San Marino

San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino (Repubblica di San Marino), also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino (Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino), is an enclaved microstate in Southern Europe, on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains, completely surrounded by Italy.

It is just over 61 km2 (24 sq mi), with a population of 33,562. Its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest settlement is Dogana in the municipality of Serravalle. San Marino has the smallest population of any member of the Council of Europe. The official language is Italian, and San Marino maintains strong financial and ethnocultural connections to its much larger neighbour. It is located close to the Riviera of Rimini, one of Italy’s main coastal resort areas.

The country derives its name from Saint Marinus, a stonemason from the Roman colony on the island of Rab, in modern-day Croatia. In AD 257, Marinus, according to legend, participated in the reconstruction of Rimini’s city walls after their destruction by Liburnian pirates. Marinus then went on to found an independent monastic community on Monte Titano in AD 301; thus, San Marino lays claim to be the oldest extant sovereign state as well as the oldest constitutional republic.

The nation is governed by the Constitution of San Marino (Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini), a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, that dictate the country’s political system, among other matters. San Marino is considered to have the earliest written governing documents still in effect.

The country’s economy mainly relies on finance, industry, services and tourism. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita), with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions. San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus.
It has the world’s highest rate of car ownership, being the only country with more vehicles than people.

San Marino is one of only three countries in the world to be completely surrounded by another country (the others being Vatican City, also surrounded by Italy, and Lesotho, surrounded by South Africa). It is the third smallest country in Europe, after Vatican City and Monaco, and the fifth smallest country in the world.


 

Flag of San Marino

The state and war flag of San Marino is formed by two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and light blue with the national coat of arms superimposed in the centre; the coat of arms has a shield (featuring three towers on three peaks) with a closed crown on top, flanked by an oak and laurel wreath, with a scroll below bearing the word LIBERTAS (Liberty). The two colours of the flag represent peace (white) and liberty (azure).

Although the Law on the flag and coat of arms of San Marino from 2011 refers only to the “official flag” of the republic, a de facto civil flag, which omits the coat of arms, can sometimes be seen flying. Some official sources of San Marino suggest that the civil flag is actually the bicolour with the coat of arms of the specific city it is used in, instead of the national one.
The national ensign of San Marino is identical to the state flag.

The oldest attested flag of the republic dates back from 4 September 1465, when it was commissioned from a manufacturer in Florence. It showed a horizontal tricolour of orange, white and purple, with the old emblem of San Marino depicted on the white stripe. It is not known how long it remained the state flag of the republic or when the white-blue bicolour appeared. In 1797, most likely influenced by the wave of reforms in France, the Supreme Council of the Republic commissioned a white and blue cockade, which, coincidentally or not, was identical to the one used by the French revolutionaries.

The current flag was adopted on 6 April 1862 by a Decree of the Supreme Council and since then, little but graphic details of the coat of arms and some proportions were changed.

The official proportion of the flag is 3:4, the coat of arms’ width being ​3⁄8 of the flag’s length. While the arms are horizontally centred, their vertical position on the flag is defined by the location of the centre of the cross on top of the crown: at ​1⁄8 of the flag’s length. The proportion of the coat of arms is 5:6.

A 2:3 proportion can be used internationally and/or when specifically requested. In this case, the coat of arms’ width is ​1⁄3 of the flag’s length, and the centre of the cross on the top of the crown will be at ​1⁄6 of the flag’s height below the upper edge.

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