Country

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2011 map showing countries with full recognition and one UN non-member state; some disputed territories are not shown 1-12 Political Color Map World.png
2011 map showing countries with full recognition and one UN non-member state; some disputed territories are not shown

A country is a region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state, [1] as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated people with distinct political characteristics. Regardless of the physical geography, in the modern internationally accepted legal definition as defined by the League of Nations in 1937 and reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, a resident of a country is subject to the independent exercise[ clarification needed ] of legal jurisdiction.[ citation needed ] There is no hard and fast definition of what regions are countries and which are not.

Political geography is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures. Conventionally, for the purposes of analysis, political geography adopts a three-scale structure with the study of the state at the centre, the study of international relations above it, and the study of localities below it. The primary concerns of the subdiscipline can be summarized as the inter-relationships between people, state, and territory.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

Sovereignty concept that a state or governing body has the right and power to govern itself without outside interference

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.

Contents

Countries can refer both to sovereign states and to other political entities, [2] while other times it can refer only to states. [3] For example, the CIA World Factbook uses the word in its "Country name" field to refer to "a wide variety of dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, uninhabited islands, and other entities in addition to the traditional countries or independent states". [4] [Note 1]

State (polity) Organised community living under a system of government; either a sovereign state, constituent state, or federated state

A state is a political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly by use of force within a certain geographical territory.

Etymology and usage

The word country comes from Old French contrée, which derives from Vulgar Latin (terra) contrata ("(land) lying opposite"; "(land) spread before"), derived from contra ("against, opposite"). It most likely entered the English language after the Franco-Norman invasion during the 11th century.

Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. In the 14th century, these dialects came to be collectively known as the langue d'oïl, contrasting with the langue d'oc or Occitan language in the south of France. The mid-14th century is taken as the transitional period to Middle French, the language of the French Renaissance, specifically based on the dialect of the Île-de-France region.

Vulgar Latin Non-standard Latin variety spoken by the people of Ancient Rome

Vulgar Latin or Sermo Vulgaris, also Colloquial Latin, or Common Romance, was a range of non-standard sociolects of Latin spoken in the Mediterranean region during and after the classical period of the Roman Empire. Compared to Classical Latin, written documentation of Vulgar Latin appears less standardized.

In English the word has increasingly become associated with political divisions, so that one sense, associated with the indefinite article – "a country" – through misuse and subsequent conflation is now a synonym for state, or a former sovereign state, in the sense of sovereign territory or "district, native land". [5] 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. [6]

Synonym Words or phrases having the same meaning

A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another lexeme in the same language. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. For example, the words begin, start, commence, and initiate are all synonyms of one another. Words are typically synonymous in one particular sense: for example, long and extended in the context long time or extended time are synonymous, but long cannot be used in the phrase extended family. Synonyms with the exact same meaning share a seme or denotational sememe, whereas those with inexactly similar meanings share a broader denotational or connotational sememe and thus overlap within a semantic field. The former are sometimes called cognitive synonyms and the latter, near-synonyms, plesionyms or poecilonyms.

West Country area of south-western England

The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England. The term usually encompasses the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, and often the counties of Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, in the South West region. The region is host to distinctive regional dialects and accents. Some definitions also include Herefordshire.

Black Country Region

The Black Country is an area of the West Midlands, England, west of Birmingham and commonly refers to a region covering most of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. During the Industrial Revolution, it became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries, glass factories, brickworks and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution.

The equivalent terms in French and other Romance languages ( pays and variants) have not carried the process of being identified with political sovereign states as far as the English "country", instead derived from, pagus, which designated the territory controlled by a medieval count, a title originally granted by the Roman Church. In many European countries the words are used for sub-divisions of the national territory, as in the German Bundesländer, 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 entities, like the Pays de la Loire.

In France, a pays is an area whose inhabitants share common geographical, economic, cultural, or social interests, who have a right to enter into communal planning contracts under a law known as the Loi Pasqua or LOADT, which took effect on February 4, 1995.

Pagus

In the later Western Roman Empire, following the reorganization of Diocletian, a pagus became the smallest administrative district of a province. By that time the word had long been in use with various meanings. Smith's Dictionary says of it, "The meaning of this word cannot be given in precise and absolute terms, partly because we can have no doubt that its significance varied greatly between the earliest and the later times of Roman history, partly because of its application by Latin writers to similar, but not identical, communities outside Italy ..."

