That was then, this is now, micro-states and empires edition

Monaco was granted sovereignty in the 1860s by Emperor Napoleon III of France, deposed a few years later. San Marino received its independence from the Roman Empire in the 4th Century, while Andorra was split off from the long forgotten Kingdom of Aragon in the 13th century. None of these great potentates would ever have imagined that the tiny stubs of countries they took pity on would have legacies much longer than their own. Yet today, San Marino competes in Eurovision and the Roman Empire does not.

Here is more on Monaco by Ned Donovan, via Ben Southwood.

Comments

Only dumb-dumbs forget Aragon. Though I would guess that would include most GMU students.

I suppose it was a matter of delicacy to omit the Vatican City.

Nobody granted sovereigntyty to Vatican City, though from a certain perspective, it can be seen as the last more or less sovereign remnant of the Roman Empire.

Mussolini very much granted sovereignty to Vatican City.

"The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence on 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy."

Yes, it was a Fascist that granted sovereignty to Vatican City, after the the formation of a democratic Italy, which seized all of the land previously considered the Papal States. The Vatican did not precisely agree to being conquered, and was more than happy to deal with a Fascist to get what it wanted in terms of its earthly kingdom.

If the fascist is the only dealer, what choice is there?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LonKGuS9uuQ

Hi ultimately i got this blog. I was searching this kind of
web content from weeks earlier. many thanks for sharing interesting article, i am bookmarking your site for the very best as well as unique information. I want to suggest am3
media website for the most recent viral media news.
Keep sharing!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Most people just know that I was from there.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

You cannot forget what was never learned about the history of Spain.

Respond

Add Comment

The few micro-states that exist today are oddities that managed through a combination of luck and geography to avoid being incorporated into nation-states. The Roman Empire does not exist anymore but France, Germany, and Italy have taken its place and absorbed all of the princedoms and city-states that used to occupy the territory now taken up by these countries. The same process happened in Asia.

You may be right. I doubt, however, they are oddities. I think there may be a foreign demand for micro-states like Monaco and Luxemburgo, but not for Andorra and San Marino. I don't know yet why the two sets are different (regardless of history, today they seem to aim to different clienteles but I don't know how to distinguish them other than wealth and status which are not sufficient). It will be interesting to see what happens with Gribaltar post-Brexit (an area whose current clientele is quite different from the other four; Chief-Minister Picardo has been trying to negotiate with the Spanish government).

Tyler has been promoting Paul Romer's idea of city-states, as a sort of independent, free economic zones (see entry in Wikipedia). I think there is no demand for them large enough to become independent (indeed, Singapore is not an independent, free economic zone, as anyone familiar with its history knows).

Firstly, Gibraltar isn't independent, so it can't really be thrown in with Monaco and Andorra as it's not a micro-state.

Speaking as someone who's visited every micro-state (and indeed macro-state) in Europe I'd say foreigners are very interested in Andorra. The majority of shops in la Vella have Russian advertising in their windows and it's the foreigners who do most of the civic charity work in the country. It's a fascinating country and I perhaps learnt more there in a short time than in anywhere else.

San Marino is full of guns and knock-off perfume. They are also famous for scoring the fastest goal in World Cup Qualifying history, when Davide Gualtieri latched on to a slack Stuart Pearce backpass and slotted it past David Seaman. Unfortunately, San Marino went on to lose 7-1.

Indeed, Gibraltar is not a micro-state. That is why I separated it from the other 4 and pointed to post-Brexit and negotiations.

My reference to a foreign demand is not related to tourism but a long-term interest. There is a new foreign demand for mini-states coming from Eastern Europe and perhaps China.

Regarding football, yesterday I read reports about the 90th anniversary of the first World Cup celebrated in Uruguay (they won us 4-2, and in our side played Pancho Varallo and Nolo Ferreira, two of my professors in 1950-53; also, Varallo, the last survival player of the game, died in 2010, just after celebrating his 100th birthday). For analytical purposes, perhaps we should consider Uruguay a mini-state.

References in English

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Varallo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Ferreira_(footballer)

Respond

Add Comment

Great story. As for Uruguay being a micro state, I think not, or else you’ve got to make Iceland or Estonia (or Denmark) one as well.

Uruguay has a relatively small area but is not a microstate: It is larger than Greece and it's almost double the size of Cuba!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Tax havens have their uses.

