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A city-state is an independent
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...
city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
,
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
,
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
,
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
, and the
Italian city-states The Italian city-states were numerous political and independent territorial entities that existed in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of ...
during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
and
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, such as
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the ...

Florence
,
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
,
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...

Genoa
and
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
. With the rise of
nation states A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newsp ...
worldwide, only a few modern sovereign city-states exist, with some disagreement as to which qualify;
Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque Ligurian: ''Prinçipatu de Mu̍negu''), is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The ...

Monaco
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
, and
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
are most commonly accepted as such. Singapore is the clearest example, with full self-governance, its own currency, a robust military, and a population of 5.3 million. Several non-sovereign cities enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and are sometimes considered city-states.
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...

Hong Kong
, and members of the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
– most notably
Dubai Dubai ( ; ar, دبي, translit=Dubayy , ) is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country i ...

Dubai
and
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبْيٍ ' ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more fo ...

Abu Dhabi
– are often cited as such.


Historical background


Ancient and medieval world

Historical city-states included
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native (local, noble) lor ...

Sumer
ian cities such as
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
and ;
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
ian city-states, such as Thebes and
Memphis Memphis is the name of: *Memphis, Egypt , alternate_name = , image = , alt = , caption = Ruins of the pillared hall of Ramesses IIat Mit Rahina , map_type = Egypt , map_alt = , map_size = , reli ...
; the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...
n cities (such as
Tyre Tyre may refer to: * Tire, the outer part of a wheel Places * Tyre, Lebanon, a city ** See of Tyre, a Christian diocese seated in Tyre, Lebanon ** Tyre Hippodrome, a UNESCO World Heritage site * Tyre District, Lebanon * Tyre, New York, a town in t ...
and
Sidon Sidon ( ), known locally as Sayda or Saida ( ar, صيدا), is the third-largest city in Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western A ...

Sidon
); the five
Philistine The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 604 BC, when their polity, after having already been subjugated for centuries by Assyria, was finally destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar I ...
city-states; the
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
city-states of the
Garamantes The Garamantes ( Berber: ''iɣerman'', "castles, cities") were an ancient civilisation based primarily in present day Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Libya, ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībīyā) is a ...
; the city-states of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
(the
poleis ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ...
such as
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
,
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
, Thebes, and
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of sel ...

Corinth
); the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
(which grew from a city-state into a vast empire); the
Italian city-states The Italian city-states were numerous political and independent territorial entities that existed in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of ...
from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, such as
Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...
,
Siena Siena ( , ; in English sometimes spelled Sienna; lat, Sena Iulia) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science En ...
,
Ferrara Ferrara (, ; egl, Fràra ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenance of local roads and ...
,
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...
(which as they grew in power began to dominate neighboring cities) and
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...
and
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...
, which became powerful
thalassocracies A thalassocracy or thalattocracy (from grc-x-classical, θάλασσα, translit=thalassa () , and grc, κρατεῖν, translit=kratein, lit=power; giving grc-x-koine, θαλασσοκρατία, translit=thalassokratia, lit=sea power) is a s ...
; the
Mayan Mayan most commonly refers to: * Maya peoples, various indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and northern Central America * Maya civilization, pre-Columbian culture of Mesoamerica and northern Central America * Mayan languages, language family spoken i ...
and other cultures of pre-Columbian
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human geography), and the interaction of humanity and th ...
(including cities such as
Chichen Itza Chichen Itza , es, Chichén Itzá , often with the emphasis reversed in English to ; from yua, Chiʼchʼèen Ìitshaʼ () "at the mouth of the well of the people" was a large built by the of the Terminal Classic period. The is located ...

Chichen Itza
,
Tikal Tikal () (''Tik’al'' in modern Mayan orthography) is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República ...

Tikal
,
Copán Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. This ancient Maya city mirrors the beauty of the physical landscape in which it flourished—a fert ...
and ); the
central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

central Asia
n cities along the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade route A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of ...

Silk Road
; the city-states of the ;
RagusaRagusa is the historical name of Dubrovnik. It may also refer to: Places Croatia * the Republic of Ragusa (or Republic of Dubrovnik), the maritime city-state of Ragusa * Cavtat (historically ' in Italian), a town in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croa ...

