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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Anglosphere, according to James Bennett (The Anglosphere Challenge)[1]
  Core Anglosphere
  Middle Anglosphere (states where English is one of several official languages, but not necessarily widely spoken by the native population)
  Outer sphere (English-using states of other civilisations)
  Periphery (states where English is widely used but is not an official governmental language)

The Anglosphere is the Anglo-American sphere of influence, with a core group of nations that 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 the sphere of anglophones, though commonly included nations are those that were formerly part of the British Empire and retained the English language and English Common Law.

The five core countries of the Anglosphere are usually taken to be Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries enjoy close cultural and diplomatic links with one another and are aligned under military and security programmes (Five Eyes).

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Definitions and variable geometry

The Anglosphere is the Anglo-American sphere of influence.[a] The term was first coined 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.[3] James C. Bennett defines anglosphere as "the English-speaking Common Law-based nations of the world",[4] arguing that former British colonies that retained English common law and the English language have done significantly better than counterparts colonised by other European powers.[5] The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the Anglosphere as "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate".[6][b] However the Anglosphere is usually not considered to include all countries where English is an official language, so it is not synonymous with anglophone.[7]

Core Anglosphere

The definition is usually taken to include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States[8] in a grouping of developed countries called the core Anglosphere. This term can also less frequently encompass Ireland, Malta and the Commonwealth Caribbean countries.[9][3]

The five core countries in the Anglosphere are developed countries that maintain close cultural and diplomatic links with one another. They are aligned under such military and security programmes as:[10][3][11][12]

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 (the Special Relationship) constituting the most successful partnerships in the world.[13][14][15]

In terms of political systems, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have Charles III as head of state, form part of the Commonwealth of Nations and use 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 2022/2023):

Country Population Land area
GDP Nominal
(USD bn)[17]
(USD bn)[17]
GDP PPP per capita
National wealth PPP (USD bn)[19][18][20] Military spending PPP
(USD bn)[21]
 Australia 26,009,249[22] 7,692,020 1,707 1,718 65,366 7,661 22.0
 Canada 38,708,793[23] 9,984,670 2,089 2,385 60,177 9,971 23.3
 New Zealand 5,130,623[24] 262,443 251 278 54,046 1,229 3.1
 United Kingdom 67,081,234[25] 241,930 3,158 3,846 56,471 16,208 70.2
 United States 332,718,707[26] 9,833,520 26,854 26,854 80,035 114,932 734.3
Core Anglosphere 469,648,606 27,329,350 34,059 28,115 65,700 150,001 852.9
... as % of World 5.9% 18.4% 32.3% 20% 3.3× 24.9% 32.9%

Culture and economics

Due to their historic links, the Anglosphere countries share many cultural traits that still persist today. Most countries in the Anglosphere follow the rule of law through common law rather than civil law, and favour democracy with legislative chambers above other political systems.[27] Private property is protected by law or constitution.[28][better source needed]

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.[29] The shared sense of globalisation led cities such as New York, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Toronto to have considerable impacts on the financial markets and the global economy.[30] Global popular culture has been highly influenced by the United States and the United Kingdom.[28][better source needed]

Proponents and critics

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.[31]

The American businessman James C. Bennett,[32] 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.[10]

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.[33]

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.[34]

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'".[35][36]


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),[according to whom?] whose members form part of the Commonwealth of Nations and retain Charles III 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 among the CANZUK countries.[37][38][39]


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 drew 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".[40]

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'."[41][42] He repeated this criticism in another article for The Guardian in 2018.[43] Similar criticism was presented by other critics such as Canadian academic Srđan Vučetić.[44][45]

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:[46]

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:[47]

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 polls

A 2020 poll by YouGov revealed that Australia was the most positively viewed country by Americans outside of the United States, followed by Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy and New Zealand.[48] Another 2020 poll by YouGov showed that New Zealand, Canada and Australia were the most positively viewed countries by British people, and more favourably viewed by British people than the United Kingdom itself, with the United States ranking 34th.[49]

A 2023 poll by the Lowy Institute similarly indicated that New Zealand was the country most positively viewed by Australians, with Canada ranking second, the UK third and the United States twelfth.[50] A 2020 poll by the Macdonald–Laurier Institute suggested that Australia was the most positively viewed country by Canadians.[51] In a 2019 Pew Research Center poll, a plurality of Canadians and Australians named the United States as their country's closest ally.[52]