Count (Male), or Countess (Female), is a historical title of nobility in certain European countries, varying in relative status, generally of middling rank in the hierarchy of nobility. The etymologically related English term, "county" denoted the land owned by a count. Equivalents of the rank of count exist or have existed in the nobility structures of some non-European countries, such as hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era.

A version of "country" can be found in the modern French language as contrée, based on the word cuntrée in Old French, [6] that is used similarly to the word "pays" to define non-state regions, 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.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Sovereignty status

The term "country" can refer to a sovereign state. There is no universal agreement on the number of "countries" in the world since a number of states have disputed sovereignty status. There are 206 sovereign states, of which 193 states are members of the United Nations, two states have observer status at the U.N. (the Holy See and Palestine), and 11 other states are neither a member or observer at the U.N. All are defined as states by declarative theory of statehood and constitutive theory of statehood. The latest proclaimed state is South Sudan in 2011.

The degree of autonomy of non-sovereign countries varies widely. Some are possessions of sovereign states, as several states have overseas territories (such as French Polynesia or the British Virgin Islands), with citizenry at times identical and at times distinct from their own. Such territories, with the exception of distinct dependent territories, are usually listed together with sovereign states on lists of countries, but may nonetheless be treated as a separate "country of origin" in international trade, as Hong Kong is. [7] [8] [9]

Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark, a sovereign state, comprises Denmark proper and two autonomous countries—the Faroe Islands, and Greenland—which are autonomous.

Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands, a sovereign state, comprises four separate countries: Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.

United Kingdom

Although not sovereign states, England, Scotland and Wales are countries and Northern Ireland is a country or province (depending on context), which collectively form the United Kingdom—a sovereign state that is also commonly referred to as a country. The United Kingdom is a union of four separate countries brought about by a series of international treaties and legislated for by several Acts of Union. These include the Acts of Union 1707 in both the English and Scottish parliaments, although by then England and Wales had already united. While a political union was created, Scotland and England retained distinct churches, legal systems and education systems, as a result, the issue of sovereignty is different in the two countries: in Scotland sovereignty lies with the people, whereas in England sovereignty lies with Parliament and the Monarch. [10] [ citation needed ] Lord President (Lord Cooper) stated that "the principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish Constitutional Law", and that legislation contrary to the Act of Union would not necessarily be regarded as constitutionally valid. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

The Crown Dependencies, which are each internally self-governing but in a relationship of suzerainty with the United Kingdom, are also sometimes referred to as countries.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ General information or statistical publications that adopt the wider definition for purposes such as illustration and comparison include:. [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

Related Research Articles

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Legislatures of the United Kingdom

The Legislatures of the United Kingdom are derived from a number of different sources from both within the UK and through membership of the European Union. The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and the British overseas territories with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each having their own devolved legislatures. Each of the three major jurisdictions of the United Kingdom has its own laws and legal system.

Law of the United Kingdom legal systems

Sub-nationally, the United Kingdom has three legal systems, each of which derives from a particular geographical area and for a variety of historical reasons: English law, Scots law, and Northern Ireland law. Since 2007, as a result of the passage of the Government of Wales Act 2006 by Parliament, there also exists purely Welsh law. However, unlike the other three laws, this is not a separate legal system per se, being merely the primary and secondary legislation generated by the National Assembly for Wales, interpreted in accordance with the doctrines of English law, and not impacting upon English common law. There is a substantial overlap between these three legal systems, and the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom, these being England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Each legal system defaults to each jurisdiction, and court systems of each jurisdiction further the relevant system of law through jurisprudence. In private law it is possible for people in certain jurisdictions to use the law of other jurisdictions, for example a company in Edinburgh, Scotland and a company in Belfast, Northern Ireland are free to contract in English law. This is inapplicable in public law, where there are set rules of procedure in each jurisdiction. Overarching these systems is the law of the United Kingdom, also known as United Kingdom law or British law. British law arises where laws apply to the United Kingdom and/or its citizens as a whole, most obviously constitutional law, but also other areas, for instance tax law.

