Difference Between Country and Nation

It is common for people to use the terms “country” and “nation interchangeably; ignoring that there are actually some variations of the two terms that must be taken into consideration.  Difference Between Country and Nation

COUNTRY  Difference Between Country and Nation

A country is a region that is legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography . Whereas in the modern UN legal definition, it is defined as a state in which residents have legal rights.

A country can be defined in the following ways:

  • A sovereign and independent state.
  • geographic region that is associated with a group of people who have political independence.
  • A State within another State that is delimited or characterized by its own history or culture.

The word country is also used as a synonym for State. An independent state is the same as an independent country. When we use the word “State” with a capital initial, it means that we are referring to an area with internationally recognized borders and its own government. It is recognized as sovereign by other sovereign countries; which means that it is not under the power of any other country.

Other requirements for a region to be considered a State or country is that its residents be permanent, that it has an organized transportation, educational and economic system. That it emits its own money and is able to regulate both the internal market and foreign trade.

The term State is also used to describe a smaller part within a country. For example, the United States is a country that has 50 states; which are smaller territories and which are defined within the larger set.

There is no universal agreement on the number of countries in the world, and a number of states have argued about their sovereignty. For now there are 206 countries in total and 193 of these participate in the United Nations (UN), another 3 members are as observers and other independent states or territories are in dispute.


The term ” nation ” has different meanings and connotations; it has also changed over time.

This concept can be defined as follows: it is a community of people with certain cultural similarities, its own territory and government. But here an important detail, a set of tribes can be considered as a nation, but a single tribe or a small community cannot be considered as a nation, since nations encompass an entire country.

This word derives from the Latin «natio» which means «to be born», «the one who has been born». A nation is an ethnic community that shares cultural elements, territory, and history. It is more impersonal, abstract, and politically open than a country.

It is a political-cultural community that has become aware of its interests of coherence and unity   Some countries can have multiple nations, but not all nations can have their own sovereign state.

An example of a nation is Palestine, since its recognition as a state is limited.

Despite all that has been said, it is not entirely wrong to use the terms “country” and “nation” synonymously; however, it is important to understand that in some contexts the meaning of both concepts may vary.

Key differences between country and nation

  • The word country is usually used mostly to refer to the geographical territory, while nation usually refers to the community of people who are part of a country.

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