7 Smallest Countries in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Smallest Countries in the World

It may be hard to imagine that there are a number of countries in the world that are under 200 square miles in area, and that one is even smaller than New York City’s Central Park. Think you know where the smallest ones are? Here’s a look at the seven smallest countries in the world based on geographical size.

Marshall Islands

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The Marshall Islands is the first on our list and has the distinction of being the seventh smallest country in the world based on its 70 square miles of land. While it’s one of the smallest countries in the world, it’s also home to the Kwajalein Atoll, which is the largest atoll in the world. Located around halfway between Australia and Hawaii, the islands have around 68,000 residents and were previously part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands, which is administered by the U.S. The Marshall Islands is a popular destination for scuba divers who come to see hundreds of types of fish, coral and shipwrecks. Bikini Atollis a famous dive site that was once an American atomic test site that became a ship graveyard after WWII.

Liechtenstein

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At 62 square miles, Liechtenstein is the sixth smallest country in the world. Landlocked between Austria and Switzerland, this tiny country runs along the Rhine River. It became independent in 1806 and has around 36,000 residents. There is no airport within its borders, so you have to drive or fly into a neighboring airport like Zurich. Liechtenstein is still run by a prince who even has his own winery you can visit.

San Marino

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San Marino is a mountain country in north-central Italy. It sits on Monte Titano, which has an elevation of 2,477 feet. It’s said to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world and has the oldest constitution in the world. It was first written in 1600, and the nation was recognized as an independent nation in 1631. Tourism is a key part of the San Marino economy with over three million people visiting the country each year. Another interesting source of revenue for San Marino is coins and postage stamps, which are sought by collectors.

Tuvalu

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Tuvalu is located in the South Pacific, northeast of Australia, about a two-hour flight from Fiji. It is around 10 square miles and was formerly known as the Ellice Islands. It was once a British territory and became independent in 1978. Tourism is not a significant industry on the island, but it is possible. Tuvalu is actually made up of nine islands and atolls, three of which are true islands while the other six are coral atolls. If you plan to visit, be sure to bring lots of Australian dollars as there is no ATM and credit cards are not accepted anywhere on the islands.

Nauru

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Nauru is located in the South Pacific, near Australia, and comes in third with 8.5 square miles. Nauru was once called Pleasant Island and became independent from Australia in 1968. The island was renowned for its lucrative phosphate mining operations, which are nearly depleted today. That led to a 90% unemployment rate by 2011. What was once the richest island is now more well-known due to its unemployment rate and high rate of diabetes due to poor nutrition. If you’re wondering whether tourism is viable on Nauru, there are some intrepid world travelers who’ve made their way to the world’s third smallest country.

Monaco

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Monaco is the runner up for the smallest country in the world at 0.77 square miles. Monaco is home to the world-famous city of Monte Carlo, which is a favorite retreat for some of the world’s most rich and famous. Situated on the French Riviera, near southeastern France, this country of less than one square mile is also home to the Monte Carlo Casino and the Monte Carlo Formula One race.

Vatican City

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At 0.2 square miles, Vatican City is the big winner, or smallest winner, in this lineup. What it lacks in size, Vatican City makes up for in influential religious power. It is the center for the Roman Catholic church and where the Pope resides. Vatican City is a walled area of Rome and was declared an independent state in 1929. There are around 800 people who reside in Vatican City with more who “commute” in for work. If you were calculating the smallest autonomous regions in the world based on population, Vatican City would lose out to the Pitcairn Islands, which has around 40-60 residents.

What Is a Micronation?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

What Is a Micronation?

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In short, a micronation is an entity that claims sovereignty while being part of another nation. A micronation is not formally recognized as an independent country, regardless of its claims. However, even though micronations (like the Swedish-adjacent Ladonia, whose flag is pictured above) aren’t recognized by other countries or international bodies like the United Nations, that hasn’t stopped some of these unofficial territories from acting as independent lands. Many micronations have adopted their own currencies, postage stamps, passports, and other common activities associated with real countries.

But Isn’t That a Microstate?

