i had never heard of the serene republic of san marino until last week, and only then because of my ocd husband and brother. it started because joel commented that the united states has the longest running contiguous government of any country that he can think of. sure there's plenty of countries that have been around longer, but they've all had revolutions or coups or things like that, and the world wars mussed things around.
so he, chip, and i just had to stay up til goodness know when looking up every single country to find out how long its government has been around.
that's when we discovered san marino, or "the serene republic of san marino" (its proper name). it is the only country in the world whose government has lasted longer than the usa. it has had the same government since it was founded in 301 a.d.! it is 23 square miles, has a population of just over 28,000, and is completely enclosed in italy. during ww2 it declared neutrality, only to be retreated through by the nazi army, pursued by the allies. (neither bothered to overthrow it.)
chip maintains that it doesn't matter if it meets the definition of a country, it's not a country if it has the same global impact as troutdale (minus the outlet stores).