A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory.[1] They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as Rome, Athens, Sparta, Carthage, and the Italian city-states during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, such as Florence, Venice, Genoa and Milan. With the rise of nation states worldwide, only a few modern sovereign city-states exist, with some disagreement as to which qualify; Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City are most commonly accepted as such. Singapore is the clearest example, with full self-governance, its own currency, a robust military, and a population of 5.3 million.[2]

Several non-sovereign cities enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and are sometimes considered city-states. Hong Kong, Macau,[3][4] and members of the United Arab Emirates – most notably Dubai and Abu Dhabi – are often cited as such.[5][6][7]

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