The Info List - City-state

--- Advertisement ---

A city-state is a sovereign state, also described as a type of small independent country, that usually consists of a single city and its dependent territories. Historically, this included cities such as Rome, Athens, Carthage,[1] and the Italian city-states
Italian city-states
during the Renaissance. As of March 2018 only a handful of sovereign city-states exist, with some disagreement as to which are city-states. A great deal of consensus exists that the term properly applies currently to Singapore, Monaco, and Vatican City. City states are also sometimes called micro-states which however also includes other configurations of very small countries. A number of other small states share similar characteristics, and therefore are sometimes also cited as modern city-states. Namely, Qatar,[2][3] Brunei,[4] Kuwait,[4][2][5] Bahrain,[4][2] and Malta,[6][7][8][9] which each have an urban center comprising a significant proportion of the population, though all have several distinct settlements and a designated or de facto capital city. Occasionally, other small states with high population densities, such as San Marino, are also cited,[4][10][11] despite lacking a large urban centre characteristic of traditional city-states. Several non-sovereign cities enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and are sometimes considered city-states. Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau, along with independent members of the United Arab Emirates, most notably Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are often cited as such.[4][10][12]


1 Historical background

1.1 Ancient and medieval world 1.2 Southeast Asia 1.3 17th to 20th century Europe 1.4 20th century cities under international supervision

1.4.1 Danzig 1.4.2 Fiume 1.4.3 Shanghai 1.4.4 Tangier 1.4.5 Memel 1.4.6 Trieste 1.4.7 Jerusalem

2 Modern city-states

2.1 Monaco 2.2 Singapore 2.3 Vatican City

3 Non-sovereign city-states

3.1 Stadtstaaten of Germany

4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading

Historical background[edit] Ancient and medieval world[edit] Further information: List of ancient Greek cities, List of Phoenician cities, Cities of the ancient Near East, Italian city-states, Maya city, Polis, and Altepetl Historical city-states included Sumerian cities such as Uruk
and Ur; Ancient Egyptian city-states, such as Thebes and Memphis; the Phoenician cities (such as Tyre and Sidon); the five Philistine city-states; the Berber city-states of the Garamantes; the city-states of ancient Greece
(the poleis such as Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth); the Roman Republic
(which grew from a city-state into a great power); the Mayan and other cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
(including cities such as Chichen Itza, Tikal, Copán
and Monte Albán); the central Asian cities along the Silk Road; the city-states of the Swahili coast; Venice; Ragusa; states of the medieval Russian lands such as Novgorod and Pskov; and many others. Danish historian Poul Holm has classed the Viking colonial cities in medieval Ireland, most importantly Dublin, as city-states.[13]

The Republic
of Ragusa, a maritime city-state, was based in the walled city of Dubrovnik

In Cyprus, the Phoenician settlement of Kition
(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 and the merchant city-states of Renaissance
Italy, which organised themselves as small independent centers. The success of small regional units coexisting as autonomous actors in loose geographical and cultural unity, as in Italy
and Greece, often prevented their amalgamation into larger national units.[citation needed] However, such small political entities often survived only for short periods because they lacked the resources to defend themselves against incursions by larger states. Thus they inevitably gave way to larger organisations of society, including the empire and the nation-state.[14][need quotation to verify] Southeast Asia[edit] 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[by whom?] as mueang, and were usually related in a tributary relationship now described[by whom?] as 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, Bagan, Bangkok
and others that served as centers of Southeast Asian royalty. The system existed until the 19th century, when colonization by European powers, and Thailand's[Thailand's what?] (then known as Siam) resulted in the adoption[by whom?] of the modern concept of statehood.[15][need quotation to verify][16][17] In early Philippine history, the Barangay was a complex sociopolitical unit which scholars have historically[18] considered the dominant organizational pattern among the various peoples of the Philippine archipelago.[19] These sociopolitical units were sometimes also referred to as Barangay states, but are more properly referred to using the technical term "polity,[19][20] so they are usually simply called "barangays." Evidence suggests a considerable degree of independence as "City states" ruled by Datu's , Rajahs and Sultan's. [21] Early chroniclers[22] 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.[19] 17th to 20th century Europe[edit]

