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Malta and other[edit]

Discussion in the Malta page refers. In addition, the claim that "the Parliament of Malta has yet to officially announce Malta as a city-state" is a case of looking into a crystal ball. The Parliament of Malta has already designated cities, localities and hamlets and why it (or any other legislature for that matter) should declare the country a city state is mere speculation.

Demdem (talk) 19:45, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Also Buenos Aires, Canberra (see above), Brussels, Brasília, Geneva, Delhi, Mexico City and some other in the article. Generally, only Monaco (theoretically, see Monte Carlo), Singapore and Vatican is city-state. Subtropical-man (talk) 20:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
So first things first: are we agreed that the point about the Parliament of Malta is speculation?
Demdem (talk) 21:07, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
After inviting citations for the claim that Malta is a city-state and none were forthcoming, this unfounded (and evidently wrong) claim has been deleted. See also discussion in the Malta article.

Demdem (talk) 20:52, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Thread gets re-opened over because a re-wording is supposed to have introduced something new.

So let's go through all the points:

(a) "city" is not synonymous with "urban agglomeration" (the latter might actually cross national borders as, for example, Lille-Kortrijk).

(b) There are three inhabited islands in Malta, the largest being also called "Malta". The island is a single urban agglomeration (not city) often nominally referred to as "Valletta". But there is a second, smaller agglomeration - Gozo - equally recognised for statistical purposes.

(c) Then there's the definition at the beginning of this article: "A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government" (emphasis added). Malta does not satisfy this condition.

(d) The "new" piece of information is that the Maltese coat of arms bears a castle for a crown said to symbolise a city-state. This is a heraldic matter not a factual statement.

