City-state

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A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. [1] They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as Rome, Athens, Sparta, Carthage, and the Italian city-states during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, such as Florence, Venice, Genoa and Milan. With the rise of nation states worldwide, only a few modern sovereign city-states exist, with some disagreement as to which qualify; Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City are most commonly accepted as such. Singapore is the clearest example, with full self-governance, its own currency, a robust military, and a population of 5.6 million. [2]

Contents

A number of other small states share many of these characteristics, and are sometimes cited as modern city-states. Djibouti, [3] Qatar, [4] [5] Brunei, [6] Kuwait, [6] [4] [7] Bahrain, [6] [4] Malta, [8] [9] [10] Estonia, [11] [ dead link ] Costa Rica, [12] Jordan, [13] [14] [15] [ full citation needed ] Suriname, [16] [17] [18] [ full citation needed ] Uruguay, [19] [20] Latvia, [21] [ failed verification ] and Mongolia [22] [ failed verification ] each have a capital urban center comprising a major portion of the population and the majority of GDP. Each has more than one distinct municipality, with one identified as a capital city, though the same was often the case for historical city-states. Occasionally, microstates with high population densities such as San Marino are cited, despite lacking a large urban centre. [6] [23] [24]

Several non-sovereign cities enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and are sometimes considered city-states. Macau, Hong Kong, [25] [26] and members of the United Arab Emirates – most notably Dubai and Abu Dhabi – are often cited as such. [6] [23] [27]

Historical background

Ancient and medieval world

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 vast empire); the Italian city-states from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, such as Florence, Siena, Ferrara, Milan (which as they grew in power began to dominate neighboring cities) and Genoa and Venice, which have became powerful thalassocracies; 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; 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. [28]

The Republic of Ragusa, a maritime city-state, was based in the walled city of Dubrovnik Dubrovnik crop.jpg
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 independent centers. The success of 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 (such as Roman conquest of Greece). Thus they inevitably gave way to larger organisations of society, including the empire and the nation-state. [29] [ need quotation to verify ]

Southeast Asia

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 occurred. Siam, a regional power at the time, needed to define their territories for negotiation with the European powers so the Siamese government established a nation-state system, incorporated their tributary cities (Lan Xang, Cambodia and some Malay cities) into their territory and abolished the mueang and the tributary system. [30] [ need quotation to verify ] [31] [32]

In early Philippine history, the barangay was a complex sociopolitical unit which scholars have historically [33] considered the dominant organizational pattern among the various peoples of the Philippine archipelago. [34] These sociopolitical units were sometimes also referred to as barangay states, but are more properly referred to using the technical term polity . [34] [35] Evidence suggests a considerable degree of independence as city states ruled by Datus, Rajahs and Sultans. [36] Early chroniclers [37] 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. [34]

Central Europe

The Free imperial cities as of 1792. Free Imperial Cities 1792.png
The Free imperial cities as of 1792.

In the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) over 80 Free Imperial Cities came to enjoy considerable autonomy in the Middle Ages and in early modern times, buttressed legally by international law following the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. Some, like three of the earlier Hanseatic citiesBremen, Hamburg and Lübeck – pooled their economic relations with foreign powers and were able to wield considerable diplomatic clout. Individual cities often made protective alliances with other cities or with neighbouring regions, including the Hanseatic League (1358 – 17th century), the Swabian League of Cities (1331–1389), the Décapole (1354–1679) in the Alsace, or the Old Swiss Confederacy (c. 1300 – 1798). The Swiss cantons of Zürich, Bern, Lucerne, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel, Schaffhausen, and Geneva originated as city-states.

After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, some cities – then members of different confederacies – officially became sovereign city-states, such as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (1806–11 and again 1813–71), the Free City of Frankfurt upon Main (1815–66), 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 (1779–1919), which – while falling short of an independent sovereignty – had many attributes of a city-state.

