family History Societies, the Society of Genealogists, FamilySearch, The British Library, the Imperial War Museum, The National Archives and the National Archives of Ireland.
In June 2014 it acquired two more family history providers, Origins.net and the United States-based Mocavo. In July 2018 Findmypast announced it was partnering with Living DNA, a British company that specialises in DNA testing and analysis. Findmypast began sponsoring the UKTV channel Yesterday in July 2010, another TV series named Find My Past, funded by findmypast.co.uk, was broadcast from October 2011. UKTV stated that it was the first example of a product placement and advertiser funded programming deal for a factual TV series in the country. Presented by Chris Hollins, the series won best Content Partnership at the 2012 Broadcast Digital Awards. An American remake called "Follow your Past" was shown on Travel Channel in 2016; the website is used as a resource in the family history television show Who Do You Think You Are? In early April 2014, findmypast changed their website interface and received subscriber complaints demanding the return of the old site; the editor of Who Do You Think You Are magazine wrote: "Nothing annoyed people more than the feeling that they weren’t being listened to".
Findmypast responded, saying they now had "a system in place to analyse all of our customers' feedback and make the necessary improvements as as possible". In June 2014 Family Tree magazine ran a three-page article on Findmypast's new interface. A Findmypast spokesperson stated, "The new search has fantastic potential" but "constant tweaks are being made to the site", they stated. Family Tree responded that it "all sounds encouraging... the technologists had won out over the genealogists". The Family Tree forum administrator stated, "After wrestling with the new website...for nearly a month, I was on the point of giving up... I can now see that there are indeed many improvements and benefits"; the magazine concluded by stating that "Many of our questions remain unanswered and we are still waiting to hear what findmypast has to say". A researcher from Family Search reported in December 2014 that she found using the Findmypast web site had got easier
Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London, famed as a fashionable residential area and as the home of numerous prestigious cultural and educational institutions. It is bounded by Fitzrovia to the west, Covent Garden to the south, Regent's Park and St. Pancras to the north, Clerkenwell to the east. Bloomsbury is home of the British Museum, the largest museum in the United Kingdom, numerous educational institutions, including the University College London, the University of London, the New College of the Humanities, the University of Law, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, many others. Bloomsbury is an intellectual and literary hub for London, as home of world-known Bloomsbury Publishing, publishers of the Harry Potter series, namesake of the Bloomsbury Set, a group of famous British intellectuals, including author Virginia Woolf and economist John Maynard Keynes, among others. Bloomsbury began to be developed in the 1600's under the Earls of Southampton, but it was in the 19th century, under the Duke of Bedford, which the district was planned and built as an affluent Regency era residential area by famed developer James Burton.
The district is known for its numerous garden squares, including Bloomsbury Square, Russell Square, Tavistock Square, among others. The earliest record of what would become Bloomsbury is in the 1086 Domesday Book, which states that the area had vineyards and "wood for 100 pigs", but it is not until 1201 that the name Bloomsbury is first noted, when William de Blemond, a Norman landowner, acquired the land. The name Bloomsbury is a development from Blemondisberi -- the manor, of Blemond. An 1878 publication and New London: Volume 4, mentions the idea that the area was named after a village called "Lomesbury" which stood where Bloomsbury Square is now, though this etymology is now discredited. At the end of the 14th century, Edward III acquired Blemond's manor, passed it on to the Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse, who kept the area rural. In the 16th century with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII took the land back into the possession of the Crown and granted it to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton.