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In short, no. A microstate is a duly recognized sovereign nation that happens to be very small. Well-known microstates include Andorra, Lichtenstein, and Monaco. All four of these locales are small independent countries or states that enjoy autonomy and are considered to have their own governments — even if they depend on a larger nation for protection or support. A perfect example would be the Vatican. Officially, it is an independent state, but it receives support from its surrounding country, Italy.

How Did Micronations Begin?

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When compared to “real” countries and territories in the world, the concept of a micronation is fairly novel. And by that, we mean it’s still pretty new. The oldest record of a person declaring their own sovereignty on land already claimed by a country dates back to the early 20th century. Martin Coles Harman claimed the British Isle of Lundy as his own nation because he also owned the land. And then during World War II, the Principality of Outer Baldonia was formed in 1945 when Russell Arundel, the chairman of Pepsi Cola Company (now PepsiCo), declared sovereignty over a rocky island off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Over the years, micronations have been created by eccentric people like Ernest Hemingway’s brother, as well as government idealists, separatists, and people or groups focused on making political statements. Most notably, during the 1980s several Japanese villages in the northern part of the country declared their independence from Japan as a show of protest against Japan’s strong embrace of modernization. And in 2014, Greenpeace declared a segment of glaciers on the border between Chile and Argentinaa sovereign micronation known as the Glacier Republic. This was a publicity stunt to bring awareness to the lack of environmental protections to prevent glacial damage caused by nearby mining activity.

How Do You Create a Micronation?

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If you’re bent on creating a micronation, it’s easier than you might think. Keep in mind that most likely, your micronation will never be formally recognized as an autonomous state. But if you’ve always wanted to be a leader of your own land, keep reading these quick tips to create your own faux country.

You Need Land

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For starters, in order to have your own country, you need land or a defined territory with clear borders. There are a few options here.

  • Your own property: If you own land, this is probably the easiest way to declare a sovereign state.
  • Undeclared land: Remember how we mentioned that Greenpeace created a micronation on the glaciers between Chile and Argentina? This is because they took advantage of a few loopholes that left those glaciers categorized as undeclared land between the two nations. Look for contested lands between states or nations and look for opportunities to stake your claim.

You Need a Government

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Real countries have some form of organized government or structure. Regardless of how you want to lead your new country, if you want anyone to come close to taking you seriously, you should draft a constitution. People with experience forming micronations recommend following the Model Constitution Code to create a relatively simple democracy.

You Need Citizens

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Yes, you need citizens. So, now you need to decide who will be a part of your new country. Will it be a nation of one, or are you going to recruit other people to renounce their current citizenship and join forces with you?

You Need Diplomacy

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Now that you’ve established a country, you’re going to need to negotiate terms with other nations. And this is where things can get “creative.” By some standards, paying taxes can qualify as international relations. For example, American citizens who pay property and annual income tax could continue to do so even if they’ve established their private residence and land as a sovereign entity. If you take creative license, those taxes could be interpreted as a tribute paid to a foreign nation to enjoy their protections and services.

Good to Know

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A micronation can still be found in violation of a real country’s laws. If your micronation Weedtopia allows for cannabis use outdoors but you live in Indiana where using the substance at all is illegal … you’re still going to jail. You aren’t a sovereign land like a Native American reservation that is a duly recognized independent territory with their own laws.

Monaco: 3 Tips For Making The Most Of Your Trip

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Tips For Making the Most of Your Trip to Monaco

Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and is located on the French Riviera. Most people have only seen it on television, where it is often billed as a getaway for the rich and famous. The colorful buildings make it beautiful, and the pure luxury of all makes it a paradise for anyone who is ready to spend a few bucks. Luckily, though, you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy Monaco – you just have to keep these three tips in mind to make the most of your trip.