Demdem (talk) 11:46, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Re: a) Monaco is city? Not, Monte Carlo is town and capital of Monaco. But, Monaco is city-state. PS. also cities are separated by a border, for example: (Polish) Cieszyn and Czech Cieszyn or (Polish) Zgorzelec and (German) Gorlitz etc. This is not arguments, this are not irrelevant.
Re b) Not only "urban agglomeration", but Urban Zone and "urban area". Also Gozo island is urban zone according to Eurostat.
Re c) This text does not even have sources. Monaco also does not comply conditions. Similarly, below text "Today there are only a handful of cities that exercise authority akin to a sub-regional state, and even fewer that are sovereign states in their own right" (probably against you?).
Re d) This is important, also today.
Subtropical-man (talk) 12:20, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I'm no "Monaco" expert so if Monaco should be included here is a matter you should pick up with someone else in the know. Quite simply, with the exception of the herladic description of Malta's coat-of-arms none of your sources refer to Malta as a "city-state" (thankfully, you seem to have realised that this is not the same thing as "urban agglomeration" or "Urban Zone" which could be statistical or georgaphical categories, not political as is "city state").
As to your only "source", I'd say a heraldic description would need some more substantiation to stand, don't you?
Demdem (talk) 13:36, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I quote a point made in this talk page in connection with the discussion on San Marino on what makes a city-state and what doesn't:
I'm sorry, but we must keep a distinction between "city-state" and "micro-state". In this sense a city-state is a state where the state borders and the municipal borders are coextensive. This is the case in Singapore, Monaco, Berlin or Hamburg (both Germany), but certainly not in San Marino, Andorra or Liechtenstein. San Marino has nine municipalities (among them one city), Andorra seven parishes, and Liechtenstein eleven municipalities. And trust me, I visited rural San Marino, it's certainly not urban. And the supposed "city-state" Bremen (Germany) consists of even two cities! (talk) 22:28, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
For comparison, Malta has no less than 68 municipial divisions.
Demdem (talk) 14:26, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
1) Monaco and Singapore exist in the article. Why? Monte Carlo is town and capital of Monaco. Singapore has some towns [1]. Generally, exist only one city-states: Vatican-City 2) Article does not have sources (how do you know what has to be city-state)?
I think, the article should be divided into three sections - section 1: Vatican-City; section 2: Non-sovereign city-states, for example Moscow, Canberra; section 3: places that could be considered as city-state in terms of formal, geographical, statistical, demographical etc, for example Monaco. PS. Malta has divisions? also Singapore, Monaco and other. So what? It can be seen as districts of city-state. Subtropical-man (talk) 15:24, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Please resolve this discussion before making further reverts on the article. I've protected this page for three days to avoid blocking two editors per a request at WP:ANEW. If the discussion resolves before then, please let me know or put in a request at WP:RFPP. Do not continue blind reverts at the expiration of this protection. Kuru (talk) 14:55, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Once more, I kindly ask you not to throw at me analogies about other city states (although do let me note that Monaco's and Singapore's territorial sub-divisions are administrative, not political, unlike Malta's local councils). I just ask for a reference to Malta as a city state apart from one heraldic description.
As has been done in other threads "city state" is not to be confused with "microstate" and unlike "urban agglomeration" and "urban zone" is a political category. So, no, I don't think this article should include considerations in "terms of formal, geographical, statistical, demographical", there's other articles and terms for that.
Demdem (talk) 16:45, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Not really. 1) If the name of "city-state" is the only concept of political, so we should take into account only these places, which are in the statute, constitution or laws to determine "city-state". 2) Where are the sources that the name of "city-stare" refers to what you write (ie only the political aspect, and not formal, geographical, statistical or demographical)? Subtropical-man (talk) 18:36, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
(1) Precisely. If the constitutional law of a state covers the same area of jurisdiction as the constitutional law of a city then that's a city state. Anything else would be either mere speculation or confounding with other, fundamentally and conceptually different terms (urban agglomeration, urban zone, community, etc.).
(2) Here: "A state is an organized political community, living under a government" (and that's sourced).
Finally, since you seem quite concerned by sources, could you please quote one reliable source saying that Malta is a city state other than what is stated in an heraldic description of the Maltese coat-of-arms?
Demdem (talk) 18:48, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Ad 1: "that's a city state"? This is your OR. Please indicate the source that it is "city-state".
Ad 2: Your link (State (polity)) concerns state. I asked for the sources concerns "city-state".
Finally: Where are the sources that the name of "city-stare" refers to what you write (ie only the political aspect, and not formal, geographical, statistical or demographical)? Subtropical-man (talk) 19:15, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Odd that you should insist on dismissing the sourced political definition of "state" as if it were completely unrelated to "city-state" (like black dogs were conceptually completely unrelated to dogs). But if it is down to this I can equally say that your claims are unsourced and that your extension of the concept of "city state" beyond the political is equally OR. Demdem (talk) 19:53, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
So we are at a standstill. Subtropical-man (talk) 20:16, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, we shouldn't be. You see, according to WP:BURDEN "the burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material". So the onus is upon you to provide a reliable source why Malta should be considered a city-state other than a heraldic reference (to which, by the way, there's an alternative explanation by jurist and historian Giovanni Bonello drawing paralells with the mural crowns on the coat-of-arms of the Republic of Austria and the First Spanish Republic, both definitely not city-states).
Demdem (talk) 21:36, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
1) My source is reliable, according to Wikipedia:Verifiability. 2) "you to provide a reliable source why Malta should be considered a city-state other than a heraldic reference" - why? Because you think so? I am a different opinion. 3) "by the way, there's an alternative explanation (...) by Giovanni Bonello" - alternative explanation? This is not consistent with the principles of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not to analyze something, Wikipedia shows the text and the source. Just enough. You has alternative explanation? OK, do study (outside Wikipedia), publish work, get ISBN or ISSN or similarly, and add "alternative explanation" to Wikipedia with the source. Respect the rules of Wikipedia, including Wikipedia:No original research. Subtropical-man (talk) 22:47, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
There's a very simple reason why you should provide sources other than a heraldic reference in support of your opinion that Malta is a city-state: Because "city-state" is not a heraldic concept. To determine whether a country is a city-state, it's immaterial what its coat of arms looks like. In Malta's case, it's simple: The country has established local councils with a considerable degree of self-determination (indeed, it is under an obligation to do so - Malta is a party to the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which mandates that there must be effective local governance - without acceding to this instrument, it could not have joined the EU). It's spread over two inhabited islands with not only a geographical, but also an administratrive border in between. Surely that speaks strongly against the notion that Malta is a city-state. SchnitteUK (talk) 18:20, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

How about we work at some compromose wording? I suggest:

The Maltese coat-of-arms bears a mural crown described as "representing the fortifications of Malta and denoting a City State"<"The emblem of Malta", Department of Information>. However, it has been noted that the mural crown was also included in the coats-of-arms of the Republic of Austria and the First Spanish Republic <Giovanni Bonello, "Malta's three national emblems since Independence: what's behind them?">. In addition, one has to keep in mind that Malta is divided into 68 municipalities and, for statistical and demographic purposes, is considered to be composed of two Larger Urban Zones nominally referred to as "Valletta" and "Gozo". <Eurostat, Malta> <Demographia World Urban Areas>

What do you think?

