Key Dates in the History of Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein is the world’s 6th smallest country, with a population of 38,500. The country is home to scenic scenery, Europe’s only absolute monarchy, and enjoys a high standard of living. The capital Vaduz is a significant centre of commerce and international banking.

This country has been a minor holding of a powerful noble family from elsewhere for a long time. For instance, it was part of the Holy Roman Empire and the German confederation. Nonetheless, in 2003 the citizens of this nation voted in a national referendum to add more to Prince Hans-Adam. In this comprehensive guide, we will share some of the crucial dates in the history of this nation.

Crucial dates in the Principality of Liechtenstein

The Liechtenstein family, whose origins are in Austria, were the first to acquire the fief of Vaduz in 1699. Here are some key dates in this noble country’s history.

23 January 1719, the country gained the status of an autonomous principality of the Roman Empire under the name of Liechtenstein. It was Emperor Charles VI who uplifted “the earldom of Vaduz and the seignory of Schellenberg to the newly founded imperial Principality of Liechtenstein”. His action led to the birth of a sovereign state within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation”. On 23 September of the same year, the country declared independence from the German empire.

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor

On 12 July 1806, Napoleon granted the Principality sovereignty status, and in 1815, it proved its independence as a member of the newly formed German confederation. However, in 1866 the newly formed German confederation dissolved, and Liechtenstein had to disband the army of eighty men and declare itself neutral in the world wars.

On 2 March 1919, the Hapsburg monarchy of Austria was nullified as Switzerland succeeded Austria as an agent of Liechtenstein’s interests far and wide. This means Switzerland assumes all diplomatic and embassy responsibilities in nations where Switzerland has representation.

On 20 November 1959, the seven European Nations, “Norway, Denmark, Britain, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, and Portugal,” signed the Stockholm Convention, which formed the EFTA European Free Trade Association. This organization later became operational on May 3, 1960. Later these countries were joined by Ireland, Denmark, and the UK in January 1973. Portugal joined this group in 1985, followed by Austria in 1995. By 2017, only four members remained: Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland.

On 28 February 1971, the male electorate in Liechtenstein denied women the right to vote. The action was carried out through a referendum on women’s suffrage held in Liechtenstein. The voting turnout during that day was 85.6%; the result was 48.98% in favour of yes, and 51.09% voted no.

On 1 July 1984, the country accepted women’s suffrage as the last European nation. There was a second referendum on this issue. Women won with a slight margin of 51.3%. As a result, women were allowed to vote and be elected in the next election held in 1986.

On 13 November 1989, Prince Hans-Adam II took over the government after his father’s death on this date. His father had succeeded his grand–uncle in 1938.

On 12 October 1998, the Canadian government began discussing with Liechtenstein, Sweden, and Norway about the first trans-Atlantic pact.

In 2000, Liechtenstein was blacklisted by the G-8 group of leading industrialized nations and a financial action task force of 26. These nations found that Liechtenstein was uncooperative in the fight against money laundering. However, in 2001 the Principality rectified the errors and was reinstated on the blocklist.

On 16 March 2003, the Principality held a national referendum where Prince Adam II wanted more powers. He could veto legislation, have the right to sack the government, and nominate judges.

21 September 2004, prince Hans-Adam handed over the governing powers to crown prince Alois, who invited 33,000 people from Liechtenstein to a garden party.

In 2006 Angela Merkel, the former German chancellor, attacked Liechtenstein’s traditional banking secrecy, demanding a more transparent system. This action gave Berlin more information about German investment in the AL pine tax haven.

On 22 February 2008, the German finance ministry pressured Liechtenstein to disclose its banking system and expose tax evaders.

On 10 February 2009, European ministers ordered the opening of negotiations with Liechtenstein on fighting fraud.

In October 2015, the EU and Liechtenstein signed a deal that automatically exchanged financial information in case of tax disputes.

On 4 June 2021, the UK announced a post-Brexit trade deal with Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

A rich history

The above dates are some of the key happenings in the Principality of Liechtenstein for the past few hundred years. This country is the only real European monarchy run by a conservative government.

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