Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a doubly landlocked German-speaking microstate in central Europe. The principality is a constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein and is 4th smallest country in Europe. The country is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south, and by Austria to the east and north. It has an area of 160 km2 (62 mi2) where about 37,000 inhabitants live. The principality is divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz and its largest municipality is Schaan. During the middle ages region of a present day Liechtenstein was ruled by different Houses. When the Kyburg dynasty fell in 1264, the Habsburgs under King Rudolph I extended their territory to the eastern Alpine plateau that included the territory of Liechtenstein. This region was enfeoffed to the Counts of Hohenems until the sale to the Liechtenstein dynasty in 1699. On 23rd January 1719, after the lands had been purchased, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that Vaduz and Schellenberg were united and elevated the newly formed territory to the dignity of Fürstentum (principality) with the name "Liechtenstein". Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire. After Napoleonic Wars it became part of the Confederation of the Rhine. Soon afterward, Liechtenstein joined the German Confederation from 20th June 1815 to 24th August 1866, and until the end of World War I, it was closely tied first to the Austrian Empire and later to Austria-Hungary. The economic devastation caused by the war forced the country to conclude a customs and monetary union with its other neighbour, Switzerland, and their connections are still very tight today. Liechtenstein official currency is Swiss Frank. Today country is very wealthy and has one of the highest GDP in the world. Even though it is small in population count it still has many great sportsmen to offer, including Hanni Wenzel, Andreas Wenzel, Tina Weirather and Marco Büchel. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area since May 1995.
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