In the early 1660s, the Earl of Southampton constructed what became Bloomsbury Square. The Yorkshire Grey public house on the corner of Gray's Inn Road and Theobald's Road dates from 1676; the area was laid out in the 18th century by landowners such as Wriothesley Russell, 3rd Duke of Bedford, who built Bloomsbury Market, which opened in 1730. The major development of the squares that we see today started in about 1800 when Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford removed Bedford House and developed the land to the north with Russell Square as its centrepiece. Bloomsbury is associated with the arts and medicine; the area gives its name to the Bloomsbury Group of artists, the most famous of whom was Virginia Woolf, who met in private homes in the area in the early 1900s, to the lesser known Bloomsbury Gang of Whigs formed in 1765 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. The publisher Faber & Faber used to be located in Queen Square, though at the time T. S. Eliot was editor the offices were in Tavistock Square.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in John Millais's parents' house on Gower Street in 1848. The Bloomsbury Festival was launched in 2006 when local resident Roma Backhouse was commissioned to mark the re-opening of the Brunswick Centre, a residential and shopping area; the free festival is a celebration of the local area, partnering with galleries and museums, achieved charitable status at the end of 2012. As of 2013, the Duchess of Bedford is a festival patron and Cathy Mager is the Festival Director. Bloomsbury is home to Senate House and the main library of the University of London, Birkbeck College, Institute of Education, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, School of Pharmacy, School of Oriental and African Studies, the Royal Veterinary College and University College London, a branch of the University of Law, London Contemporary Dance School, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Goodenough College. Other colleges include the University of London's School of Advanced Study, the Architectural Association School of Architecture in Bedford Square, the London campuses of several American colleges including Arcadia University, the University of California, University of Delaware, Florida State University, Syracuse University, New York University, the Hult International Business School.
Different kinds of tutoring institutions like Bloomsbury International for English Language, Bloomsbury Law Tutors for law education, Skygate Tutors and Topmark Tutors Centre contributing to grow the private tutoring sector in Bloomsbury. The British Museum, which first opened to the public in 1759 in Montagu House, is at the heart of Bloomsbury. At the centre of the museum the space around the former British Library Reading Room, filled with the concrete storage bunkers of the British Library, is today the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, an indoor square with a glass roof designed by British architect Norman Foster, it houses a cinema, a shop, a cafe and a restaurant. Since 1998, the British Library has been located in a purpose-built building just outside the northern edge of Bloomsbury, in Euston Road. In Bloomsbury is the Foundling Museum, close to Brunswick Square, which tells the story of the Foundling Hospital opened by Thomas Coram for unwanted children in Georgian London; the hospital, now demolished except for the Georgian colonnade, is today a playground and outdoor sports field for children, called Coram's Fields.
It is home to a small number of sheep. The nearby Lamb's Conduit Street i
Clerkenwell is an area of central London, England. The area includes the sub-district of Finsbury. Clerkenwell was an ancient parish from the mediaeval period onwards, becoming part of the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury from 1900 to 1965, an authority which in turn merged into the modern London Borough of Islington; the well after which it was named was rediscovered in 1924. The watchmaking and watch repairing trades were once of great importance. For a list of street name etymologies in the Clerkenwell area see Street names of Clerkenwell and Finsbury. Clerkenwell took its name from the Clerks' Well in Farringdon Lane. In the Middle Ages, the London Parish clerks performed annual mystery plays there, based on biblical themes. Part of the well remains visible, incorporated into a 1980s building called Well Court, it is visible through a window of that building on Farringdon Lane. Access to the well is managed by Islington Local History Centre and visits can be arranged by appointment; the Monastic Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem had its English headquarters at the Priory of Clerkenwell.
St John's Gate survives in the rebuilt form of the Priory Gate. Its gateway, erected in 1504 in St John's Square, served various purposes after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. For example, it was the birthplace of the Gentleman's Magazine in 1731, the scene of Dr Johnson's work in connection with that journal. In modern times the gatehouse again became associated with the order and was in the early 20th century the headquarters of the St John Ambulance Association. An Early English crypt remains beneath the chapel of the order, otherwise rebuilt in the 1950s after wartime bombing; the notorious deception of the "Cock Lane Ghost", in which Johnson took great interest, was perpetrated nearby. Adjoining the priory was St Mary's nunnery of the Benedictine order, now disappeared, St James's Church, rebuilt in 1792 on the site of the original church, of Norman provenance; the Charterhouse, near the boundary with the City of London, was a Carthusian monastery. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Charterhouse became a private mansion and one owner, Thomas Sutton, subsequently left it with an endowment as a school and almshouse.
