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A nation refers to a large group of people who share a common

language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history.

[citation needed]
Websters New Encyclopedic
Dictionary defines nation as "a community of people composed of one or more nationalities with its
own territory and government" and also as "a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American
[citation needed]
Nation carries varying meanings, and the connotation of the term has changed
over time.
The concept of "nation" is related to "ethnic community" or ethnie. An ethnic community shares a
common myth of origins and descent, a common history, elements of distinctive culture, a common
territorial association, and sense of group solidarity. A nation is, by comparison, much more
impersonal, abstract, and overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community
that has become conscious of its coherence, unity, and particular interests.

Nation has been described by Benedict Anderson as an "imagined community"
and by Paul
James as an "abstract community".
The nation is an imagined community in the sense that the
material conditions exist for imagining extended and shared connections. It is an abstract community
in the sense that it is objectively impersonal, even if each individual in the nation experiences him or
herself as subjectively part of an embodied unity with others. For the most part, members of a nation
remain strangers to each other and will never likely meet.
Hence the phrase, "a nation of
strangers" used by such writers as Vance Packard.
1 Etymology and terminology
2 Ancient nations
3 Medieval nations
o 3.1 Use of term nationes by universities and other medieval institutions
4 Early modern nations
5 Social science
6 Black nationalism
7 See also
8 References
9 Notes
Etymology and terminology[edit]
The word nation came to English from the Old French word nacion, which in turn originates from
the Latin word natio (nt) literally meaning "that which has been born".

The word "nation" is sometimes used as synonym for:
State (polity) or sovereign state: a government which controls a specific territory, which may or
may not be associated with any particular ethnic group
Country: a geographic territory, which may or may not have an affiliation with a government or
ethnic group
Thus the phrase "nations of the world" could be referring to the top-level governments (as in the
name for the United Nations), various large geographical territories, or various large ethnic groups of
the planet.
Depending on the meaning of "nation" used, the term "nation state" could be used to distinguish
larger states from small city states, or could be used to distinguishmultinational states from those
with a single ethnic group.
Ancient nations[edit]
Although some scholars
of nationalism argue that nations are a modern phenomenon arising
around the time of the French Revolution, other scholars assert that nations are an old, or even an
ancient, type of political formation. Political scientist Azar Gat argues that ancient Egypt was the
world's "first national state," emerging "quite early as a unified state, congruent with a distinct people
of shared ethnicity."

Gat goes on to argue that the next group of national states to emerge were in the ancient Levant,
citing Steven Grosby's book, Biblical Ideas of Nationality: Ancient and Modern, as an effective
demonstration of the emergence of nations in Israel, Ammon, Moab and Edom, a process of nation-
formation provoked by the threat of conquest by the Assyrian Empire.
In particular, Gans
cites Hans Kohn's The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background, 1944, pp. 2730
as an early scholarly treatment of "the idea that ancient Israel was an example of a premodern

In his book, The Athenian Nation Edward E. Cohen, argues that ancient Athens met all modern
definitions of nationhood,
and Aviel Roshwald makes a similar argument in The Endurance of
Nationalism: Ancient Roots and Modern Dilemmas.

Medieval nations[edit]
In her book Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300, Susan Reynolds argues that
many European medieval kingdoms were nations in the modern sense except that political
participation in nationalism was available only to a limited prosperous and literate class.
In his
book The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism, Adrian Hastings argues
that England's Anglo Saxon kings mobilized mass nationalism in their struggle to repel Norse/Viking
invasions. Hastings argues that Alfred the Great, in particular, drew on biblical nationalism, using
biblical language in his law code and that during his reign selected books of the Bible were
translated into Old English to inspire Englishmen to fight to turn back the Norse invaders. Hastings
argues for a strong renewal of English nationalism (following a hiatus after the Norman conquest)
beginning with the translation of the complete bible into English by the Wycliffe circle in the 1380s,
arguing that English nationalism and the English nation have been continuous since that time.

Azar Gat is among the scholars who argue that China, Korea and Japan were nations by the time of
the European Middle Ages.

