Holy See (Vatican City)

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Background: Popes in their secular role ruled much of the Italian peninsula, including Rome, for more than a thousand years, until 1870. Disputes between a series of popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City out of the former Papal States and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between the Vatican 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, who turns 80 on 20 May 2000, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the adjustment of church doctrine in an era of rapid change. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.


Location: Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)

Geographic coordinates: 41 54 N, 12 27 E

Map references: Europe

  total: 0.44 sq km
  land: 0.44 sq km
  water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: about 0.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries
  total: 3.2 km
  border countries: Italy 3.2 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)

Terrain: low hill

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: unnamed location 19 m
  highest point: unnamed location 75 m

Natural resources: none

Land use
  arable land: 0%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 0%
  forests and woodland: 0%
  other: 100% (urban area)

Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1993)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: NA

Environment - international agreements
  party to: none of the selected agreements
  signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution, Environmental Modification

Geography - note: urban; landlocked; enclave of Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; outside the Vatican City, 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo (the pope's summer residence) enjoy extraterritorial rights


Population: 880 (July 2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.15% (2000 est.)

  noun: none
  adjective: none

Ethnic groups: Italians, Swiss, other

Religions: Roman Catholic

Languages: Italian, Latin, various other languages

  definition: NA
  total population: 100%
  male: NA%
  female: NA%


Country name
  conventional long form: The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
  conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)
  local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
  local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

Data code: VT

Government type: monarchical-sacerdotal state

Capital: Vatican City

Independence: 11 February 1929 (from Italy)

National holiday: Installation Day of the Pope (John Paul II), 22 October (1978)

Constitution: Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 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 the pope
  elections: pope elected for life by the College of Cardinals; election last held 16 October 1978 (next to be held after the death of the current pope); secretary of state appointed by the pope
  election results: Karol WOJTYLA elected pope

Legislative branch: unicameral Pontifical Commission

Judicial branch: none; normally handled by Italy

Political parties and leaders: none

Political pressure groups and leaders: none (exclusive of influence exercised by church officers)

International organization participation: IAEA, ICFTU, Intelsat, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM (guest), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNHCR, UPU, WIPO, WToO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele MONTALVO
  chancery: 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 333-7121

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Corrine C. BOGGS
  embassy: Villa Domiziana, Via delle Terme Deciane 26, 00153 Rome
  mailing address: PSC 59, Box F, APO AE 09624
  telephone: [39] (06) 46741-3428
  FAX: [39] (06) 5758346, 57300682

Flag description: two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the crossed keys of Saint Peter and the papal miter centered in the white band


Economy - overview: This unique, noncommercial 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 Rome.

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Labor force: NA

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%; note - dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican

  revenues: $209.6 million
  expenditures: $198.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)

Industries: printing and production of a small amount of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities

Electricity - production: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: NA%
  hydro: NA%
  nuclear: NA%
  other: NA%

Electricity - consumption: NA kWh

Electricity - exports: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Italy

Economic aid - recipient: none

Currency: 1 Vatican lira (VLit) = 100 centesimi

Exchange rates: euros per US$1 - 0.9867 (January 2000), 0.9386 (1999); Vatican lire (VLit) per US$1 - 1,688.7 (January 1998), 1,736.2 (1998), 1,703.1 (1997), 1,542.9 (1996), 1,628.9 (1995); note - the Vatican lira is at par with the Italian lira which circulates freely

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use: NA

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system: automatic exchange
  domestic: tied into Italian system
  international: uses Italian system

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1996)

Televisions: NA

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA


  total: 862 m; note - connects to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station
  narrow gauge: 862 m 1.435-m gauge

Highways: none; all city streets

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: none

Heliports: 1 (1999 est.)


Military - note: defense is the responsibility of Italy; Swiss Papal Guards are posted at entrances to the Vatican City

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none


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Site Version 1.75 - Last updated Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 9:44AM PST on host Saturn

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