The Oldest Country in the World

aerial photography of houses

San Marino is the oldest republic in the world, founded in 301 AD.

San Marino’s location is Europe and it is actually land locked in northeastern Italy. Being founded in 301 AD makes it the oldest country in the world still standing, although the constitution was formally written in 1600.

San Marino location on the map of Italy.
A Map of Italy

The name San Marino comes from Saint Marinus, who built a church in the city.

San Marino is named after Saint Marinus, a Christian martyr from Ariminum (modern-day Rimini). He was born in the third century AD and joined the Roman army as a soldier. In 303 AD he was martyred for refusing to make sacrifices to pagan gods. After his death, people began visiting his tomb in San Marino and soon churches were built in his honor. In 1228 Pope Gregory IX canonized him and Saint Marinus became the patron saint of San Marino.

San Marino’s government is modeled after the Roman Senate.

San Marino’s government is modeled after the Roman Senate, which was a governing body in ancient Rome that served as both an assembly and a legislative body. The country’s legislature, known as the Grand and General Council, is made up of 60 members who serve five-year terms; its members are chosen by popular vote to represent each district in San Marino. The country’s executive branch is led by two captain generals who serve concurrently as prime minister; one captain general serves as president of San Marino while the other serves as head of state.

San Marino’s judicial branch consists solely of its Supreme Court, which hears cases brought before it by lower courts within the country or from outside parties seeking redress from crimes committed within its borders

It’s also home to Europe’s oldest surviving constitution, from the year 1600.

San Marino’s constitution is the oldest in Europe. It was written in 1600 by its first doge, a position similar to that of a mayor or governor, and has since been revised several times. The original document was written entirely in Latin and is still used today.

San Marino also holds other distinctions as one of only two sovereign nations with no armed forces (Vatican City being the other), having never been conquered by an army, and having never suffered an earthquake (this last claim may be disputed).

Constitution of San Marino
Constitution of San Marino

This tiny country has managed to remain independent for more than two thousand years.

San Marino is the oldest independent republic in the world. This tiny country has managed to remain independent for almost two thousand years. Today it remains one of only six countries in Europe without a monarch or president—and one of only two that use no form of coinage at all. 

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