1. A specialized type of political organization characterized by a full-time, specialized, professional work force of tax-collectors, soldiers, policemen, bureaucrats and the like that exercises supreme political authority over a defined territory with a permanent population, independent from any enduring external political control and possessing a local predominance of coercive power (always supplemented with moral and remunerative incentives as well) great enough to maintain general obedience to its laws or commands within its territorial borders. The first known states were created in ancient times in Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Mexico and Peru, but it is only in relatively modern times that states have almost completely displaced alternative "stateless" forms of political organization of societies all over the planet. (Roving bands of hunter-gatherers and even fairly sizable and complex tribal societies based on herding or agriculture have existed without any full-time specialized state organization, and these "stateless" forms of political organization have in fact prevailed for all of the prehistory and much of the history of the human species.)

  2. One of the component territorial political units in a larger federal state that are so called because, although they actually fall short of full independent statehood or sovereignty, they still possess a very large degree of autonomy in decision-making with respect to most of their internal affairs and are thus also legally allowed to exercise various forms of coercion over their regional populations [Example -- the 50 states of the United States.].