A country is a geographical region. A country may be the territory of a sovereign state, the territory of a non-sovereign (or formerly sovereign) political division, or a region associated with a certain people or certain characteristics. Sometimes it is used to refer both to sovereign states and to other political entities, while other times it refers only to states. It is not uncommon for general information or statistical publications to adopt the wider definition for purposes such as illustration and comparison.
England, Scotland and Wales (in the United Kingdom) are examples of entities that are not sovereign states, but which are commonly regarded and referred to as countries. Historically, the countries of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were others. Former states such as Bavaria (now part of Germany) and Piedmont (now part of Italy) would not normally be referred to as "countries" in contemporary English.