British political institutions (1): the constitution

I like to attend short courses at the City Literary Institute in central London and I’ve just started a six-week course on “British Political Institutions”. I already know quite a lot about this subject and have written a website essay on the topic, but there is always more to learn.

The first session of the course was delivered by American lecturer Dale Mineshima-Lowe and covered the British constitution or lack of it.  Among the things I learned were the following:

  • Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia are the only countries in the world without a codified constitution.
  • The oldest constitution is that of the United States which dates back to 1789.
  • The least frequently amended constitution is that of the USA – 27 changes in almost 230 years.
  • The most frequently amended constitution is that Mexico – more than 500 changes in around 100 years.
  • The shortest constitutions are those of Jordan, Libya and Iceland, each of which is just 2,000-4,000 words.
  • The longest constitution is that of India at 146,000 words.

You can read more about the British political system in my guide here.


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