This polygon shapefile depicts 197 sovereign states, the smallest divisions, or map units, of which are countries. These rarely correspond to actual administrative divisions but rather highlight geographical regions that are not continuous but are part of the same country. Sovereign states do not distinguish between the metropolitan and semi-independent portions of a state or its constituent countries. Natural Earth Vector draws boundaries of sovereign states according to defacto status. These data are represented at 1:50,000,000 scale. This layer is part of the Natural Earth Collection (v.2.0.0). Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10, 1:50 and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. Kelso, N.V. and Patterson, T. (2012). World Map Units, 1:50 million (2012). Made with Natural Earth, online at http://www.naturalearthdata.com.