San Marino is a microstate completely surrounded by Italy. It was founded as a community, and state, in the year 301. Italy was only unified into a single state over the course of the 56 years after the end of the French Revolutionary and Naopleonic Wars (1815-1871). There were a number of city states which became proxies battles (like the cold war) for the new waves of Nationalism, and shift away from Monarchy. The great powers of the Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Spain and France fought 'without fighting'. San Marino acted as a refuge for many refugees in the unification wars, and was rewarded by keeping its sovereignty. San Marino was initially led by the Arengo, an assembly of the heads of each of the families. For a while, it had no leader and no fixed meeting place. Since 1243 they elect two Captains Regent, chosen every six months from opposing parties to balance power.
Saint Marinus - Founder of the community of San Marino