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For other uses, see Country (disambiguation).

Region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography
2019 map showing countries with full recognition and some UN non-member states; some disputed territories are not shown

The term country refers to a political state or nation or its territory. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence, or citizenship.

A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state,[1] as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, a physical territory with a government, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated people with distinct political characteristics. It is not inherently sovereign.

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]

The largest country in the world is Russia, while the most populated is China. The newest country is South Sudan.