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San Marino Becomes Smallest Nation By Population to Win an Olympic Medal

Founded in 301 A.D. by a Croatian stonemason avoiding religious persecution, San Marino is considered the world's oldest republic. On Thursday, it added another title that could one day become a trivia answer: the least populous nation to win an Olympic medal. 

One can only imagine the celebration that Alessandra Perilli will receive when she returns to the independent nation of 34,000 people in the foothills of Italy's Apennine Mountains after claiming bronze in women's trap shooting. 

Nine years ago in London, Perilli barely missed out on the country's first Olympic medal after losing in a shootout following a three-way tie for second place. But in Tokyo, Perilli made Sammarinese history as Slovakia's Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková won gold and American Kayle Browning took home the silver medal.

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With an area of 23.6 square miles, San Marino is smaller than four of New York's five boroughs. The nation has managed to remain independent the march of Napoleon, the unification of Italy and two world wars and has competed in the Olympics since 1960. Among its most famous citizens is Abraham Lincoln, who accepted the country's offer of honorary citizenship in 1861. 

The nation wouldn't even crack the top 1,000 U.S. cities by population, but it now has an Olympic medal courtesy of Perilli. 

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