Secrets of the Seven Smallest States of Europe: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City

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Hippocrene Books, 2005 - History - 348 pages
2 Reviews
This unique book examines the history, culture, and inner workings of the seven smallest independent countries in Europe. These are among the oldest states on the continent and, despite their diversity, they have much in common. Most have relatively high per capita incomes and life expectancies, and relatively low unemployment. This narrative presents the unique issues that confront small countries, including maintaining their independence, economic viability, preserving their native languages, and sustaining their governments. The second part of the book describes each microstate in turn, showing how each one has met these challenges and adapted over time. These concise and engaging chapters contain cultural information on subjects including the arts, gastronomy, and popular tourist sites.
  

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A thoroughly interesting read! Completely surprising, and very useful for our planned tour of the microstates next year.

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I read the part on Malta. Although interesting, there are some serious mistakes and inaccurate statements - especially when Malta's history is discussed. In addition, calling the Maltese 'natives' is like talking about some primitive tribal nation, which is far from accurate.
When the author says that Malta does not have a strong neighbour, who acts as a Big Brother, is only accurate, in part, for modern times. For centuries - practically till 1800, Malta enjoyed a very close political, economic, religious and cultural dependence on Sicily - sharing with the Sicilians - the same religion, language (apart for the local language, which until then was little more than a dialect) and culture. Keep in mind that Malta - until 1800 - was technically speaking, a vassal state of the Kingdom of Sicily.
It was only in 1800-1964, that Malta started to develop a separate course from Sicily and mainland Italy. As a British colony, Malta had a separate economic and political development. The Language Question, which developed in the second half of the 1800s, saw a strong fight between the Italianate culture of the local elite and the economic opportunities offered by the English language. Eventually, after the Second World War, Italian was sidelined and Malta's two languages - in culture, economics and social life became Maltese and English.
In modern times, although Italy does not act as a Big brother, Malta's security is guaranteed by a joint protocol with Italy. The latter has also provided considerable funds that have helped Malta's economic development.
 

Contents

A Short Introduction to Some Small Places
1
The Geography of the Microstates
7
How Independent Are the Microstates?
17
The Economies of the Microstates
33
The People of the Microstates
55
Government in the Microstates
73
A WormsEye History of Europe
89
Monarchy and Religion
107
The Business Microstate
175
The Giant Microstate
197
Microstate in the Middle
223
The Aristocrat of Microstates
253
The Freedom Microstate
277
The Papal Microstate
299
Touring the Microstates
323
Select Bibliography
333

Language and Education in the Microstates
125
The Pyrenean Microstate
145

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