A state is an organized community living under one government. States may be sovereign. The denomination state is also employed to federated states that are members of a federal union, which is the sovereign state. Some states are subject to external sovereignty or hegemony where ultimate sovereignty lies in another state. The state can also be used to refer to the secular branches of government within a state, often as a manner of contrasting them with churches and civilian institutions.Many human societies have been governed by states for millennia, however for most of pre-history people lived in stateless societies.