Government StudiesHistory Classroom

Definition And Features of a State

Definition of a state. What is a state?

A state may be defined as a politically organised body of people inhabiting a defined geographical entity with an organized legitimate government (Dibie, 2008).

A state must be free from all forms of external control to exercise its sovereignty within its area of jurisdiction. It must be noted that a state differs from a kingdom and empire.

Nigeria is an example of a state, while Benin is a good example of a kingdom. In order for a state to exist, it must have the following features.

Features Of A State

1. Population – Without people, there is nothing like a state because people are the ones who make up the state.

2. Boundaries/Defined Territory – A state must have specific boundaries separating it from other states.
3. Permanence – The state stays permanent unlike the government which changes periodically.

4. Recognition – A state must be officially recognised internationally and locally for it to participate in nationwide activities like international trade, global summits, Olympics, etc.

5. Sovereignty – A state must be able to make and enforce policies on its citizens without any form of external control.

6. Government – The last but not the least. A state must have a government even though it is not permanent.

Thanks for reading,


  1. C. C. Dibie (2008). Essential Government Textbook For Senior Secondary Schools. Tonad Publishers.
Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (August 7, 2016). Definition And Features of a State. OldNaija. Retrieved from


  1. Tis’ really educating.please if it’s possible, make available all answers to ‘very govt. Questions

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