Vatican City Facts

Vatican City Facts and History


The Vatican State in Rome is the smallest independent state in the world, there is the Holy See and the seat of the Pope. The Vatican is the spiritual, spiritual and administrative center of the Catholic Church. From April 19, 2005 to March 8, 2013, the German Joseph Alois Ratzinger was Pope Benedict XVI. the head of the Catholic Church and thus also of the Vatican State. With the election of Ratzinger for the first time in 480 years, a German was elected Pope.

Every year on May 6th, the new recruits of the “Swiss Guard” are sworn in. It was the day of the year 1527 when a German mercenary army that had become leaderless conquered Rome and the Vatican and raged there terribly. Almost irreplaceable treasures were plundered, bishops tortured, nuns raped and around 10,000 people murdered. Pope Clement VII paid a large ransom after a month of siege in Castel Sant’Angelo, which he and his loyal followers had feared, and left the city disguised as steward. The occupation did not end until about ten months later. This event was deeply engraved in the minds of the Romans under the term “Sacco di Roma”.

In 1978 there were three popes, they were Pope John Paul I (1912 – September 28, 1978), who followed Pope Paul VI, who died on August 6, 1978. (1897 – 6.8.1978) followed the Holy See. Paul I died just 33 days after taking office, so that in the same year John Paul II (1920 – April 2, 2005) was elected Pope. In 2005 with Benedict XVI. since 1522/1523 (Hadrian VI) a German was again elected to the throne of Peter. However, Benedict voluntarily resigned on February 28, 2013.

The archbishop of Buenos Aires, “Jorge Mario Bergoglio” (born 1936), who took office on March 13, 2013 and named himself Fanziskus – after Francis of Assisi – was elected to succeed him.

Name of the country Vatican City State
Form of government absolute elective monarchy with the Pope as head of state
Pope and head of state Pope Francis (since March 13, 2013)
Head of government the cardinal secretary of state
Geographical location State within Rome in Italy
National anthem Inno e Marcia Pontificale
Population About 832 people of whom about 400 are Vatican citizens (Credit: Countryaah: Vatican City Population)
Religions Catholic
Languages Italian and Latin
Surface 0.44 km²
Highest elevation 77 m
License Plate SCV (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
National currency 1 euro = 100 cents
Time difference to CET = CET
International phone code + 3906

Vatican State: History


The apostle Peter’s stay in Rome, his martyrdom and the fact that his grave is in the crypt under today’s St. to admit. The Papal State developed into the Pope’s territory in central Italy.

From the beginning to the Middle Ages

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the Vatican City got its name from Mons Vaticanus, a hill on the banks of the Tiber, on which the circus of Emperor Nero was located in the early Roman Empire. It was this place that was to become a symbol of Christian (and also Jewish) martyrdom. Allegedly, the apostle Peter also experienced his martyrdom in the circus under Nero, after which he is said to have been buried in a small cemetery north of the circus. The Erinnerungsmal soon followed incurred in the 4th century at the behest of Constantine the construction of a large grave church St . Peterwas called. This made the Vatican a central place of pilgrimage for Christianity, especially since other buildings were built around the sanctuary. Many of these buildings were scholae, i.e. religious accommodations for pilgrims from all countries. Cemeteries and fortifications were also built, with Pope Leo IV having created the largest fortifications with his Leonine Wall in the 9th century. These walls thus delimited an area that has become known as Leostadt.

From the Middle Ages to the modern age

After the Western Roman Empire had collapsed, the popes claimed secular rule over the area around Rome. In doing so, they derived a legitimate claim from the so-called Constantinian donation, which was discovered to be a forgery in the 15th century. Nevertheless, the territory around the Eternal City had become the center of the future Papal State. The Popes received a final guarantee of this “state” in the year 751 through the Pippin donation. But you should also know that it was not today’s Vatican City that served as the official residence of the Popes. Rather, this function came to the Lateran Palace until the 14th century to, whereby the church of San Giovanni in Laterano, built in the 4th century, had the function of the actual cathedral of Rome. Incidentally, San Giovanni was donated by none other than Emperor Constantine I himself.

Only after the painful seventy years of exile in Avignon and the return of the Popes to Rome did the Vatican become the permanent residence of the Popes in 1376 and, as the location of the Roman Curia, also became the center of the Papal States and the Roman Catholic Church. The newly won unity of the Church, which was created by the Great Western Schism(1378 to 1417) had been so severely disturbed, now tried to immortalize themselves in great building projects, for which, of course, the relatively undeveloped Vatican not only found the proximity to Petri bones, but also the necessary space for all architectural plans. By the middle of the 15th century at the latest, numerous chapels, churches, accommodation, administrative buildings and fortifications were built, all of which were to be overshadowed by St. In 1589, at the behest of Pope Sixtus V, construction began on the Apostolic Palace, which today still houses the papal private chambers and important administrative bodies.

In 1506 the Swiss Guard was first recruited by Pope Julius II as a guard duty and to protect the Pope. And every year on May 6th, the new recruits of the Swiss Guard are sworn in. But even this courageous small army was powerless when in 1527 a German mercenary army that had become leaderless – reinforced by mercenaries from Spain and Italy – conquered Rome and the Vatican and raged there terribly. Of the 189 members of the Swiss Guard at the time, 147 fell while trying to protect the Pope. Originally, the mercenary army was at the request of Charles V from the “father of the mercenaries” Georg von Fundus and Charles III.,Duke of Bourbon-Montpensier led. However, Fundes suffered a stroke in Italy and Bourbon was fatally wounded shortly before the storming of Rome. Almost irreplaceable treasures were plundered, bishops tortured, nuns raped and around 30,000 people murdered. After a month of siege, Pope Clement VII paid a large ransom in the Castel Sant’Angelo, into which he had fled with his followers, and left the city disguised as steward. The occupation did not end until a few months later. This event has engraved itself deeply in the minds of the Romans under the term Sacco di Roma.

The Vatican City in the modern age

Despite such violent events, the territory of the Papal States expanded so much into the 19th century that at that time it stretched across what is now central Italy, from Rome to Bologna. It included parts of the Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna regions. While this area was declared a Roman Republic in the course of the French Revolution in 1798 and also incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1808, the Congress of Vienna restored the Papal States in 1815. But already in 1848/49 it came in the pontificate of Pope Pius renewed tension with Italy struggling for unification. This resulted in the Pope’s flight, although the end of the Papal States was certainly only prevented by the courageous intervention of the French emperor. With the return of the Pope, the police-state conditions in the Papal States returned. In 1861, however, part of the Papal State fell to the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Italy, and after France had given up its function as papal protective power, the remaining Papal State was occupied by the troops of King Victor Emmanuel II in 1870. Although the papal rule persisted, the status of Vatican City, in which all the important administrative organs of the papal state had now withdrawn, was unclear.

After a long phase of architectural and administrative separation of the Papal States from the rest of Rome, the so-called Lateran Treaties were signed in 1929 between the Holy See and the then Kingdom of Italy, represented by Benito Mussolini. They settled the unresolved question of the papal state. This recognized Rome as the seat of the Italian government. In return, the Italian state assured him the political and territorial sovereignty of the Vatican. With effect from March 8, 2013, the German Pope Benedict XVI. voluntarily returned from his position. His successor on March 13 was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (born 1936), who as Pope assumed the name of Francis (Latin: Franciscus).

Vatican City Facts