History of San Marino

History of San Marino

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, the world's fifth-smallest state, also claims to be the world's oldest republic. According to tradition, San Marino was founded in AD 301 (alternative version about A.D. 350 ) when a Christian stonemason named Marinus the Dalmatian, later venerated as Saint Marinus, after whom the country is named, fled from the Dalmatian island of Arbe to escape the persecutions under Diocletian, and settled in the town of Rimini to ply his stonecutting and spread Christianity. Finding persecution of Christians there as well 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 little Christian community of mountaineers, recommending to them to remain always united.

It is certain that the region had been inhabited since prehistoric times, although evidence of existence 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".

Later papers from the 9th century report a well organized, opened and proud community: the writings report moreover that the close bishop, already at the time, was ruling this territory.

In the Lombard age, San Marino was a fief of the dukes of Spoleto, but the free "comune" dates to the tenth century. In the tenth century the abbots of the monastery were under the civil government, but they soon freed themselves and formed a free "comune".

The original government structure was composed of a self-governed assembly known as the "Arengo", which consisted of the heads of each family (as in the original Roman Senate, the "Patres"). In 1243, the positions of Captains Regent (" _it. Capitani Reggenti") were established to be the joint heads of state. The state's earliest statutes date back to 1263. The Holy See confirmed the ancient independence of San Marino in 1291.

San Marino has generally remained neutral, but constructed the Three Towers of San Marino for defensive purposes.

During the feudal era

In quick succession the lords of Montefeltro, the Malatesta of Rimini, and the lords of Urbino attempted to conquer the little town, but without success. The land area of San Marino consisted only of Mount Titano until 1463, at which time the republic entered into an alliance against Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, who was later defeated. As a result, Pope Pius II gave San Marino some castles and the towns of Fiorentino, Montegiardino and Serravalle. Later that year, the town of Faetano joined the republic on its own accord. Since then, the size of San Marino has remained unchanged.

San Marino adopted its written constitution on October 8, 1600. San Marino still faced many potential threats. Thus a treaty of protection was signed in 1602 with the Pope, which came into force in 1631.

San Marino has been occupied by foreign militaries three times in its history, each for only a short period of time. Two of these periods were in the feudal era. In 1503, Cesare Borgia occupied the republic until his death several months later. On October 17, 1739, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, legate (papal governor) of Ravenna who in 1739, aiding certain rebels, possibly contrary to the orders of Pope Clement XII, used military force to occupy the country, imposed a new constitution, and endeavored to force the Sanmarinesi to submit to the government of the Pontifical States. However, civil disobedience was used to protest this, and clandestine notes sent to the Pope to obtain justice were answered by papal recognition of San Marino's rights, which restored them to independence.

Unification of Italy

The state was recognized by Napoleon by the Treaty of Tolentino, in 1797 and by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. On 1825 and 1853 new attempts to submit it to the Papal States failed; and its wish to be left out of Garibaldi's Italian unification in the mid-nineteenth century was granted, since it had offered a safe refuge to numerous supporters of unification in earlier years.

After the unification of the Kingdom of Italy a treaty of 1862 confirmed San Marino's independence. It was revised in 1872.

World War II

During the Second World War neighbouring Italy declared war on the United Kingdom, San Marino initially joined Italy in declaring war on Britain. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764742,00.html] ] Then when Italy declared surrender San Marino declared neutrality. September 21, 1944 San Marino declared war on Germany. [ [http://worldatwar.net/timeline/other/diplomacy39-45.html ] The last occupation of the country was during 1944. German forces used the country to retreat through, and they were followed by Allied forces. The Allied armies only remained in occupation for as long as militarily necessary, which turned out to be only a few weeks, although 60 people were killed. After the war, San Marino became the first country in Western Europe to be ruled by a communist party (the San Marinese Communist Party, in coalition with the San Marinese Socialist Party) through democratic elections. The coalition lasted from 1945 to 1957.

Post-War period and modern times

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. Apart from the Vatican City (whose development followed a different course), it is the only one which is completely surrounded by a single other country in Europe. Various treaties of friendship have been signed with Italy since the latter’s unification, but San Marino proudly asserts its independence where possible.

Women gained voting rights in 1960. Having joined the Council of Europe as a full member in 1988, San Marino held the rotating chair of the organisation during the first half of 1990.

San Marino became a member of the United Nations in 1992. In 2002 it signed a treaty with the OECD, agreeing to greater transparency in banking and taxation matters to help to combat tax evasion.

Urban legend

There is an urban legend that San Marino and Sweden have been at war since one of the Napoleonic Wars and that peace wasn't signed until the 1970s. However the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has denied that any form of peace talks has ever happened because there have never been any wars between the nations. There is also no evidence of any declaration of war between the two nations at the mentioned time. [http://www.smb.nu/svenskakrig/freder/san_marino.asp]

ee also

*Military of San Marino

ources and external Links

*Catholic [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13449a.htm]
* [http://eudocs.lib.byu.edu/index.php/History_of_San_Marino:_Primary_Documents History of San Marino: Primary documents]

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