The Principality of Liechtenstein (61.5 sq.miles / 35'000 inhabitants) lies in the region of the Upper Rhine between the Swiss Canton of St. Gall and the Austrian Federal State of Vorarlberg. The Lordship of Schellenberg and the County of Vaduz, purchased during 1699 and 1712 by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, were united in 1719 to form the Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein in the fold of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nations. The Princes of Liechtenstein gave the newly formed country their family name and they in fact required a principality to become Princes of the Realm in the Habsburg Empire. In 1806 Napoleon I granted the Principality full sovereignty in the Confederation of the Rhine. After the Napoleonic era at the Vienna Congress, Liechtenstein became a member of the German Confederation until it was dissolved in 1866. During 1852 Liechtenstein entered into a Customs Treaty with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. After the collapse of the Donau Monarchy Liechtenstein remained independent and in 1923 signed a Customs Treaty with Switzerland and the Swiss franc has been the monetary unit of Liechtenstein since 1924.
The modern constitution of 1921 determines that Liechtenstein is a hereditary monarchy based on a parliamentary democracy. The Reigning Prince is Head of State and the Diet (parliament) has 25 elected members who propose the Head of Government, Deputy and 3 Councillors who form the Government and are not members of the Diet. Liechtenstein is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, EFTA, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the EEA, which has no fiscal repercussions.