Before entering fully into the definition of the term city-state, we are going to know the etymological origin of the two words that give it its shape:
-City is a word that derives from Latin, exactly from “civitas” which is composed from the sum of two clearly differentiated parts: the noun “civis”, which means “citizen”, and the suffix “-tat”, which is used to indicate “quality”.
-State, on the other hand, also has its origin in Latin. In its most specific case it derives from “status”, which emanates from the verb “stare” and which is synonymous with “being standing still.”
According to abbreviationfinder, the concept of city-state is used to name a State made up of a single city. These are territories with a very small area compared to traditional states.
The origin of city-states (or city-states) dates back several centuries before Christ. These entities arose in Sumeria around the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, when the residents began to develop various activities taking advantage of these rivers and to organize themselves.
These city-states were independent, like many that arose in medieval times for commercial reasons. At present we can find independent city states and others that are integrated into a country organized as a federation.
Among the first city-states we can name Sparta (in Ancient Greece), Tikal (city-state of the Mayan civilization) and Chichén Itzá (also linked to the Mayan people). In the Middle Ages, city states such as Florence, Amalfi and Bruges developed in Europe.
In this list of city-states we cannot overlook others such as the following:
-Andorra. That it has a feudal origin and that precisely from that past has maintained its essence as a city-state. Its official language is Catalan and it has been independent since 1278. It is located between France and Spain.
-San Marino. It has a population of about 30,000 residents, it is a parliamentary republic. Likewise, it must be established that it has the particularity of being the oldest Sovereign State in the world. It is close to Italy.
Today, Berlin (Federal Republic of Germany), Moscow (Russian Federation) and Basel (Swiss Confederation), among other locations, are considered as city-states integrated into a federation. There are also autonomous city-states that are part of a nation: Ceuta (Spain), Gibraltar (United Kingdom), Macao (China), etc.
On the other hand, several independent city states remain. Monaco and the Vatican City on the European continent and Singapore in Asia are examples of these entities. As you can see, the difference between city-state and country can be subtle and even non-existent since it is, after all, States.
The Vatican City, which is one of the European city states, has the particularity of being also considered the smallest country in the world. Its origin as an independent state dates from the year 1929 and it is known for hosting the Holy See, which we can establish is the highest institution that exists within the Catholic Church.