Nation state  

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This page Nation state is part of the politics series.Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.
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This page Nation state is part of the politics series.
Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A nation state (or nation-state), in the most specific sense, is a country where a distinct cultural or ethnic group (a "nation" or "people") inhabits a territory and have formed a state (often a sovereign state) that they predominantly govern. It is a more precise term than "country" but of the same general meaning, being that it is an ethnic nation with its own land (thus "homeland") and government.

A nation, in the sense of a common ethnicity, may include a diaspora or refugees who live outside the nation-state; some nations of this sense do not have a state where that ethnicity predominates. In a more general sense, a nation-state is simply a large, politically sovereign country or administrative territory. A nation-state may be contrasted with:

  • A multinational state, where no one ethnic group dominates (may also be considered a multicultural state depending on the degree of cultural assimilation of various groups).
  • A city-state which is both smaller than a "nation" in the sense of "large sovereign country" and which may or may not be dominated by all or part of a single "nation" in the sense of a common ethnicity.
  • An empire, which is composed of many countries (possibly non-sovereign states) and nations under a single monarch or ruling state government.
  • A confederation, a league of sovereign states, which might or might not include nation-states.
  • A federated state which may or may not be a nation-state, and which is only partially self-governing within a larger federation (for example, the state boundaries of Bosnia and Herzegovina are drawn along ethnic lines, but those of the United States are not).

This article mainly discusses the more specific definition of a nation-state, as a typically sovereign country dominated by a particular ethnicity.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nation state" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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