Etymology
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nation (n.)
Origin and meaning of nation

c. 1300, nacioun, "a race of people, large group of people with common ancestry and language," from Old French nacion "birth, rank; descendants, relatives; country, homeland" (12c.) and directly from Latin nationem (nominative natio) "birth, origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of people, tribe," literally "that which has been born," from natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci), from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

The word is used in English in a broad sense, "a race of people an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family and speaking the same language," and also in the narrower sense, "a political society composed of a government and subjects or citizens and constituting a political unit; an organized community inhabiting a defined territory within which its sovereignty is exercised."

In Middle English it is not easy to distinguish them, but the "political society" sense emerged by 16c., perhaps late 14c. and it has gradually predominated. The older sense is preserved in the application of nation to the native North American peoples (1640s). Nation-building "creation of a new nation" is attested by 1907 (implied in nation-builder). Nation-state "sovereign country the inhabitants of which are united by language, culture, and common descent" is from 1918.

A nation is an organized community within a certain territory; or in other words, there must be a place where its sole sovereignty is exercised. [Theodore D. Woolsey, "Introduction to the Study of International Law," 1864] 
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African (n.)
Old English Africanas (plural) "native or inhabitant of Africa," from Latin Africanus (adj.) "of Africa, African," from Africa (see Africa). Used of white residents of Africa from 1815. Used of black residents of the U.S. from 18c., when it especially meant "one brought from Africa" and sometimes was contrasted to native-born Negro. As an adjective by 1560s, "pertaining to Africa or Africans" (Old English had Africanisc); from 1722 as "of or pertaining to black Americans."
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African-American (adj.)
there are isolated instances from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the modern use is a re-invention first attested 1969 (in reference to the African-American Teachers Association) which became the preferred term in some circles for "U.S. black" (noun or adjective) by the late 1980s. See African + American. Mencken, 1921, reports Aframerican "is now very commonly used in the Negro press." Afro-American is attested in 1853, in freemen's publications in Canada. Africo-American (1817 as a noun, 1826 as an adjective) was common in abolitionist and colonization society writings.
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Zaire 
African nation (1971-1997), from an early alternative name of the Congo River, from Kikongo nzai, dialectal form of nzadi "river."
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Nigeria 

West African nation, named for river Niger, which runs through it, + country name ending -ia. Related: Nigerian.

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Mali 

modern African nation, known by that name from 1959, formerly French Sudan. The name is that of a former African kingdom (13c.-14c.), perhaps from Malinke, name of an indigenous people of the region. Related: Malian.

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tanzanite (n.)
violet-blue gemstone, 1968, named by Henry B. Platt, vice president of Tiffany & Co., because the stone was discovered in the African nation of Tanzania.
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Tanzania 
east African nation, formed 1964 by union of Tanganyika (named for the lake, the name of which is of unknown origin) and Zanzibar. With country-name word-forming element -ia. Related: Tanzanian.
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Rwanda 

African nation, by 1834, Ruanda, probably via French, named for indigenous people there, whose word for themselves is of unknown origin. The spelling with -w- seems to have predominated after c. 1970.

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Senegal 

West African nation, independent from 1960, formerly a French colony, by 1783, named for the river through it, which is named perhaps from a local word meaning "navigable." Related: Senegalese.

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