Demdem (talk) 19:43, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

a good compromise, although the text about the urban zone might be (slightly) to redraft. But, ok. Subtropical-man (talk) 20:08, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

This Daily Mail article [2](not what i'd consider a reliable source) refers to Malta as a city state. Eopsid (talk) 23:53, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Everyone who has ever been on Malta knows that it is not a city-state, despite the fact that the entire country is only half the size of Singapore. There are lots of other villages on the two(!) main islands of Malta. Typically, city-states have the same name as their (main) city/capital (is that another definition perhaps?) Malta's capital is Valletta. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rbakels (talkcontribs) 13:47, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

I've moved content on Malta to the "See also" section. It is odd to have the intro say that there are three sovereign city-states in the world today and then list four (and, in any case, Malta isn't a city state by any technical definition just some spurious references here and there).
Demdem (talk) 15:24, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I backed this edition. There is no consensus to remove, split or move this sub-section. Subtropical-man (talk) 15:38, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Sigh. Do you notice that in the intro it is said "only three independent, sovereign city-states exist: Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City" and then the section on sovereign city-states lists these three countries and Malta? What consensus is expected here? That four is not equal to three?
Demdem (talk) 10:52, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
in the intro, you can change from three to four. And also, where is sources for this sentence? Where is sources for "only three" and "only Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City"? I add {fact} to this. Subtropical-man (talk) 11:57, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
What makes Malta a city state that can not be applied to San Marino or Luxembourg? Having a mural crown on the coat of arms is not indicative of being a city state.Theothor32 (talk) 14:54, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Unitary authorities[edit]

The City of London is a unitary authority, not a city state, as it exists within the state of Britain. The problem is with the overly broad definition in the lede, which allows this example. In the short term, I propose a rv of "City of London". After discussion, a tightening of the lede definition. Views? --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:35, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

OK, no objections: implementing phase one. --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:53, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
This keeps coming back. Why the confusion between a Unitary authority and a City state, please? Is there anything we can do to clarify some contributors' evident muddle? --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:46, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm of the understanding that the City is a Corporation in legal terms. I thought this is why the Monarch must require the authorisation of the aldermen in order to enter the square mile? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 01:00, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Historical city-states[edit]

There seem to be other recent historical city-states: Free City of Danzig (1920-1939), Free State of Fiume (1920-1924), International Zone of Tangier (1923-1956). And non-European historical ones, see e.g. A comparative study of thirty city-state cultures. And, of course, the Arabian pre-islamic city-states. --Pylambert (talk) 11:58, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Honduras[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

San Marino[edit]

Why is San Marino not on this list? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Magamma (talkcontribs) 10:34, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

The Republic of San Marino has nine municipalities, including the City of San Marino. The largest municipality is Dogana. --Old Moonraker (talk)

Thanks for your comment, but still we should look towards the geographical definitions of what is a city. As far as I know, San Marino lives up to the standards of a city state. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Magamma (talkcontribs) 14:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

"As far as I know" doesn't satisfy the WP:V policy. Find a WP:RS that tells us that SM is a city-state, then bring it back for another look. --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:37, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
GREAT! Finally someone participates. That is the way to activate people in this article. Next time, Old Moonraker, please participate a little earlier! Magamma
I am sorry for the six-day delay. By coincidence I was commenting on something with more than a two-year delay, as you wrote. This, my top-of-the-list project, hasn't had a birthday yet, so that's all right. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:09, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Don't be sorry; just be faster next time:-) Well, you find the difinition, or else Vatican and Monaco are gonna be deleted. Cheers, — Preceding unsigned comment added by Magamma (talkcontribs) 17:20, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it is a matter of naming - Singapore is over ten times as large as San Marino and does not even cover all of the main island, let alone other islands that are part of Singaporean territory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rbakels (talkcontribs) 13:41, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I know, I am joining this discussion rather late, but I just want to throw in that the official tourism website of San Marino refers to the City of San Marino as the countries "third largest city" I don't know exactly whether that disqualifies San Marino as a city-state, but it feels like it would. FagusNigra (talk) 13:05, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I've worked for European political instituions for many years, and neither San Marino nor Malta have ever in my experience been referred to as city-states. San Marino is commonly referred to under the term micro-state however. Let us not confuse Micro-states with city-states. It's not just size, but style of governance, and within every organisation I've been employed, only three city-states are ever referred to as existing in the modern world, Vatican City, Monaco, and Singapore. Nor do San Marino or Malta refer to themselves as city-states. Grunners (talk) 13:50, 20 May 2013 (UTC)


What about Kuwait? According to the Wikipedia artices Metropolitan Kuwait City has a population of 2,380,000, and the whole country has a population 3,566,437. A city state can have territory outside the city, most of the Italian city states did in order to supply their food needs. The criteria is that the majority of the population, economy and political power is in just one city. I think Kuwait satisfies this requirement. If nobody objects, I will add Kuwait. TiffaF (talk) 11:03, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

