The smallest state and city in that world measured by area and population is Vatican City. The official name is Vatican City State. Surrounded by Rome, Italy, the Vatican is an independent city and state established with the Lateran Treaty, dated 1929. It is 110 acres sovereign state under the exclusive control of the pope, who is the bishop of Rome and the head of the Catholic Church.
Vatican City has an unusual government system/structure. The sovereign of the state is the pope. The legislative authority is trusted with the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, a group of cardinals appointed by the pope for a five-year period. Executive power is in the President of that commission and assisted by the general secretary and deputy general secretary. Vatican State’s foreign relations are entrusted to the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and diplomatic service. However, the pope has complete and total power in the executive, legislative and judicial branches making him the only monarch in Europe.
The Vatican City is a neutral state and has no military or defense. The Italian armed forces provide its military defense; however, no formal defense treaty exists with Italy. The Swiss Guard is a military corp responsible for protecting the pope. Soldiers of the Swiss Guard can hold Vatican City State passports and nationality. The Swiss Guard dates back to January 22, 1506.
The current Pope is Pope Francis. He was born on December 17, 1936. His Ordination was December 13, 1969, and his Papacy began March 13, 2013.
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