History of Liechtenstein
تقع ليختنشتاين في وادي الراين في جبال الألب ، وهي دولة داخلية فى وسط أوروبا، وهى تقع على الشاطىء الشرقى لنهر الراين. بين سويسرا والنمسا ، ويشكل نهر الراين الحدود الغربية للإمارة، الجزء الشرقي من البلاد يقع على ارتفاع أكبر ، ويبلغ ارتفاع أعلى نقطة في الإمارة 2599 م.
تحدها النمسا شرقا - ألمانيا شمالا - سويسرا غربا - إيطاليا جنوبا. وتصل مساحة الإمارة 160 كم2 (ثالث أصغر دولة في أوروبا).
طبقا لتقديرات عام 2005 ,صل تعداد السكان في ليختنشتاين إلى 3,596,617 نسمة .
ويشكل أبناء ليختنشتاين نسبة 66 % من عدد السكان الإجمالي ويشكل السويسريون 15 % ، والنمساويون 7 % و الألمان 4 % .
اأما عن توزيع السكان حسب الدين فهم :
كاثوليك: 81 % .
بروتستانت 7 %.
الإسلام: 0,6 % (عدد المسلمين= 21,579 )
ديانات أخرى : 8 % According to a 2009 Pew Research Center report, Muslims constitute approximately 4.8% of the population.
|Catholics||78.4 %||84.9 %|
|Reformed Church||7.9%||9.4 %|
|Christian-Orthodox Churches||1.1%||0.7 %|
|Other Christian Churches||0.4%||0.1 %|
|Other religions||0.3%||0.1 %|
|Undeclared / no religion||7.0 %||2.4 %|
Liechtenstein is situated in the Upper Rhine valley of the European Alps and is bordered to the east by Austria and to the south and west by Switzerland. The entire western border of Liechtenstein is formed by the Rhine. Measured south to north and, the country is about which is 24 km (15 mi) long. Its highest point, the Grauspitz, is 2,599 m (8,527 ft). Despite its Alpine location, prevailing southerly winds make the climate of Liechtenstein comparatively mild. In winter, the mountain slopes are well suited to winter sports.[/font]New surveys using more accurate measurements of the country's borders in 2006 have set its area at 160 km2 (61.776 sq mi), with borders of 77.9 km (48.4 mi). Thus, Liechtenstein discovered in 2006 that its borders are 1.9 km (1.2 mi) longer than previously thought.Liechtenstein is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world—being a landlocked country wholly surrounded by other landlocked countries (the other is Uzbekistan). Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest independent nation in the world by land area.The principality of Liechtenstein is divided into 11 communes called Gemeinden (singular Gemeinde). The Gemeinden mostly consist only of a single town or village. Five of them (Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Ruggell, and Schellenberg) fall within the electoral district Unterland (the lower county), and the remainder (Balzers, Planken, Schaan, Triesen, Triesenberg, and Vaduz) within Oberland (the upper county).
تاريخ ليختينشتاينلم يكن لها في تاريخ أوروبا تأثير يذكر بسبب موقعها وحجمها الصغير وموقعها غير الإستراتيجي
كانت ليختنشتاين جزءا من الإمبراطورية الرومانية ،في القرون الوسطى في النمسا برزت عائلة ليختنشتاين كإحدى االعائلات النبيلة شديدة الثراء. في العامين 1699 م و 1712 قامت هذه الأسرة بشراء (مقاطعة شولنبركر) و(مقاطعة ويدز)وفي عام 1719 تمت تسمية المقاطعتين باسم إمارة ليختنشتاين نسبة إلى اسم هذه الأسرة التي صارت بطبيعة الحال الأسرة الحاكمة في الإمارة وكانت الإمارة مرتبطة بالنمسا بشكل وثيق حتى نشوب الحرب العالمية الأولى ولكن بسبب تدهور إقتصاد النمسا قررت الإمارة التعاون المالي مع سويسرا وخلال الحرب العالمية الثانية التزمت إمارة ليختينشتاين موقف الحياد ولم تنحاز إلى الحلفاء أو المحور.At one time, the territory was part of the ancient Roman province of Raetia. For centuries this territory, geographically removed from European strategic interests, had little impact on European history. Prior to the reign of its current dynasty, the region was enfeoffed to a line of the counts of Hohenems.
The Liechtenstein dynasty, from which the principality takes its name, comes from Castle Liechtenstein in Lower Austria, which the family possessed from at least 1140 until the 13th century, and from 1807 onward. Through the centuries, the dynasty acquired vast tracts of land, predominantly in Moravia, Lower Austria, Silesia, and Styria, though these territories were all held in fief under other more senior feudal lords, particularly under various lines of the Habsburg family, whom several Liechtenstein princes served as close advisers. Thus, without any territory held directly under the Imperial throne, the Liechtenstein dynasty was unable to meet a primary requirement to qualify for a seat in the Imperial diet (parliament), the Reichstag.
