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It’s hard to believe the world’s rarest passport belongs to a country without any land.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also known as the Knights of Malta, is a sovereign nation with United Nations observer status and its constitution. It issues car registration plates although there aren’t any roads.

It also has its stamps, currency and what has now been named the world’s rarest passport.

Around 1099, the Knights originated as a chivalric order and received the Maltese archipelago as a gift from the King of Spain in 1530.

The Order used to be headquartered in Malta, but Napoleon Bonaparte forced the Knights out of Malta. Nowadays, they call Rome home.

There are 13,500 knights, dames and chaplains but only about 100 of them still live in the Maltes archipelago.

The passport was first issued by the Order of Malta in the 1300s. After World War II, the passport started to look like other passports in the world, although it’s still regarded as a diplomatic passport.

CNN reports that today, there are only around 500 of the diplomatic passports in circulation – making it the rarest passport in the world.

Image credit: Sovereign Order of Malta

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