BGIFC began with the formation of the 1st Peninsular Guide Company in Oporto, Portugal in 1911. The Company was registered in 1913, and it was from British Units that the Guias de Portugal (the National Association of Portugal) emerged in the 1930s. The 1st Oporto Brownie Guide Pack was registered on 10th May 1920, but sadly closed in 2005.
There were British Guides in Argentina from 1915 and in Hong Kong from 1916, when a Guide Company was opened there in the Victoria British School. British Guide Companies started up in Malta in 1918. Guiding began in Uruguay in 1924 with the formation of the 1st Montevideo Company of British Guides. It was not until 1955 that the National Association for Uruguayan Guides was established, and in the WAGGGS publication 'Trefoil Round the World' Uruguay acknowledges with gratitude the help given to their new Association during its formative years by BGIFC Leaders.
Guiding began in Mauritius in 1926 with the opening of a Unit amongst English speaking girls in the army base in Vacoas. 6th Paris Brownie Pack was started on 29th May 1925 and registered in 1929. This is the earliest traceable record of BGIFC Units in France, although presumably there were 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Paris Packs registered at some time! Sadly, 6th Paris closed in 1973, but other British Units in France continue to flourish.
The majority of BGIFC Units have been registered since 1950, although many have a history which goes back much further than this. Early records show that initially BGIFC was the responsibility of the Overseas Committee until 1945 when it was looked after by the International Commissioner. From 1975 to 1986, BGIFC became the responsibility of the Commissioner for Branch Associations.
1985 saw the formation of the first BGIFC Lone Unit, and BGIFC was represented in the then-
BGIFC is administered from Commonwealth Headquarters in London, unlike the Countries/Regions in the UK which have their own Country/Region Headquarters, but otherwise the organisation is very similar. Initially BGIFC came under the umbrella of the International Department and in 2003 it became part of the Leadership Development Group both of which are in the department of Guiding Development at Commonwealth Headquarters.