Ragusa
; states of the medieval Russian lands such as
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative centerAn administrati ...
and
Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov-ru.ogg, p=pskof; see also names in other languages) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1 ...
; and many others. Danish historian Poul Holm has classed the
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In ...

Viking
colonial cities in medieval
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, most importantly the
Kingdom of Dublin Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries raid (mi ...
, as city-states. In
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
, the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...
n settlement of
Kition Kition ( grc-gre, Κίτιον, ''Kítion''; xpu, 𐤊‬𐤕‬, , or , ), also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...
(in present-day Larnaca) was a city-state that existed from around 800 BC until the end of the 4th century BC. Some of the most well-known examples of city-state culture in human history are the ancient
Greek city-states ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...
and the merchant city-states of
Renaissance Italy The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civil ...
, which organised themselves as independent centers. The success of regional units coexisting as
autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects o ...

autonomous
actors in loose geographical and cultural unity, as in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
and
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
, often prevented their
amalgamation Amalgamation is the process of combining or uniting multiple entities into one form. Amalgamation, amalgam, and other derivatives may refer to: Mathematics and science * Amalgam (chemistry) An amalgam is an alloy of mercury with another meta ...
into larger national units. However, such small political entities often survived only for short periods because they lacked the resources to defend themselves against incursions by larger states (such as Roman conquest of Greece). Thus they inevitably gave way to larger organisations of society, including the
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and w ...

empire
and the
nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newsp ...
.


Central Europe

In the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
(962–1806) over 80 Free Imperial Cities came to enjoy considerable autonomy in the Middle Ages and in early modern times, buttressed legally by
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
following the
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
of 1648. Some, like three of the earlier
Hanseatic cities The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Norther ...
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
, Hamburg and
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German also ; da, Lybæk ), officially the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (german: Hansestadt Lübeck), is a city in Northern Germany. With around 217,000 inhabitants, Lübeck is the second-largest city on the German Baltic Sea, Balt ...
– pooled their economic relations with foreign powers and were able to wield considerable diplomatic clout. Individual cities often made protective alliances with other cities or with neighbouring regions, including the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchan ...
(1358 – 17th century), the
Swabian League of Cities The Swabian League of Cities (German language, German: ''Schwäbischer Städtebund'') was a primarily military alliance between a number of Free imperial city, free imperial cities in and around the area now defined as south-western Germany. Its ...
(1331–1389), the
Décapole The Décapole (''Dekapolis'' or german: Zehnstädtebund) was an alliance formed in 1354 by ten Imperial cities of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic ...
(1354–1679) in the Alsace, or the
Old Swiss Confederacy The Old Swiss Confederacy or Swiss Confederacy (German language, Modern German: ; historically , after the Swiss Reformation, Reformation also , "Confederation of the Swiss (people), Swiss") was a loose confederation of independent small state ...
( 1300 – 1798). The
Swiss cantons The 26 cantons of Switzerland (german: Kanton; french: canton; it, cantone; Sursilvan and Surmiran: ''cantun''; Vallader and Puter: ''Chantun''; Sutsilvan: ''cantùn''; Rumantsch Grischun: ''chantun'') are the member state A member stat ...
of
Zürich Zürich () is the in and the capital of the . It is located in north-central Switzerland, at the northwestern tip of . As of January 2020, the municipality has 434,335 inhabitants, the urban area (agglomeration) 1.315 million (2009), and the 1. ...
,
Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpor ...
,
Lucerne Lucerne ( , ) or Luzern ()Other languages: gsw, Lozärn, label=; it, Lucerna ; rm, Lucerna . is a in central , in the of the country. Lucerne is the capital of the and part of the of the same name. With a population of approximately 82,000 ...
,
Fribourg , Location of , Location of () (; frp, Fribôrg or ) or (also called ''Freiburg im Üechtland'' ( gsw, label=Swiss German, Frybùrg ; it, Friburgo or ; rm, Friburg) (not to be confused with Freiburg im Breisgau) is the capital of the Cant ...
,
Solothurn Solothurn ( , ; french: Soleure ; it, Soletta ; rm, ) is a List of towns in Switzerland, town, a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality, and the Capital (political), capital of the canton of Solothurn in Switzerland. It is located in the ...
,
Basel Basel ( , ) or Basle ( ; french: link=no, Bâle ; it, Basilea ; rm, Basilea ) is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river High Rhine, Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's List of cities in Switzerland, third-most-populous city (after Zürich and ...
,
Schaffhausen Schaffhausen (; gsw, Schafuuse; french: Schaffhouse; it, Sciaffusa; rm, Schaffusa; en, Shaffhouse) is a town with historic roots, a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, ...
, and
Geneva Geneva ( ; french: Genève ; frp, Genèva ; german: link=no, Genf ; it, Ginevra ; rm, Genevra) is the List of cities in Switzerland, second-most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-spea ...
originated as city-states. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, some cities – then members of different confederacies – officially became sovereign city-states, such as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (1806–11 and again 1813–71), the Free City of Frankfurt upon Main (1815–66), the
Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = CET , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = CEST , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Postal code(s) , postal_ ...
(1806–11 and again 1814–71), the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck (1806–11 and again 1813–71), and the
Free City of Kraków The Free, Independent, and Strictly Neutral City of Cracow with its Territory ( pl, Wolne, Niepodległe i Ściśle Neutralne Miasto Kraków z Okręgiem), more commonly known as either the Free City of Cracow or the Republic of Cracow ( pl, Rzeczp ...
(1815–1846). Under
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
rule the city of
Fiume Rijeka ( , , ; hu, Fiume, it, Fiume ; local Chakavian Chakavian or Čakavian (, , , sh-Latn, čakavski proper name: or own name: ''čokovski, čakavski, čekavski'') is a South Slavic regiolect or language A language is a st ...

