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Aussicht auf den beleuchteten Petersdom und die Via della Conciliazione, Bild: Pani Garmyder / shutterstock

The smallest countries in the world

There are several states in the world that can boast of being dwarf states because they are only a few square kilometers in size. Here is a list of the smallest countries in the world:

1.Vatican City 44 km²

The Vatican is a city-state. With around 1000 inhabitants and 44km², it is the smallest state in the world that is generally recognized. Vatican citizenship can only be obtained for a certain period of time and on the basis of one’s function in the Vatican. Therefore, this nationality can only be obtained in addition to another nationality.

The Vatican is located within the Italian capital Rome and is an enclave as it is completely enclosed by Italy. The form of government is an absolute electoral monarchy, the head of state is the Pope. The official language is Latin.

The Swiss Guard is famous. It is the smallest and oldest army in the world: The Swiss Guard has existed since 1506 and has about 100 members.
Residents of the Vatican do not have private real estate. As long as they live in the Vatican, they are allocated an apartment there. Rents are very low, and residents do not have to pay for electricity and telephone costs themselves.

2. Monaco 2 km²

View of Monaco, Image: S-F / shutterstock

The Principality of Monaco is located on the French Mediterranean coast. The second smallest country in the world has just under 40,000 inhabitants. Monaco has the highest population density in the world. The form of government is the constitutional monarchy, the head of state is Prince Albert II of the House of Grimaldis. More than 3/4 of Monaco’s inhabitants do not have Monegasque nationality. The inhabitants are divided into three groups: Monegasques, who were rescued in the Prince’s Tower, children of the country and wealthy foreigners. The difference between Monegasques and children of the country is that they do not have Monegasque nationality, but the families have lived in the principality for generations.

The principality is very popular with rich foreigners. Many move their main residence to Monaco because they do not have to pay income tax or inheritance tax there. Tax evaders also like to choose Monaco as their place of residence, as the country does not prosecute tax crimes committed abroad.

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Monaco boasts of having the highest life expectancy in the world. The Principality of Monaco is known as a place for the rich and beautiful of this world. It has a world-famous casino.

3.Nauru 20 km²

Nauru in Oceania
Coral rock on the beach of Anibare, Nauru, Image: Robert Szymanski / shutterstock

The island state of Nauru is located in the Pacific Ocean. With about 11550 inhabitants, it is the second or third smallest internationally recognized country in the world in terms of population. Nauru is a republic and at the same time the smallest republic in the world.

Nauru is a coral island that belongs to the islands of Micronesia .

Over 130 years ago, Nauru was under the protectorate of the German Empire before Australia took control of Nauru in World War I. From 1942-1945, Nauru was occupied by Japan . The Republic of Nauru has been independent since 1968. Through the discovery of guano, Nauru became rich and at times had the highest per capita income of any country in the world.

However, the stocks dried up, Nauru had not invested the profits in a future-proof manner and the republic went bankrupt.

A major problem is the health care of the population. The quality of medical care is well below the global average. The inhabitants of the island have to be flown out to Australia for treatment of more serious diseases. A particular problem is the high rates of obesity and diabetes among the population.

4. Tuvalu 26 km²

Tuvalu in Oceania
Tuvalu, Image: Romaine W / shutterstock

Tuvalu is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is a parliamentary monarchy whose head of state is the English Queen Elizabeth II. About 11650 people live on 6 atolls and 3 islands, which together form the state of Tuvalu. The island of Niulakita has only been inhabited since 1949, before that people only lived on the 6 atolls and the other two islands. Hence the name “Tuvalu”, which translates as “8 Islands of the Almighty”.

The atoll of Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu. The highest elevation in the state is only 5 meters above sea level, which is why Tuvalu is particularly threatened by global warming. The atolls and islands of Tuvalu have a tropical hot climate. Hurricanes are common.

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Tuvalu has only about 8 kilometers of paved roads. No other country in the world has fewer paved roads than these islands. Ferries run between the atolls and islands.

5. San Marino 60 km²

San Marino, Second Tower
Second Tower in San Marino, Image: MikeNG / shutterstock

The parliamentary republic of San Marino is located in the north of central Italy. It is an enclave, which means that San Marino is completely surrounded by Italian territory. According to tradition, the foundation of San Marino dates back to the year 301 by Saint Marinus. This makes San Marino probably the oldest republic in the world that still exists today.

Almost 33,600 people live in San Marino. The official language of the country is Italian. The fifth smallest universally recognized state in the world is a mountainous country. San Marino is a rich country. It has no national debt. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world. Life expectancy for men is the highest of all countries worldwide, with an average of 83.3 years. By law from the year 1200, there are always two heads of state in San Marino . The reason for this is that the heads of state should not be given too much power for a longer period of time. In addition, they can control each other. The head of government is always the acting foreign minister.

6. Liechtenstein 160km²

Vaduz Castle
The castle of the princely family in Liechtenstein, Image: Boris Stroujko / shutterstock

The Principality of Liechtenstein is located between Switzerland and Austria. The capital is Vaduz. The landlocked country in the Alps is the sixth smallest country in the world. A little more than 38,000 people live in Liechtenstein. The official language is German.

The head of state is the Prince of Liechtenstein. The Princely House has been the head of state of the constitutional hereditary monarchy for over 300 years. Liechtenstein is known for its many medieval castles and villages. Tourists also like to visit the country to go hiking or mountain tours. In Liechtenstein, payment is made with the Swiss franc, not the euro.

A curiosity is that Lichtenstein is the only landlocked country in the world besides Uzbekistan that is also surrounded by a landlocked country.