For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.
Area total: 61.2 sq. km.; about one-third the size of Washington, DC.
Cities: Capital--San Marino (pop. 4,377). Other cities--Serravalle, Borgo Maggiore, Domagnano.
Terrain: Rugged mountains.
Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool winters; warm, sunny summers.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Sammarinese.
Population (April 2011): 31,928.
Ethnic groups: Sammarinese, Italian.
Religion: Roman Catholic.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2010)--2.99/1,000 live birth rates. Life expectancy (2009)--80.9 years for men and 86.0 years for women.
Work force (April 2011): 22,374.
Type: Independent republic.
Constitution: October 8, 1600, electoral law of 1926 and manuscript of rights (1974) serve some of the functions of the Constitution.
Branches: Executive--Captains Regent (co-chiefs of state); Congress of State (cabinet) elected by the Great and General Council; Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs (head of government). Legislative--unicameral parliament: 60-member Great and General Council. Judicial--Council of Twelve.
Administrative divisions: 9 municipalities.
Political parties: Christian Democratic Party of San Marino, Party of Socialists and Democrats, National Alliance, Popular Alliance, United Left, New Socialist Party, We Sammarinesi, Sammarinesi for Freedom, and Democrats of the Center.
Suffrage: Universal, 18 years of age.
GDP (2009): Euros 1.102 billion (approx. $1.54 billion).
Per capita GNP (2009): Euros 24,990 (approx. $34,830).
GDP growth (2009): -12.5%.
Natural resources: Building stone.
Agriculture: Products--wheat, grapes, maize, olives, cattle, pigs, horses, meat, cheese, hides.
Industry: Types--tourism, textiles, electronics, ceramics, cement, wine.
Trade: Exports (2008)--2.80 billion Euros (approx. $3.9 billion). 90% to Italy. Imports (2008)--2.60 billion Euros (approx. $3.6 billion): manufactured goods, food. Partners--Italy, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, China, Taiwan.
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
The population of San Marino is comprised of native Sammarinese and Italian citizens. Crop farming, sheep farming, and the working of stone from the quarries formed the early backbone of San Marino's economy. It has no mineral resources, and today most of the land is cultivated or covered by woods.
According to tradition, San Marino was founded in AD 301 when a Christian stonemason named Marinus the Dalmatian fled to the island of Arbe to escape the anti-Christian Roman Emperor Diocletian. Marinus hid on the peak of Mount Titano and founded a small community of people following their Christian beliefs. It is certain that the area had been inhabited since prehistoric times, although evidence of existence on Mount Titano only dates back to the Middle Ages. In memory of the stonecutter, the land was renamed "Land of San Marino" and was finally changed to its present-day name, "Republic of San Marino."
The original government structure was composed of a self-governed assembly known as the Arengo, which consisted of the heads of each family. In 1243, the positions of Captains Regent (Capitani Reggenti) were established to be the joint heads of state.
The land area of San Marino consisted only of Mount Titano until 1463, at which time the republic entered into an alliance against Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, who was later defeated. As a result, Pope Pius II Piccolomini gave San Marino the towns of Fiorentino, Montegiardino, and Serravalle. Later that year, the town of Faetano joined the republic on its own accord. Since then, the size of San Marino has remained unchanged.
San Marino has been occupied by foreign militaries twice in its history, both for only short periods of time. In 1503, Cesare Borgia, known as Valentino, occupied the republic until his death several months later. In 1739, Cardinal Alberoni used military force to occupy the country. Civil disobedience was used to protest his occupation, and clandestine notes sent to the Pope to obtain justice were answered by the Pope's recognition of San Marino's rights and restoration of San Marino's independence.
The Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family, relinquished its power to the Great and General Council. In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated by the Council, and this method of nomination is still in use today. The Council is composed of 60 members who are elected every 5 years under a proportional representation system in all nine administrative districts. These districts (Townships) correspond to the old parishes of the Republic, and each one is ruled by a Council, which is chaired by a Captain elected every 5 years. The Great and General Council approves the budget, as well as the nominations of Captains Regent and heads of the Executive.
Every 6 months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so they can keep an eye on each other. They serve a 6-month term. The investiture of the Captains Regent takes place on April 1 and October 1 in every year. Once this term is over, citizens have 3 days in which to file complaints about the previous Regents' activities. If they warrant it, judicial proceedings against the former head(s) of state can be initiated.
The State Congress, composed of 10 Secretaries, wields executive power. The 10 Secretaries are (1) Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs, Telecommunications, and Transportation; (2) Secretary of State for Internal Affairs and Civil Defense; (3) Secretary of State for Finance, Budget, and Relations with the State Philatelic and Numismatic Office; (4) Secretary of State for Education, Culture, University and Social Affairs; (5) Secretary of State for Territory, Environment and Agriculture; (6) Secretary of State for Health and Social Security; (7) Secretary of State for Industry and Trade; (8) Secretary of State for Tourism, Sport, Economic Planning, and Relations with the Azienda Autonoma di Stato for Services; (9) Secretary of State for Justice, Information, and Relations with City Governments; and (10) Secretary of State for Labor and Cooperation.
The Great and General Council elects the Council of Twelve for the duration of the Legislature and serves a jurisdictional body that also acts as a third instance Court of Appeals. Two government inspectors represent the State in financial and patrimonial questions.
