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The Lesser Known Europe

Updated on August 27, 2011

San Marino

San Marino Location
San Marino Location

San Marino

Officially known as the, “Most Serene Republic of San Marino”

It is the oldest surviving constitutional republic in the world and has a population of 30,000 inhabitants.

It is considered to have a most stable economy, with the lowest unemployment in Europe and no national debt.

It is the third smallest country in Europe, with only the Vatican City and Monaco, being smaller.

San Marino has no level ground, it is completely in hills. Neither does it have any significant body of water.

Although it is not a member of the European Community, the Euro, is its official currency.

San Marino is dominated by three hills.

It has one of the smallest militaries in the world whose role is mainly ceremonial.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

The status of “The Rock of Gibraltar” as A British Overseas Territory is still disputed by Spain. However, it still stands as that today.

Gibraltar is situated at the southern tip of Spain and is only 7.7 miles, across the straits of Gibraltar, to Morocco in Africa.

The two sides of the strait, Gibraltar and Morocco, are said to be the “pillars of Hercules” past which, Atlantis existed.

The “Rock” dominates the island, which means that the 30,000 inhabitants live in a densely populated city surrounding it.

Barbary Apes, which are from Africa, and possibly brought over by the Moors a thousand years ago, thrive on the “rock”. Legend has it, that as long as the Apes remain, Gibraltar will remain under British rule.

Malta

Valletta
Valletta

Malta

Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean, is a melting pot of civilizations with a history stretching back thousands of years. The country has been inhabited since around 5200 BC and a significant prehistoric civilization existed on the islands prior to the arrival of the Phoenicians who named the main island Malat, meaning safe haven. Later the islands were for centuries the seat of the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John and then part of the British Empire. Malta became independent in 1964.

The capital city of Malta is Valletta.

Through the centuries, it has continuously been known as a strategic port for the control of the Mediterranean Sea. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Persians all thought for control of the Islands. Even in World War 11, the Germans, Italians and British fought for it. Because of its history, Valletta, the capital, became a virtual fortress.

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