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Introduction Holy See (Vatican City)
Popes in their secular role ruled portions of Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until mid 19th century, when many of Papal States were seized by newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself previously annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between Holy See and Italy modified certain of earlier treaty provisions, includes primacy of Roman Catholicism as Italian state religion. Present concerns of Holy See include failing health of Pope John Paul II, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess Catholic faith.
Geography Holy See (Vatican City)
Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)
Geographic coordinates:
41 54 N, 12 27 E
Map references:
total: 0.44 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 0.44 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.7 times size of Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 3.2 km
border countries: Italy 3.2 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)
low hill
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: unnamed location 19 m
highest point: unnamed location 75 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (urban area) (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
Environment - international agreements:
party to: none of selected agreements
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution, Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
urban; landlocked; enclave in Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; outside Vatican City, 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo (the pope's summer residence) enjoy extraterritorial rights
People Holy See (Vatican City)
Total Population:
911 (July 2003 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.01% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: none
adjective: none
Ethnic groups:
Italians, Swiss, other
Roman Catholic
Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
definition: NA
Population: 100%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Holy See (Vatican City)
Country name:
conventional long form: Holy See (State of Vatican City)
conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)
local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)
local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
Government type:
Vatican City
Administrative divisions:
11 February 1929 (from Italy)
note: on 11 February 1929, three treaties were signed with Italy which, among other things, recognized full sovereignty of Vatican and established its territorial extent; however, origin of Papal States, which over years have varied considerably in extent, may be traced back to 8th century
National holiday:
Coronation Day of Pope JOHN PAUL II, 22 October (1978)
Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)
Legal system:
based on Code of Canon Law and revisions to it
limited to cardinals less than 80 years old
Executive branch:
chief of state: Pope JOHN PAUL II (since 16 October 1978)
head of government: Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo SODANO (since 2 December 1990)
cabinet: Pontifical Commission appointed by pope
elections: pope elected for life by College of Cardinals; election last held 16 October 1978 (next to be held after death of current pope); secretary of state appointed by pope
election results: Karol WOJTYLA elected pope
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 Holy See
note: judicial duties were established by Motu Proprio of Pius XII on 1 May 1946
Political parties and leaders:
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, WHO (observer), WIPO, WToO (observer), WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabriel MONTALVO
FAX: [1] (202) 337-4036
telephone: [1] (202) 333-7121
chancery: 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador R. James "Jim" NICHOLSON
embassy: Villa Domiziana, Via delle Terme Deciane 26, 00153 Rome
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 66, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (06) 4674-3428
FAX: [39] (06) 5758346
Flag description:
two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with crossed keys of Saint Peter and papal miter centered in white band
Economy Holy See (Vatican City)
Economy - overview:
This unique, noncommercial economy is supported financially by an annual tax on Roman Catholic dioceses throughout world, as well as by special collections (known as Peter's Pence); sale of postage stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos; fees for admission to museums; and sale of publications. Investments and real estate income also account for a sizable portion of revenue. incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in city of Rome.
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
essentially services with a limited amount of industry; note - dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers live outside Vatican
revenues: $173.5 million
expenditures: $176.6 million, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001)
printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps, a limited 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
Economic aid - recipient:
euro (EUR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 1.06 1.1324 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Holy See (Vatican City)
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
general assessment: automatic exchange
domestic: tied into Italian system
international: uses Italian system
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1996)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
Transportation Holy See (Vatican City)
total: 0.86 km
standard gauge: 0.86 km 1.435-m gauge
note: a spur of Italian Railways system, serving Rome's Saint Peter's station (2001 est.)
none; all city streets
Ports and harbors:
none (2002)
1 (2002)
Military Holy See (Vatican City)
Military branches:
Swiss Guards Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera)
Military - note:
defense is responsibility of Italy; Swiss Papal Guards are posted at entrances to Vatican City to provide security and protect Pope
Transnational Issues Holy See (Vatican City)
Disputes - international: