San Marino is purported to have been founded by Marinus the Dalmatian who founded a Christian community on Mount Titano around 301 A.D.
The land area of San Marino was, until 1463, just Mount Titano, but after several attempts by local Lords to take the territory Pope Pius II gave San Marino the towns of Fiorentina, Montegiardino and Serraville to add to its territory.
Following continued threats to the fledgling state a treaty of protection was signed with Pope Clement VIII which came in to force in 1631.
Originally threatened by occupation by the French under the leadership of Napoleon I, San Marino was given a degree of freedom from occupation. In 1797 San Marino was finally recognised by the French in the Treaty of Tolentino and then again in the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
After the unification of Italy San Marino’s independence was confirmed in 1862.
On 10th June 1906 the first democratic elections were held and San Marino marked itself out as a democratic and neutral state. During the First and Second World Wars that neutrality was largely maintained although in 1944 the Allies did occupy the region for about two months.
Following the Second World War elections were held in 1945 and the Sammarinese Communist Party (PCS) won the election and ruled in coalition until 1957.
From 1957 until 1978 the Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) ruled with various parties in coalition. It was the turn of the Communists once more in 1978 with the help of two Socialist parties, but the PDCS were back in power in 1986 and ruled with various other parties until 2000.
In 1992 San Marino was accepted as a member of the United Nations.
For the first time in its history an early election was held in 2001. This came about after a crisis in the government which at that time was made up of the PDCS and the Socialist Party (PSS). The result of the election was pretty much as before and after a month the PDCS and PSS agreed once more to form a government.
In 2006 the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD) along with the United Left (SU) and Popular Alliance (AP) managed to form a coalition with two extra seats despite the PDCS remaining the largest party. But the coalition fell apart and in 2008 there were fresh elections.
In the 2008 elections new electoral rules led to two coalitions being formed; one led by the Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party was called the ‘Pact for San Marino’ and the other led by the Party of Socialists and Democrats was called ‘Reforms and Freedom’. The Pact for San Marino was to triumph, taking 35 of the 60 seats in the Grand and General Council.
The two Co-chiefs of state (Captains Regent) are elected by the Great and General Council for a six month term.
San Marino has a unicameral Great and General Council consisting of 60 seats serving a five year term.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2011 does not place San Marino.