I'm a non-English native and was quite surprised with the meaning of "public" refering to "belonging to government" or "provided by government", etc.
In my past experience "public" was sort of an alias for "what you show to everyone / post on your SNS page" - or otherwise isn't kept in secret (which could be described as "private" things).
So previously I faced both "public" and "private" in a context related to one single person in question: to describe things they display to everyone (public appearance) or keep in secret (private life).
Most of all I was confused by using "public" term referring to governmental companies that do not provide any services to people and just produce some stuff, like smelting factories or other heavy industry - I mean, no way people from outside could use it in their daily life directly. Still, it belongs to the government and thus is being referred to as "public company". This blew my mind completely and that's why I'm here.
I tried to do some research to figure out the origins of this new meaning, but it seems like it is too basic and fundamental in English, so I managed to find only discussions of various "public affairs" or services and how they work.
So I would appreciate it if somebody could provide links or a detailed explanation of the origin of this meaning for the "public" adjective. Or maybe a historical background? Since I'm not sure which term comes first: 'government' or 'public'.
I would appreciate it as well if you provide additional explanation of possible differences between "belonging to the government" and "public", since I'm still not sure if they're 100% synonymous.