If You Want to Save Money, Book a Hotel in the Next Town

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As we mentioned in the introduction, Monaco is a fantastic destination for those who have lots of money to throw around. It is a great place to spend your cash (and maybe earn it back at one of the many casinos), but if you are like me, you probably don’t want to spend all your money on a hotel reservation. If you are feeling thrifty, cross the French border and head into the city of Beausoleil. It is close enough to Monaco to make commuting a non-issue, and you can find some really great deals on hotel rooms here, since it isn’t in the middle of all the glitz and glamor. If you really want to treat yourself like royalty, though, you can’t beat the luxurious hotels in Monaco, such as the Fairmont and the Meridien, which has a private beach.

Know When to Visit

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While Monaco is beautiful all year round, there are certain times of the year when the weather is just perfect. Most people visit in May and June, when it is a great temperature for being outside and walking the hilly streets, but April and October are said to be pleasant months here as well. April offers guests the opportunity to take in the annual arts festival, and May is time for the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix. That being said, the summer months are usually the best for tourism, but you can save on hotel prices and other reservations by booking a trip here in the off-season, namely winter. It all depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

Visit Attractions Early in the Day

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Monaco may be a small country, but it has a ton of interesting sights to see. The best time to visit these sites (especially the ones that are most popular with tourists) is early in the morning. Many travelers note that if they got to an attraction in the early morning hours, they pretty much had the whole thing to themselves, which is what every traveler hopes for. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that many of the surrounding stores don’t open until at least 10 a.m., so be sure to check online or ask around to make sure that the thing you want to do is open and available early. Also keep in mind that the roads are a bit tough to walk here in places and there are a lot of stairs to climb, so no matter what time you plan to make your visit, be sure to factor in extra time for getting there.

4 Crazy Facts About Monaco

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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4 Crazy Facts About Monaco

Soft white sand beaches, ultra posh resorts and luxurious yachts – the sunny shores of Monaco is a destination where the rich and famous holiday. But wealth isn’t a requirement for a visit to this tiny nation, and the changing of the guards that take place daily at 11:55 a.m. at Prince’s Palace and the opulent Monte Carlo Casino attract hordes of day-trippers from nearby Nice. A journey to Monaco will allow visitors to experience its extravagance and reveal a number of observations unique to the nation.

Second Smallest Country in the World

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Sharing the border with France to its west, north, and south, and its coastline on the east lapped by the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is the world’s second smallest country, after Vatican City. With a total land area of 0.78 square miles, smaller than New York City’s Central Park at 1.317 square miles, the average person can walk the width of the country in just 56 minutes. Due to a boom in tourism and subsequent accumulation of wealth in the early 19th century, Monaco reclaimed 100 acres from the Mediterranean, accounting for 20 percent of its territory. And as one of the most highly sought after luxury addresses by the world’s high rollers, Monaco embarked on a $2.3 billion project in 2016 to extend its natural coastline a further 15 acres into the Mediterranean, with businesses along Portier Cove, the new ritzy seafront district, slated to open in 2025.

It’s a Tax Haven

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Widely regarded as a tax haven because of its lenient tax policies, income taxes have been abolished for residents of Monaco since 1869, and the absence of corporation tax attracts a multitude of international companies. Consequently, Monaco’s economy is fuelled by foreign investors, as well as its booming tourism industry and lucrative gambling scene. However, the glitz and glamour of Monaco’s iconic Monte Carlo Casino that starred in three James Bonds films – Never Say Never Again, GoldenEye and Casino Royale, is off limits to locals as the goal of the gambling industry is to attract enthusiastic foreign gamblers.

Locals are a Minority

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Despite the Mediterranean city-state’s relatively small population of about 38,000 people, the natives of Monaco, the Monegasque, make up the country’s minority at an estimated 10,000 people. Residents of this little oasis but born abroad are referred to as Monacoians, and the largest foreign community in Monaco is the French, at more than a quarter of the population, followed by the Italian and the British.

It’s Millionaire-Dense

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This tiny nation on the sunkissed French Riviera conjures images of swanky mountainside villas and luxury supercars that race along a yacht lined harbor – a destination of ultra extravagance. Monaco’s lavish lifestyle has evolved into a mecca for the wealthy, and prides itself as the most millionaire-dense country in the world. In 2018, one of every three residents classified as a millionaire, with a collection of business moguls and fine art dealers among Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.

