The Republic of San Marino, officially the Most Serene Republic of San Marino. In Italian: Repubblica di San Marino or Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino.
This small country in Europe is situated on the Italian Peninsula, totaly surrounded by the Italian Republic. Its capital is the City of San Marino, and its largest city is Dogana. Its national anthem is called Inno Nazionale della Repubblica, or the National Hymn of the Republic. Its national motto is “Libertas” or “Freedom”. It has a population of about 32,000.
San Marino was, by legend, founded in the year 301, by the namesake Saint Marinus of Rimini. In 1631, its independence from the Papal States was granted.
During the Italian Unification in the late 1800s, Giuseppe Garibaldi took refuge in small nation and as recognition of their kindness, he asked if they wished to join a reunified Italy, or if they wished to remain independent. The people said they wished to remain independent and Garibaldi respected their wishes.
From 1923 to 1943, the small republic was run by the Sammarinese Fascist Party. During WWII, it remained neutral. In 1944, the RAF bombed San Marino, in the belief that German forces had overrun the city.
Governance and Politics:
San Marino is unique in that the form of government is a diarchy. The heads of state are the Captains Regents, two people who are elected every 6 months by the Grand and General Council. I am unsure if there is a term limit, but it is possible for one person to serve more than one term. The legislature is the unicameral Grand and General Council, made up of 60 members, which is led by the Captains Regents. The Grand and General Council elect the Congress of State, a ten member committee which serves as the executive branch of government.
The Constitution of San Marino is the oldest in continual use, having been accepted in 1600.
San Marino is divided into 9 municipalities, known as castelli (singular: castello).
Military and Policing:
The Military is largely ceremonial, with the bulk of actual defence coming from the Italian military.
The military consists of the Crossbow Corps, who demonstrate at parades and fairs; the Guards of the Rock, who act as the small republic’s border guard; the Guard of the Grand and General Council, whose duty should be obvious; and the uniformed milita, who are a source of civic pride but largely ceremonial. The Gendarmerie is responsible for policing.
The Most Serene Republic of San Marino [the world’s oldest republic, so maintain the Sammarinese] was founded on this date in 301 by Saint Marinus, a stonemason fleeing persecution under Diocletian. A couple of cool things about Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino: it has no national debt [remember those days, Amuhrka?]; it had the world’s first democratically elected communist government [1945-1957]; it remained neutral during WWII, and when the New York Times erroneously reported that San Marino had declared war on Britain in 1940, the Sammarinese government SMSed 10 Downing Street to assure them otherwise; it’s also the world’s smallest republic [24 sq. mi.–Nauru tried to elbow in, at only 8.1 sq. mi., but Nauru also has jurisdiction over 166,000 sq. mi. of surrounding ocean] and has the smallest population [32,576 as of July 2012] of any Council of Europe member. And it’s rill purdy, too!
Stamp details: Stamp on top: Issued on: April 25, 1944 From: San Marino, San Marino MC #311
Stamp on bottom: Issued on: August 1, 1877 From: San Marino, San Marino MC #1