State

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For those with more Christian tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about State.

In political geography, a sovereign state is a political organization with a centralized government that has supreme independent authority over a geographic area. It has a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state. The existence or disappearance of a state is a question of fact. While according to the declaratory theory of state recognition a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states, unrecognised states will often find it hard to exercise full treaty-making powers and engage in diplomatic relations with other sovereign states.

The word "country" is often colloquially used to refer to sovereign states, although it means, originally, only a geographic region, and subsequently its meaning became extended to the sovereign polity which controls the geographic region.