Liechtenstein's history begins with the creation of the
Roman province of Rhaetia in the area. During the migration
period Liechtenstein was populated by the Germanic tribe
Alemanni, and eventually the area became part of the
German-Roman Empire. The southern part of the country became
independent in 1342, while the northern part joined in 1434.
In 1719 the country was elevated to the principality by the
German-Roman emperor Karl 6, named after the prince
Liechtenstein. When the German-Roman Empire was dissolved in
1806, Liechtenstein became an independent state.
In ancient times, Liechtenstein formed part of the Roman
province of Rhaetia, which was established in the year 15
BCE. One road later crossed Liechtenstein from south to
north. Roman villas are excavated in Nendeln and Schaanwald,
and in Schaan there are remains of a Roman fort, where
Romans defended themselves against the Germanic tribe
Alemanni. In the 400s, Alemans settled in the area, which
eventually became part of the German-Roman Empire.
The Principality of Liechtenstein was formed in 1719, but
has its roots back to 1342, when the southern part of the
country, the county of Vaduz (Oberland), became independent.
In 1434, the northern part, Schellenberg (Unterland), came
under the same ruler. Prince Johann Adam Andreas of
Liechtenstein purchased Schellenberg in 1699 and Vaduz in
1712, and in 1719 they were elevated to the principality of
Emperor Charles 6, with the name after the prince
abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Liechtenstein.
After the dissolution of the German-Roman Empire in 1806,
the Principality of Liechtenstein entered as a sovereign
state into the Rhine Federation from 1806 to 1814, and to
the German Confederation in 1815 to 1866. Liechtenstein was
one of the few German states that did not become part of the
German Empire when Germany was brought together in 1871. The
army was abolished in 1868. In 1852-1919 Liechtenstein was
in customs union with Austria, and from 1923 in customs
union with Switzerland. Liechtenstein was neutral during
both the first and second world war.
In 1938 Franz Josef became the first head of state and
head of state, and in 1984 he left the government to his son
Prince Hans Adam. Franz Josef 2 died in 1989, and Hans Adam
became the country's first. In 1990 Liechtenstein became a
member of the UN, and in 1995 joined the EEA. In 1997, the
country's nearly 60-year-old government coalition exploded
when Liechtenstein's Progressive Citizens' Party (FBPL)
exited the coalition with the Federation Union (VU).
The country has faced international criticism for its
unwillingness to combat money laundering, and following
sanctions threats from the OECD, the legislation has been
tightened. A referendum in 2003 gave the green light to a
constitutional reform that made Liechtenstein Europe's only
absolute monarchy, with the prince personally appointing the
government and judges, in addition to his power to dissolve
the National Assembly. The scheme is disputed, and the
Council of Europe has expressed concern over the democratic
development of the country. In 2004, Hans Adam handed over
the running to his son, Prince Alois, but retained his
position as head of state.
A proposal to remove the prince's veto power was rejected
by 76 percent of the vote in a 2012 referendum.