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Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy.
In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy.
In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion.
Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, international development, the Middle East, terrorism, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.
Source: CIA World Fact Book
821 (July 2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
0% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Italians, Swiss, other
Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
total population: 100%
This unique, noncommercial economy is supported financially by an annual contribution (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the world; by the sale of postage stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by the sale of publications. Investments and real estate income also account for a sizable portion of revenue. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Labor force - by occupation:
note: essentially services with a small amount of industry; dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican
Population below poverty line:
revenues: $247 million
expenditures: $243 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005)
printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps; a small amount of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities
Electricity - production:
Electricity - consumption:
Electricity - imports:
NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Italy
Economic aid - recipient:
euros per US dollar - 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
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