According to tradition, Marinus left
the island of Rab in Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo and went to the town
of Rimini as a stone worker. After persecution because of his Christian
sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, where he built a small church
and thus founded what is now the city and the state of San Marino. The official
date of foundation of the Republic is 3 September 301.
the mid-5th century, a community was formed; because of its relatively
inaccessible location and its poverty, it has succeeded, with a few brief
interruptions, in maintaining its independence. In 1631 its independence was recognised by the
Bust of Giuseppe Garibaldi in San
Marino, the first monument in the world dedicated to the "Hero of the Two
Worlds". The work of Stefano Galletti, it was erected in 1882.
During the early phase of the
Italian unification process of the 19th century, San Marino served as a haven
of refuge for numerous persons who were persecuted because of their support for
the unification. In memory of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the
wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state. Napoleon
III refused to take the country. He commented, "Why? It's a model republic!"
The government of San Marino made
United States President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen. He wrote in reply,
saying that the republic proved that "government founded on republican
principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and
In World War I, Italy declared war
on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915. San Marino declared war on Austria-Hungary
on 3 June 1915. 
In World War II, San Marino did not
join Italy in declaring war on the United Kingdom in 1940. San Marino immediately
declared its neutrality. Later, Axis forces retreated through the country and
were pursued by the American and British forces. The Allied troops left the
country a few weeks later.
The head of state is a committee
(council) of two captains-regent. San Marino also holds the record for the
world's first democratically-elected communist government, which held office
between 1945 and 1957.
San Marino was the world's smallest
republic from 301 to 1968, until Nauru gained independence.
San Marino became a member of the
Council of Europe in 1988 and of the United Nations in 1992. It is not a member
of the European Union.
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