The castle of Gutenberg in Balzers
The family yearned for the added power a seat in the Imperial government would bring and therefore sought to acquire lands that would be unmittelbar, or held without any feudal personage other than the Holy Roman Emperor having rights on the land. After some time, the family was able to arrange the purchase of the minuscule Herrschaft ("Lordship") of Schellenberg and county of Vaduz (in 1699 and 1712 respectively) from the Hohenems. Tiny Schellenberg and Vaduz had exactly the political status required: no feudal lord other than their comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.
On 23 January 1719, after the lands had been purchased, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that Vaduz and Schellenberg were united and elevated the newly formed territory to the dignity of Fürstentum (principality) with the name "Liechtenstein" in honour of "[his] true servant, Anton Florian of Liechtenstein". It was on this date that Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire. It is a testament to the pure political expediency of the purchases that the Princes of Liechtenstein did not set foot in their new principality for over 120 years.
Vaduz Castle, overlooking the capital, is still home to the Prince of Liechtenstein
As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, by 1806 the Holy Roman Empire was under the control of French emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon dissolved the empire; this had broad consequences for Liechtenstein: imperial, legal and political mechanisms broke down. The state ceased to owe obligations to any feudal lord beyond its borders.
Johann I Josef, Prince of Liechtenstein
Modern publications generally (although incorrectly) attribute Liechtenstein's sovereignty to these events. In reality, its prince merely became suzerain, as well as remaining sovereign lord. From 25 July 1806 when the Confederation of the Rhine was founded, the Prince of Liechtenstein was a member, in fact a vassal of its hegemon, styled protector, French Emperor Napoleon I, until the dissolution of the confederation on 19 October 1813.
Soon afterward, Liechtenstein joined the German Confederation (20 June 1815 – 24 August 1866) which was presided over by the Emperor of Austria.
Then, in 1818, Johann I granted the territory a limited constitution. 1818 also saw the first visit of a member of the house of Liechtenstein, Prince Alois; however, the first visit by a sovereign prince would not occur until 1842.
Developments during the 19th century included:
- In 1836, the first factory was opened, making ceramics.
- In 1861, the Savings and Loans Bank was founded, as was the first cotton-weaving mill.
- Two bridges over the Rhine were built in 1868, and in 1872 a railway line across Liechtenstein was constructed.
Since 1923 there is no border control between Liechtenstein and Switzerland
Until the end of World War I
, Liechtenstein was closely tied first to the Austrian Empire
and later to Austria-Hungary
; the ruling princes continued to derive much of their wealth from estates in the Habsburg territories, and they spent much of their time at their two palaces in Vienna. The economic devastation caused by this war forced the country to conclude a customs and monetary union with its other neighbour, Switzerland. Liechtenstein's army was disbanded in 1868 for financial reasons.
At the time of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
, it was argued that Liechtenstein, as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, was no longer bound to the emerging independent state of Austria
, since the latter did not consider itself as the legal successor to the empire. This is partly contradicted by the coeval
Liechtenstein perception that the dethroned Austro-Hungarian Emperor still maintained an abstract heritage of the Holy Roman Empire. Franz I, Prince of Liechtenstein
In early 1938, just after the annexation of Austria into Greater Nazi Germany
, 84 year old Prince Franz I
abdicated, naming his 31-year-old third cousin, Prince Franz Joseph
, as his successor. His wife Elisabeth von Gutmann
, whom he had married in 1929, was a wealthy Jewish woman from Vienna, and local Liechtenstein Nazis had already identified her as their Jewish "problem". Although Liechtenstein had no official Nazi party, a Nazi sympathy movement had been simmering for years within its National Union party.
During World War II
, Liechtenstein remained officially neutral, looking to neighboring Switzerland for assistance and guidance, while family treasures within the war zone were taken to Liechtenstein for safekeeping. At the close of the conflict, Czechoslovakia
, acting to seize what they considered to be German possessions, expropriated the entirety of the Liechtenstein dynasty's hereditary lands and possessions in Bohemia
, and Silesia
— the princes of Liechtenstein lived in Vienna
until the Anschluss
of 1938. The expropriations (subject to modern legal dispute at the International Court of Justice
) included over 1,600 km2
(618 sq mi) of agricultural and forest land, and several family castles and palaces.