Fiume
had the status of a ''corpus separatum'' (1779–1919), which – while falling short of an independent sovereignty – had many attributes of a city-state.


Italy

In Northern and
Central Italy Central Italy ( it, Italia centrale or just ) is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy ...
during the medieval and Renaissance periods, city-states - with various amounts of associated land - became the standard form of polity. Some of them, despite being
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
independent states, were formally part of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The era of the Italian states, in particular from the 11th century to the 15th century, was characterized by the remarkable economic development, trade, manufacture, and mercantile capitalism, together with increasing urbanization. With remarkable influence throughout much of the Mediterranean world and Europe as a whole. During this time, most of the Italian city-states were ruled by one person, such as the
Signoria A signoria (; from ''signore'' , or "lord"; an abstract noun meaning (roughly) "government; governing authority; de facto sovereignty; lordship"; plural: ''signorie'') was the governing authority in many of the Italian city states during the Midd ...
or by a dynasty, such as the
House of Gonzaga ) , type = Noble house , country = , estates = Ducal palace, Mantua, Ducal Palace (Mantua)Palais ducal de Nevers, Ducal Palace (Nevers) , titles = * Margravate of Mantua, Marquis then Duke of Mantua * March ...
and the
House of Sforza Sforza () was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancie ...
. Examples of Italian city-states during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance:
Republic of Florence The Republic of Florence, officially the Florentine Republic ( it, Repubblica Fiorentina, , or ), was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organizati ...
,
Duchy of Milan The Duchy of Milan was an Italian state located in northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in th ...
,
Duchy of Ferrara The Duchy of Ferrara ( la, Ducatus Ferrariensis egl, Ducà ad Frara it, Ducato di Ferrara) was a state in what is now northern Italy. It consisted of about 1,100 km2 south of the lower Po River, stretching to the valley of the lower Reno Riv ...
, San Marino,
Duchy of Modena and Reggio The Duchy of Modena and Reggio ( it, Ducato di Modena e Reggio, la, Ducatus Mutinae et Regii) was a small northwestern Italian state that existed from 1452 to 1859, with a break during the Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) we ...
,
Duchy of Urbino The Duchy of Urbino was a fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Eur ...
,
Duchy of Mantua The Duchy of Mantua was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events a ...
and the
Republic of Lucca The Republic of Lucca was a historic state of Italy, which lasted from 1160 to 1805 on the central Italian peninsula. Its territory extended beyond the city of Lucca Lucca ( , ) is a city and ''comune'' in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the Serc ...
. Another example of Italian city-states, were the powerful maritime republics, the best known are: Republic of Venice, Republic of Genoa, Republic of Amalfi and Republic of Pisa.


