The Anglosphere is a group of English-speaking nations that share common cultural and historical ties to England or the United Kingdom broadly,[1][2] and which today maintain close political, diplomatic and military co-operation. While the nations included in different sources vary, the Anglosphere is usually not considered to include all countries where English is an official language, so it is not synonymous with anglophone, though the nations that are commonly included were all once part of the British Empire.[3]

The definition is usually taken to include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom,[4][5][6][7] and the United States[8][9][10][11] in a grouping of developed countries called the core Anglosphere. This term can also encompass the Republic of Ireland[7][12][13] and less frequently Malta and the Commonwealth Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.[14][15]

Public opinion research has found that people in the five core Anglosphere countries consistently rank each other's countries as their country's most important allies in the world.[16][17][18][19] Relations have traditionally been warm between Anglosphere countries, with bilateral partnerships such as those between Australia and New Zealand, the United States and Canada and the United States and the United Kingdom constituting the most successful partnerships in the world.[20][21][22]

Definitions and variable geometryEdit

  Commonwealth realms, where Queen Elizabeth II is 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 are currently not members of the Commonwealth
  Countries formerly under United States rule or influence that have adopted English as one of their main languages

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. John Lloyd adopted the term in 2000 and defined it as including English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the British West Indies.[15] The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the Anglosphere as "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate".[23][a]

Core AnglosphereEdit

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

The five main ("core") countries in the Anglosphere (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) are all developed countries and maintain a close affinity of cultural, diplomatic and military links with one another. All are aligned under such programmes as:[24][15][25][26]

In terms of political systems, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have Elizabeth II as head of state, form part of the Commonwealth of Nations and use of the Westminster parliamentary system of government. Most of the core countries have first-past-the-post electoral systems, though Australia and New Zealand have reformed their systems and there are other systems used in some elections in the UK. As a consequence, most core Anglosphere countries have politics dominated by two major parties.

Below is a table comparing the five core countries of the Anglosphere (data for 2019):

Country Population (m)[27] Land area
Cropland and

Forest Land (km2)[28]

Primary crop and

livestock products

(mn tonnes)[28]

Governing party (with international affiliation) GDP PPP
(USD bn)[29]
GDP PPP per capita
National wealth PPP (USD bn)[30][29][31] Military spending PPP
(USD bn)[32]
  Australia 25.20 7,692,020 1,649,251 86.9 Liberal–National Coalition (IDU) 1,346 52,675 7,661 22.0
  Canada 37.41 8,965,590 3,857,801 118.0 Liberal Party (LI) 1,932 51,477 9,971 23.3
  New Zealand 4.78 263,310 104,855 27.6 Labour Party (PA) 218 43,686 1,229 3.1
  United Kingdom 67.53 241,930 93,135 64.5 Conservative Party (IDU) 3,246 48,599 16,208 70.2
  United States 329.06 9,147,420 4,702,318 834.2 Democratic Party (PA) 21,373 65,052 114,932 734.3
Core Anglosphere 463.99 26,310,270 10,407,360 1,131.3 28,115 60,668 150,001 852.9
... as % of World 6.0% 17.7% 18.5% 10.5% 20.8% 3.4x 24.9% 32.9%

Culture and economicsEdit

Due to their historic links, the Anglosphere countries share some cultural traits that still persist today. Most countries in the Anglosphere follow the rule of law through common law instead of civil law, and favour democracy with legislative chambers above other political systems.[33] Private property is protected by law or constitution.[34]

Market freedom is high in the five core Anglosphere countries, as all five share the Anglo-Saxon economic model – a capitalist model that emerged in the 1970s based on the Chicago school of economics with origins from the 18th century United Kingdom.[35] The shared sense of globalization led cities such as New York, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Toronto to have considerable impacts on the financial markets and the global economy.[36] Global popular culture has been highly influenced by Americanization.[34]

Imperial and US customary measurement systems are often used in Anglosphere countries in addition to or instead of the International System of Units.

Proponents and criticsEdit

Proponents of the Anglosphere concept typically come from the political right (such as Andrew Roberts of the UK Conservative Party), and critics from the centre-left (for example Michael Ignatieff of the Liberal Party of Canada).


