Happy Bicentennial Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein celebrates its bicentennial today. From the Associated Press:
In a Europe of nations coming together in a vast continental superstate, Liechtenstein is a quirk of history that harks back to an older world — of separateness, neutrality and sharp survival instincts.
Created by Napoleon in 1806, it has managed to avoid the upheaval of the past century to celebrate its bicentennial, starting Wednesday, in peace and prosperity.
This wedge of central Europe is no fairy tale kingdom, however, but a banking and tax haven which, like other constitutional anomalies such as Monaco and the Isle of Man, has done well out of the world economy.
The history of Liechtenstein as the Principality of Liechtenstein began in 1719, when Emperor Charles VI unified the Lordship of Schellenberg and the County of Vaduz and elevated them to an Imperial Principality by the name of Liechtenstein. In 1806, Liechtenstein became a member of the Confederation of the Rhine and obtained sovereignty, which it has maintained until today. In 2006, Liechtenstein will celebrate 200 Years of Sovereignty of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
The history of the House of Liechtenstein extends far back into the Middle Ages. The Family of Liechtenstein is one of the oldest Austrian noble families. In 1136, Hugo of Liechtenstein was the first bearer of the name to be mentioned in documents.