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The Deacons Bench
By Details > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Holy See (Vatican City State)
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Map of Holy See (Vatican City State)
IntroductionTop
Background:Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, international development, the Middle East, terrorism, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.
GeographyTop
Location:Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)
Geographic coordinates:41 54 N, 12 27 E
Map references:Europe
Area:total: 0.44 sq km
land: 0.44 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:about 0.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:total: 3.2 km
border countries: Italy 3.2 km

Coastline:0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:none (landlocked)
Climate:temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)
Terrain:low hill
Elevation extremes:lowest point: unnamed location 19 m
highest point: unnamed location 75 m

Natural resources:none
Land use:arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (urban area) (2001)

Irrigated land:0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:NA
Environment - current issues:NA
Environment - international agreements:party to: none of the selected agreements
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution, Environmental Modification

Geography - note:urban; landlocked; enclave in Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; outside the Vatican City, 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo (the pope's summer residence) enjoy extraterritorial rights
PeopleTop
Population:921 (July 2005 est.)
Population growth rate:0.01% (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: none
adjective: none

Ethnic groups:Italians, Swiss, other
Religions:Roman Catholic
Languages:Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
Literacy:definition: NA
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)
local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

Government type:ecclesiastical
Capital:Vatican City
Administrative divisions:none
Independence:11 February 1929 (from Italy); note - the three treaties signed with Italy on 11 February 1929 acknowledged, among other things, the full sovereignty of the Vatican and established its territorial extent; however, the origin of the Papal States, which over the years have varied considerably in extent, may be traced back to the 8th century
National holiday:Coronation Day of Pope BENEDICT XVI, 24 April (2005)
Constitution:new Fundamental Law promulgated by Pope JOHN PAUL II on 26 November 2000, effective 22 February 2001 (replaces the first Fundamental Law of 1929)
Legal system:based on Code of Canon Law and revisions to it
Suffrage:limited to cardinals less than 80 years old
Executive branch:chief of state: Pope BENEDICT XVI (since 19 April 2005)
head of government: Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo SODANO (since 1 December 1990)
cabinet: Pontifical Commission appointed by the pope
elections: pope elected for life by the College of Cardinals; election last held 19 April 2005 (next to be held after the death of the current pope); secretary of state appointed by the pope
election results: Joseph RATZINGER elected Pope BENEDICT XVI

Legislative branch:unicameral Pontifical Commission
Judicial branch:there are three tribunals responsible for civil and criminal matters within Vatican City; three other tribunals rule on issues pertaining to the Holy See
note: judicial duties were established by the Motu Proprio of Pius XII on 1 May 1946

Political parties and leaders:none
Political pressure groups and leaders:none (exclusive of influence exercised by church officers)
International organization participation:CE (observer), IAEA, ICFTU, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM (guest), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNHCR, UPU, WIPO, WToO (observer), WTO (observer)
Flag description:two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the crossed keys of Saint Peter and the papal miter centered in the white band
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:This unique, noncommercial economy is supported financially by an annual contribution from Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the world (known as Peter's Pence); by the sale of postage stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by the sale of publications. Investments and real estate income also account for a sizable portion of revenue. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.
Labor force:NA
Labor force - by occupation:essentially services with a small amount of industry; note - dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Budget:revenues: $245.2 million
expenditures: $260.4 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2002)

Industries:printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps; a small amount of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities
Electricity - production:NA kWh
Electricity - consumption:NA kWh
Electricity - exports:0 kWh
Electricity - imports:NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Italy
Currency (code):euro (EUR)
Currency code:EUR
Exchange rates:euros per US dollar - 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:NA
Telephones - mobile cellular:NA
Telephone system:general assessment: automatic exchange
domestic: tied into Italian system
international: country code - 39; uses Italian system

Radio broadcast stations:AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios:NA
Television broadcast stations:1 (1996)
Televisions:NA
Internet country code:.va
Internet hosts:9 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):NA
Internet users:NA
TransportationTop
Highways:none; all city streets
Airports:none (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Pontifical Swiss Guard (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia)
Military note:defense is the responsibility of Italy; ceremonial and limited security duties performed by Pontifical Swiss Guard
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none

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