As early as 1897, Albert Venn Dicey proposed an Anglo-Saxon "intercitizenship" during an address to the Fellows of All Souls at Oxford.[37]

The American businessman James C. Bennett,[38] a proponent of the idea that there is something special about the cultural and legal (common law) 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.[24]

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.[39]

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.[40]

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'".[41][42]


Favourability ratings tend to be overwhelmingly positive between countries within a subset of the core Anglosphere known as CANZUK (consisting of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom),[43][44][45][19] whose members form part of the Commonwealth of Nations and retain Elizabeth II as head of state. In the wake of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) 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 CANZUK countries.[2][46][47]


In 2000, 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 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".[48]

In 2016, Nick Cohen wrote in an article titled "It's a Eurosceptic fantasy that the 'Anglosphere' wants Brexit" for The Spectator's Coffee House blog: "'Anglosphere' is just the right's PC replacement for what we used to call in blunter times 'the white Commonwealth'."[49][50] He repeated this criticism in another article for The Guardian in 2018.[51] Similar criticism was presented by other critics such as Canadian academic Srđan Vučetić.[52][53][54]

In 2018, amidst the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, two British professors of public policy Michael Kenny and Nick Pearce published a critical scholarly monograph titled Shadows of Empire: The Anglosphere in British Politics (ISBN 978-1509516612). In one of a series of accompanying opinion pieces, they questioned:[55]

The tragedy of the different national orientations that have emerged in British politics after empire—whether pro-European, Anglo-American, Anglospheric or some combination of these—is that none of them has yet been the compelling, coherent and popular answer to the country's most important question: How should Britain find its way in the wider, modern world?

They stated in another article:[4]

Meanwhile, the other core English-speaking countries to which the Anglosphere refers, show no serious inclination to join the UK in forging new political and economic alliances. They will, most likely, continue to work within existing regional and international institutions and remain indifferent to – or simply perplexed by – calls for some kind of formalised Anglosphere alliance.

Opinion pollsEdit

A 2020 poll by YouGov revealed that all four of the other Anglosphere countries were among the top 10 most positively viewed countries by Americans, with Australia and Canada ranking behind only the United States itself in the poll.[56] Another 2020 poll by YouGov showed that New Zealand, Canada and Australia were the most positively viewed countries by the British.[57] A 2018 poll by the Lowy Institute similarly indicated that New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom were the three most positively viewed countries by Australians.[58] Their 2020 version of the poll again put Canada and the United Kingdom at the top, however, New Zealand was not included as an option in the 2020 polling.[59] A 2020 poll by the Macdonald–Laurier Institute suggested that Australia was the most positively viewed country by Canadians.[60] Australia and the U.S. were ranked as having the most favorable view of Canada's influence to the outside world, according to a 2012 GlobeScan survey of 22 countries.[61] In a 2019 Pew Research Center poll, a plurality of Canadians and Australians named the United States as their country's closest ally.[62]