Citizens of Liechtenstein were forbidden to enter Czechoslovakia during the Cold War
. More recently the diplomatic conflict revolving around the controversial post-war Beneš decrees
resulted in Liechtenstein not sharing international relations with the Czech Republic
. Diplomatic relations were established between Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic on 13 July 2009,
and with Slovakia on 9 December 2009.
Liechtenstein gave asylum to about 501 soldiers of the First Russian National Army
(a collaborationist Russian force within the German Wehrmacht
) at the close of World War II; this is commemorated by a monument
at the border town of Hinterschellenberg
. The act of granting asylum was no small matter as the country was poor and had difficulty feeding and caring for such a large group of refugees. Eventually, Argentina
agreed to resettle the asylum seekers permanently. In contrast, the British and Americans repatriated the Russians
who had fought for Germany to the USSR, and many of them perished in the Gulag
In dire financial straits following the war, the Liechtenstein dynasty often resorted to selling family artistic treasures, including the priceless portrait "Ginevra de' Benci
" by Leonardo da Vinci
, which was purchased by the National Gallery of Art
of the United States
in 1967. Liechtenstein prospered, however, during the decades following, as it used its low corporate tax
rates to draw many companies to the country.
The Prince of Liechtenstein
is the world's sixth wealthiest leader with an estimated wealth of USD
The country's population enjoys one of the world's highest standards of living. Government[
The centre of government in Vaduz.
Liechtenstein is governed under a constitutional monarchy
. It has a form of mixed constitution
, in which power is shared by the monarch and an elected parliament. The Constitution of Liechtenstein
was adopted in March 2003
, replacing the previous 1921 constitution which had established Liechtenstein as a constitutional monarchy headed by the reigning prince of the Princely House of Liechtenstein. A parliamentary system had been established, although the reigning Prince retained substantial political authority.
The reigning Prince is the head of state and represents Liechtenstein in its international relations (although Switzerland has taken responsibility for much of Liechtenstein's diplomatic relations). The Prince may veto laws adopted by parliament. The Prince can call referendums
, propose new legislation, and dissolve parliament, although dissolution of parliament may be subject to a referendum.
Executive authority is vested in a collegiate government comprising the head of government (prime minister) and four government councilors (ministers). The head of government and the other ministers are appointed by the Prince upon the proposal and concurrence of parliament, thus reflecting the partisan balance of parliament. The constitution stipulates that at least two members of the government be chosen from each of the two regions.
The members of the government are collectively and individually responsible to parliament; parliament may ask the Prince to remove an individual minister or the entire government.
Legislative authority is vested in the unicameral Landtag
made up of 25 members elected for maximum four-year terms according to a proportional representation formula. Fifteen members are elected from the "Oberland" (Upper Country or region) and ten members are elected from the "Unterland" (Lower Country or region).
Parties must receive at least 8% of the national vote to win seats in parliament. Parliament proposes and approves a government, which is formally appointed by the Prince. Parliament may also pass votes of no confidence in the entire government or individual members.
Parliament elects from among its members a "Landesausschuss" (National Committee) made up of the president of the parliament and four additional members. The National Committee is charged with performing parliamentary oversight functions. Parliament can call for referendums on proposed legislation. Parliament shares the authority to propose new legislation with the Prince and with the number of citizens required for an initiative referendum.
Judicial authority is vested in the Regional Court at Vaduz, the Princely High Court of Appeal at Vaduz, the Princely Supreme Court, the Administrative Court, and the State Court. The State Court rules on the conformity of laws with the constitution and has five members elected by parliament. New constitution
In a national referendum
in March 2003, nearly two-thirds of the electorate voted in support of Hans-Adam II's proposed new constitution to replace the 1921 one. The proposed constitution was criticised by many, including the Council of Europe
, as expanding the powers of the monarchy (continuing the power to veto any law, and allowing the Prince to dismiss the government or any minister). The Prince threatened that if the constitution failed, he would, among other things, convert some of the royal property for commercial use and move to Austria.
The royal family and the Prince enjoy tremendous public support inside the nation, and the resolution passed with about 64% in favour. Geography
Main article: Geography of Liechtenstein
: Border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland (view to the swiss alps)
Liechtenstein is situated in the Upper Rhine
valley of the European Alps
and is bordered to the east by Austria and to the south and west by Switzerland. The entire western border of Liechtenstein is formed by the Rhine. Measured south to north and, the country is about which is 24 km (15 mi) long. Its highest point, the Grauspitz
, is 2,599 m (8,527 ft). Despite its Alpine location, prevailing southerly winds make the climate of Liechtenstein comparatively mild. In winter, the mountain slopes are well suited to winter sports
using more accurate measurements of the country's borders in 2006 have set its area at 160 km2
(61.776 sq mi), with borders of 77.9 km (48.4 mi).
