LIECHTENSTEIN, the smallest independent state in Europe, save San Marino and Monaco. It lies some way S. of the Lake of Constance, and extends along the right bank of the Rhine, opposite Swiss territory, between Sargans and Sennwald, while on the E. it also comprises the upper portion of the Samina glen that joins the Ill valley at Frastanz, above Feldkirch. It is about 12 m. in length, and covers an area of 61.4 or 68.8 sq. m. (according to different estimates). Its loftiest point rises at the S.E. angle of the state, in the Rhätikon range, and is named to Naafkopf or the Rothe Wand (8445 ft.); on its summit the Swiss, Vorarlberg, and Liechtenstein frontiers join. In 1901 the population was 9477 (of whom 4890 were women and 4587 men). The capital is Vaduz (1523 ft.), with about 1100 inhabitants, and 2 m. S. of the Schaan railway station, which is 2 m. from Buchs (Switz.). Even in the 17th century the Romonsch language was not extinguished in the state, and many Romonsch place-names still linger, e.g. Vaduz, Samina, Gavadura, &c. Now the population is German-speaking and Romanist. The constitution of 1862 was amended in 1878, 1895 and 1901. All males of 24 years of age are primary electors, while the diet consists of 12 members, holding their seats for 4 years and elected indirectly, together with 3 members nominated by the prince. The prince has a lieutenant resident at Vaduz, whence there is an appeal to the prince’s court at Vienna, with a final appeal (since 1884) to the supreme district court at Innsbruck. Compulsory military service was abolished in 1868, the army having till then been 91 strong. The principality forms ecclesiastically part of the diocese of Coire, while as regards customs duties it is joined with the Vorarlberg, and as regards postal and coinage arrangements with Austria, which (according to the agreement of 1852, renewed in 1876, by which the principality entered the Austrian customs union) must pay it at least 40,000 crowns annually. In 1904 the revenues of the principality amounted to 888,931 crowns, and its expenditure to 802,163 crowns. There is no public debt.
The county of Vaduz and the lordship of Schellenberg passed through many hands before they were bought in 1613 by the count of Hohenems (to the N. of Feldkirch). In consequence of financial embarrassments, that family had to sell both (the lordship in 1699, the county in 1713) to the Liechtenstein family, which had since the 12th century owned two castles of that name (both now ruined), one in Styria and the other a little S.W. of Vienna. In 1719 these new acquisitions were raised by the emperor into a principality under the name of Liechtenstein, which formed part successively of the Holy Roman Empire (till 1806) and of the German Confederation (1815–1866), having been sovereign 1806–1815 as well as since 1866.
See J. Falke’s Geschichte d. fürstlichen Hauses Liechtenstein (3 vols., Vienna, 1868–1883); J. C. Heer, Vorarlberg und Liechtenstein (Feldkirch, 1906); P. Kaiser, Geschichte d. Fürstenthums Liechtenstein (Coire, 1847); F. Umlauft, Das Fürstenthum Liechtenstein (Vienna, 1891); E. Walder, Aus den Bergen (Zürich, 1896); A. Waltenberger, Algäu, Vorarlberg, und Westtirol (Rtes. 25 and 26) (10th ed., Innsbruck, 1906). (W. A. B. C.)