|General 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 the
failing health of Pope John Paul II, inter-religious
dialogue and reconciliation, and the adjustment of church
doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization.
About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic
Area comparative: About 0.7 times
the size of The Mall in Washington, DC.
Temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May)
with hot, dry summers (May to September)
Population: 900 (July 2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Italians, Swiss, other
Religions: Roman Catholic
Language: Italian, Latin, French, various
Government type: Ecclesiastical
Capital: Vatican City
Legal system: NA
Economic overview: This unique, non-commercial
economy is supported financially by contributions
(known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout
the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist
mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale
of publications. The incomes and living standards
of lay workers are comparable to, or somewhat better
than, those of counterparts who work in the city of
Communication/Telephone system: Automatic exchange.
Places of interest: