European Microstates: Survival of the Smallest
Monday, October 26, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.
The royal family residence, a medieval castle in Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Please Note: This program has a rescheduled date (originally March 24, 2020).
In an age of nation-states, Europe contains the world’s largest collection of a dozen countries that are literally too small to appear on most maps of the continent. Like their larger cousins, each of these microstates is distinctive. One of them is the last remaining relic of the medieval Holy Roman Empire; another is the first country outside the Iron Curtain to elect a communist government; one of them uses a language spoken nowhere else in the world; the smallest one of all actually consists of two tiny pieces that are 400 miles apart; and the next smallest was once a relatively large country and major player in European affairs before disappearing from the map for nearly a century.
Despite their individual eccentricities, all these states share traits that explain their survival in today’s world. Charles Ingrao, professor emeritus of history at Purdue University, delves into the remarkable resilience of these microstates by examining the historical forces that shaped them.