Is Vatican City a Country?

When was Vatican city founded?

Is Vatican city a country? Yes, Vatican City is a new country that was born on the 11th of February 1929. How did the Vatican city become a country? The Lateran treaty granted the Vatican City the status of a country. The treaty put an end to the period of political and religious turmoil in Italy. Before the treaty, the Kingdom of Italy and the Papal States fought over land in Italy. Using brute force, the kingdom of Italy invaded the Papal States – it’s members fled to the Vatican. The church then declared that they were being held as prisoners in the Vatican. In retaliation, they refused to acknowledge the Kingdom of Italy as a political power. This tore the population of Italy between the church and government.

View from St. Peters Basillica
Is Vatican City a Country? | Carpe Diem Rome

Thank Mussolini

Popes, Prime ministers, and decades passed. There was still no resolution to the conflict. Then the infamous Benito Mussolini stepped on the scene. Wisely, Mussolini realized that without the support of the church government became restricted. So he devised the Lateran treaty, also known as the Lateran pact of 1929. It was a deal made between the kingdom of Italy and the Holy See. The pact recognized Vatican City as an independent state under control of the Holy See. To sweeten the deal, Mussolini gave the church almost 1 billion euros, palaces, as wekk as land in Rome and Lazio. In return the Holy See recognized Italy as a country and promised to remain neutral in wars and politics.

Is Vatican City a Country? 1
Signing of Lateran Treaty 1929 | Is Vatican City a country?

Is Vatican City Smallest Country in the World?

Yes. The Vatican city is the world’s smallest independent nation-state, and it is 44 hectares in size. To put that into perspective, it takes around 40 minutes to walk the whole way around the walls of Vatican City. As an independent state, the Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, and operates media outlets. It also has its own domain, flag, and national anthem. There is one government function they don’t believe they need… Tax! The Vatican city population in 2019 was 825 citizens – each of them elected by the Pope. It is impossible to be born a citizen of Vatican City! Most of the population are either cardinals or Swiss guards.

Vatican City Flag
Vatican City Flag

What’s inside the Vatican City walls?

The Vatican City comprises of 3 main components. The Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peters Basilica. The Vatican museums is one of the world’s most prestigious art collections. There are over 2000 rooms that display it’s contents. To walk the entirety of the museums requires a 7.5 kilometer walk. Located in the apostolic palace, the official residency of the Pope, is the Sistine Chapel. This fabled location facilitates religious activities, Papal functions, and the Papal conclave. The pinnacle of the Vatican City is St Peters Basilica. Designed by Michelangelo, the Dome of St. Peters towers above the city of Rome. St Peters is still the largest and most important church in the world.

last judgment
The Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Popes bodyguard

The Swiss guards have protected the Pope and Vatican City since 1506. In this year, Pope Julius II established the “Defenders of the Churches freedom”, or the Swiss Guard. The men are cherry picked from the Swiss military, they must be single and between the ages of 19 – 30. The Swiss guard make up 30 percent of the Vatican City’s population. Today the guards are there to keep the peace and look good – but they don’t see much action. The worst recorded battle in the history of the Vatican city was in 1527. An attack by the Holy Roman Empire killed 147 of the 189 Swiss Guards – including the commander.

Is vatican city a country
Swiss Guard on duty

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