Italy

Italy in 1494, after the Peace of Lodi Italy 1494.svg
Italy in 1494, after the Peace of Lodi

In Northern and Central Italy during the medieval and Renaissance periods, city-states - with various amounts of associated land - became the standard form of polity. Some of them, despite being de facto independent states, were formally part of the Holy Roman Empire. The era of the Italian states, in particular from the 11th century to the 15th century, was characterized by the remarkable economic development, trade, manufacture, and mercantile capitalism, together with increasing urbanization. With remarkable influence throughout much of the Mediterranean world and Europe as a whole. During this time, most of the Italian city-states were ruled by one person, such as the Signoria or by a dynasty, such as the House of Gonzaga and the House of Sforza. [38]

Examples of Italian city-states during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Republic of Florence, Duchy of Milan, Duchy of Ferrara, [39] San Marino, Duchy of Modena and Reggio, Duchy of Urbino, Duchy of Mantua and the Republic of Lucca.

Another example of Italian city-states, were the powerful maritime republics, the best known are: Republic of Venice, Republic of Genoa, Republic of Amalfi and Republic of Pisa.

20th-century cities under international supervision

Danzig

The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) and nearly 200 towns in the surrounding areas. It was created on 15 November 1920 [40] [41] under the terms of Article 100 (Section XI of Part III) of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles after the end of World War I.

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

The Shanghai International Settlement (1845–1943) was an international zone with its own legal system, postal service, and currency.

Tangier

Tangier Tangier 12.JPG
Tangier

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 United Kingdom, plus later 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 29 October 1956, when it was reintegrated into the state of Morocco.

Memel

The 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 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 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 of 1923.

Trieste

The 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 into a city state, but it never gained real independence and in 1954 its territory was divided between Italy and Yugoslavia.

Jerusalem

Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine of 1947, 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 in the Six-Day War in 1967.

West Berlin

In the 20th century West Berlin, though lacking sovereignty, functioned from 1948 until 1990 as 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 maintained close ties to the West German Federal Republic of Germany, it never legally formed a part of it.

Modern city-states

Monaco Monte Carlo 1.jpg
Monaco, known for its casino, royalty and scenic harbour
1 Singapore city skyline 2010 day panorama.jpg
Singapore, modern city-state and island country

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 power.

Singapore

Singapore is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. About 5.6 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. Singapore was part of Malaysia before it was expelled from the federation in 1965, becoming an independent republic, a city and a sovereign country. The Economist refers to the nation as the "world's only fully functioning city-state". In particular, it has its own currency and a full armed forces for deterrence to safeguard the nation's sovereignty against potential aggressors. [42] [43] [44]

Vatican City

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

Until September 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 negotiated by the Italian dictator 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 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

The city of Basel, located on the Rhine, is a historic city-state and a Swiss canton. Middle Bridge, Basel, Switzerland.JPG
The city of Basel, located on the Rhine, is a historic city-state and a Swiss canton.

Some cities or urban areas, while not sovereign states, may nevertheless be constituent states of a federation, or enjoy a high degree of autonomy. As such, they function as "city-states" within the context of the sovereign state to which they belong. Historian Mogens Herman Hansen describes this aspect of self-government as: "The city-state is a self-governing, but not necessarily independent political unit." [6] A city with more limited self-government may be referred to as an independent city.

Some non-sovereign cities which a high degree of autonomy which have been described as city-states include:

Some cities that are constituent states in a federation, and as such can be accurately described as non-sovereign city-states include:

Proposed city-states

London

The London independence movement seeks a city-state separate from the United Kingdom.

New York

There have been various proposals for the City of New York to secede from New York State.

In the period of national crisis immediately preceding the American Civil War, Democratic Mayor Fernando Wood proposed the secession of the city as a sovereign city-state to be called the Free City of Tri-Insula (Tri-Insula meaning "three islands" in Latin), and incorporating Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island. [48] In an address to the city's Common Council on January 6, 1861, Mayor Wood expressed a Copperhead sympathy with the seceding states and a desire to maintain profitable cotton shipping, confidence that the city state would prosper on the import tariffs that then supplied 2/3 of federal revenue, and especially dissatisfaction with the state government at Albany. But the idea of leaving the United States proved too radical even in the turmoil of 1861 and was poorly received, especially after the Southern bombardment of Fort Sumter starting on April 12. [48] The war, and especially conscription, was nevertheless often unpopular in the city, sparking the deadly New York Draft Riots. The neighboring City of Brooklyn, in contrast, was staunchly Unionist.

In 1969, writer Norman Mailer and columnist Jimmy Breslin ran together on an independent ticket seeking the mayoralty and City Council Presidency, challenging Mayor John Lindsay with an agenda to make New York City the 51st state. When questioned as to the name of the new state, Breslin said the city deserved to keep "New York" and that upstate should be renamed "Buffalo", after its largest city.

