Vatican City State
Vatican City State is an independent city-state. An independent city-state is a self-governing state that is also described as a small independent country of some type. It consists of one single city and its dependent regions surrounding it. Vatican City is surrounded by Rome, Italy. In the Lateran Treaty, the name Vatican City was first used. This treaty was signed on February 11, 1929, establishing the modern city-state. The name ‘Vatican’ was taken from the Vatican Hill, the location in which the state resides. There is an Etruscan settlement named Vatica or Vaticum meaning garden, located in an area that the Romans called vaticanus ager, or “Vatican Territory.” This is where Vatican came from when naming the new city. Vatican City has a population of about 1,000 people, and it has an area of 44 hectares, making it the smallest state in the world by population and area. The construction of a basilica over St. Peter’s grave in Rome in the 4th century A.D started the Vatican’s history as the seat of the Catholic Church. The area was abandoned in 1309 after the move of the papal court to France. It was a very popular site and commercial district before it was abandoned. The Church returned in 1377, and the Sistine Chapel, the Apostolic Palace, and the new St. Peter’s Basilica all came to life within the city.
The Vatican City is a sacerdotal-monarchical. This means that they are ruled by the pope who is the Bishop of Rome and the head of the Catholic Church, religiously speaking. The Ager Vaticanus was a marshy region off the west bank of the Tiber River. This area became an administrative area populated by expensive villas. In the gardens of Emperor Caligula’s mother, there were circus built. At the base of Vatican Hill where they were buried in necropolis, Emperor Nero executed St. Peter and other Christian people wrongly blamed after a large part of Rome was burned in a fire in A.D 64. After having embraced Christianity with the Edict of Milan in 313, a letter signed by the Roman emperors Constantine and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire, in 324. Constantine I started the construction of a basilica over St. Peter’s tomb. After it’s construction, the Basilica eventually became a spiritual center for Christian pilgrims. Thad led to a marketplace that became the district of Borgo and the development of housing for clergymen.
Pope Leo IV ordered for a wall to be constructed to protect the basilica and its precints after an attack by Saracen pirates leading to damages to St. Peter’s in 846. A 39-foot-tall wall was completed in 852. The wall bounded an area that covered the Borgo District and Vatican territory, enclosing Leonine City. The walls continued to be expanded until Pope Urban VIII in the 1640s reigned.
During World War II, the Vatican City was under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. The Holy See pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II. Many German troops were stationed in the city of Rome after the Armistice of Cassibile on September 1943. There were also allies from 1944 in Rome. Both parties respected Vatican City as a neutral territory. The Pope’s main priority was to not let the city get bombed, so he protested the British air dropping pamphlets claiming that even with a few landing in the city-state would violate the Vatican’s neutrality in an attempt to prevent the bombing of the city-state. The British acknowledged their neutrality but warned that it would be up to how the Italian government observed the rules of war, and that their actions to the rest of Rome depended on that. The Americans entered the war and feared that they would offend Catholic members of the armed forces if they would not oppose to such a bombing. The United states opposed the bombing. They also added that they could not prevent the British from bombing Rome if they decided. The British did not hold back, responding that whenever the needs of the war demanded, they would bomb Rome. The British suggested to the Pope to declare Rome an “open city” in December 1942. The Pope took it very seriously, not wanting Rome to become an open city. Mussolini rejected the suggestion when the Pope proposed it to him.
500 American aircrafts bombed Rome on July 19, 1943 in connection with the Allied invasion of Sicily. They aimed mainly at the railway hub. Around 1,500 people were killed including Pius XII, who had been worried about being bombed and had gone to the site of the disaster. After Mussolini had been kicked out of power, there was another raid that took place on August 13, 1943. The new government replacing them declared Rome an open city the next day after speaking with the Pope. At the end of World War II, there were many vacancies including Cardinal Secretary of State and Chancellor. Pius XII held back from creating cardinals during WWII. In early 1946, Pius II created 32 cardinals. The Pontifical Military Corps was disbanded by Paul VI, except for the Swiss Guard, in a letter of September 14, 1970. Civilian police and security force came from the Gendarmerie Corps being transformed. In 1995, the construction of a new guest house, Domus Sanctae Marthae, infront of St. Peter’s Basilica was criticized by Italian environmental groups and backed by Italian politicians claiming that the building would block view of the Basilica from surrounding apartments.
Vatican city’s government is very unique in its ways. The Pope is the ruler of the state. The Legislative authority belongs to the cardinals that are appointed by the pope for five-year periods, known as the ‘Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.’ The president of that commission has the Executive power, assisted by the deputy general secretary and the general secretary. The foreign relations is managed by the Secretariat of State and diplomatic service.
Vatican City State