The almhouse remains but the school relocated to Surrey and its part of the site is now a campus of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. As it was a suburb beyond the confines of the London Wall, Clerkenwell was outside the jurisdiction of the somewhat puritanical City fathers. "base tenements and houses of unlawful and disorderly resort" sprang up, with a "great number of dissolute and insolent people harboured in such and the like noisome and disorderly houses, as namely poor cottages, habitations of beggars and people without trade, inns, taverns, garden-houses converted to dwellings, dicing houses, bowling alleys, brothel houses". During the Elizabethan era Clerkenwell contained a notorious brothel quarter. In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2, Falstaff complains about Justice Shallow boasting of "the wildness of his youth, the feats he has done about Turnbull Street". Known now as Turnmill Street and adjoining Farringdon station, it had an infamous reputation for brothel-keeping and was described in Sugden's Topographical Dictionary as "the most disreputable street in London, a haunt of thieves and loose women".
The Clerkenwell Bridewell, a prison and correctional institute for prostitutes and vagrants, was known for savage punishment and endemic sexual corruption. In the 17th century South Clerkenwell became a fashionable place of residence. Oliver Cromwell owned a house on Clerkenwell Close, just off the Green. Several aristocrats had houses there, most notably the Duke of Northumberland, as did people such as Erasmus Smith. Before Clerkenwell became a built-up area, it had a reputation as a resort a short walk out of the city, where Londoners could disport themselves at its spas, of which there were several, based on natural chalybeate springs, tea gardens and theatres; the present day Sadler's Wells has survived as heir to this tradition, after being rebuilt many times and many changes of use including pleasure gardens, aquatic display venue, music hall. Today it is modern dance venue. Clerkenwell was the location of three prisons: the Clerkenwell Bridewell, Coldbath Fields Prison and the New Prison the Clerkenwell House of Detention, notorious as the scene of the Clerkenwell Outrage in 1867, an attempted prison break by Fenians who killed many in the tenement houses on Corporation Row in trying to blow a hole in the prison wall.
The House of Detention was demolished in 1890 but the extensive vaults and cells beneath, now known as the Clerkenwell Catacombs, remained. They were reopened as air raid shelters during the Blitz, for a few years were open as a minor tourist attraction. Various film scenes have been shot in the catacombs; the Industrial Revolution changed the area greatly. It became a centre for breweries and the printing industry, it gained an especial reputation for the making of clocks, marine chronometers and watches, which activity once employed many people from around the area. Flourishing craft workshops still carry on some such as jewellery-making. Clerkenwell was home to Witherbys a printing company, it was during the Industrial Revolution that C
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states; the Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was created as the British Commonwealth through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931; the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community, established the member states as "free and equal". The human symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II, the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting appointed Charles, Prince of Wales to be her designated successor, although the position is not technically hereditary.
The Queen is the head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs. Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by English language, history and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The countries of the Commonwealth cover more than 29,958,050 km2, equivalent to 20% of the world's land area, span all six inhabited continents. Queen Elizabeth II, in her address to Canada on Dominion Day in 1959, pointed out that the confederation of Canada on 1 July 1867 had been the birth of the "first independent country within the British Empire", she declared: "So, it marks the beginning of that free association of independent states, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations." As long ago as 1884 Lord Rosebery, while visiting Australia, had described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".
Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the imperial conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, attended by delegates from the Dominions as well as Britain; the term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term British Commonwealth of Nations was substituted for British Empire in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and its dominions agreed they were "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, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
The term "Commonwealth" was adopted to describe the community. These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1947 respectively. Although the Union of South Africa was not among the Dominions that needed to adopt the Statute of Westminster for it to take effect, two laws—the Status of the Union Act, 1934, the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act of 1934—were passed to confirm South Africa's status as a sovereign state. After the Second World War ended, the British Empire was dismantled. Most of its components have become independent countries, whether Commonwealth realms or republics, members of the Commonwealth.
There remain the 14 self-governing British overseas territories which retain some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma and Aden are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Sudan, British Somaliland, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates; the postwar Commonwealth was given a fresh mission by Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas Day 1953 broadcast, in which she envisioned the Commonwealth as "an new conception – built on the highest qualities of the Spirit of Man: friendship and the desire for freedom and peace". Hoped for success was reinforced by such achievements as climbing Mount Everest in 1953, breaking the four-minute mile in 1954