Fast Facts

Vatican City; 798
0.4 square kilometer (0.2 square mile)
Italian, Latin, French
Roman Catholic
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $25,500
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Vatican City
Map: Vatican City

From this state within the city of Rome, the Pope ministers to a flock of more than a billion Roman Catholics. The Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Holy See created an independent Vatican City in 1929. The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with more than 150 countries; issues passports, coins, and stamps; has a radio station and a publishing house; and billets a force of Swiss Guards. John Paul II, the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years, was elected in 1978. Pope Benedict XVI was elected head of the Roman Catholic Church and Vatican City in 2005 after Pope John Paul II's death.


  • Industry: Printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps; worldwide banking and financial activities

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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