5 – San Marino - 61 km²
San Marino is a tiny country 61 square kilometers in size that is completely surrounded by Italy. It has a population of 32,000 people, one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and more cars than people. It’s located two and half hours drive south of Venice near the coast of the Adriatic Sea. San Marino claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. San Marino is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita.
4 – Tuvalu - 26 km²
Tuvalu formerly know as Ellice Islands is located between Hawaii and Australia. It’s total land mass is 26 kilometers squared, when viewed from above is essentially the ring of a large underwater land mass that hasn’t quite breached the surface yet. Tuvalu has a population of 10,650 people which come from Polynesian descent. Most of the people live in Funafuti and the surrounding connected land to it. The traditional foods eaten in Tuvalu are pulaka, bananas, breadfruit, taro, coconut and seafood. Locals often catch flying fish on a boat with a spotlight and a butterfly net.
3 – Nauru - 21 km²
Nauru is a tiny island off the coast of Australia being only 21 square kilometers in size. It is the smallest island nation in the world but not the smallest country. It was once one of the richest countries in the world back with the boom of Phosphate mining in the 1970’s. Most of the phosphate is gone now and since the country has struggled until Australia started up a detention camp on the island. The camp itself has created over 100 jobs as well as helping all the local businesses. Before the camps were setup the unemployment rate was around 90%. This was due to the country being so rich from mining that wealth was distributed and the people of Nauru no longer felt the need to work. This had an extra effect of people no longer, fishing or gardening and became very sedentary. Soon followed as the importation of western food which has lead to 97% of the population being overweight or obese. Now over 40% of the population suffers from type 2 diabetes.
2 – Monaco - 2 km²
Monaco is an incredibly tiny country only 2 square kilometers in size located on the south western tip of France. It is bordered on 3 sides by france and 1 side by the Ligurian sea. Monaco is known for 2 things really, first gambling. There are 5 casinos in Monaco, 3 of which have been featured in 3 different James Bond movies. Secondly Monaco is known for the annual Monaco Grand Prix race which runs through the narrow streets with tight turns at high speeds. Most of Monaco’s 36,000 residents are millionaires and billionaires with only 1/5th the population actually born there. Monaco is a constitutional monarchy dating back to the 1300s. It is run by the Grimaldi family, the oldest ruling house in Europe.
1 – Vatican - 0.44 km²
The Vatican is the smallest country in the world at only 0.44 square kilometers. Located in the city of Rome, the Vatican is known for having the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican also has the smallest population of any country in the world at 842 people. That includes over 100 swiss guards, cardinals, clergy and one nun. The bulk of the population live abroad in diplomatic positions around the world. The swiss guard, you know those guys in fully looking jester outfits, were hired in 1506 to protect the pope and has been this way ever since. Benito Mussolini signed the papers in 1929 allowing the Vatican to be it’s own country. Along with it’s freedom they were given 92 million dollars (around 1 billion dollars today). The Vatican GPD ranks 18th richest in the world which primarily comes from donations from Catholic churches, souvenirs, stamps, collectables and museum tour fees.
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