Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies. In particular this includes the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.



The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines the Anglosphere as "the group of countries where English is the main native language".[1] The Merriam-Webster dictionary uses the definition, "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate".[2]


The U.S. 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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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'".[6]

New Zealand historian James Belich connected patterns of growth in the industrialization 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 United Kingdom's membership in the EU through regulatory harmonization. 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".[7]

Map of English-speaking world

  Countries where English is the national language or the native language of the majority.
  Countries where English is an official language, but not the majority language.

See also



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