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  • Writer's pictureMatteo Caporioni

History of San Marino

Updated: Apr 9

San Marino, officially known as the Republic of San Marino, is a small independent country located in southern Europe. It is the world's oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic, with a history dating back over 1,700 years. Since the history of this place goes so back in times, we tried to divide the majority of the events happened here in six most relevant eras. If you are visiting San Marino, make sure to check out our previous blogs on this country: What to visit in San Marino?, What to eat in San Marino?, and Fun facts about San Marino.

Read on to uncover the long History of San Marino!

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History of San Marino
San Marino

History of San Marino

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Founding Era

San Marino was founded by Saint Marinus, a Christian stonemason, who established a small community on Mount Titano in 301 AD. Seeking refuge from religious persecution, Marinus and his followers established a monastic community, which later grew into the independent state of San Marino. The community's dedication to freedom and independence set the foundation for the republic with a system of councils and assemblies to govern its affairs. This early form of governance laid the foundation for the democratic principles that continue to characterize San Marino's political system today.

Medieval Era

During the medieval period, San Marino faced numerous challenges but managed to maintain its independence. It established a defensive alliance with the Papal States and managed to repel various invasions and attacks. In the 13th century, San Marino adopted a constitution, the Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini, which laid out the principles of governance and protected individual liberties. San Marino's independence and autonomy were gradually recognized by neighboring powers during the medieval period. Despite its small size, San Marino managed to maintain its independence through diplomatic means and strategic alliances. It remained largely untouched by feudalism, unlike many other parts of Europe, and retained its republican form of government.

Renaissance Era

San Marino remained a small, agricultural community throughout the Renaissance. It managed to maintain its independence even during the power struggles between neighboring states. In the 16th century, San Marino adopted a policy of neutrality, which helped it survive numerous conflicts and wars in the region. The republic maintained its independence despite changes in the political landscape of Italy. Like other regions in Italy, San Marino may have seen the patronage of art and architecture by local elites and religious institutions during the Renaissance. While there are no major Renaissance landmarks in San Marino itself, it's possible that some local churches, palaces, and civic buildings were constructed or renovated in Renaissance style.

Modern Era

In the early 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte's forces occupied Italy, including the surrounding Papal States. San Marino managed to maintain its independence by paying tribute to Napoleon's regime. However, after the fall of Napoleon, the unification movement in Italy threatened San Marino's sovereignty. In 1862, San Marino's independence was formally recognized by the Kingdom of Italy. One notable figure from San Marino in the 19th century is Francesco Pasini (1789–1859). Pasini was an influential political figure and served as Captain Regent of San Marino multiple times during the 19th century.

20th century Era

San Marino remained neutral during World War I and World War II, though it faced economic challenges and shortages. After World War II, San Marino experienced a period of economic growth and modernization. The 20th century saw San Marino undergo a significant economic transformation. The republic transitioned from an agrarian economy to a modern, service-based economy, with tourism emerging as a major industry. San Marino's tax-free shopping opportunities and historic landmarks attracted visitors from around the world, contributing to the republic's economic growth and prosperity. In addition to that, in the latter half of the 20th century, San Marino sought closer ties with the European Union (EU) while maintaining its status as an independent state. The republic entered into various agreements with the EU for cooperation and integration on issues such as trade, security, and transportation.

Contemporary Era

In recent times, San Marino has continued to thrive as an independent republic. It has maintained its traditional political structure, with a directly elected council and two Captains Regent serving as heads of state. San Marino is not a member of the European Union but has close ties with Italy and uses the euro as its currency. The republic is known for its picturesque landscapes, medieval architecture, and cultural heritage. San Marino's rich cultural heritage and historic landmarks remain central to its contemporary identity. The preservation of its medieval architecture, including its iconic towers and fortifications, continues to attract tourists and visitors from around the world. In addition to that, San Marino has become increasingly engaged with the international community in the contemporary era. The republic participates in various international organizations and forums, advocating for issues such as peace, human rights, and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, San Marino continues to prioritize social welfare and quality of life for its citizens in the contemporary era. The republic provides comprehensive social welfare programs, universal healthcare, and access to education, contributing to a high standard of living and happiness among its population.

Despite its small size, San Marino has managed to preserve its independence, democratic values, and unique identity throughout its long history. It stands as a testament to the endurance and resilience of a small state in a turbulent region.

We've reached the end of the article history of San Marino. It has a fantastic atmosphere, and we believe you will love it as much as we did! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our website. If you are visiting San Marino, make sure to read our previous blogs. In case you are traveling to Portugal or Poland in the future, you should try out our tours in Porto, Lisbon, and Warsaw. Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!

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