Sometimes the word countries 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".

Four great countries

The United States of America

Also known as USA, the United States of American is a federal constitutional republic made up of 48 continental states, one federal district (Washington D.C.), and two non-continental states (Alaska and Hawaii). Before the first successful English colony was founded in 1607 at Jamestown Virginia, Native Americans (also known as Indians) freely inhabited the land. But with the influx of European settlers to the new world came wars, coercions and treaties aimed at taking the land away from the Native Americans. These people suffered greatly from the hands of European settlers.

Non-conformists fleeing the Church of England landed on Plymouth Colony -- which is now known as Massachusetts -- in 1620. And by 1733, settlers from England had founded the 13 colonies that stretched along the Atlantic Coast. Through this time, various other colonists from other European countries arrived, but the English settlers had already become established in their newfound land. The thirteen colonies declared their independence on July 4, 1776 and created a new nation called the United States of America. The U.S. Constitution was drawn and George Washington became the first president of this new nation. The entire concept of this country is the pursuit of freedom and happiness. People from all over the world journey to the USA in seek of a better life for themselves and their families.

Thirty-seven new states were added to the 13 original colonies during the 19th and 20th centuries. As this new nation expanded across the continent, it acquired various overseas possessions. It has also engaged in various wars and conflicts both on its own soil as well as abroad. In 2010, the United States of America had a population of 317.6 million according to the UN.

Since its meager start, the United States of America has become a forerunner for military and economic power. It has global interest and a large global reach that is practically unmatched.


As one of the founding fathers of the European integration, France is an important part of the world stage and has produced some of the most influential thinkers and writers. The works of Monet, Renoir, Descrates and Voltaire are a mere sampling of the artistic and talent that France has given the world. France is also well known for its culinary traditions, producing more than 250 cheese and home to many of the world’s best-loved wines. France is located in Western Europe with a population of France is about 65 million.

According o the U.S. Department of State, France is one of the earliest countries that developed a successfully and organized nation-state. Because of this, France was one of the most powerful European countries during the mid-1600s. This power wouldn’t last, and by the 18the century, the country began having financial hardship due to King Louis XIV and his successors’ elaborate spending. The social problems piled onto the financial setbacks would end up leading to the French Revolution, which began in 1789 and lasted until 1794, and eventually overthrowing the government of Louis XVI to establish a republic.

During World War II, France was divided into two sections; one section was controlled by Germany, while the other section was controlled by France. By 1942, however, Axis Powers had occupied the entire country. It wasn’t until 1944 that France was liberated by Allied Powers. At the moment, France is in its 5th Republic, which was established in 1959.

France’s main industries are chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, automobiles, electronics, food process, textiles and aircraft. In some areas, agriculture is heavily practiced with sugar beets, wheat, wine grapes, potatoes, cereals, beef, fish and dairy products being its main products in the industry. Tourism is another big draw of the country with over 80 million tourists visiting the country annually.


Known as the land down under, Australia is considered one of the best places to live when taken into considerations the income, healthcare, human development and civil rights. Even though it is the sixth largest country by land mass, it has a comparatively small number of people living there. Australia is sometimes called the “island continent” and is sometimes concerned the largest island in the world. The world’s largest coral reef -- the Great Barrier Reef -- is found a short distance off the north east coast of Australia. It has a wide array of terrain from mountains peeks and flower-filled areas to flat, dessert-like lands.

Over 50,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, the Aboriginal people arrived to Australia by boat from the South East part of Asia. When the Europeans discovered and settled in Australia, there was up to a million Aboriginal people living across the continent. During this time, the Aboriginal people had separated into about 300 clans speaking 250 languages and around 700 dialects. Every clan was spiritually connected to a piece of land, although they would travel across the country to find water, produce and trade, as well as for totemic and ritual gatherings.

In 1770, Captain James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for Britain, and thus used the area as a penal colony. In January 1788, a fleet of 11 ships that carried about 1,500 people, with half of those being convicts, arrived to the harbor. From the point until the end of the penal transportation in 1868, it is estimated that 160,000 convicts where sent to Australia.

It wasn’t until 1901 that Australia’s six states actually became a nation under one single constitution. In 2010, about 21 million people from over 200 countries were living in Australia, which boosts the world’s 14th large national economy. Australia’s main imports consist of metals and ores, food, live animals and wools, transport machinery, fuels and equipment.


Located to the north of the United States of America, Canada is the second largest country in the world. It’s land is filled with natural resources and home to hundreds of provincial parks and 41 national parks. It was ranked by the United Nations as one of the best country to live, and is globally recognized for its high quality of life its residents receive including a stable and progressive political environment, and healthy economy. Canada and the United States are each other’s largest trading partners.

In Inuit people were the first inhabitants of the country, and Leif Eriksson -- the famous Norse explorer -- reached the Canadian shores around 1000. In 1534, Jacques Cartier took Canada for France. A settlement called New France began in 1604 in the area that is now known as Nova Scotia. Quebec was founded in 1608, and while France’s efforts to colonize wasn’t very successful, many French explores had moved from the Great Lakes to the western prairies toward the end of the 17th century.

France and England saw how valuable the fisheries and fur trade in Canada was, and a conflict began. Because of this conflict, France lost Nova Scotia, Hudson Bay and Newfoundland to England. The Seven Years’ War began lasting from 1756 to 1763, and during this time, England expanded its conquest. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris gave England control. During this time, the population was made up almost entirely of the French. Over the next few decades, however, thousands of colonists from Britain began to immigrate to Canada. It wasn’t until 1849 that Canada received the right to self government.

According to the United Nations, Canada had a population of 34.7 million in 2012. This country’s main exports include automotive products, plastics, metals, equipment and machinery, fishing and agricultural products, forestry products and energy products.


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