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Definition: Liechtenstein from Collins English Dictionary


1 a small mountainous principality in central Europe on the Rhine: formed in 1719 by the uniting of the lordships of Schellenburg and Vaduz, which had been purchased by the Austrian family of Liechtenstein; customs union formed with Switzerland in 1924. Official language: German. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: Swiss franc. Capital: Vaduz. Pop: 37 009 (2003 est). Area: 160 sq km (62 sq miles)

Summary Article: Liechtenstein
from Philip's Encyclopedia

Independent principality in W central Europe, between Austria (E) and Switzerland (W); the capital is Vaduz. It was formed in 1719 through the merging of Vaduz and Schellenberg, but remained part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806. A member of the German Confederation from 1815, it gained independence in 1866. In 1921, Liechtenstein entered into a currency union with Switzerland and, in 1923, a customs union. Until 1990 Switzerland also handled its foreign policy. In 1990, the principality joined the UN. Liechtenstein has a constitutional and hereditary monarchy; the ruling family is the Austrian House of Liechtenstein. Women received the vote in 1984. Liechtenstein is the fourth-smallest country in the world, but among the richest (1998 GDP per capita, US$23,000). After 1945, it developed a manufacturing base. Most revenue derives from multinationals attracted by the low taxation rates. In 2000 it reformed its banking laws after criticism that it encouraged money-laundering. Tourism is important. Area: 160sq km (62sq mi). Pop. (2000) 33,000.

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