We suck the joy out of your soul

Join a laid-back, close-knit community of mixed interests Get a free account!

  1. Smallest country in the World

    #420342012-11-07 13:17:02 *Rune said:


    Perhaps most of you think the answer is Vatican City. It's just a bunch of churches in the middle of Rome, right? Well, not quite. The smallest, recognized sovereign state in the World is the Knights Order of Saint John or the Knights Hospitaller as it is known in pop culture.

    What's the span of this country? Well, here's the quote from Wikipedia

    With its unique history and unusual present circumstances, the exact status of the Order in international law has been the subject of debate. It describes itself as a "sovereign subject of international law." Its two headquarters in Rome — the Palazzo Malta in Via di Condotti 68, where the Grand Master resides and Government Bodies meet, and the Villa Malta on the Aventine, which hosts the Grand Priory of Rome — Fort Saint Angelo on the island of Malta, the Embassy of the Order to Holy See and the Embassy of the Order to Italy have all been granted extraterritoriality.

    So... two headquarters, a fort, and two embassies.

    And yes, they're recognized fully by more than 100 countries and the UN. The reason why some might not consider it a country is because they lack territory. But you see, thanks to history, they retain their sovereignty even though they have no territory.

    So you may ask the question, why? The Teutonic Order didn't retain their sovereignty when they lost territory so why did the Knights of St. John did? Well here's the difference: The Teutonic Order's Grand Master, converted to Lutheranism and swore fealty to Poland, effectively making himself Duke of Prussia and this forced the Teutonic Order to return to its overlord, which is the Holy Roman Empire. Eventually, the Emperor began to appoint second sons to be Grand Masters of the Order effectively ending the sovereignty because the Order became subject of Austria.

    The Knights of St. John on the other hand, only got the territories they held conquered by outside powers. First, they got Rhodes conquered by the Ottomans. After seven years without territory, they were granted Malta by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria, King of Spain, Hungary, Sicily, the Other Sicily, and... you know what, here's what he got


    So yeah, Malta is nothing when compared to all of that.

    Anyway, Napoleon had to reign on their parade and took Malta off of them in 1798. Unlike the Teutonic Order however, they were not annexed by Napoleon, only occupied. Under the treaty of Amiens in 1802, France 'returned' Malta to the Order but since Britain already annexed Malta, the Order couldn't return to Malta.

    Later on in 1834, they bought two offices in Rome and they finally had 'territory' again. Albeit small, they managed to retain sovereignty in the 32 years without territory. So, how could a nation without territory retain sovereignty? Recognition of course. Hard to argue when the big boys say you're a country, right?

    So some statistics from Wikipedia: The Order has a whopping 3 citizens and has been independent since 1099. Sealand in comparison, is claimed to have 27 which is 9 times more than the Order. The Demonym is Hospitaller or Malteser and official language is Italian. This means that only three people in the World can legally claim 'Hospitaller' as their actual nationality.


    Sovereign Military Order of Malta passport

    For now, the Order has no naturalization policy nor residency so you can't apply to be a Hospitaller. You can however, become a member. Contact the Grand Priories or National Associations and submit your proposals there (list here: http://www.orderofmalta.int/the-order-and-its-institutions/28198/national-institutions/?lang=en ). It's likely you'll have to be Catholic though or have to convert to it.

  2. #421322012-11-08 10:51:00 *Rune said:


    You can ask them directly by sending an email to info@orderofmalta.int for more information. It is likely that they don't actually have any law in place regarding Marijuana though. This means that The Order hasn't any authority to arrest you if you're smoking weed within the Orders' territory.

    But, since Italy and Malta consider the Order to only have extraterritorial control over their territories, this means that you can be punished under Italian or Maltese law if you are caught smoking weed in the Order's territory. So, I wouldn't recommend smoking them in the Order's territory because they're filled with Italian or Maltese police, who have the authority to arrest you.

    Vatican City on the other hand, has complete control over their lands. Many illegal things are also undescribed in the Vatican City's lawbook and therefore legal to do as well (including Marijuana). But you need to remember that the Vatican can do anything to anyone within their borders because they're a theocracy and all so don't be surprised if you're going to be put in a dark dungeon somewhere in the Apostolic Palace with no chance to ever get out or given a fair trial ever.

    Or, the Vatican can just enact Article 22 of the Lateran Treaty, which means handing you over to the Italian authority to be tried under Italian law for crimes you've committed inside the Vatican. However, if this is the case, the Vatican will have to pay for the proceeding themselves so I don't see why they won't just murder you in secret instead...

  3. #421852012-11-08 21:06:42 *Rune said:


    Interestingly, the Malta soft drink is a carbonated malt beverage and is popular in Africa. This Malta soft drink is completely unrelated to the island of Malta because it is named after its main ingredient (malt) whilst the island is named after the old greek word for honey.

  4. #422152012-11-09 06:47:24bleachedsnow said:

    Actually, I thought the Principality of Sealand was the smallest. A grand total population of 27. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Sealand-sky.jpg

    Not to mention that it has a flag, currency, and even a government. (It's a constitutional monarchy.)

  5. #422162012-11-09 07:21:01Rune said:

    Sealand is not recognized. You can't have a country without recognition.

    And besides, The Order will still be smaller than Sealand. Technically, The Sovereign Military Order of Malta claims 0 km2 of land while Sealand claims 550 m2. Of course, their HQs, fort, and embassies have extraterritorial rights which means the Order's law reigns supreme in their 'territory'.