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Affiliation with a particular nation or sovereign state. People, business corporations, ships, and aircraft all have nationalities. Nationality is inferior to citizenship, insofar as the latter implies a full set of political privileges and the former does not. Countries have limited rights to determine which of their inhabitants will be their nationals. People generally acquire a nationality by birth within a particular country's territory, by inheritance from one or both parents, or by naturalization. It may change or be augmented or taken away if a country cedes control of the territory where one lives to another country.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on nationality, visit Britannica.com.