excavations, the area that today constitutes Liechtenstein -
between Austria and Switzerland - has been inhabited since
Neolithic times. Around 800 BCE it was inhabited by the
heroes who remained there until the Romans in the year 15
BCE entered. Excavations in Schaanwald and Nendeln have
revealed that a Roman road intersects the country from north
to south. The Roman fortifications in Schaan are of special
interest because they reveal a work that was intended to
protect the road south from German invasions.
In the 4th
century, Christianity invaded the province with the
missionary San Lucio, honored throughout the region. Later,
Germans from the north gradually invaded the country,
eliminating the Roman influence. Later the area passed to
German duchies and later to the lords Vaduz and Schellenberg.
They were ruled by four families: the dukes of Werdenberg-Vaduz,
the barons of Brandis, the dukes of Sulz and the dukes of
Hohenems. Prince Johann Adam de Liechtenstein - founder of
the present duchy - bought the manor of Schellenberg in 1699
and in 1712 the duchy of Vaduz. By succession, these
gentlemen's seats were attached to Germany, and the Duke
therefore immediately took a seat in the German Empire's
Yet, on January 23, 1719, the duke's formal birthday is
counted. On that day, the Emperor of Germany, Charles VI,
transformed the Duchy of Liechtenstein into the two
gentlemen's seats Vaduz and Schellenberg in favor of his
faith under Anton Florian de Liechtenstein.
In 1806, Liechtenstein of Napoleon was included in the
Renana Confederation, a league of 16 states affiliated with
the German Empire. Napoleon guaranteed their independence as
states against recognizing him as their protector. In this
way, Liechtenstein achieved its sovereignty.
At the Vienna Congress in 1815, the duchy was
incorporated into the German confederation. When it was
dissolved in 1866, at the same time the last legal relations
with Germany were dissolved. Since 1868, the country has no
military. In the period 1852-1919 a customs agreement
existed between the duchy and the double monarchy of
During Johann's (1858-1929) reign, the country saw
significant progress in all areas. The country's first
constitution from 1862 paved the way for its modernization,
and in 1921 was replaced by a new democratic-liberal
constitution that is still in force. During Johann's reign,
the focus was on Switzerland. In 1923 the customs agreement
between the two countries was concluded and the following
year the Swiss franc became the country's currency.
Prince Franz Josef II became the first Duke to
permanently relinquish his residence to Liechtenstein. After
51 years as head of state, he died on November 13, 1989 and
was replaced at the post by his son, Hans-Adam II.
Liechtenstein first slowly integrated itself into the
rest of Europe. It was not until 1978 that it was included
in the Council of Europe, in 1990 in the UN, in EFTA in 1991
and in the European Economic Zone in 1995.