A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as Rome, Athens, Sparta, Carthage, 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, only a few modern sovereign city-states exist, with some disagreement as to which qualify; Monaco, Singapore, and Vatican City are most commonly accepted as such. Singapore is the clearest example, with full self-governance, its own currency, a robust military, and a population of 5.6 million.
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Several non-sovereign cities enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and are sometimes considered city-states. Macau, Hong Kong, and members of the United Arab Emirates – most notably Dubai and Abu Dhabi – are often cited as such.