Tiny Wiki :
Fast loading, text only version of Wikipedia.
A ''nation'' may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history.
[World Book Dictionary defines ''nation'' as “the people occupying the same country, united under the same government, and usually speaking the same language”. Another definition is that ''nation'' is a “sovereign state.” It also says ''nation'' can refer to “a people, race, or tribe; those having the same descent, language, and history.” World Book Dictionary also gives this definition: “a tribe of North American Indians.” Webster’s 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 Indians)”.] In this definition, a ''nation'' has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government (for example the inhabitants of a sovereign state) irrespective of their ethnic make-up. The word ''nation'' can more specifically refer to people of North American Indians.
The word ''nation'' came to English from the Old French word ''nacion'', which in turn originates from the Latin word ''natio'' ('''') literally meaning "that which has been born".
As an example of how the word ''natio'' was employed in classical Latin, the following quote from Cicero's ''Philippics Against Mark Antony'' in 44 BC contrasts the external, inferior ''nationes'' ("races of people") with the Roman ''civitas'' ("community"):
The sometime mentioned early use of the word "nation" already in 968 in modern meaning is historically unfounded.
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 the University 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 Polish ''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.