FANDOM


Europe topography map

European topographical map

Europe countries map 2

Same map as above, but showing sovereign states widely accepted by the UN instead of topographies

A country is a geographical region. A country may be the territory of a sovereign state, the territory of a non-sovereign (or formerly sovereign) political division, or a region associated with a certain people or certain characteristics. Sometimes it is used to refer both to sovereign states and to other political entities,[1][2][3] while other times it refers only to states.[4] It is not uncommon for general information or statistical publications to adopt the wider definition for purposes such as illustration and comparison.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

England, Scotland and Wales (in the United Kingdom) are examples of formerly sovereign states that are commonly regarded and referred to as countries.[11][12][13][14] Historically, the countries of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were others. Former states such as Bavaria (now part of Germany) and Piedmont (now part of Italy) would not normally be referred to as "countries" in contemporary English.

The degree of autonomy of non-sovereign countries varies widely. Some are possessions of sovereign states, as several states have overseas dependencies (such as the British Virgin Islands (GBR) and Saint Pierre and Miquelon (FRA)), with territory and citizenry distinct from their own. Such dependent territories are sometimes listed together with sovereign states on lists of countries, and may be treated as a "country of origin" in international trade, as Hong Kong is.

Etymology and usageEdit

The word country has developed from the Latin contra meaning "against", used in the sense of "that which lies against, or opposite to, the view", i.e. the landscape spread out to the view. From this came the Late Latin term contrata, which became the modern Italian contrada. The term appears in Middle English from the 13th century, already in several different senses.[15]

In English the word has increasingly become associated with political divisions, so that one sense, associated with the indefinite article – "a country" – is now a synonym for state, or a former sovereign state, in the sense of sovereign territory.[16] Areas much smaller than a political state may be called by names such as the West Country in England, the Black Country (a heavily industrialized part of England), "Constable Country" (a part of East Anglia painted by John Constable), the "big country" (used in various contexts of the American West), "coal country" (used of parts of the US and elsewhere) and many other terms.[17]

The equivalent terms in French and Romance languages (pays and variants) have not carried the process of being identified with political sovereign states as far as the English "country", and in many European countries the words are used for sub-divisions of the national territory, as in the German Länder, as well as a less formal term for a sovereign state. France has very many "pays" that are officially recognised at some level, and are either natural regions, like the Pays de Bray, or reflect old political or economic unities, like the Pays de la Loire. At the same time Wales, the United States, and Brazil are also "pays" in everyday French speech.

A version of "country" can be found in the modern French language as contrée, based on the word cuntrée in Old French,[17] that is used similarly to the word "pays" to define regions and unities, but can also be used to describe a political state in some particular cases. The modern Italian contrada is a word with its meaning varying locally, but usually meaning a ward or similar small division of a town, or a village or hamlet in the countryside. Examples can be Cape Verde and India.[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Acts Interpretation Act 1901 - Sect 22: Meaning of certain words". Australasian Legal Information Institute. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/aia1901230/s22.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  2. ^ "The Kwet Koe v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs & Ors [1997] FCA 912 (8 September 1997)". Australasian Legal Information Institute. http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/disp.pl/au/cases/cth/federal%5fct/1997/912.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 2—General" (PDF). United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/84411.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  4. ^ Rosenberg, Matt. "Geography: Country, State, and Nation". http://geography.about.com/cs/politicalgeog/a/statenation.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  5. ^ "Greenland Country Information". Countryreports.org. http://www.countryreports.org/country.aspx?countryid=96&countryName=countryid=96&countryName=Greenland. Retrieved 2008-05-28.  "The World Factbook – Rank Order – Exports". Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2078rank.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  6. ^ "Index of Economic Freedom". The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/index/countries.cfm. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  7. ^ "Index of Economic Freedom - Top 10 Countries". The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/topten.cfm. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  8. ^ "Asia-Pacific (Region A) Economic Information" (PDF). The Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/chapters/pdf/index2007_RegionA_Asia-Pacific.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  9. ^ "Subjective well-being in 97 countries" (PDF). University of Michigan. http://umich.edu/news/happy_08/HappyChart.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  10. ^ http://www.mercer.com/costofliving
  11. ^ "Legal Research Guide: United Kingdom - Law Library of Congress (Library of Cong". Library of Congress website. Library of Congress. 2009-07-23. http://www.loc.gov/law/help/uk.php. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the collective name of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The four separate countries were united under a single Parliament through a series of Acts of Union." 
  12. ^ "countries within a country:number10.gov.uk". 10 Downing Street website. 10 Downing Street. 2003-01-10. http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page823. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland." 
  13. ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat - Geography". Commonwealth Secretariat website. Commonwealth Secretariat. 2009-09-22. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookInternal/139598/geography/. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) is a union of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland." 
  14. ^ "Travelling Europe - United Kingdom". European Youth Portal. European Commission. 2009-06-29. http://europa.eu/youth/travelling_europe/index_uk_en.html. Retrieved 2009-09-22. "The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales." 
  15. ^ John Simpson, Edmund Weiner, ed. "country". Oxford English Dictionary (1971 compact ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198611862. 
  16. ^ OED, Country
  17. ^ a b John Simpson, Edmund Weiner, ed. Oxford English Dictionary (1971 compact ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198611862. 
  18. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". Countries. http://www.infoplease.com/countries.html. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Look up Country in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Country. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.