Use of term nationes by universities and other medieval
Main article: Nation (university)
A significant early use of the term nation, as natio, occurred at mediaeval universities
to describe
the colleagues in a college or students, above all at theUniversity of Paris, who were all born within
a pays, spoke the same language and expected to be ruled by their own familiar law. In 1383 and
1384, while studying theology at Paris, Jean Gerson was elected twice as a procurator for the
French natio. The University of Prague adopted the division of students into nationes: from its
opening in 1349 the studium generale which consisted of Bohemian, Bavarian, Saxon and
Silesian nations.
In a similar way, the nationes were segregated by the Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, who
maintained at Rhodes the hostels from which they took their name "where foreigners eat and have
their places of meeting, each nation apart from the others, and a Knight has charge of each one of
these hostels, and provides for the necessities of the inmates according to their religion", as the
Spanish traveller Pedro Tafur noted in 1436.

Early modern nations[edit]
See also: Nation state
In his article, "The Mosaic Moment: An Early Modernist Critique of the Modernist Theory of
Nationalism", Philip S. Gorski argues that the first modern nation was theDutch Republic, created by
a fully modern political nationalism rooted in the model of biblical nationalism.
In a 2013 article
"Biblical nationalism and the sixteenth-century states", Diana Muir Appelbaum expands Gorski's
argument to apply to a series of new, Protestant, sixteenth-century nation states.
A similar, albeit
broader, argument was made by Anthony D. Smith in his books, Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources
of National Identity and Myths and Memories of the Nation.

In her book Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, Liah Greenfeld that nationalism was invented in
England by 1600. According to Greenfeld, England was the first nation in the world".

Social science[edit]
In the late twentieth century many social scientists argued that there were two types of nations,
the civic nation of which France was the principal example and theethnic nation exemplified by the
German peoples. The German tradition was conceptualized as originating with early 19th-century
philosophers, like Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and referred to people sharing a common language,
religion, culture, history, and ethnic origins, that differentiate them from people of other
The type of the civic nation was traced to the French Revolution and ideas deriving from
18th-century French philosophers. It was understood as being centered in a willingness to "live
together", this producing a nation that results from an act of affirmation.
This is the vision, among
others, of Ernest Renan

Present day analysis tend to be based in socio-historical studies about the building of national
identity sentiments, trying to identify the individual and collective mechanisms, either conscient or
non-conscient, intended or un-intended. According to some of these studies, it seems that
the State often plays a significant role, and communications, particularly of economic content, also
have a high significance.

Black nationalism[edit]
See also: African diaspora
The 18th century brought an alteration to the meaning of the term "nation", which became more
narrowly referred to as a group with a recognizable and sovereign government with physical borders.
This new definition aligns more with the concept of a nation state.
The nation began to emerge in
the late 18th century as the leading form of government and social organization.
The catalyst that
brought about this change in meaning was the influence of the African diaspora and its people in
other states, specifically in the United States.
[citation needed]
National identity brought rights to vote, to
hold office, and independence for a growing number of black territories held under colonial rule.

This change occurred in the New World as Africans were brought as enslaved peoples.
The white population of the new world considered these aliens to be in one category of nation
that was based entirely on color and continent of origin. The identity of the enslaved at the time was
then shaped by their skin color rather than what nation or tribe they truly originated from. Prior to the
18th and 19th centuries, the term mainly referred to a group of people unified by language, region
and cultural background; what is now considered to be one's ethnicity. It was through the process of
emancipation and the end of the slave trade that the concept of nation began to shift. As the
previously enslaved began to fight for rights they had to discover what kind of rights they were
searching for. It was in this process of emancipation that nationality began to take on a different
meaning. Language and cultural background were no longer the only requirements of nation.
Instead, now the idea of an established government and physical boundaries also shaped what it
meant to be a nation.

However, within the diaspora, particularly among groups that have been politicized, the term nation
has been used to describe a more abstract national experience, one that transcends physical
borders and language differences. This description of nation is pinned to the shared experience of
being radicalized and termed as Black. The expansion of Black nationalism demonstrates that
although some expanded the view that nation requires definable boundaries, those who shared the
experience of the diaspora also found a nationality among themselves.