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3274 1823

Vatican City Flag

Popes in their secular role ruled much of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed.

Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. The colours of the flag of Vatican City derive from the emblem in the fly. Pius VII adopted them as the papal colours in 1808. The emblem itself shows the three tiered papal crown. Beneath the crown are the crossed keys representing spiritual authority bestowed on St Peter, the first pope, by Jesus when he gave Peter the keys to heaven.

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