Monaco: Truth, Knowledge And Understanding If This Tiny European Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Monaco

Introduction The Genoese built a fortress on the site of present-day Monaco in 1215. The current ruling Grimaldi family secured control in the late 13th century, and a principality was established in 1338. Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad link up to France and the opening of a casino. Since then, the principality’s mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world-famous as a tourist and recreation center.
History Monaco first gained its name from the nearby Phocaean Greek colony, in the sixth century BC, which referred to the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek Μόνοικος “single house”, from μόνος “alone, single” + οίκος “house”, which bears the sense of a people either settled in a “single habitation” or of “living apart” from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area. A temple was constructed there by Phocaeans, the temple of Hercules Monoikos.[4]

Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was re-founded in 1228 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, when François Grimaldi (“Malizia”, Italian for “The Malicious”) and his men captured the fortress protecting the famous Rock of Monaco while he was dressed as a Franciscan monk – or, in Italian Monaco, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name.

From 1793 to 1814, Monaco was under French control. The Congress of Vienna designated Monaco as a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860 when the Treaty of Turin ceded to France the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy). During this time there was unrest in the towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which declared independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia. The unrest continued until the ruling prince gave up his claim to the two towns (some 95% of the country) to France in return for four million francs. This transfer and Monaco’s sovereignty was recognised by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.

Until the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers. In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, part of the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.

In 1943, the Italian army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a Fascist administration. Shortly thereafter, following Mussolini’s collapse in Italy, the Nazi German Wehrmacht occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum (Paris, 13 March 1878 – Auschwitz, 30 April 1943), who founded the Ballet de l’Opera in Monte Carlo. He was held in the Drancy deportation camp outside of Paris, France from where he was then shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he died.

Rainier III, Prince of Monaco acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. A new constitution, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for women’s suffrage, and established a Supreme Court of Monaco to guarantee fundamental liberties. In 1993, the Principality of Monaco became a member of the United Nations, with full voting rights.

In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco’s military defense, however, is still the responsibility of France.

On 31 March 2005, Prince Rainier III, too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them onto his only son and heir, Prince Albert Alexandre Louis. Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005, after a reign of fifty-six years, and his son succeeded him as Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

Following a period of official mourning, Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on 12 July 2005, in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Monaco cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monegasque throne was a two-step event, with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate levée, held on 19 November 2005 at the historic palace in Monaco-Ville. Albert II is also the son of the late princess Grace, once the actress, Grace Kelly.

Geography Location: Western Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea on the southern coast of France, near the border with Italy
Geographic coordinates: 43 44 N, 7 24 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 1.95 sq km
land: 1.95 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: about three times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 4.4 km
border countries: France 4.4 km
Coastline: 4.1 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 12 nm
Climate: Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers
Terrain: hilly, rugged, rocky
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mont Agel 140 m
Natural resources: none
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (urban area) (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: second-smallest independent state in the world (after Holy See); almost entirely urban
Politics Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as Head of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (the head of government), who presides over a four-member Council of Government (the Cabinet). The minister of state is a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government. Under the 1962 constitution, the prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council (parliament). The twenty-four members of this legislative body are elected from lists by universal suffrage for five-year terms. The principality’s local affairs are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of fifteen elected members and is presided over by the mayor.
People Population: 32,796 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.8% (male 2,488/female 2,369)
15-64 years: 62.4% (male 10,110/female 10,353)
65 years and over: 22.8% (male 3,048/female 4,428) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 45.5 years
male: 43.5 years
female: 47.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.375% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.09 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 12.96 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 7.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.18 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.96 years
male: 76.14 years
female: 83.97 years (2008 est.)

San Marino: Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

San Marino

Introduction The third smallest state in Europe (after the Holy See and Monaco), San Marino also claims to be the world’s oldest republic. According to tradition, it was founded by a Christian stonemason named Marinus in A.D. 301. San Marino’s foreign policy is aligned with that of Italy; social and political trends in the republic also track closely with those of its larger neighbor.
History According to tradition, Saint Marinus left the island of Rab in Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo and went to the town of Rimini as a mason. After persecution because of his Christian sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, where he built a small church and thus founded what is now the city and the state of San Marino. The official date of foundation of the Republic is 3 September 301.

