The French Revolution contributed to the modern concept of nationalism by aiding in the creation of national identity. In early modern Europe, most people identified with their ethnic heritage, their religion, or their city. A Catholic person from Venice would not have called themselves Italian, because the modern nation of Italy did not exist. This was due to the large empires that ruled over several European countries. Without an independent nation, many lacked a national identity. This concept gained popularity during the French Revolution, because revolutionaries used it as a tool to gain support for the movement. There was a call to unify the French people, and this resulted in pride for one's nation. Today, one's country is a defining point for their identity. A person now calls themselves American, French, Croatian, Greek, etc. because they identify with their nation. When empires collapsed and countries gained independence, those citizens found national identity.