Vatican City /ˈvætɪkən ˈsɪti/ (help·info)
, officially the State of the Vatican City
: Stato della Città del Vaticano
), is the sovereign territory of the Holy See
Vatican City was established as an independent state in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of Pope Pius XI and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. The treaty spoke of the Vatican City State as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy.
The Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin.
The Vatican City State is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose main territory consists of an enclave within the city of Rome. At approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and with a population of around 800, it is the smallest country in the world by both area and population.
The ruler of the Vatican City State is the Bishop of Rome—the Pope, whose habitual official residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace, is located on its territory. This makes the Vatican the only remaining absolute monarchy in Europe. The highest state functionaries are all clergymen of the Roman Catholic Church.