• nation
    Flags, songs, and other cultural symbols are used to identify nations.

    Photograph by Greg Knudsen, MyShot

    One nation may extend across several countries, and one country may include many nations. Kurdistan is an unrecognized nation that includes parts of Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. The United Kingdom is a nation that includes the countries of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

    First Nations
    Native American tribes are considered independent nations in the United States and Canada. There are hundreds of nations, from the Ho Chuck Nation of Wisconsin to the Makah Nation of Washington state. For many Americans, the term First Nations has become a term for indigenous people of North America.

    First Nations is the official term for Canadian tribes. First Nations include the Dene in Canadas Arctic, the Mikmaq Confederacy on Prince Edward Island, and the Grand Council of the Crees in Quebec.

    A nation is a territory where all the people are led by the same government.

    The word “nation” can also refer to a group of people who share a history, traditions, culture and, often, language—even if the group does not have a country of its own. People within this type of nation share a common identity, and think of themselves as belonging to the same group.

    Palestinians, who live in and near the nation of Israel, fit in this category. Though Palestinians share a national identity, elect their own government, and share cultural beliefs, they do not have an internationally recognized nation of their own.

    The United Nations currently recognizes 193 nations around the world, though only 192 are members of the UN's General Assembly. (Vatican City, which is led by the Roman Catholic Church, is recognized as a sovereign nation but is not a member of the General Assembly.)

    Other nations are not recognized by one or more states for varying reasons. Sometimes, a single nation does not recognize another nation. North Korea and South Korea do not recognize each other as nations, for instance. They each oppose the politics of the other. Other nations that are not fully recognized as of 2011 include Palestine, Kosovo, Taiwan (known as the Republic of China), and South Ossetia.

    The leaders of some unrecognized nations maintain a “government in exile.” These leaders were ousted by social change, such as a revolution, in their country. The leaders currently live in another country, but consider themselves the leaders of their nation.

    Sometimes, people of that nation want the leader to return. Many Tibetans, for instance, look forward to a time when the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibet’s government in exile, will return to the country. The Dalai Lama has not been to Tibet since 1959, when Tibet became a part of China.

    Other times, a government in exile can form entirely outside the nation it wants to govern. The Free Republic of Vietnam considers itself a government in exile of the nation of Vietnam. The Free Republic of Vietnam was formed after the Vietnam War by emigrants who did not want to live in the new, socialist government of Vietnam.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Catholic Adjective

    having to do with the Christian denomination with the Pope as its leader.

    culture Noun

    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

    Dalai Lama Noun

    leader of Tibet.

    diplomacy Noun

    art and science of maintaining peaceful relationships between nations, groups, or individuals.

    Encyclopedic Entry: diplomacy
    emigrant Noun

    person who moves from their existing country or region to a new country or region.

    First Nations Noun

    Native American people of Canada.

    General Assembly Noun

    main unit of the United Nations, made up of representatives from all member states.

    govern Verb

    to make public-policy decisions for a group or individuals.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    government in exile Noun

    leaders of a nation who live in another land, but hope to return to their native country.

    indigenous Adjective

    native to or characteristic of a specific place.

    nation Noun

    political unit made of people who share a common territory.

    Encyclopedic Entry: nation
    national identity Noun

    reputation and culture of a country.

    Native American Noun

    person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.

    political body Noun

    organization that makes or influences public-policy decisions.

    politics Noun

    art and science of public policy.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    revolution Noun

    overthrow or total change of government.

    social change Noun

    alteration in attitude and outlook on issues, such as civil rights, that affect large communities.

    socialism Noun

    system of organization or government where all property, industry, and capital is owned by the community, not individuals.

    sovereign nation Noun

    independent state with control over its own territory.

    territory Noun

    land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.

    tradition Noun

    beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.

    United Nations Noun

    international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.

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