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The appearance of the concept of nation in the everyday life of scientists and politicians dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Nations are a product of Modern times, when the development of capitalism began and bourgeois states appeared. A nation is a population of a State united by a common territory, economic and social interests, culture, history, and language.
As a rule, people did not divide, but gathered in nations. The most striking example of this gathering into a nation is the creation of such European centralized states as Italy (1861) and Germany (1871). Even earlier, the United States of America was created (1778) with its own nation.
After the First World War, some empires ceased to exist and independent states were created in their place. These are the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire. The British Empire ceased to exist after the Second World War. At the same time, the former colonies of France and Portugal also became independent. The collapse of empires and colonial systems benefited the most industrially advanced countries, which expanded their markets for goods and subsequently their source of capital exports.
If the author meant ethnic groups, that is, cultural and linguistic communities of people, then here, too, the process of ethnogenesis was primarily influenced by external conditions. This applies to climate, management, habitats, and interaction with neighbors.
There is a so-called Dunbar number – the number of social connections that a creature can maintain. For a human, the number is two hundred. For primates, it is less, the number directly depends on the development of social intelligence. The Dunbar number naturally limits the size of populations. Without the development of social technologies, a tribe cannot function effectively with a larger population. Therefore, people had to split up, go in different directions, until agriculture and ways of social organization were invented.
In fact, the nations of the first wave were caused by the unification of the first empires. Naturally, where there is unification, there is also disunion, but specific nations are an association and for them this ideological construct was just called a nation. But the second wave of nations-just was disjointed, it appeared due to the battles for their independence of certain territories against empires and there was used exactly the same construct of the nation.
Initially, a nation was a certain group within the framework of feudal knighthood, mainly at tournaments, which transformed first to the entire elite, and then to civil society with its emergence.
It was developed thanks to the invention of communication tools, namely the printing press. This is the most common hypothesis at the moment.
People did not become divided into nations, people began to unite in nations. The reason is the development of means of communication, mobile communication, and increased mobility of the population.