The Free imperial cities
Free imperial cities
in the 18th century

In the Holy Roman Empire
the Free Imperial Cities enjoyed considerable autonomy, buttressed legally by international law following the Peace of Westphalia (1648). Some, like the three Hanseatic cities
Hanseatic cities
of Bremen, Hamburg
and Lübeck, pooled their economic relations with foreign powers and were able to wield considerable diplomatic clout. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire
in 1806, cities – then members of different confederacies – officially became sovereign city-states  – such as the Canton of Basel City (1833–48), the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
(1806–11 and again 1813–71), the Free City of Frankfurt
Free City of Frankfurt
upon Main (1815–66), the Canton of Geneva
Canton of Geneva
(1813–48), the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (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 (1815–1846). Under Habsburg
rule the city of Fiume
had the status of a Corpus separatum, which - while falling short of an independent sovereignty - had many attributes of a city state. A later city-state, though lacking sovereignty, was West Berlin (1948–1990), being a state legally not belonging to any other state, but ruled by the 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
West Berlin
maintained close ties to the West German Federal Republic
of Germany, it was legally never part of it. 20th century cities under international supervision[edit] Danzig[edit] Main article: Free City of Danzig The Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
port of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) and nearly 200 towns in the surrounding areas. It was created on 15 November 1920[23][24] under the terms of Article 100 (Section XI of Part III) of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
after the end of World War I. Fiume[edit] Main article: Free State of Fiume After a prolonged period where the city of Fiume
enjoyed considerable autonomy under 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. Shanghai[edit] Main article: Shanghai International Settlement The Shanghai International Settlement
Shanghai International Settlement
(1845–1943) was an international zone with its own legal system, postal service, and currency. Tangier[edit] Main article: Tangier
International Zone


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 Great Britain. Which later became 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 the 29 of October 1956 when it was reintegrated into the state of Morocco. Memel[edit] Main article: Klaipėda Region The Klaipėda Region
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
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
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
Klaipėda Revolt
of 1923. Trieste[edit] Main article: Free Territory of Trieste The Free Territory of Trieste
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
Free Territory of Trieste
into a city state, but it never gained real independence and in 1954 its territory was divided between Italy
and Yugoslavia. Jerusalem[edit] Main article: Corpus separatum (Jerusalem) Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine
United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine
of 1947, Mandatory Palestine
Mandatory Palestine
was to be partitioned into three states: a Jewish state of Israel, an Arab state of Palestine, and a Corpus separatum (Latin for "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
East Jerusalem
in the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
in 1967. Modern city-states[edit]

Monaco, known for its casino, royalty and scenic harbour

Singapore, modern city-state and island country

Monaco[edit] Main article: Monaco The 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 they would still have to rely on France, for defence in the face of an aggressive world power. Singapore[edit] Main article: Singapore Singapore
is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. About 5.2 million people live and work within 700 square kilometres (270 sq mi), making Singapore
the 2nd-most-densely populated country in the world after Monaco, another city-state. Singapore
was part of Malaysia
before it was expelled from the Federation
in 1965, becoming an independent republic, a city and a sovereign country with its own armed forces for deterrence and to safeguard the nation's sovereignty against potential aggressors. The Economist
The Economist
refers to the nation as the "world's only fully functioning city-state".[25] Vatican City[edit]

Vatican City, a city-state well known for being the smallest country in the world

Main article: Vatican City Until 1870, the city of Rome
had been controlled by the pope as part of his Papal States. When King Victor Emmanuel II seized the city in 1870, Pope
Pius IX refused to recognize the newly formed 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 0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi) papal enclave once they had ascended the papal thrones. The impasse was resolved in 1929 by the Lateran Treaties
Lateran Treaties
negotiated by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
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, and postage stamps. With a population of less than 1,000 (mostly clergymen), it is by far the smallest sovereign country in the world. Non-sovereign city-states[edit]

Hong Kong, the world's most populous city-state

Some cities or urban areas, while not sovereign states, may nevertheless enjoy such a high degree of autonomy that they function as "city-states" within the context of the sovereign state that they belong to. Historian Mogens Herman Hansen describes this aspect of self-government as: "The city-state is a self-governing, but not necessarily independent political unit."[4]

and Melilla
(Spain)[26] Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau
(China)[4] Gibraltar
(United Kingdom)[citation needed]

