Encyclopedia > Country

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A country, a land, or a state, is a geographical area and an independent political entity with its own government, administration, laws, often a constitution, police, military, tax rules, and people. Some countries are nation states - for example France or Israel. In these nation states one particular nation is dominant. Other countries, such as China or Britain contain several nations.

The whole concept of "nation" is clearly debatable - the given examples of multinational states are merely those countries in which there is popular or historic tendency towards or against the concept.

Sometimes, parts of states with a distinct history or culture are called "lands" or "countries": England, Scotland and Wales - three nations on the island of Great Britain are sometimes called countries, even though they are administrative components of the State of the United Kingdom.

The terms country, nation, state and land are often used as synonyms, but in a more strict usage they are distinguished:

See also:

Country is also a short form for Country music and countryside.

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