The Bizarre Story Of How A European Army Returned From War With More Troops Than It Left With

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Image: via All About History

It’s 1866 and the Kingdom of Prussia has gone to war with the Empire of Austria. Meanwhile, the tiny nation of Liechtenstein sends an 80-strong army to play its part in the conflict and anxious citizens wonder how many of these soldiers will return home in one piece. But the end of the war will reveal the answer to that question, and it’s entirely unexpected.

Image: Google Maps

But before we get into the part that Liechtenstein played in the Austro-Prussian War, let’s find out a bit more about the country. The Principality of Liechtenstein lies in central Europe, sandwiched between the western border of Austria and the eastern border of Switzerland in the high mountains of the Alps. Small, tiny and even minuscule are all words that accurately describe the country.

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Image: Adrian Michael

Indeed, Liechtenstein covers an area of just 62 square miles. That makes the smallest U.S state, Rhode Island with 1,034 square miles, look positively continent-sized in comparison. Yet little Liechtenstein is only fourth in the league of smallest European countries. Top of the table comes the Vatican City in Rome, followed by Monaco, then San Marino.

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