The Background Notes series is a collection of works by the United States Department of State. These publications include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. The series is available online through the State Department's website. The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ... A state is an organized political community, occupying a territory, and possessing internal and external sovereignty, which successfully claims the monopoly of the use of force. ... Dependent areas are territories that for some reason do not possess full political independence or sovereignty as states. ...
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