The sizes of nations have expanded or contracted throughout history. And Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently delivered a chilling reminder that such turf gains and losses are often the result of military force, or at least the threat thereof.
However, Liechtenstein recently shrank not due to armed invasion, intimidating negotiations or secession zeal, but due to a new high-tech, satellite-based surveying system.
As The Wall Street Journal reported: "Bits and pieces amounting to about a quarter of an acre disappeared."
No, that's not much land.
Then again, Liechtenstein covers a mere 62 square miles, making it just slightly larger than 55-square-mile Mount Pleasant.
Unlike Mount Pleasant, though, Liechtenstein has a prince with significant governing clout.
But His Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II evidently blends his authority with benevolence - and generosity. He and his son, His Serene Highness Hereditary Prince Alois, even invite the entire population of 37,000 or so to their Vaduz Castle for free beer every Aug. 15, aka Liechtenstein National Day.
Well, not inside the castle. As Prince Alois told the Journal: "We don't actually open up the castle, that would be a bit too complicated. But we open up the garden."
That's apparently sufficient for most Liechtensteiners. In 2012, 76 percent of voters rejected a referendum that would have removed the prince's veto authority over new laws.
And according to the Journal, Liechtenstein has "some of the world's highest wealth per capita and longest life expectancy rates."
That's not bad for a nearly 300-year-old principality closely tied to the Austro-Hungarian empire before it was rendered obsolete by World War I.
Liechtenstein then remained neutral, along with good neighbor Switzerland, during World War II.
And even without an army, the diminutive dot on the European map nearly 1,000 miles west of Ukraine appears safely beyond Mr. Putin's reach.
For now, anyway.
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