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Variable geometry of the Anglosphere, according to James Bennett (The Anglosphere Challenge)

The Anglosphere is a set of English-speaking nations which share common roots in British culture and history,[1][2] which today maintain close cultural, political, diplomatic and military cooperation. While the nations included in different sources vary, the Anglosphere is usually not considered to include all countries where English is an official language, although the nations that are commonly included were all once part of the British Empire.[3]

The term covers the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,[4][5][6][7] countries which in the post-British Empire era maintain a close affinity of cultural, diplomatic and military links with one another. All of these countries are aligned under such programs as the UKUSA Agreement (signals intelligence), Five Eyes (intelligence), Combined Communications Electronics Board (communications electronics), The Technical Cooperation Program (technology and science), Air and Space Interoperability Council (air forces), AUSCANNZUKUS (navies) and ABCA Armies.[8][9] Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom retain Elizabeth II as head of state, form part of the Commonwealth of Nations and use of the Westminster parliamentary system of government. In the wake of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union as a result of a referendum held in 2016, there has been mounting political and popular support for a loose free travel and common market area to be formed between the nations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom known as CANZUK.[2][10][11]

Additionally, the term also sometimes covers the Republic of Ireland[4][12] and a number of Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean where English is widely spoken, including Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas.[7]


Below is a table comparing the countries of the Anglosphere. Data are for 2017.

Country Population[13] Land area (km2)[14] Land area (sq mi) PPP GDP

(billions USD)[15]

PPP GDP per capita


National Wealth

(billions USD)[16]

National Wealth

per capita (USD)

Human Development

Index (2015)[17]

 United States 324,459,463 9,147,420 3,531,840 $19,362.129 $59,675 $93,560 $288,357 0.920 (very high)
 United Kingdom 66,181,585 241,930 93,410 $2,880.254 $43,520 $14,073 $212,642 0.909 (very high)
 Canada 36,624,199 9,093,510 3,511,020 $1,763.785 $48,159 $7,407 $202,243 0.920 (very high)
 Australia 24,450,561 7,682,300 2,966,200 $1,235.297 $50,522 $7,329 $299,748 0.939 (very high)
 New Zealand 4,825,170 263,310 101,660 $185.748 $38,496 $1,162 $240,821 0.915 (very high)
Total 456,421,626 26,428,470 10,204,088 $25427.213 $55,710 $123,531 $270,651 0.920 (very high)
Total as % of World 6.0% 17.7% 17.7% 20.1% 44.1%


The term Anglosphere was first coined, but not explicitly defined, by the science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his book The Diamond Age, published in 1995.[5] John Lloyd adopted the term in 2000 and defined it as including the United States and the United Kingdom along with English-speaking Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and the British West Indies.[7] The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the Anglosphere as "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate".[18][a]

Public relations[edit]

Public opinion research has found that people in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand consistently rank each other's countries as their country's most important allies in the world.[19][20][21][22] Relations have traditionally been warm between Anglosphere countries, with bilateral partnerships such as those between Australia and New Zealand, the USA and Canada and the USA and UK constituting among the most successful partnerships in the world.[23][24][25]

Favourability ratings tend to be overwhelmingly positive between countries within a subset of the Anglosphere known as CANZUK (consisting of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom),[26][27][28][22] whose members form part of the Commonwealth of Nations and retain Elizabeth II as head of state. While the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union in 2016 has had little impact on its favourability ratings with other members of the Anglosphere,[26][27][22] there has been a marked drop in the United States favourability ratings with other Anglosphere nations since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States in 2016.[26][22][29][30][31] In 2017, the United States had negative favourability ratings with the CANZUK countries.[26][31]


     Commonwealth Realms where Elizabeth II remains head of state
     Commonwealth of Nations members (all except Rwanda and Mozambique formerly parts of the British Empire)
     countries that were formerly part of the British Empire but currently not a member of the Commonwealth
     countries formerly under United States rule or influence that have adopted English as one of their main languages

The American businessman James C. Bennett, a proponent of the idea that there is something special about the cultural and legal traditions of English-speaking nations, writes in his 2004 book The Anglosphere Challenge:

The Anglosphere, as a network civilization without a corresponding political form, has necessarily imprecise boundaries. Geographically, the densest nodes of the Anglosphere are found in the United States and the United Kingdom. English-speaking Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and English-speaking South Africa (who constitute a very small minority in that country) are also significant populations. The English-speaking Caribbean, English-speaking Oceania and the English-speaking educated populations in Africa and India constitute other important nodes.