Respond

Add Comment

I guess it depends on what you mean by "foreign demand." Which foreigners and demand for what? Colonial European powers could have sought to maintain micro-states and city-states in their former colonies but they seem to have been mostly uninterested in that, with the notable exception of Hong Kong. Within Europe, these places survive in the context of neighbors who respect the rule of law and where there are not compelling reasons from geography, economics or politics to annexation.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Such as the feudal remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, tied to the English (not British) crown near France. The Channel Islands are not sovereign, but they are also not a part of the UK (or the EU.

Something exceedingly convenient for international banking operations specializing in handling discrete transactions with minimal tax involvement.

One of the reasons that American conservatives of the Burkean persuasion tend to like the U.K. is the reluctance with which its institutions have adapted to the modern world.

The U.K. never quite became a full-blown nation-state and so territories and nations aside from England hold various degrees of allegiance with the government in London. It is still an empire of sorts but with democratic norms grafted on top. I think Canadian, Australian and Irish citizens are even eligible to run for seats in the U.K. parliament up until now.

Respond

Add Comment

"Duchy of Normandy, tied to the English (not British) crown"

Are you sure? there isn't an English crown and hasn't been since 1707.

Surely the territory is under the supervision of the Duke of Normandy who is whoever holds the British crown at the moment? Hence the Queen is Duke of Normandy.

Would anyone from the Channel Islands like to correct us?

I would say duchess, except she is not the duchess, she is the Crown. And apart from the Channel Islands, the Duchy of Normandy was always French, as the place where the conquerors of England served as vassals to the King of France.

More confusing is the age of main treaty governing who owns the two baliiwicks, from 1259. The subjects of the bailiwick are ruled by the same Crown as named in that treaty, not a different one. Or indeed a different one considering more than 7 centuries have passed - the arguments are endless.

I have read that the residents like to refer to Her Majesty as Duke, not Duchess, of Normandy. But I read it in a newspaper so cannot vouch for its accuracy.

Even the Queen's English has problems.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Bit late for any clever territory to split off from the American empire and outlast it for many centuries, I guess...

Rhode Island held out for a bit and did not ratify the constitution until a year after Washington's inauguration, but they did join, and we missed our chance to still have a little independent nation tucked between Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Sacred sites of Andorra

That sounds like an exclamation from a '40s movie, like "Great Caesar's Ghost!”

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

This is the point of Brexit, innit? Separate England out of the EU, and eventually the UK, with the longer term goal of turning Greater London into an offshore financial center and tax haven.

Where's the problem?

Respond

Add Comment

Not really, though Germans who distrust the City of London* tend to obsessively believe so.

*which seems a cultural legacy of Germany's industrialisation and politics; a deep mistrust of liberal financial institutions which operate mostly independently from concern with industrial competitiveness, as Germany's did and do not (cf Gerschenkron).

At more length, the unifying factor behind Brexit voters is that the EU is a poor (or at least suboptimal) regulator of anything much in its competencies (mostly either because what it is trying to do by pooling competencies from its constitutent bodies is inherently impractical, because the structures it inevitably end up corrupted, or because it is corrupted by a political and essentially national unification project that is a bad idea) .

Where the UK's natural strengths are and economic balance are and will end up both subject to enormous disagreement among people who take that position. Which doesn't seem to stop various Germans from theorising that it's all a plot by shadowy, de-regulating finance capitalists, and anyone who professes anything much different is simply a useful idiot... It seems almost a recurring German cultural fetish sometimes that anyone who operates frequently with large flows of capital, without being intimately tied to coordination with industry (and industry to the "national good"), is simply bad and dangerous, especially if they are from another ethnic or national group operating within the nation...

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

It's all about the money; and money is global. I learned today that hedge funds often operate out of tax havens, such as PIMCO's hedge fund that operates out of the Cayman Islands. Being a non-US based fund, it did not qualify for the Fed's emergency loan program created as the result of the pandemic because Congress stipulated that only US based entities can borrow funds under the program. Wrong. The Cayman-based fund is invested in an entity registered in Delaware. That entity is used by the PIMCO investment managers to buy and sell bonds. The Delaware operation borrowed $13.1 million from the Fed program by pledging a bundle of debt as collateral. Investors in the Cayman-based hedge fund ultimately stand to profit from the transaction. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/business/economy/fed-talf-wall-street.html