See alsoEdit


  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 "In the shadows of empire: how the Anglosphere dream lives on – UK in a changing Europe". 11 May 2018.
  5. ^ Mycock, Andrew; Wellings, Ben. "Beyond Brexit: 'Global Britain' looks to the emerging Anglosphere for new opportunities". The Conversation.
  6. ^ "The Anglosphere: Past, present and future". The British Academy.
  7. ^ a b "What is the Anglosphere, Anyway?". 8 November 2019.
  8. ^ Press, Stanford University. "The Anglosphere: A Genealogy of a Racialized Identity in International Relations | Srdjan Vucetic".
  9. ^ "Getting Real About the Anglosphere". 17 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Five reasons the Anglosphere is more than just a romantic vision – but has real geopolitical teeth". CityAM. 15 December 2016.
  11. ^ Mycock, Andrew; Wellings, Ben. "The UK after Brexit: Can and Will the Anglosphere Replace the EU?" (PDF).
  12. ^ Editorial (3 November 2017). "The Guardian view on languages and the British: Brexit and an Anglosphere prison – Editorial". The Guardian.
  13. ^ "Which way is Ireland going?". Financial Times.
  14. ^ "Student visa". GOV.UK.
  15. ^ a b c Lloyd 2000.
  16. ^ Katz, Josh (3 February 2017). "Which Country Is America's Strongest Ally? For Republicans, It's Australia". The New York Times.
  17. ^ "YouGov – Who do the British regard as allies?". YouGov: What the world thinks.
  18. ^ "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". Ipsos.
  19. ^ a b "Poll". Lowy Institute. 2018.
  20. ^ "The Trans-Tasman Relationship: A New Zealand Perspective" (PDF).
  21. ^ "U.S. and Canada: The World's Most Successful Bilateral Relationship". RealClearWorld. 9 March 2016.
  22. ^ Marsh, Steve (1 June 2012). "'Global Security: US–UK relations': lessons for the special relationship?". Journal of Transatlantic Studies. 10 (2): 182–199. doi:10.1080/14794012.2012.678119. S2CID 145271477.
  23. ^ Merriam-Webster Staff 2010, Anglosphere.
  24. ^ a b Bennett 2004, p. 80.
  25. ^ Legrand, Tim (1 December 2015). "Transgovernmental Policy Networks in the Anglosphere". Public Administration. 93 (4): 973–991. doi:10.1111/padm.12198.
  26. ^ 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. S2CID 156577293.
  27. ^ "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  28. ^ a b c "FAOSTAT". Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  29. ^ a b c "World Economic Outlook Database: October 2021". IMF. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  30. ^ "Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2021" (PDF).
  31. ^ Credit Suisse figures adjusted using IMF WEO Oct 2021 GDP-PPP exchange rates.
  32. ^ Robertson, Peter E. (2021). "The Real Military Balance: International Comparisons of Defense Spending". Review of Income and Wealth. n/a (n/a). doi:10.1111/roiw.12536. ISSN 1475-4991. S2CID 240601701.
  33. ^ "The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  34. ^ a b Michael Chertoff; et al. (2008). Building an Americanization Movement for the Twenty-first Century: A Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on New Americans (PDF). Washington D.C. ISBN 978-0-16-082095-3.
  35. ^ Kidd, John B.; Richter, Frank-Jürgen (2006). Development models, globalization and economies : a search for the Holy Grail?. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230523555. OCLC 71339998.
  36. ^ "Global Cities Index 2019". A.T. Kearney.
  37. ^ L. Dyer, "Anglo-Saxon Citizenship," The Barrister 3 (1897):107. Cited in Dimitry Kochenov (2019) Citizenship ISBN 9780262537797, page 139.
  38. ^ Reynolds, Glenn (28 October 2004). "Explaining the 'Anglosphere'". The Guardian.
  39. ^ Bennett 2004[page needed]
  40. ^ Roberts 2006[page needed]
  41. ^ Brown 2003.
  42. ^ "The power of the Anglosphere in Eurosceptical thought". 10 December 2015.
  43. ^ "Sharp Drop in World Views of US, UK: Global Poll – GlobeScan". 4 July 2017.
  44. ^ "From the Outside In: G20 views of the UK before and after the EU referendum'" (PDF).
  45. ^ "Poll: Who's New Zealand's best friend?". Newshub. 22 June 2017 – via
  46. ^ "UK public strongly backs freedom to live and work in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  47. ^ "Survey Reveals Support For CANZUK Free Movement". CANZUK International.
  48. ^ Conquest & Reply by Ignatieff 2000.
  49. ^ "It's a Eurosceptic fantasy that the 'Anglosphere' wants Brexit - Coffee House". 12 April 2016.
  50. ^ "The Guardian view on the EU debate: it's about much more than migration | Editorial". 1 June 2016 – via
  51. ^ Cohen, Nick (14 July 2018). "Brexit Britain is out of options. Our humiliation is painful to watch - Nick Cohen". The Guardian.
  52. ^ "CANZUK, Conservatives and Canada: Marching backward to empire - iPolitics". 24 February 2017.
  53. ^ "Canada and the Anglo World – where do we stand?". OpenCanada. 26 April 2016.
  54. ^ "Speaking in tongues".
  55. ^ Kenny, Michael; Pearce, Nick (13 July 2018). "Opinion – Britain, Time to Let Go of the 'Anglosphere'". The New York Times.
  56. ^ "What countries do Americans like most? | YouGov".
  57. ^ "New Zealand is Britons' favourite country | YouGov".
  58. ^ "2018 Lowy Institute Poll".
  59. ^ Institute, Lowy. "Feelings towards other nations". Lowy Institute Poll 2020.
  60. ^ "Canada's Role in the World – Part One: A Macdonald-Laurier Institute poll (November 2020)" (PDF).
  61. ^ "Canada viewed as positive influence by other countries: poll". vancouversun.
  62. ^ "Countries where the U.S. is seen as top ally". Pew Research.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit