The oldest nation in the world, historically speaking

Amando de Miguel and others who spend days on end with the flag wrapped round their heads are convinced it is Spain. English books in Google paint a different picture, however. Here are some very rough results based on various strings, which take no account of the not hugely different meanings attributed to “nation” & cognates in various periods:

period 1 2 3
-1799 No one actually really cared greatly. This was a Good Thing.
1800-1849 Jews
Athenians (Herodotus quoting Athenians)
1850-1899 China Egypt Assyria
1900-1949 China Egypt Great Britain
1950- No clear leaders–people who publish books seem to have lost interest in the issue, their passion being inherited by the tribalist illiterates who run places like Catalonia.

It would be interesting to repeat this with other languages, but not half as interesting as lunch.

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