My broader point is that national boundaries aren't walls; indeed, money and finance have neither walls nor boundaries. Many are familiar with Apple's own tax haven in Ireland, a tax haven created by Ireland for Apple. Apple deflects profits from its international operations to Ireland and avoids US tax even though Apple is a US based company with all the benefits derived from that. One will recall that the Trump tax cut included a provision that allowed Apple and other similarly situated companies to repatriate profits deflected to tax havens with a minimal amount of tax imposed on the repatriated funds, the rationale being to induce Apple et al. to bring the funds back to the US for investment. Of course, the joke was on US taxpayers: the deflected profits were already invested in the US: Apple et al. simply invested the deflected profits in international funds that invested in securities that ultimately can be traced to US based companies or even the US government, the layers of funds obscuring the ultimate beneficiaries. Nation-states have always been fictions, much, much more so now that trade and finance are global, with trillions moving across countries and around the globe with a stroke on a computer keyboard. Fukuyama was right that it looked like the end, not the end of history but the end of nation-states. Then along came Peter Thiel's friend Donald Trump to resurrect nation-states, but like Apple's profits deflected to a tax haven, it's a ruse to arouse the natives. Money, like water seeking its own level, will seek the highest rate of return, wherever it is. It's an ineluctable law of nature.

As usual, you are wrong. The formation of empires, kingdoms, and nation-states, regardless of their sizes, has always been about political power. Take a break, relax, and come back in 2024.

Respond

Add Comment

Pornhub is registered in Luxembourg, and Xhamster operates out of Cyprus. Odd things grow in the unattended corners of the world.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I'm pretty sure at one point Monaco gave a majority of its territory to France in exchange for France not just marching in and annexing it.

Respond

Add Comment

What what, 500/6000 are police? That's more than 10% of the nonretired adult citizen pool!

Respond

Add Comment

Free and sovereign Trieste now!

I used to love winding up Triestini (I lived not far away, but in Veneto) by referring to their home town as Slovenia.

There's a Serie C basketball team in Trieste which serves the Slovene population called Jadran Trieste. It's a pretty nice city, actually, home to Illy Caffe and the world's largest regatta.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I've always wondered what would have happened if just 1-2 princely states in India had become independent in 1948 (and maintained their independence) instead of becoming part of India or Pakistan. Imagine if there was a Singapore on the Indian subcontinent.

Nepal / Buttan / (Sikkin)?

Respond

Add Comment

In addition to what Miguel said, Hyderabad tried and failed to remain independent and Goa and Pondicherry were colonies but could have plausibly become autonomous if not completely independent territories. The Indian Army forcibly annexed Hyderabad and eventually Goa while Pondicherry was peacefully joined with India. Indeed, many princely states might have fantasized about doing what Hyderabad tried to do and remaining independent but most of them knew it wasn't practical and their claims to independence would not be respected by anyone.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

It was all a Eurovision joke, people.

And the Will Ferrell‎ movie was underrated.

Respond

Add Comment

Maybe he didn't mind spinning off Monaco because he thought he would be replacing it with Mexico just about then.

Respond

Add Comment

By the by: whose rules actually govern the affairs of the Isle of Man? What are the Isle of Man's relations with the United Kingdom, with England proper, with Scotland, Ireland, and Wales? --with the EU?

How does the Isle of Man's status within the Commonwealth compare mutatis mutandis to Andorra's? to Monaco's? to San Marino's?

Seems rather like the Channel Islands, according to Wikipedia. The Queen rules as the "Lord of Man"; internal affairs are the responsibility of the legislature, the Tynwald, which chooses a Chief Minister and Council of Ministers; the UK is responsible for foreign and defense matters. The Isle of Man is not part of the UK, though the UK parliament has the power to pass laws for it. It was not part of the EU or the EU internal market, but it was part of the EU customs area.

Put me down as one of the conservatives delighted by the ways in which British institutions are a product of evolution rather than of design.

Respond

Add Comment

The details of the governance of various territories connected to the U.K. can become mind-numbingly complex. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, the Channel Islands are self-governing autonomous regions of the U.K. but, of course, the legal relationship is highly nuanced.

To add to the general confusion, the U.K. has six different types of nationality that it issues to various people connected to its current and former colonies and possessions. And even though people from the Channel Islands are full British citizens for most purposes, they still have special passports that say "British Islands" instead of "United Kingdom" on the front. This must keep the legal profession busy.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Although technically part of the Kingdom of Denmark, I would have thought that the Faroe Islands also below in this group. And a wonderful, obtuse group of settlements they are.

Respond

Add Comment

My favorite micro-state is the erstwhile Moresnet Neutre (900 acres), nowadays remembered for the attempt to make Esperanto its official language.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_Moresnet

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment