[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Tropico}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Tropico3.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:And you said a country can't have one city...]]

When a country is a city-state, i.e. the city is the country, or the other way around: the country has only one city.

Although this can be justified by the country being small (e.g. Monaco, Vatican City, Singapore), it is NOT justified when a country of this size has an economy the size of the US economy. This is a perfect opportunity to mix this trope with a hearty helping of CityOfAdventure. In {{Anime}} a city like this is usually a {{Utopia}} or {{Dystopia}}.

Note that the area with one city DOES NOT have to be a country, it can be a [[{{Planetville}} planet]] or county or etc...

Compare BritainIsOnlyLondon when an entire Real-Life country is reduced into consisting of nothing more than its most popular city.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/{{Appleseed}}'', Olympus, the most powerful country, apparently has only one city.
* Almost all (or maybe all) the "countries" in ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' are like this. Even if there are a few that aren't, Kino never stays long enough to find out.
* At the end of ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' (or the first season of ''{{Anime/Robotech}}''), humans have been nearly wiped out by the Zentradi, and have only one city left. Nonetheless, they still field a very powerful military.
* Academy City in ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''. While located inside Japan, it is its own nation, one of the most powerful influences in the world, and can even declare war.
* {{Exaggerated|Trope}} in ''Anime/CodeGeass R2'', where Zero announces the formation of [[spoiler: the United States of Japan]] by declaring its first territory (and thus "city") to be the very ''room'' he is currently broadcasting from. Everybody reacts just about how you'd expect them to by this point, since it's [[RefugeInAudacity Zero]] and all.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The various [[MegaCity Mega-Cities]] in ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' each only have direct authority over their respective urban areas, though MC-1 at least does have some influence over parts of the Cursed Earth.
* Attilan, home of ComicBook/TheInhumans.
* Also from Marvel, Madripoor - which, conveniently enough, is next-door to Singapore.
* From Wildstorm (recently transplanted into the DCU) is the small island nation of Gamorra, which is the home base of Kaizen Gamorra.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/TheMatrix'' had Zion, the last human city. Within the Matrix is a single, gigantic megalopolis that houses the entire enslaved population, and is known only as the City.
* ''Film/PlanetOfTheApes1968'' is implied to have only one civilized area surrounded by a continent of wilderness: [[ShapedLikeItself Ape City]].
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Coruscant is a city that has [[CityPlanet grown to cover the entire planet it is on]]. Its name is therefore synonymous with the city and the planet.
* In the live action Film/SuperMarioBros movie, the parallel world where Koopas reside had only one city, surrounded by endless tracts of desert.
* The eponymous city of ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'' appears be a political entity unto itself, as no authority higher than the mayor is ever suggested and there seems to be little in the surrounding area, as the only other mentioned towns are a good distance away with unclear associations. It is vaguely implied in supplementary materials that there may be other nations out there as well, just insular and xenophobic single-species ones.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Quite a few locations in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' are city-states. Of particular note is Ankh-Morpork, wherein most of the books are set, and which is also surrounded by other city-states, such as Quirm and Pseudopolis. Each is a [[FantasyCounterpartCulture stand-in for a real-world country]]. At one point these were all part of a single Ankh-Morpork empire, but said empire [[VestigialEmpire went into decline]] and its wider surroundings are now largely autonomous. However, Ankh-Morpork is still the economic powerhouse of not just the region but the entire continent, and thus has significant political influence over these.
* Trantor from the ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' universe is a planet whose entire surface has been urbanized, thus making it one big city.