By the mid-5th century, a community was formed; because of its relatively inaccessible location and its poverty, it has succeeded, with a few brief interruptions, in maintaining its independence. In 1631 its independence was recognized by the Papacy.

During the early phase of the Italian unification process in the 19th century, San Marino served as a refuge for numerous persons who were persecuted because of their support for the unification. In memory of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state. Napoleon refused to take the country. When asked why, he allegedly commented, “Why? It’s a model republic!”

The government of San Marino made United States President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen. He wrote in reply, saying that the republic proved that “government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring.”

In World War I, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915. San Marino declared war on Austria-Hungary on 3 June 1915.

During WWII, San Marino initially declared war on Britain. Then when Italy surrendered San Marino declared neutrality. September 21, 1944 San Marino declared war on Germany.

The head of state is a committee (council) of two captains-regent. San Marino also had the world’s first democratically-elected communist government, which held office between 1945 and 1957.

San Marino was the world’s smallest republic from 301 to 1968, until Nauru gained independence.

San Marino became a member of the Council of Europe in 1988 and of the United Nations in 1992. It is not a member of the European Union.

Geography Location: Southern Europe, an enclave in central Italy
Geographic coordinates: 43 46 N, 12 25 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 61.2 sq km
land: 61.2 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: about one third times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 39 km
border countries: Italy 39 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool winters; warm, sunny summers
Terrain: rugged mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Torrente Ausa 55 m
highest point: Monte Titano 755 m
Natural resources: building stone
Land use: arable land: 16.67%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 83.33% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution
Geography – note: landlocked; smallest independent state in Europe after the Holy See and Monaco; dominated by the Apennines
Politics The politics of San Marino takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Captains Regent are the heads of state, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Grand and General Council. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

San Marino was originally led by the Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family. In the 13th century, power was given to the Great and General Council. In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated by the Council. This method of nomination is still in use today, as of 2008.

The legislature of the republic is the Grand and General Council (Consiglio grande e generale). The Council is a unicameral legislature which has 60 members with elections occurring every 5 years under a proportional representation system in all nine administrative districts. These districts (townships) correspond to the old parishes of the republic. Citizens eighteen years or older are eligible to vote. Besides general legislation, the Grand and General Council approves the budget and elects the Captains Regent, the State Congress (composed of 10 Secretaries with executive power), the Council of Twelve (which forms the judicial branch during the period of legislature of the Council), the Advising Commissions, and the Government Unions. The Council also has the power to ratify treaties with other countries. The Council is divided into five different Advising Commissions consisting of 15 councilors which examine, propose, and discuss the implementation of new laws that are on their way to being presented on the floor of the Council. Every 6 months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so there is a balance of power. They serve a 6-month term. The investiture of the Captains Regent takes place on 1 April and 1 October in every year. Once this term is over, citizens have 3 days in which to file complaints about the Captains’ activities. If they warrant it, judicial proceedings against the ex-head(s) of state can be initiated.

The practice of multiple heads of state, as well as the frequent re-election of the heads of state, are derived directly from the customs of the Roman Republic. The Council is equivalent to the Roman Senate; the Captains Regent, to the consuls of ancient Rome.

San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The two main parties are the San Marinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) and the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD, a merger of the Socialist Party of San Marino and the former communist Party of Democrats) in addition to several other smaller parties, such as the San Marinese Communist Refoundation. Due to the small size of San Marino and its low population, it is difficult for any party to gain a pure majority and most of the time the government is run by a coalition. In the June 2006 election the PSD won 20 seats on the Council and currently governs in coalition with the (liberal) Popular Alliance of Sammarinese Democrats for the Republic and United Left.

People Population: 29,973 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.8% (male 2,608/female 2,430)
15-64 years: 66% (male 9,464/female 10,304)
65 years and over: 17.2% (male 2,229/female 2,938) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 41.2 years
male: 40.9 years
female: 41.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.181% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.74 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.37 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 10.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.44 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.98 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81.88 years
male: 78.43 years
female: 85.64 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.35 children born/woman (2008 est.)

