What is the oldest state in the world still in existence? With due caution, Egypt

Over the centuries, i continents of the Earth were divided into approximately 200 states which today cover almost every strip of emerged land on the planet. But what, precisely, is a state and which is the oldest one that still “exists” today? While we know that the republic the oldest still existing is that of San Marino, as far as the oldest state is concerned, regardless of the form of government, given some important premises the choice could perhaps fall on theEgypt.

The definition of state

Broadly speaking, we all have in mind what we are referring to when we talk about State: Italian State, French State, Chinese State… And, more or less rightly, we think of that group of people who inhabit a very specific territory in some part of the world. However, let's look at the definition of this concept in detail.

A state is a form of organization established by one community of human beings it inhabits in a stable way a certain territory and claims membership by establishing gods borders very precise geographical locations. This organization has a nature politicswhich includes all the activities and institutional bodies that serve to govern, legalcharacterized by a set of laws, rights and duties that regulate the functioning of the State in all its aspects, and culturalin the sense that the community that constitutes the State is united by a series of ideas, values, customs, past, traditions, knowledge and beliefs.

To summarize: in its broadest sense, a state is apolitical organization, legal And cultural which includes a apparatus of institutions And lawsone population it's a territory very precise. Furthermore, for a state to be such, it must enjoy the recognition of this condition by other states or other political organizations in the world.

The concept of the state throughout history

The one expressed just now is the modern meaning of the concept of State, that is, what is meant today by this term, but over time the idea of ​​State has taken on different meanings. In fact, the first forms of state in history referred to the concept of city-statethat is, to those political institutions whose boundaries extended slightly outside the boundaries of one single city and the city itself was the focal point of life politics, economical, cultural, religious And social.

City-states developed in Mesopotamia, like the Sumerian ones Ur, Uruk And Lagash (starting from 4 000 BC) and subsequently in the Mediterranean, like the Greek ones of Athens And Sparta or those Phoenician ones of Byblos, Shot And Sidon. Forms of city-states still exist today although, obviously, with different characteristics: let's think about Vatican CITY, Monk And Singaporewhich are truly independent states enclosed within the borders of a city.

Over the centuries, forms of government and territorial sovereignty have changed countless times, come on great empireswhich incorporated social and territorial realities that were even very distant from each other, to the fragmentation of power typical ofEurope feudal or of city ​​lords. But the form of state most similar to the one we understand today was born in Europe, in the late Middle Ages, with the formation of the so-called National states.

Go back to the oldest state in history

So how do we understand which is the oldest state in existence today? Giving an answer to this question is not at all simple. First of all we must take into consideration what has been said so far, namely that the concept of State, while maintaining common characteristics, such as the centralization of power, the presence of an institutional apparatus, of laws, of a territory and of a population, it has changed several times over time. Furthermore, there are states that over the centuries have profoundly changed their identityexpanding or reducing its borders, being incorporated into other entities, changing its institutional structure or losing and regaining (even several times and in different forms) its independence. Finally, especially when we go back in time, it is not always possible to establish precisely the exact moment in which a state entity established itself as such.

The oldest state in the world: Egypt

In light of what has been analyzed and with due caution, we can currently identify a State, still existing, as the oldest on Earth, considering the moment of its institution, its characteristics and its historical path, despite, as already mentioned in article, the concept of the modern state was born millennia later: we are talking about theEgypt.

The history ofAncient Egypt it is long and complex and archaeologists still struggle to reconstruct it with precision. The first evidence of human presence in the regionEast Africabetween desert Libyan (the easternmost portion of the Sahara) to the west, the Mar Mediterranean to the north and the Mar Red in the east, they are incredibly old and date back further 40,000 years ago. There Nile Valleyin fact, it has represented a territory since Prehistory extremely favorable to human settlement, thanks to the presence of abundant water and of lands fertile which surrounded, and still surround, the river Nile.

Long before the time of the pharaohs, starting from 5th millennium BC the first Neolithic villages arose in this area, which over the centuries developed both from a social and economic point of view. Subsequently, from the merger of small political entities the two kingdoms of theHigh he was born in Lower Egyptwhich were then unified under a single sovereign, Menesaround 3150 BC

From this moment onwards a broad institutional and territorial structure it's a bureaucratic apparatus (essential for the management of resources and the economy of the area) which, accompanied by a form of social and cultural cohesion, created a state entity in line with the modern definition of the state. Over the centuries the country was then invaded and conquered countless times, passing under Persian, Macedonian, Roman, Arab and European rule, until obtaining definitive independence from the United Kingdom in 1922.

Therefore, considering the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt as a starting point for the birth of a State which, in many respects can already be considered such in the modern sense of the term, we would have a history lasting more than 5,000 years.

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