Thus, Liechtenstein discovered in 2006 that its borders are 1.9 km (1.2 mi) longer than previously thought.
Liechtenstein is one of only two doubly landlocked countries
in the world
—being a landlocked country wholly surrounded by other landlocked countries (the other is Uzbekistan
). Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest
independent nation in the world by land area.
The principality of Liechtenstein is divided into 11 communes
). The Gemeinden mostly consist only of a single town or village. Five of them (Eschen
, and Schellenberg
) fall within the electoral district Unterland
(the lower county), and the remainder (Balzers
, and Vaduz
) within Oberland
(the upper county). Economy
Looking southward at Vaduz city-centre. Hilti
AG in New York.
Despite (or perhaps because of) its limited natural resources, Liechtenstein is one of the few countries in the world with more registered companies than citizens; it has developed a prosperous, highly industrialized free-enterprise economy and boasts a financial service sector as well as a living standard which compares favorably with those of the urban areas of Liechtenstein's large European neighbours.
Relatively low business taxes—the maximum tax rate is 20%
—as well as easy Rules of Incorporation
have induced about 73,700 holding (or so-called 'letter box') companies to establish registered offices in Liechtenstein. This provides about 30% of Liechtenstein's state revenue. Liechtenstein also generates revenue from Stiftungen
("foundations"), which are financial entities created to increase the privacy of nonresident foreigners' financial holdings. The foundation is registered in the name of a Liechtensteiner, often a lawyer.
Recently, Liechtenstein has shown strong determination to prosecute international money-launderers and has worked to promote the country's image as a legitimate finance center. In February 2008, the country's LGT Bank
was implicated in a tax-fraud scandal in Germany
, which strained the ruling family's relationship with the German government. Crown Prince Alois has accused the German government of trafficking in stolen goods. This refers to its $7.3 million purchase of private banking information illegally offered by a former employee of LGT Group.
However, the United States Senate
's subcommittee on tax haven banks said that the LGT bank, which is owned by the royal family, and on whose board they serve, "is a willing partner, and an aider and abettor to clients trying to evade taxes, dodge creditors or defy court orders."
Liechtenstein participates in a customs union
with Switzerland and employs the Swiss franc
as national currency. The country imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area
(an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) and the European Union
) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. Since 2002, Liechtenstein's rate of unemployment has doubled. In 2004, it stood at 2.2% in the third quarter. Currently, there is only one hospital in Liechtenstein, the Liechtensteinisches Landesspital in Vaduz. The gross domestic product
(GDP) on a purchasing power parity
basis is $4.16 billion,
or $118,000 per person.
Liechtenstein is a large producer of ceramics and is the world's largest producer of sausage casings, potassium storage units and false teeth. Other industries include electronics, textiles, precision instruments, metal manufacturing, power tools, anchor bolts, calculators, pharmaceuticals, and food products. Its most recognizable international company and largest employer is Hilti
, a manufacturer of direct fastening systems
and other high-end power tools
. Liechtenstein produces wheat, barley, corn, potatoes, dairy products, livestock, and wine. Tourism accounts for a large portion of the country's economy. Taxation
The government of Liechtenstein taxes both personal and business income and principal (wealth). The basic rate of personal income tax is 1.2%. When combined with the additional income tax imposed by the communes, the combined income tax rate is 17.82%. An additional income tax of 4.3% is levied on all employees under the country's social security program. This rate is higher for the self-employed, up to a maximum of 11%, making the maximum income tax rate about 29% in total. The basic tax rate on wealth is 0.06% per annum, and the combined total rate is 0.89%. The maximum business income tax rate is 18–20%.
Liechtenstein's gift and estate taxes vary depending on the relationship the recipient has to the giver and the amount of the inheritance. The tax ranges between 0.5% and 0.75% for spouses and children and 18% to 27% for non-related recipients. The estate tax is progressive.
The 2008 Liechtenstein tax affair is a series of tax investigations in numerous countries whose governments suspect that some of their citizens may have evaded tax obligations by using banks and trusts in Liechtenstein; the affair broke open with the biggest complex of investigations ever initiated for tax evasion in the Federal Republic of Germany. It was also seen as an attempt to put pressure on Liechtenstein, then one of the remaining uncooperative tax havens – along with Andorra and Monaco – as identified by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2007. On 27 May 2009 the OECD removed Liechtenstein from the blacklist of uncooperative countries.
In August 2009, the British Government Department, HM Revenue & Customs, agreed with the Alpine tax haven to start exchanging information. It is believed that up to 5,000 British investors have roughly £3billion stashed in accounts and trusts in the country.