2,000 Jewish Teens On Spiritual Tour De Force In New York City

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

2,000 Jewish Teens on Spiritual Tour de Force in New York City

Students are coming in from all over the world, to then bring the spirit of the Shabbaton back home

Teens from around the world, accompanied by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, will pour into New York to participate in the ninth annual CTeen International Shabbaton. The official program starts Friday and lasts through Sunday. Pictured from last year is Samuel Tibi from Ra’anana, Israel; this year, his younger brother, Victor Tibi, is attending. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Teens from around the world, accompanied by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, will pour into New York to participate in the ninth annual CTeen International Shabbaton. The official program starts Friday and lasts through Sunday. Pictured from last year is Samuel Tibi from Ra’anana, Israel; this year, his younger brother, Victor Tibi, is attending. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

“How many people can show up in Times Square and have a mad Jewish party there?” asks Koby Lerner, rhetorically.

The 16-year-old from San Diego will be one of more than 2,000 Jewish teenagers from countries around the world to share in a Havdalah ceremony and spend Saturday night in New York’s iconic neighborhood at Broadway and Seventh Avenue as part of the ninth annual CTeen International Shabbaton, to take place Feb. 24-26. And that’s only a part of a weekend of spirited (and spiritual) celebrations, learning, touring, socializing and more.

Koby recalls the first time he attended the Shabbaton two years ago and his first impression of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, N.Y. “At first, it seemed like we didn’t fit in there because we didn’t have black hats and white shirts,” he says. “But it didn’t matter at all to anybody there: They loved us unconditionally. You could feel the love from these random strangers.”

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These numbers, according to Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, “are a testament to the dedicated Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who have worked tirelessly to bring Jewish teens closer to Yiddishkeit.”

In Germany, getting ready for going abroad. This year will see the largest international group to date, including chapters from Moscow, Monaco and Brazil. (CTeen Photo)
In Germany, getting ready for going abroad. This year will see the largest international group to date, including chapters from Moscow, Monaco and Brazil. (CTeen Photo)

Rabbi Mendy Mottal, Chabad emissary of CTeen Paris, is accompanying 207 participants from throughout France to New York. “Each year, the energy and effort that is poured into making this event is incredible,” he says. “Our teens always have an uplifting and inspiring experience, much of which I attribute to the incredible community feeling that Crown Heights offers us.”

This year, for the first time, CTeen will welcome chapters from Moscow, Monaco and Brazil, making this the largest international group ever. And as many as 75 young Israelis are flying to New York.

Rabbi Aizik Rosenfeld of the Marina Roscha Synagogue and Jewish Community Center in Moscow will be accompanied by 22 teens to the Shabbaton, none of whom have ever been to the United States before. “They’re really pumped up,” says Rosenfeld. “New York is like a dream come true; it’s what America means to them.”

The students will be hosted by local families and experience a traditional Shabbat, similar to what it was like for many of their great-grandparents and forefathers, adds the rabbi.

Rabbi Zalman Marcus, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Mission Viejo, Calif., fields questions from participants and parents about what to expect at the three-day event. (CTeen Photo)
Rabbi Zalman Marcus, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Mission Viejo, Calif., fields questions from participants and parents about what to expect at the three-day event. (CTeen Photo)

“It will be an interesting experience for them, keeping Shabbat from beginning to end,” says Rosenfeld, who moved to Moscow three years ago with his wife, Blumi. He remembers being amazed at “how much liberty there is now, how much openness there is as far as Yiddishkeit in general. Still, the density of Jewish life in Moscow, growing as it is, remains very different from Crown Heights.”

For these young people, he says, every small step—such as putting on tefillinonce a week or observing Shabbat to any extent—is a huge change.

Similar to the Russian students, Rabbi Chai Kohan, head of CTeen Español, adds that “the draw for many arriving from South and Central America is the chance to meet other Jewish teens from around the world. Most of them have never traveled to the United States.”