Southeast Asia

In the history of Mainland Southeast Asia, aristocratic groups, Buddhist leaders, and others organized settlements into autonomous or semi-autonomous city-states. These were referred to as ''mueang'', and were usually related in a tributary relationship now described as Mandala (political model), mandala or as ''over-lapping sovereignty'', in which smaller city-states paid tribute to larger ones that paid tribute to still larger ones—until reaching the apex in cities like Ayutthaya (city), Ayutthaya, Bagan, Bangkok and others that served as centers of Southeast Asian royalty. The system existed until the 19th century, when colonization by European powers occurred. Rattanakosin Kingdom, Siam, a regional power at the time, needed to define their territories for negotiation with the European powers so the Siamese government established a
nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newsp ...
system, incorporated their tributary cities (Lan Xang, Dark Ages of Cambodia, Cambodia and some Malay cities) into their territory and abolished the mueang and the tributary system. In early Philippine history, the Barangay state, barangay was a complex sociopolitical unit which scholars have historically considered the dominant organizational pattern among the various Filipinos, peoples of the Geography of the Philippines, Philippine archipelago. , . These sociopolitical units were sometimes also referred to as barangay states, but are more properly referred to using the technical term ''polity''. Evidence suggests a considerable degree of independence as city states ruled by Datus, Rajahs and Sultans. Early chroniclers record that the name evolved from the term ''balangay'', which refers to a plank boat widely used by various cultures of the Philippine archipelago prior to the arrival of European colonizers.


20th-century cities under international supervision


Danzig

The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) and nearly 200 towns in the surrounding areas. It was created on 15 November 1920 under the terms of Article 100 (Section XI of Part III) of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles after the end of World War I.


Fiume

After a prolonged period where the city of
Fiume Rijeka ( , , ; hu, Fiume, it, Fiume ; local Chakavian Chakavian or Čakavian (, , , sh-Latn, čakavski proper name: or own name: ''čokovski, čakavski, čekavski'') is a South Slavic regiolect or language A language is a st ...

Fiume
enjoyed considerable autonomy under
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
rule (see Corpus separatum (Fiume)), The Free State of Fiume was proclaimed as a fully independent free state which existed between 1920 and 1924. Its territory of 28 km2 (11 sq mi) comprised the city of Fiume (now in Croatia and, since the end of World War II, known as Rijeka) and rural areas to its north, with a corridor to its west connecting it to
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
.


Jerusalem

Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine of 1947, Mandatory Palestine was to be partitioned into three states: a Jewish state of Israel, an Arab state of State of Palestine, Palestine, and a ''corpus separatum'' (Latin language, Latin for "Corpus separatum (disambiguation), separated body") consisting of a Jerusalem city-state under the control of United Nations Trusteeship Council. Although the plan had some international support and the UN accepted this proposal (and still officially holds the stance that Jerusalem should be held under this regime), implementation of the plan failed as the 1948 Palestine war broke out with the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, ultimately resulting in Jerusalem being split into West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem. Israel would eventually gain control of East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War in 1967.


Memel

The Klaipėda Region or Memel Territory was defined by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 when it was put under the administration of the Council of Ambassadors. The Memel Territory was to remain under the control of the League of Nations until a future day when the people of the region would be allowed to vote on whether the land would return to Germany or not. The then predominantly ethnic German Memel Territory (Prussian Lithuanians and Memellanders constituted the other ethnic groups), situated between the river and the town of that name, was occupied by Lithuania in the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923.


Shanghai

The Shanghai International Settlement (1845–1943) was an international zone with its own legal system, postal service, and currency.


Tangier

The international zone within the city of Tangier, in North Africa was approximately 373 km2 (144 sq mi). It was at first under the joint administration of France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, plus later Portugal, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. The international zone was initially attached to Morocco. It then became a French-Spanish protectorate from 1923 until 29 October 1956, when it was reintegrated into the state of Morocco.


