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A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political parties or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle English to denote an encounter (meeting of adversaries) during battle, from the Latin congressus.

In the mid-1770s, the term was chosen by the 13 British colonies for the Continental Congress to emphasize the status of each colony represented there as a self-governing entity. Subsequent to the use of congress as the name for the legislature of the U.S. federal government (beginning in 1789), the term has been adopted by many nations to refer to their national legislatures.

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