The worldwide growth of CTeen programs like the Shabbaton is thanks to the Meromim Foundation, spearheaded by Rabbi Bentzi Lipskier. To date, the foundation has sponsored more than 40 CTeen Chabad couples under the “New Shluchim Initiative.”

The Shabbaton comes just days after thousands of women filled Brooklyn as part of the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Women Emissaries (Kinus Hashluchos).

CTeen Côte S. Luc preps in Montreal, Canada (CTeen Photo)
CTeen Côte S. Luc preps in Montreal, Canada (CTeen Photo)

‘Part of Your Journey’

In New York, teens will get to visit some of the city’s major attractions: the Statue of Liberty, the new One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, Midtown, Uptown, Downtown and more—and will spend Shabbat learning, eating, praying and getting to know one another.

Participants will also get a tour of Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, and the President Street home and the study of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. And they will visit the Ohel, the Rebbe’s resting place at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, N.Y.

Teens get an update in Ashkelon, Israel, about the Shabbaton. As many as 75 young Israelis are flying to New York. (CTeen Photo)
Teens get an update in Ashkelon, Israel, about the Shabbaton. As many as 75 young Israelis are flying to New York. (CTeen Photo)

Victoria Lamport, 17, from Tampa, Fla., sees the recreational parts of the Shabbaton as intrinsically connected to its more religious aspects. “It’s fun to see all your friends, to reconnect and to meet new people,” she says, “but the spiritual side to it is also the fact that you’re around so many people who are as motivated as you are . . . people who want to help, people who want to be a part of your journey, people doing certain mitzvahs for the first time and seeing how it affects them.”

She has seen that transformative energy work in her own family. “What is really awesome,” says the high school senior, “is that as I started to learn more, my family also got more involved. My dad started having the rabbi over every other week to learn. It’s been amazing to see the impact that Chabad has had on our lives.”

She hopes to spend the summer focusing on Jewish studies before starting a pre-med curriculum at college. “When I’m learning is when I really feel; I can almost feel my neshamah [‘soul’]. I don’t really know how to explain it. I just feel it—like I have a purpose in this world.”

Koby relates how exposure to the strong camaraderie that Victoria describes has been “life-changing.” Last summer, the California native went on the “CTeen Xtreme” summer travel camp out West, staying on afterwards for a yeshivah program. “I liked it so much I decided I didn’t want to go home, so I convinced my parents to let me stay.” Now, Koby lives and learns full-time at Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad in Los Angeles.

Koby Lerner of California will join the Shabbaton for a second time. The 16-year-old was also part of “CTeen Xtreme” summer travel camp last year, shown here having a blast. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Koby Lerner of California will join the Shabbaton for a second time. The 16-year-old was also part of “CTeen Xtreme” summer travel camp last year, shown here having a blast. (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

Youths Into Leaders

For many teens, the inspiration continues long after the Shabbaton is over.

“My daughter, Sydney, was always deathly afraid of getting up to speak, even to our own family,” says Craig Winawer of Dix Hills, N.Y. “Recently, I watched her make a 10-minute speech in front of our of whole shul about CTeen and the Shabbaton. This is a kid who you can barely get to say three words at our Passover seder.”

Ever since Sydney became involved four years ago, her father has watched his shy daughter transform into a real leader. Today, she is member of the CTeen International Board.

A little anxiety, however, isn’t just relegated to teenagers. Brochie Levin of Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta in Calgary, Canada, acknowledges that “as a new shlucha to CTeen, I was nervous about bringing in a group for the Shabbaton. But the amount of advice, prep and work that was put into helping us was incredible. Our teens are so excited—and so are we.”

To learn more about CTeen International and the Shabbaton, click here.

The Havdalah ceremony and celebration in Times Square 2014 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
The Havdalah ceremony and celebration in Times Square 2014 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2015 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2015 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2016 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
Times Square 2016 (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)
A group on the way from Kiryat Bialik, Israel, for the 2017 Shabbaton (CTeen Photo)
A group on the way from Kiryat Bialik, Israel, for the 2017 Shabbaton (CTeen Photo)