— James C. Bennett.[6]

Bennett argues that there are two challenges confronting his concept of the Anglosphere. The first is finding ways to cope with rapid technological advancement and the second is the geopolitical challenges created by what he assumes will be an increasing gap between anglophone prosperity and economic struggles elsewhere.[32]

British historian Andrew Roberts claims that the Anglosphere has been central in the First World War, Second World War and Cold War. He goes on to contend that anglophone unity is necessary for the defeat of Islamism.[33]

According to a 2003 profile in The Guardian, historian Robert Conquest favoured a British withdrawal from the European Union in favour of creating "a much looser association of English-speaking nations, known as the 'Anglosphere'".[34]

New Zealand historian James Belich connected patterns of growth in the industrialisation of the United States and the United Kingdom with former Dominions of the British Empire; New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa, and more loosely to growth in former UK constituent country Ireland, as well as British-allied Argentina, during the 19th and early to mid-20th century, in his book Replenishing the Earth. He used the term "Anglo-World" to refer to the US, UK and former Dominions, arguing that the experience and present reality of former British colonies like India, Kenya, and Jamaica differ in substantial and important ways from this core group of countries.


Michael Ignatieff wrote in an exchange with Robert Conquest, published by the New York Review of Books, that the term neglects the evolution of fundamental legal and cultural differences between the US and the UK, and the ways in which UK and European norms have been drawn closer together during Britain's membership in the EU through regulatory harmonisation. Of Conquest's view of the Anglosphere, Ignatieff writes: "He seems to believe that Britain should either withdraw from Europe [Brexit] or refuse all further measures of cooperation, which would jeopardize Europe's real achievements. He wants Britain to throw in its lot with a union of English-speaking peoples, and I believe this to be a romantic illusion".[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "the group of countries where English is the main native language" (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed.), Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-920687-2  ).
  1. ^ "Anglosphere definition and meaning - Collins English Dictionary". 
  2. ^ a b "CANZUK, Conservatives and Canada: Marching backward to empire - iPolitics". 24 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "The Anglosphere and its Others: The 'English-speaking Peoples' in a Changing World Order - British Academy". British Academy. 
  4. ^ a b Editorial (3 November 2017). "The Guardian view on languages and the British: Brexit and an Anglosphere prison - Editorial". the Guardian. 
  5. ^ a b "Anglosphere - Word Spy". Word Spy. 
  6. ^ a b Bennett 2004, p. 80.
  7. ^ a b c Lloyd 2000.
  8. ^ Legrand, Tim (1 December 2015). "Transgovernmental Policy Networks in the Anglosphere". Public Administration. 93 (4): 973–991. doi:10.1111/padm.12198 – via Wiley Online Library. 
  9. ^ Legrand, Tim (22 June 2016). "Elite, exclusive and elusive: transgovernmental policy networks and iterative policy transfer in the Anglosphere". Policy Studies. 37 (5): 440–455. doi:10.1080/01442872.2016.1188912 – via Taylor & Francis Online. 
  10. ^ "UK public strongly backs freedom to live and work in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "Survey Reveals Support For CANZUK Free Movement". CANZUK International. 
  12. ^ "Which way is Ireland going?". Financial Times. 
  13. ^ "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  14. ^ "Land area (sq. km) | Data". Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  15. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 2017-12-10. 
  16. ^ "Global Wealth Report 2017 Databook". Credit Suisse. 
  17. ^ "Human Development Report 2016" (PDF). 
  18. ^ Merriam-Webster Staff 2010, Anglosphere.
  19. ^ Katz, Josh (3 February 2017). "Which Country Is America's Strongest Ally? For Republicans, It's Australia" – via 
  20. ^ "YouGov - Who do the British regard as allies?". YouGov: What the world thinks. 
  21. ^ "While 60% of Canadians Consider U.S.A. Canada's Closest Friend and Ally, Only 18% of Americans Name Canada As Same - 56% Instead Name Britain". 
  22. ^ a b c d "Poll". Lowy Institute. 2017. 
  23. ^ "'The Trans-Tasman Relationship: A New Zealand Perspective'" (PDF). 
  24. ^ "U.S. and Canada: The World's Most Successful Bilateral Relationship - RealClearWorld". 
  25. ^ '‘Global Security: US–UK relations’: lessons for the special relationship?'
  26. ^ a b c d "Sharp Drop in World Views of US, UK: Global Poll - GlobeScan". 4 July 2017. 
  27. ^ a b "From the Outside In: G20 views of the UK before and after the EU referendum'" (PDF). 
  28. ^ "Poll: Who's New Zealand's best friend?". 22 June 2017 – via 
  29. ^ Marcin, Tim (9 May 2017). "Canada's Opinion of America Hits All-Time Low Under Trump". Newsweek. 
  30. ^ "U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump's Leadership". 26 June 2017. 
  31. ^ a b "Global Indicators Database". 22 April 2010. 
  32. ^ Bennett 2004[page needed]
  33. ^ Roberts 2006[page needed]
  34. ^ Brown 2003.
  35. ^ Conquest & Reply by Ignatieff 2000.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


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