What is a country
The terms country, state, and nation can be really confusing. Let's see if we can clear it up a bit.
According to the dictionary: "A country is a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory."
According to Wikipedia: "A country is a region that is identified as a distinct national entity in political geography ... Sometimes countries refers both to sovereign states and to other political entities, while other times it refers only to states. (Now that's confusing. That does mean Washington State is a country? Or does the word "state" in this definition mean something else entirely, which of course is the right answer. But what does it mean?) In brief, the difference between a state and a country is that the term "country" refers to a nation with its own government and economy, and the term "state" refers to a large governing area within the country. But, "state" can also sometimes be used to refer to the whole country as well.
According to this site: http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/countries/country_definition.html, the problm is that there is not a universally agreed definition of "county" and because, for political reasons, some countries find it convenient to recognize or not recognize other countries. For example, the United States considers Taiwan a country, but China does not.
For those who say there are 195 countries in the world today, most base their total on 193 countries that are member states of the United Nations and 2 countries that are non-member observers, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. But, there are those who insist there are upward of 230 countries in the world today. Different governments and different organizations do not always agree on how many countries there are currently in the world. The reason for this is two fold. First - it's a question of politics. Second - it's because of the rather loose definition of the meaning of "country".
The best definition we found is this: From Britannica Kids: "A country is a land that is controlled by a single government. Countries are also called nations, states, or nation-states. Countries can be large or small. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia and the United States are large countries spread over millions of square miles."