** The Terminus-based (First) Foundation was the interstellar equivalent of this trope for much of ''Foundation'', being a Land Of One Planet (and growing from an Imperial foundation cut off from the Galactic Empire to a HegemonicEmpire effectively ruling a decent portion of the galaxy). At least at the beginning it was a Land Of One City as well -- Terminus was the youngest colony in the galaxy, and simply hadn't had ''time'' to get the population for more than one city. By ''Foundation and Empire'' at least the Four Kingdoms, the surrounding states that were the beginning of the Foundation's hegemony, seems to have been formally annexed into the Foundation, and it's definitely true that as far as the Galaxy is concerned, being from one of the former Four Kingdoms was very nearly as good as being from Terminus itself. (One gets the feeling that Asimov, an almost-lifelong New Yorker, set up the relationship between Terminus and the Four Kingdoms as being analogous to that between Manhattan and the four "Outer Boroughs".)
* Tar Valon from ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. Also, the (less-important) city-states of Mayene and Far Madding.
** In fact, the time of the books this is somewhat true of most of the nations in the main continent of the setting. The powerful nations may have large borders, at least on a map, but they only have one city that deserves the name, and usually hold little if any authority beyond that city. Most of the countryside is populated by tiny villages who rule themselves.
* Grantville in ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' is effectively this (for the first book -- they end up joining/helping to form a new state at the end of the first book, and a couple of books later they're one of the major cities of a powerful confederation). Interestingly there were a number of independent cities like that at the time. Unfortunately they didn't possess repeating rifles.
* PerdidoStreetStation and IronCouncil feature New Crobuzon, which in the latter book is at war with the city-state of Tesh. TheScar also features a city-state made of pirate ships stuck together.
* The crumbling city of Literature/{{Gormenghast}} appears to be the only city in the world. In fact, it seems to ''be'' the world. (Until the third book, "Titus Alone" when the titular hero runs away from Gormenghast and ventures out into the world.)
* The Queens in ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'' rule only over the Castle.
* The entire ''Marîd Audran'' mystery/crime series takes place in one moderately sized Middle Eastern city based on New Orleans. Hell most of the stories set in the city is set in one neighborhood, the Budayeen (think an Arabic {{red light district}})
* Melniboné is one of these, by the time the events of Literature/TheElricSaga begin. It used to be the capital of a vast conquered empire but now it's just an insular little city-state in the middle of the sea.
** Melniboné itself is a fairly large island which at one time contained several large metropolises: by the time Elric ascended to it's throne, its society had grown so decandant and its nobility so apathetic that all of the island appart from its capital was abandonned and reverted to wilderness, while Imrryr (the aforementioned capital) itself is still by far the largest city in the world, although half of its buildings are empty.
* The Nine Free Cities of Essos in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', based off the real life Italian city-states. Initially they were colonies of Valyria's empire, who were forced to become autonomous after the Doom destroyed Valyria. However, they may also be something of a subversion; it's remarked that the Free Cities are more or less the same country in all but name, "hiring the same soldiers to fight the same wars for the same rulers".
** Subverted for the North. The only city in the North is White Harbor, which is ruled by House Manderly, who are sworn to the Starks. The rest of the settlements in the North are mostly small villages, holdfasts, and castles...across a vast territory the size of the other six kingdoms of Westeros put together. (Basically, the North=Russia, but also Scotland, White Harbor=Glasgow but also Edinburgh, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. Heaven knows what Winterfell is.)
* In Creator/SergeyLukyanenko's ''Literature/RoughDraft'' duology, one of the [[AlternateUniverse parallel Earths]] is a {{Steam Punk}}ish world called Veroz (or Earth 3). One of the notable things about it is its complete lack of nation-states. All cities are independent.
* In Creator/VladimirVasilyev's ''The Big Kiev Technician'', the world of 300,000 years in the future (with ModernStasis in full effect) is made up of [[{{Megacity}} country-sized cities]], usually the most well-known RealLife city in a country having grown and absorbed the other settlements, now being called with the "Big" prefix. The titular Big Kiev is about the size of modern-day Ukraine with Big Moscow being even larger. Other "Big" cities are mentioned as well (e.g. Big Berlin, Big London, Big New York).
