The Principality of Liechtenstein was founded in 1719 as part of the Holy Roman Empire, and it became an independent state in 1806. It was tightly linked to Austria until the conclusion of World War I, but the economic damage wrought by the war prompted Liechtenstein to form a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. The country’s status as a “tax haven” has fueled exceptional economic development since World War II (during which Liechtenstein stayed neutral).
Concerns regarding the use of financial institutions for money laundering and tax evasion have arisen as a consequence of deficiencies in banking regulatory supervision. The days of carrying bags full of cash into banks and depositing it without scrutiny are gone. Liechtensteiners are also proud of the fact that their country has never been engaged in a war or military conflict with an enemy state, and consider their flag to be a peace banner.
The aristocratic aspect in the constitution is very significant for a European nation, and the prince/regent enjoys a great deal of authority both in principle and in practice (unlike say the British monarch who does not use most of their theoretical and ceremonial powers). However, unlike virtually every other monarchy in the world, the constitution stipulates that if a majority of the people demand it, the prince must retire and the monarchy must be abolished.