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As a territorial unit, "department" was first used by the French Revolutionary governments, apparently to emphasize that each territory was simply an administrative sub-division of the united sovereign nation. (The term "department", in other contexts, means an administrative sub-division of a larger organization.) This attempt to de-emphasize local political identity contrasts strongly with countries which are divided into "states" (implying local sovereignty).
Countries using departments 
Former countries using departments 
See also 
- Administrative divisions
- Departments of the Duchy of Warsaw
- Departments of France
- Overseas departments and territories of France
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