It was once said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because up to the beginning of the 20th century Great Britain ruled the largest empire in history. Many of the countries that were once British are now independent states and belong to an organization called the Commonwealth of Nations. The modern Commonwealth was formed 60 years ago although the first attempts to create such an organization are older. After the end of the Second World War Britain saw itself in the middle of a new world order. Its empire was falling apart and colonies all over the world were becoming independent. Even though the British monarchy was desperately trying to keep up good relationships with its former colonies, not all of them wanted this. On the one side it India could be persuaded to stay on board, but other nations, like Ireland, left as soon as they got the chance. In the following years colonies like Burma and Sudan refused to join. The Persian Gulf states, which had been under British rule for a long time before the war, also stayed out of the club. The worst period for the Commonwealth followed in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The organization nearly fell apart because of the white governments in Rhodesia and South Africa. When Rhodesia declared its independence many Africans thought that the British army should invade. South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961 and Black African countries boycotted the apartheid nation. The Commonwealth was shaken again when Britain joined the European Common Market in 1973. Commonwealth partners thought that the British were turning away from their old connections and more to the Continent. In the 1990s the overall situation of the Commonwealth improved. Apartheid was gone and Nelson Mandela became the first Black leader of Africa's biggest industrial state. The country rejoined the Commonwealth in 1991. Pakistan came back in 1989 and Nigeria returned in 1999.