The Third World: definition and explanation The term “Third World” refers to the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. A French demographer, Alfred Sauvy, coined the expression in 1952, comparing these countries to the “third estate” before and during the French Revolution – the common people who had no rights, were usually poor, and who demanded revolutionary change to better their lives. In 1955, Nehru of India and others used the term at a conference of African and Asian countries held in Bandung, Indonesia, to refer to their countries. From this second usage, the term came to be associated with the efforts of many newly emerging states to remain non-aligned, that is, neither in the camp of the Soviet Union nor of the United States, in the midst of the Cold War.
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