Obscure of the obscure…
News, this article ain’t. But in light that we conservatives are the better read and more worldly than those on the other end of the political spectrum, this is just another chance for us to be a leg-up intellectually against liberals.
Now with that aside, on with the show…
I’ll bet you were taught the same as thing I learned many years ago. Specifically that the smallest country on the planet was the Vatican City State. Well, that’s not quite true.
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Supremus Ordo Militaris Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodius et Melitensis), also simply known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), is the smallest sovereign, independent nation on the planet.
And like the Vatican, the SMOM is officially a Catholic nation.
Consisting of one square block of downtown Rome officially named the Palazzo Malta, as well as an estate on Rome’s Aventine Hill known as Villa del Priorato di Malta, the SMOM has diplomatic ties with well over 100 nations, has its own constitution, head of state, postage stamps, currency (the Maltese scudo), and at least technically, its own military.
Speaking of Christian nations, there’s the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain (Αὐτόνομη Μοναστικὴ Πολιτεία Ἁγίου Ὄρους), generally known as Mt. Athos or the Holy Mountain.
Slightly over 100 square miles in size, the autonomous state in the Northeast of Greece on paper is part of the Hellenic Republic, but the Greeks recognize Mount Athos (the “Monastic State of Agion Oros”) is “following ancient privilege” as a self-governing part of the Greek nation.
In actuality, it’s under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His All Holiness Bartholomew I. The Holy Mountain is home to 20 Holy Monasteries (17 Greek Orthodox, one Russian Orthodox, one Serbian Orthodox and one Bulgarian Orthodox), as well as a number of other smaller monastic Orthodox communities.
With a population of 2,000 celibate monks, there are no women even allowed entry into the theocratic state.
While pork is often called “the other white meat,” observant Jews can rest assured that pork may not be regularly on the menu in Israel, but swine flesh is certainly scarfed down in the other Jewish State.
That’s right, I said in the other Jewish State.
Officially known as the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast), known by Russian Jews as “Yevrey,” this self-governing speck of Russian Siberia borders China and is a veritable stone’s throw from mainland Japan. The oblast is actually closer to Fairbanks, Alaska than it is to Moscow.
Founded by V.I. Lenin and the rest of his godless communist buddies after they consolidated power after the 1918 Russian Revolution, the Reds paid-back their kosher comrades by granting them a Siberian exile that Moscow officially titled a Jewish Homeland.
Although technically “Jewish,” the population of Yevrey is overwhelmingly European Russian (97.2%), ethnic Jews are a mere 1 percent overall.
Jews that actually practice Judaism are even rarer – a mere 0.2 percent of the population.
That brings us to one of the most obscure political entities in existence, the South Pacific island nation of Niue.
Considered part of New Zealand at the turn of the last century, Niue has been in a “free association” status with the Wellington government since 1974. Thusly, New Zealand is responsible for Niue’s foreign affairs and military defense, while internal self-government is completely on the Niueans.
The government of Niue has quite the penchant for issuing legal tender silver and gold coins with the standard profile of Her Majesty (official Head of State) on one side, and quite the different designs on the other.
Sporting the image on the country’s coinage feature dozens of characters ranging from the many icons figures from Star Wars, to the myriad of Disney favorites, to those heroes from the Avengers comic books, and those made famous from the Peanuts comic strip and the various Charlie Brown holiday specials.
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