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A country is a region identified as a distinct entity in . A country may be an independent or one that is occupied by another state, as a non- or formerly sovereign , or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated s with distinct political characteristics. Regardless of the physical geography, in the modern internationally accepted legal definition as defined by the in 1937 and reaffirmed by the in 1945, a resident of a country is subject to the independent exercise of legal jurisdiction.

Sometimes the word country is used to refer both to sovereign states and to other political entities, while other times it refers only to states. For example, the CIA World Factbook uses the word in its "Country name" field to refer to "a wide variety of dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, uninhabited islands, and other entities in addition to the traditional countries or independent states".

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