Trieste

The Free Territory of Trieste was an independent territory situated in Central Europe between northern Italy and Yugoslavia, facing the north part of the Adriatic Sea, under direct responsibility of the United Nations Security Council in the aftermath of World War II, from 1947 to 1954. The UN attempted to make the Free Territory of Trieste into a city state, but it never gained real independence and in 1954 its territory was divided between
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
and Yugoslavia.


West Berlin

In the 20th century West Berlin, though lacking sovereignty, functioned from 1948 until 1990 as a state legally not belonging to any other state, but ruled by the Western Bloc, Western Allies. They allowed – notwithstanding their overlordship as occupant powers – its internal organisation as one state simultaneously being a city, officially called Berlin (West). Though West Berlin maintained close ties to the West German West Germany, Federal Republic of Germany, it never legally formed a part of it.


Modern city-states


Monaco

The Monaco, Principality of Monaco is an independent city-state. Monaco-Ville (the ancient fortified city) and Monaco's well-known area Monte Carlo are districts of a continuous urban zone, not distinct cities, though they were three separate municipalities (''communes'') until 1917. The Principality of Monaco and the city of Monaco (each having specific powers) govern the same territory. Though they maintain a small Military of Monaco, military, they would still have to rely on France for defence in the face of an aggressive power.


Singapore

Singapore is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. About 5.6 million people live and work within , making Singapore the List of countries by population density, 2nd-most-densely populated country in the world after Monaco. Singapore was part of Malaysia before it was Singapore in Malaysia#Expulsion, expelled from the federation in 1965, becoming an independent republic, a city and a
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...
country. ''The Economist'' refers to the nation as the "world's only fully functioning city-state". In particular, it has its own Singapore dollar, currency and a full Singapore Armed Forces, armed forces for deterrence to safeguard the nation's sovereignty against potential aggressors.


Vatican City

Until September 1870, the city of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
had been controlled by the pope as part of his Papal States. When King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II seized the city in 1870, Pope Pius IX refused to recognize the newly formed Italian unification, Kingdom of Italy. Because he could not travel without effectively acknowledging the authority of the king, Pius IX and his successors each claimed to be a "Prisoner in the Vatican", unable to leave the papal enclave once they had ascended the throne, papal thrones. The Roman Question, impasse was resolved in 1929 by the Lateran Treaties negotiated by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini between King Victor Emmanuel III and Pope Pius XI. Under this treaty, the Vatican was recognized as an independent state, with the Pope as its head. The Vatican City, Vatican City State has its own citizenship, diplomatic corps, Flag of the Vatican City, flag, and postage stamps. With a population of less than 1,000 (mostly clergymen), it is by far the smallest sovereign country in the world.


States with similar characteristics

A number of other small states share many of these characteristics, and are sometimes cited as modern city-states. Djibouti, Qatar,Parker, Geoffrey. 2005. ''Sovereign City: The City-state Through History'' Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 219 Brunei, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malta, Estonia, Costa Rica, Jordan, Suriname, Uruguay, Latvia, and MongoliaBhaswati Ray and Rajib Shaw. "Urban Drought: Emerging Water Challenges in Asia." Springer Singapore, November 2018. Page 360: "Ulaanbaatar is the center of administrative, commercial, and financial activities in the country. The city covers approximately 0.3% of the territory of Mongolia, but also half of the Mongolian population, with almost two-thirds of Mongolia's GDP produced in Ulaanbaatar." each have a capital urban center comprising a major portion of the population and the majority of GDP. Each has more than one distinct municipality, with one identified as a capital city, though the same was often the case for historical city-states. Occasionally, Microstate, microstates with high population densities such as San Marino are cited, despite lacking a large urban centre.Hansen, Mogens. 2000. "Introduction: The Concepts of City-States and City-State Culture." In ''A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures,'' Copenhagen: Copenhagen Polis Centre. Pg. 19Parker, Geoffrey. 2005. ''Sovereign City: The City-state Through History'' Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Mogens, Hansen. 2002. ''A Comparative Study of Six City-State Cultures: An Investigation'' p. 91


