Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Logan. Logan Wonders, “Is the smallest country really Vatican City?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Logan!

If you’ve been WONDERing with us for a while, then you probably already know about the world’s largest cave. You may have learned all about the largest jungle. You might even know about the largest pile of trash!

But Wonders don’t always have to be large. In fact, we think some of the most WONDERful things in the world are very small. There’s the smallest mammal and of course the smallest house. There’s even the smallest state—which really got us thinking. What is the world’s smallest country?

It turns out, there are plenty of small countries out there. There’s Nauru, the world’s smallest island country. It covers an area of about 13 square miles. And Monaco is even smaller--just over one square mile! It’s home to the world’s largest per capita population of millionaires and billionaires. 

But neither of those countries is the world’s smallest. No, that title goes to an even tinier nation. With an area of just under a third of a square mile, Vatican City is the world’s smallest country. It’s about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York City!

Vatican City is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. The country is also surrounded on all sides by the city of Rome, Italy. For many years, the Church was at odds with the Italian government over sovereignty. In 1929, the Lateran Pacts ended the disagreements and made Vatican City its own nation.  

As of 2019, the population of Vatican City is 799 people. It may not be home to many people, but it is the home of one of the most famous people in the world. Who are we talking about? The Pope, of course!

The Pope has lived in Vatican City since the 14th Century. And each newly elected Pope isn’t just the new leader of the Catholic Church. He’s also the head of the government of Vatican City. The world’s smallest army—the Swiss Guard—even works to protect the Pope within the city.

Would you like to visit the world’s smallest country one day? You’re not alone! Millions travel to Vatican City each year to see some of the world’s greatest treasures. The Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica are just two WONDERs of the world’s smallest country.

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, C3.D2,Geo.2, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, ccra.sl.2

Wonder What's Next?

Keep your eye out for MARFANS in tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!