But "metropolitan area" is different from "city". You would also need a reliable reference. --ELEKHHT 05:19, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

San Marino?[edit]

The header states this: Today, only three independent, sovereign city-states exist: Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City.
However, San Marino's section later in the article has this: San Marino is one of the world’s oldest republics and the only surviving Italian city-state.
I can't see how both of these statements could be right. Was San Marino a single city before, as it seems it isn't nowadays? (talk) 04:14, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

'Other Potential City States' & Additional Fixes Needed[edit]

There has been quite a bit of debate on which states should be considered true 'sovereign city-states' and which are 'micro-states.' As a political scientist, I can see why this issue is frustrating - and why it's hard for any single position to 'win' - political scientists themselves don't agree on what constitutes a city-state vs. a micro-state (we don't agree on much, really...). I would agree with Singapore, Vatican City and Monaco. Singapore is typically used as the paradigmatic example of a modern city-state (much as Somalia has become the paradigmatic example of a failed state).

There are, however, a number of other micro-states that should be examined more closely for inclusion and for which I believe the case of considering them 'city-states' is quite a bit stronger than any such claim regarding Malta, the state around which so much debate has been focused.

Most prominent, in my opinion and in order, are the states of San Marino, Andorra and Liechtenstein. I know some colleagues who'd argue for Luxembourg to be included; Malta would be contentious and a few would go further and suggest Nauru as a city-state as well.

I am not invested enough in micro-managing (no pun intended) Wikipedia's determination of what constitutes a 'city-state' v. a 'micro-state' but if you look at both the geographic size and population size of the first three states I mention you'll see they are smaller - or proximate - in size to Monaco and Liechtenstein does function as a fully unitary state. There are reasons to debate each - and the other 3 mentioned (Luxembourg, Malta and Nauru) -- though I believe there are stronger cases for San Marino, Andorra and Liechtenstein.

I will say this: the 'literature' is NOT definitive, clear or in agreement on this topic. Some would find the topic moot; other social scientists will argue over definitions for years (literally) and if I had the time now I could find quotes from academic articles in peer-reviewed political science journals supporting ALL the above as city-states. Now, personally, I'd hesitate on Malta and possibly Luxembourg. I'd personally likely vote to consider San Marino, Andorra and Liechtenstein as city states and I'm up in the air on Nauru. Anyways, I wanted to renew debate over this topic and see if there are ways to accommodate competing views (perhaps keep the 'main 3' in the article as 'definitive examples' and highlight some of these others as 'debated'?).

Additionally, this article could be MUCH more developed - it would be great to see the right, knowledgeable people come together and really develop the history of the city-state concept and provide many more historical examples.

I've one other concern - but I'll address that with another section. Metacrias (talk) 11:19, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

"Federally-Administered States" & "Cities that are component states of federations"[edit]

The distinction between the two of these is actually rather significant in terms of municipal politics - but I'm not sure how I see what either is doing in an article on city-states. Can someone defend the inclusion of these in this article? If so - someone, please develop these sections more and show how they tie into the broader concept of city-state otherwise I think we should delete them entirely from the article as I personally don't see these as being anything akin to a city-state. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Metacrias (talkcontribs) 11:23, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. It is absurd that an article entitled "City-state" has sections called "Cities that are component states of federations" (including Buenos Aires, Brussels, Vienna, etc.) and "Federally administered cities" (including Canberra, Washington, Islamabad, etc.). Moreover, the section "Autonomous cities within unitary states" includes Greater London and Bangkok.
It has been over six months since deletion of these irrelevancies was proposed by Metacrias above, and no one has objected. I'm going to remove them shortly unless I see a quick objection. Loraof (talk) 22:23, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Luxemburg is not a city-state.[edit]

"Luxembourg (Listeni/ˈlʌksəmbɜrɡ/ luks-əm-burg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish: Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg, French: Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, German: Großherzogtum Luxemburg), is a landlocked country in Western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. It comprises two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland ("good country") in the south.[5] Luxembourg has a population of 524,853 (as of October 2012)[6] and an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi), making it one of the smallest sovereign nations in Europe.[7]"

Also, Luxemburg is not even a microstate, as stated in this article. Here is the wikipedia article on microstates: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:48, 29 April 2014 (UTC)


Gibraltar is not a autonomous city of a unitary state. Gibraltar and the UK are not part of the same state. Gibraltar is a dependent territory of a state. It's irrelevant as to whether the UK is unitary or federal. Gibraltar should be in it's own section, named something like: 'Cities which are dependent territories'. Rob (talk | contribs) 18:28, 11 September 2014 (UTC)