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 ancient poleis such as Athens, Sparta, Carthage and Rome, 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 has come disagreement on the number of modern city-states that still exist; Singapore, Monaco and Vatican City are the candidates most commonly discussed. Out of these, Singapore is generally considered to be the last real city-state left in the world, with full sovereignty, international borders, its own currency, a robust military, and substantial international influence in its own right.[2] The Economist refers to the nation as the "world's only fully functioning city-state".

Several non-sovereign cities enjoy a high degree of autonomy and are often confused as 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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