See also


  1. ^ "The Anglosphere – shorthand for the Anglo-American sphere of influence – established the concept and structure of the modern transnational community.... The Anglosphere (in the narrow sense of the former British Empire, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the US) has been the architect and a staunch proponent of international norms."[2]
  2. ^ "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. ^ Browning, Christopher S. and Tonra, Ben (2010) "Beyond the West and towards the Anglosphere?" In: Browning, Christopher S. and Lehti, Marko, (eds.) The struggle for the West: a divided and contested legacy. Abingdon, Oxfordshire; New York: Routledge, pp. 161–181. ISBN 9780415476836: Archived 3 January 2023 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Davies et al. 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Lloyd 2000.
  4. ^ Bennett, 2004b, pp. 3, 67.
  5. ^ Bennett 2007, pp. 42–43.
  6. ^ Merriam-Webster Staff (2010). "Anglosphere". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Archived from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  7. ^ "The Anglosphere and its Others: The 'English-speaking Peoples' in a Changing World Order – British Academy". British Academy. Archived from the original on 22 April 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  8. ^ "The Anglosphere: Past, present and future". The British Academy.
  9. ^ Kuper, Simon (21 November 2014). "Which way is Ireland going?". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022.
  10. ^ a b Bennett, 2004b, p. 80.
  11. ^ Legrand 2015.
  12. ^ Legrand 2016.
  13. ^ "The Trans-Tasman Relationship: A New Zealand Perspective" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  14. ^ "U.S. and Canada: The World's Most Successful Bilateral Relationship". RealClearWorld. 9 March 2016. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "FAOSTAT". Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". IMF. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  18. ^ a b "World Economic Outlook Database: October 2021". IMF. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2021" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 June 2021. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  20. ^ Credit Suisse figures adjusted using IMF WEO Oct 2021 GDP-PPP exchange rates.
  21. ^ Robertson, Peter E. (2022). "The Real Military Balance: International Comparisons of Defense Spending". Review of Income and Wealth. 68 (3): 797–818. doi:10.1111/roiw.12536. ISSN 1475-4991. S2CID 240601701. Archived from the original on 13 May 2022. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Population clock". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  23. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (11 July 2018). "Canada's population clock (real-time model)". Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Population clock". Archived from the original on 21 February 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2020". Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Population Clock". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  27. ^ "The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  28. ^ 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. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 July 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2019.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Global Cities Index 2019". A.T. Kearney. Archived from the original on 20 December 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  31. ^ L. Dyer, "Anglo-Saxon Citizenship", The Barrister 3 (1897):107. Cited in Dimitry Kochenov (2019) Citizenship ISBN 9780262537797, page 139.
  32. ^ Reynolds, Glenn (28 October 2004). "Explaining the 'Anglosphere'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  33. ^ Bennett, 2004b[page needed]
  34. ^ Roberts 2006[page needed]
  35. ^ Brown 2003.
  36. ^ "The power of the Anglosphere in Eurosceptical thought". 10 December 2015. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  37. ^ "CANZUK, Conservatives and Canada: Marching backward to empire – iPolitics". 24 February 2017. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  38. ^ "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.
  39. ^ "Survey Reveals Support For CANZUK Free Movement". CANZUK International. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  40. ^ Conquest & Reply by Ignatieff 2000.
  41. ^ Cohen, Nick (12 April 2016). "It's a Eurosceptic fantasy that the 'Anglosphere' wants Brexit - Coffee House". Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  42. ^ "The Guardian view on the EU debate: it's about much more than migration | Editorial". The Guardian. 1 June 2016. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020 – via
  43. ^ Cohen, Nick (14 July 2018). "Brexit Britain is out of options. Our humiliation is painful to watch - Nick Cohen". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  44. ^ Vucetic, Srdjan (24 February 2017). "CANZUK, Conservatives and Canada: Marching backward to empire - iPolitics". Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  45. ^ Vucetic, Srdjan (26 April 2016). "Canada and the Anglo World – where do we stand?". OpenCanada. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  46. ^ Kenny, Michael; Pearce, Nick (13 July 2018). "Opinion – Britain, Time to Let Go of the 'Anglosphere'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 31 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  47. ^ Kenny, Michael; Pearce, Nick (11 May 2018). "In the shadows of empire: how the Anglosphere dream lives on – UK in a changing Europe". Archived from the original on 14 May 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  48. ^ "What countries do Americans like most? | YouGov". Archived from the original on 15 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
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  50. ^ "Poll". Lowy Institute. 2023.
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  52. ^ "Countries where the U.S. is seen as top ally". Pew Research. Archived from the original on 13 June 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2021.


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