Stadtstaaten of Germany[edit] Two cities in Germany, namely Berlin
and Hamburg, are considered city-states (German: Stadtstaaten). Additionally, the state of Bremen is often called a city-state although it consists of the two cities of Bremen
and Bremerhaven, which are separated by the state of Lower Saxony. Together with thirteen area states (German: Flächenländer) they form the sixteen federal states of Germany.[4] Generally, the city-states have no other rights or duties than the other states. Through the financial redistribution system of Equalization Payments in Germany
Equalization Payments in Germany
(German: Länderfinanzausgleich), they do receive more money because of their demographic characteristics. The city-states are most distinctive due to the names of their state organs: their governments are called Senate, the prime ministers 'mayor' (Governing Mayor in Berlin
and First Mayor in Hamburg) or President of the Senate (in Bremen) and also the expressions for their state parliaments differ from the other states. In the 18th century many German cities were free imperial cities (German: Reichsstädte), without a principality between them and the imperial level. After the Napoleonic era, in 1815, four were still city-states: Hamburg, Bremen
and Lübeck in Northern Germany, and Frankfurt where the Federal Convention was located. Frankfurt was incorporated by Prussia in 1866, and Lübeck became a part of Prussia during the national socialist regime in 1937 (Greater Hamburg
Law). After 1945, Berlin
was a divided city, and the Western part became a quasi German state under (Western) Allied supervision. Since 1990/1991, the reunited Berlin
is an ordinary German state among others. See also[edit]

Altepetl, a Mesoamerican political unit similar to a city state Pyu city-states List of fictional city-states in literature Federal district Free imperial city Guanabara London independence City network


^ "city-state". thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 1 February 2015.  ^ a b c Parker, Geoffrey. 2005. Sovereign
City: The City-state
Through History Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pg. 219 ^ Roberts, David. 2014. Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-state. London: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. ^ a b c d e f g h Mogens, Hansen. 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. 19 ^ El-Katiri, Laura, Bassam Fattouh and Paul Segal. 2011 Anatomy of an oil-based welfare state: rent distribution in Kuwait. Kuwait
City: Kuwait
Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States ^ "The emblem of Malta, Department of Information, Official Website of President of Malta". Doi.gov.mt. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.  ^ "This very crowded isle: England is most over-populated country in EU" Archived 25 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. – Daily Mail ^ "''Draft National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries – Creative Malta''". Creativemalta.gov.mt. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.  ^ Malta
Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. - European Central Bank ^ a b Parker, 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 Pg. 91 ^ Kotkin, Joel. 2010. "A New Era for the City-State?" In Forbes. ^ Holm, Poul, "Viking Dublin
and the City-State Concept: Parameters and Significance of the Hiberno-Norse Settlement" (Respondent: Donnchadh Ó Corráin), in Mogens Herman Hansen (ed.), A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures Archived 21 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Denmark: Special-Trykkeriet Viborg. (University of Copenhagen, Polis
Center). 2000. pp. 251–62. ^ Sri Aurobindo, "Ideal of Human Unity" included in Social and Political Thought, 1970. ^ Scott, James C. (2009). The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale agrarian studies. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300156522. Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.  ^ Winichakul, Thongchai. 1997. Siam
Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press ^ Baker, Chris and Pasuk Phongpaichit. 2009. A History of Thailand: 2nd ed. Sydney: Cambridge University Press ^ Quezon, Manolo (2017-10-02). "The Explainer: Bamboozled by the barangay". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2017-10-04.  ^ a b c Junker, Laura Lee (2000). "Raiding, Trading, and Feasting: The Political Economy of Philippine Chiefdoms". Ateneo de Manila University Press: 74, 130.  ISBN 971-550-347-0, ISBN 978-971-550-347-1. ^ Junker, Laura Lee (1990). "The Organization of IntraRegional and LongDistance Trade in PreHispanic Philippine Complex Societies". Asian Perspectives. 29 (2): 167–209.  ^ https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=ycT9AQAAQBAJ&pg=PA108&dq=Barangay+city-states&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjnrM3VlIzZAhWFv7wKHWDWCaUQ6AEIKzAB#v=onepage&q=Barangay%20city-states&f=false ^ Plasencia, Fray Juan de (1589). "Customs of the Tagalogs". Nagcarlan, Laguna.  ^ Loew, Peter Oliver (February 2011). Danzig – Biographie einer Stadt (in German). C.H. Beck. p. 189. ISBN 978-3-406-60587-1.  ^ Samerski, Stefan (2003). Das Bistum Danzig in Lebensbildern (in German). LIT Verlag. p. 8. ISBN 3-8258-6284-4.  ^ "The Singapore
exception". The Economist. 18 July 2015. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017.  ^ Lulat, Y. G.-M. (2015). A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present. Greenwood Publishing. p. 197. ISBN 9780313320613. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

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). ISBN 87-7876-177-8. Mogens Herman Hansen (ed.), A comparative study of six city-state cultures : an investigation, Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 2002. (Historisk-filosofiske skrifter, 27). ISBN 87-7876-316-9.

Authority control

LCCN: sh85026