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The Lateran Treaty was an agreement between Pope Pius XI and the government of Italy in 1929, resolving what was known as the Roman Question. Prior to the agreement, the political status of Rome was in dispute, because the unification of Italy involved taking lands from the domain of the Roman Catholic Church, known as the Papal States. In effect, the pope had become a hostage in the Vatican, surrounded by an Italian-occupied Rome. In 1929, the fascist Italian government and Pius XI agreed to a formal definition of the Vatican City as a city-state and independent micronation, while the Holy See would recognize Italy's ownership of the city of Rome and withdraw any claims on occupied territory. The treaty specified boundaries for the Vatican City, compensation to the Holy See for loss of property, and the recognition of Catholicism as the sole religion of Italy - in addition to various other legislative devices. This treaty legitimized the Vatican as a government and established its modern-day role.

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