History of San Marino

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The history of San Marino is both very European and typical for the Italian Peninsula, and yet helps explain its unusual characteristics as the sole remaining Italian city-state.

San Marino is the only surviving Italian city-state. Like Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco, it appears an anachronism, a reminder of the times when Europe — particularly Germany, Italy and the Pyrenees — was made up of tiny political units, sometimes extending no further than a cannon could fire from a city’s walls. Along with Vatican City and Monaco it is one of the three states completely surrounded by a single other country in Europe. San Marino proudly asserts its independence and various treaties of friendship have been signed with Italy since the latter’s unification.



San Marino, the world's fifth-smallest state, claims to be world's oldest republic. According to tradition, San Marino was founded in 301 CE[1] when a Christian stonemason named Marinus the Dalmatian, later venerated as Saint Marinus, emigrated in 257 CE from the Dalmatian island of Rab, then a Roman colony, when the emperor Diocletian issued a decree calling for the reconstruction of the city walls of Rimini which had been destroyed by Liburnian pirates.[1]. Finding persecution of his Christian beliefs, Marinus hid on the peak of Mount Titano (the highest of San Marino's seven hills) and founded a small community following Christian beliefs. The owner of the land, Felicissima, a sympathetic lady of Rimini, bequeathed it to the small Christian community of mountain dwellers, recommending to them to remain always united.

It is certain that the region has been inhabited since prehistoric times, although evidence of the existence of a community on Mount Titano dates back only to the Middle Ages. That evidence comes from a monk named Eugippio, who reports in several documents going back to 511 that another monk lived here. In memory of the stonecutter, the land was renamed "Land of San Marino", and was finally changed to its present-day name, "Republic of San Marino".

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