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals. It is, therefore, a process, which commences once a group proclaims the act of secession. It could involve a violent or peaceful process but these do not change the nature of the outcome, which is the creation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory it seceded from.

A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.

Administrative geography of the United Kingdom Geographical subdivisions of local government in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The administrative geography of the United Kingdom is complex, multi-layered and non-uniform. The United Kingdom, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe, consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For local government in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own system of administrative and geographic demarcation. Consequently, there is "no common stratum of administrative unit encompassing the United Kingdom".

A multinational state is a sovereign state that comprises two or more nations. This is in contrast to a nation state, where a single nation accounts for the bulk of the population. Depending on the definition of "nation", a multinational state might also be multicultural or multilingual.

Terminology of the British Isles

The terminology of the British Isles refers to the various words and phrases that are used to describe the different geographical and political areas of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller islands which surround them. The terminology is often a source of confusion, partly owing to the similarity between some of the actual words used, but also because they are often used loosely. In addition, many of the words carry both geographical and political connotations which are affected by the history of the islands.

English independence

English independence is a political stance advocating secession of England from the United Kingdom. Support for secession of England has been influenced by the increasing devolution of political powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where independence from the United Kingdom is a prominent subject of political debate.

Unionism in the United Kingdom

Unionism in the United Kingdom, also referred to as British unionism, is a political ideology favouring the continued unity of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as one sovereign state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Those who support the union are referred to as "Unionists".

History of the formation of the United Kingdom

The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have been established in Great Britain at different periods in history, in different combinations and under a variety of polities. Norman Davies has counted sixteen different states over the past 2,000 years.

Outline of the United Kingdom Overview of and topical guide to the United Kingdom

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; a sovereign state in Europe, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK), or Britain. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, it includes the island of Great Britain—a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country—the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands

Countries of the United Kingdom The four countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which make up the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland.

Constitution of the United Kingdom Set of laws and principles under which the United Kingdom is governed

The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution such as other countries tend to have. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one. These texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution. The British constitution primarily draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, and works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it also concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.

Politics in the British Isles

The British Isles comprise two sovereign states, Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and three dependencies of the British Crown, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Unionism in Wales

Unionism in Wales favours the continuation of some form of political union between Wales and the other countries of the United Kingdom, and hence is opposed to Welsh independence.

References

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  2. Tjhe Kwet Koe v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1997] FCA 912 (8 September 1997), Federal Court (Australia).
  3. Rosenberg, Matt. "Geography: Country, State, and Nation" . Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  4. "The World Factbook". CIA. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  5. OED, Country
  6. 1 2 John Simpson, Edmund Weiner (ed.). Oxford English Dictionary (1971 compact ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-861186-8.
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  8. "Matchbox label, made in Hong Kong". delcampe.net. Archived from the original on 1 April 2014.
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  12. Doherty, Michael (2016). Public Law. Rutledge. pp. 198–201. ISBN   978-1-317-20665-1.
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  14. "Legal Research Guide: United Kingdom". Law Library of Congress. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 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.
  15. "Countries Within a Country". 10 Downing Street. 2003-01-10. Archived from the original on 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2009-09-22. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  16. "United Kingdom — Geography". Commonwealth Secretariat. 2009-09-22. Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. 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.
  17. "Travelling Europe — United Kingdom". European Youth Portal. European Commission. 2009-06-29. Archived from the original on 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2009-09-22. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  18. "Greenland Country Information". Countryreports.org. Retrieved 2008-05-28. "The World Factbook – Rank Order – Exports". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  19. "Index of Economic Freedom". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  20. "Index of Economic Freedom – Top 10 Countries". The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  21. "Asia-Pacific (Region A) Economic Information" (PDF). The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  22. "Subjective well-being in 97 countries" (PDF). University of Michigan. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  23. Mercer's 2012 Cost of Living Survey city rankings Archived July 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine . Mercer.com (2008-12-18). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  24. EIU Digital Solutions. "Country, industry and risk analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit – List of countries – The Economist Intelligence Unit". eiu.com.
  25. Hanke, Steve H. (May 2014). "Measuring Misery around the World". Cato Institute.

Further reading