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History of San Marino

The country of San Marino is said to have been founded in 301 AD when St. Marinus left his home off the Dalmatian coast (present-day Croatia) to escape religious persecution. The Christian St. Marinus eventually settled near Mt. Titano, which is today the location of San Marino.

Over the next few millennia, the Christian community at the base of Mt. Titano grew and in 1631 was recognized as an independent country by the Pope. When Napoleon invaded the Italian Peninsula in the late 1700s a regent from San Marino befriended Napoleon and hence guaranteed his country's freedom.

In the 1800s, as Italy was being slowly unified, San Marino served as a safe haven for those who supported unification. Due to this support, once the peninsula was unified, San Marino was granted its request to remain independent.

During World War I, San Marino remained neutral, a decision that created tension, but no violence, with Italy. San Marino again remained neutral during World War II (WWII), but was still bombed by the British as there was a belief that the Nazis were using the country as a weapons stronghold.

San Marino joined the Council of Europe in the 1980s and the United Nations in the 1990s, but has not elected to join the European Union (EU).

This page was last updated: March, 2013