The Legislative body consists of the Great and General Council, the parliament, and a unicameral Chamber. The members of parliament are usually elected every 5 years and are in charge of legislation, justice, and the administration of jurisdiction. In addition, they are tasked with electing the Captains Regent, the State Congress, the Council of Twelve, the Advising Commission, and the Government Unions once the Council nominates them. Parliament also has the power to ratify contracts with other countries. The parliament is divided into five different Advising Commissions consisting of 15 councils which examine, propose, and discuss the implementation of new laws that are on being submitted to the Great and General Council.
The judiciary is composed of the commissioner of the law, the judging magistrate, the appellate judge, the juvenile court, and the judge of last appeal. The commissioner tries civil and penal cases with penalties not exceeding a 3-year sentence. The judging magistrates, who are appointed by parliament for a 3-year term and can be indefinitely reappointed, preside over all other cases.
Reform legislation, enacted in 2004, no longer requires that the country's lower court judges be noncitizens; however, most lower court judges remained Italian citizens. A local conciliation judge handles cases of minor importance. Under the same reform, the final court of review is the judge of the last appeal. In civil matters, this judge confirms or overrules either the lower court judgment or an appellate decision; in criminal matters, he judges on the legitimacy of detention measures and on the enforcement of a judgment.
On April 28, 2005 a new act established the country's constitutional court with the following functions: 1) to verify that laws, acts, and traditions that are given the force of law conform to constitutional precepts; 2) to verify the admissibility of a referendum; 3) to decide on conflicts between constitutional institutions; 4) to control the activity of the Captains Regent. The court is composed of three standing judges and three alternate judges. They are selected by the Great and General Council with a two-thirds majority to a 4-year term. After the first selection one-third of the members of the court are reselected every 2 years.
Principal Government Officials
Captains Regent--Filippo Tamagnini and Maria Luisa Berti (from April 1 to October 1, 2011)
Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs--Antonella Mularoni (since December 3, 2008)
Ambassador to the United States--Paolo Rondelli
San Marino has honorary Consulates General in Washington, DC and New York and honorary Consulates in Detroit and Honolulu. The honorary Consulate General in Washington, DC is located at 888 17th Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20006.
The Republic of San Marino's website provides information on politics, trade, and events in San Marino.
San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The two main parties are the Christian Democratic Party of San Marino (PDCS), and the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD), in addition to several other smaller parties. Due to the small size and low population of San Marino, it is difficult for any party to gain a pure majority, and most of the time the government is run by a coalition. Following the November 2008 election results, the PDCS formed a center-right coalition government with the Popular Alliance and several smaller parties.
Because tourism accounts for a large part of the economy, the government relies not only on taxes and customs for revenue but also the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors throughout the world. In addition, the Italian Government pays San Marino an annual budget subsidy provided under the terms of the Basic Treaty with Italy. In recent years banking has also become an important economic activity.
Harmonization of statutes and policies with the EU is a major domestic and foreign policy priority of the republic. Another priority issue is the signing of a cooperation agreement with Italy, San Marino's most important economic partner.
Manufacturing industry contributed to 33.3% of San Marino’s GDP in 2009. Other important sectors included banking and insurance (17.6%); public administration (13.6%); commerce (13.5%), services (13.6%), and construction (5.9%). Tourism remained a significant activity, drawing about 2 million people annually.
Traditional economic activities in San Marino were food crops, sheep farming, and stone quarrying. Today farming activities focus on grain, vines, and orchards, as well as animal husbandry (cattle and swine). Besides the tourism industry, San Marino makes most of its income from the banking industry and from the manufacture and export of ceramics, tiles, furniture, clothing, paints, fabrics, and spirits/wines. The per capita level of output and standard of living in San Marino are comparable to those of Italy. In addition, San Marino maintains the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and no national debt.
San Marino is an active player in the international community. Currently, the Republic has diplomatic relations with over 70 countries. Italy is the only country represented by an ambassador resident in San Marino. The Papal Nuncio, based in Rome, is the dean of San Marino's diplomatic corps.
San Marino is a full member of the United Nations (UN), International Court of Justice (ICJ), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organization (WHO), World Tourism Organization (WTO), Council of Europe, International Red Cross Organization, the International Institution for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIIT), and Interpol, among others. It also cooperates with UNICEF and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and has official relations with the European Union (EU). From May-November 1990 and from November 2006-May 2007, San Marino held the semi-annual presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, headquartered in Strasbourg, France.
U.S.-SAN MARINO RELATIONS
The United States and San Marino enjoy friendly diplomatic relations. San Marino consistently supports U.S. foreign policy positions, as well as U.S. candidates to international organizations. The two countries are on excellent terms. In December 2009 Ambassador David Thorne presented his credentials to the Captains Regent, to become the second U.S. Ambassador to San Marino in the country’s history. In July 2007, Ambassador Paolo Rondelli became San Marino's first ambassador to the U.S. For consular purposes, the republic is within the jurisdiction of the Florence consular district. Consulate officials regularly visit San Marino to carry out diplomatic demarches, represent U.S. interests, and administer consular services.
Principal U.S. Officials
U.S. Consul General Mary Ellen Countryman is the working diplomatic contact to San Marino. The U.S. Consulate General is at Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 38, 50123 Firenze, Italy (tel. (39) (055) 266-951).