A sovereign state is a state that has the highest authority over a territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, a government not under another, and the capacity to interact with other sovereign states. It is also commonly understood that a sovereign state is independent.
According to the declarative theory of statehood, a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states. Unrecognised states will often find it difficult to exercise full treaty-making powers or engage in diplomatic relations with other sovereign states.
Since the end of the 19th century, almost the entire globe has been divided into sections (countries) with more or less defined borders assigned to different states. Previously, quite large plots of land were either unclaimed or deserted, or inhabited by nomadic peoples that were not organized into states. However, even in modern states, there are large remote ar