On 26 February 2003, a bill was introduced by Astoria, Queens Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr., and sponsored by 20 of 51 City Council members, reviving the idea of referendum for secession from New York State in the context of the red state vs. blue state divide and opposition to the policies of Governor George Pataki. A committee report was written but otherwise little action was taken, and the bill was reintroduced with one additional sponsor on the same date in 2004. Like Mayor Wood, Council Member Vallone emphasized the fiscal benefits of secession, with revenue now derived not from tariffs, but from Wall Street. Council Member Vallone reintroduced the bill in 2006. In January 2008, Vallone again offered a bill for the secession of New York City from New York State. After Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified to New York State legislators that New York City gives the state $11 billion more than it gets back, Vallone stated: "If not secession, somebody please tell me what other options we have if the state is going to continue to take billions from us and give us back pennies? Should we raise taxes some more? Should we cut services some more? Or should we consider seriously going out on our own?" The New York City Council planned to hold a meeting on the topic. [49]

Washington, D.C.

Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv independence movement seeks to separate Tel Aviv from the rest of Israel due to the political differences present in Tel Aviv as oppose to the rest of Israel.

See also

Related Research Articles

Country Distinct territorial body or political entity

A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship.

An independent city or independent town is a city or town that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity.

A principality can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a regnant-monarch with the title of prince and/or princess, or by a monarch with another title considered to fall under the generic meaning of the term prince.

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. Some of the most famous and significant secessions have been: the former Soviet republics leaving the Soviet Union, Ireland leaving the United Kingdom, and Algeria leaving France. Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals. It is, therefore, a process, which commences once a group proclaims the act of secession. A secession attempt might be violent or peaceful, but the goal is the creation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory it seceded from.

Urban secession is a city's secession from its surrounding region to form a new political unit.

Landtag

A Landtag is a representative assembly (parliament) in German-speaking countries with legislative authority and competence over a federated state (Land). Landtage assemblies are the legislative bodies for the individual states of Germany and states of Austria, and have authority to legislate in non-federal matters for the regional area.

Free state is a term occasionally used in the official titles of some states throughout the world with varying meanings depending on the context. In principle, the title asserts and emphasises a particular freedom of the state in question, but this is not always reflected in practice. Some states use the title to assert sovereignty or independence from foreign domination, while others have used it to assert autonomy within a larger nation-state. Sometimes "free state" is used as a synonym for "republic".

European microstates European sovereign states having very small population or very small land area

The European microstates or European ministates are a set of very small sovereign states in Europe. The term is typically used to refer to the six smallest states in Europe by area: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. Four of these states are monarchies. These states trace their status back to the first millennium or the early second millennium except for Liechtenstein, created in the 17th century.

Partition and secession in New York Hypothetical division of the state

There are or have been several movements regarding secession from the U.S. state of New York. Only one of them – the state of Vermont – succeeded. Among the unsuccessful ones, the most prominent included the proposed state of Long Island, consisting of everything on the island outside New York City; a state called Niagara, the western counties of New York state; the northern counties of New York state called Upstate New York; making the city of New York a state; a proposal for a new Peconic County on eastern Long Island; and for the borough of Staten Island to secede from New York City.

Free State of Fiume Independent city-state in present-day Rijeka, Croatia from 1920-24

The Free State of Fiume was an independent free state that existed between 1920 and 1924. Its territory of 28 km2 (11 sq mi) comprised the city of Fiume and rural areas to its north, with a corridor to its west connecting it to the Kingdom of Italy.

Micronations are ephemeral, self-proclaimed entities that claim to be independent sovereign states, but which are not acknowledged as such by any recognised sovereign state, or by any supranational organisation.

States of the German Empire

The German Empire consisted of 25 constituent states and an Imperial Territory, the largest of which was Prussia. These states, or Staaten each had votes in the Bundesrat, which gave them representation at a federal level.

<i>Corpus separatum</i> (Fiume)

Corpus separatum, a Latin term meaning "separated body", refers to the status of the City of Fiume while given a special legal and political status different from its environment under the rule of the Kingdom of Hungary. Formally known as City of Fiume and its District, it was instituted by Empress Maria Theresa in 1779, determining the semi-autonomous status of Fiume within the Habsburg Monarchy until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

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Further reading