Non-sovereign city-states

Some cities or urban areas, while not sovereign states, may nevertheless be constituent states of a federation, or enjoy a high degree of autonomy. As such, they function as "city-states" within the context of the sovereign state to which they belong. Historian Mogens Herman Hansen describes this aspect of self-government as: "The city-state is a self-governing, but not necessarily independent political unit." A city with more limited self-government may be referred to as an independent city. Some non-sovereign cities which a high degree of autonomy which have been described as city-states include: *Spain: Ceuta and Melilla *China:
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...

Hong Kong
and
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
*United Kingdom: Gibraltar Some cities that are constituent states in a federation, and as such can be accurately described as non-sovereign city-states include: *Switzerland: Canton of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Stadt * Germany: Bremen (state), Bremen, Berlin and Hamburg


Proposed city-states


London

The London independence movement seeks a city-state separate from the United Kingdom.


New York

There have been various proposals for the New York City, City of New York to secede from New York State. In Origins of the American Civil War, the period of national crisis immediately preceding the American Civil War, Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Mayor Fernando Wood proposed the secession of the city as a sovereign city-state to be called the ''Free City of Tri-Insula'' (''Tri-Insula'' meaning "three islands" in Latin), and incorporating Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island. In an address to the city's Common Council on January 6, 1861, Mayor Wood expressed a Copperheads (politics), Copperhead sympathy with the Confederate States of America, seceding states and a desire to maintain profitable cotton shipping, confidence that the city state would prosper on the Import tariff, import tariffs that then supplied 2/3 of federal revenue, and especially dissatisfaction with the state government at Albany. But the idea of leaving the United States proved too radical even in the turmoil of 1861 and was poorly received, especially after the Battle of Fort Sumter, Southern bombardment of Fort Sumter starting on April 12. The war, and especially conscription, was nevertheless often unpopular in the city, sparking the deadly New York Draft Riots. The neighboring City of Brooklyn, in contrast, was staunchly Unionist. In 1969, writer Norman Mailer and columnist Jimmy Breslin ran together on an independent ticket seeking the mayoralty and City Council Presidency, challenging Mayor John Lindsay with an agenda to make New York City the 51st state. When questioned as to the name of the new state, Breslin said the city deserved to keep "New York" and that upstate should be renamed "Buffalo, New York, Buffalo", after its largest city. On 26 February 2003, a bill was introduced by Astoria, Queens, New York, Astoria, Queens Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr., and sponsored by 20 of 51 City Council members, reviving the idea of referendum for secession from New York State in the context of the red state vs. blue state divide and opposition to the policies of Governor George Pataki. A committee report was written but otherwise little action was taken, and the bill was reintroduced with one additional sponsor on the same date in 2004. Like Mayor Wood, Council Member Vallone emphasized the fiscal benefits of secession, with revenue now derived not from tariffs, but from Wall Street (Manhattan), Wall Street. Council Member Vallone reintroduced the bill in 2006. In January 2008, Vallone again offered a bill for the secession of New York City from New York State. After Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified to New York State legislators that New York City gives the state $11 billion more than it gets back, Vallone stated: "If not secession, somebody please tell me what other options we have if the state is going to continue to take billions from us and give us back pennies? Should we raise taxes some more? Should we cut services some more? Or should we consider seriously going out on our own?" The New York City Council planned to hold a meeting on the topic.Benjamin Sarlin
A Secession Plan Is Floated for New York City
New York Sun, 30 January 2008.


Washington, D.C.


See also

*Charter city *City network *Federal district *Pyu city-states *Royal free city *List of fictional city-states in literature


References


Further reading

*Mogens Herman Hansen (ed.), ''A comparative study of thirty city-state cultures : an investigation conducted by the Copenhagen Polis Centre'', Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 2000. (Historisk-filosofiske skrifter, 21). . *Mogens Herman Hansen (ed.), ''A comparative study of six city-state cultures : an investigation'', Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 2002. (Historisk-filosofiske skrifter, 27). .


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:City-State City-states, Country classifications Political geography