* In the legend of [[Myth/SaintGeorge St. George and the Dragon]], the ruler of the city that is harassed by a dragon goes by the name of king, and yet he rules only this one city.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has Ravnica, a plane with only one city. That said, that one city is large enough to occupy the entire plane.
* [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} Lookshy]], a relatively small city state, is capable of fielding military forces comparable to [[TheEmpire the Realm]] (which on its own is an island the size of the continental United States or Asia and recieves tribute from across the world), through a combination of an extremely militant society and huge stockpiles of artifact weaponry. Lookshy is comparably disadvantaged in that it doesn't have nearly the same power projection as the Realm (they can protect themselves and their neighbours, but are unable to be as expansive).
** Nexus has economic power comparable to the Realm, partially because it is at the heart of the [[ScavengerWorld Scavenger Lands]] (and benefits from some protection by Lookshy) and partially because it serves as the headquarters of a powerful, worldwide mercantile guild. [[MysteriousProtector The Emmissary]] is also important in maintaining the autonomy and power of the city.
* The ''TabletopGame/DarkSun'' setting for ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has several city-states, each of which controls one of the few remaining fair-sized spots of fertile land and not much else ([[SpaceWhaleAesop centuries of sorcerous warfare and use of magical WMDs millenia past]] [[GreenAesop reduced most of the world to desert]], natch).
** In the Tippyverse setting, the existence of Teleportation Circles has reduced the world to city states, since noone has any reason to go outside when they can just teleport between cities and farming is unnecessary thanks to limitless magically created food.
** The ''TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'' setting has the eponymous Free City of Greyhawk, a major city-state which keeps its independence by taking advantage of its central location, ideal for trade and politics. It helps that most of its neighbors are ruled by [[CharacterAlignment Good-aligned]] leaders who are more concerned with their own hostile neighbors than sparking a war over ownership of the city.
* The SavageWorlds setting Runepunk by RealityBlurs takes place entirely within the city of Scatterpoint, a Steampunk-eqsque city 600 miles across that was torn from its home plane and set adrift between dimensions.
* ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}'' fiction can edge into this, with worlds frequently depicted as thinly populated {{Planetville}}s on which only the capital matters. Other settlements are sometimes mentioned but rarely actually depicted -- notably, forces driven back from the capital seem to favor retreating into outright wilderness over actually falling back to any more developed locales.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* As revealed in ''[[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry Donkey Kong Land]]'', Donkey Kong Island has one city: Big Ape City.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has Lindblum and Burmecia, which control a goodly portion of the continent with only one city. Also, narrowly averted in that Alexandria has a whopping three cities (or two, it's [[EpilepticTrees ambiguous]] where Treno stands)
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has Wutai, though this may be a result of Wutai's war with Shinra. ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'' showed that the post-war resistance movement against Shinra had more people than Wutai itself had in the original game. Given that the rest of the Wutai island is made up of dead earth interspersed with rope bridges, it's entirely possible that the one small town is all that's left of Wutai.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'''s nations of [[TheKingdom San d'Oria]], [[TheRepublic Bastok]], [[TheFederation Windurst]], and [[HubCity Jeuno]] are all technically city-states in the present time, although the first three have historical areas that they controlled in the past that are now up for grabs. [[TheEmpire Aht Urhgan]] is seemingly the only in-game nation with actual vast stretches of territory.
* The [[RetCon now-destroyed]] Zendar from ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Tropico}} 3'' has only one city to build on, and you CAN STILL have a thriving economy.
* Although it's not very clear in the game itself at first glance, according to lore [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft Stormwind]] is actually a city-state, and the adjacent regions are independent governments that just allow Stormwind to protect them with its military.
* ''VideoGame/BioShock'': Rapture isn't especially large compared to most real-world cities, but it's definitely self-contained, self-sufficient, and a sovereign nation as far as anyone's concerned.
* ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'': Columbia was originally part of America, but has since declared its independence and become a self-sustaining city.
* [[FourX 4X games]] typically start with every empire consisting of only single city. Though establishing or conquering additional cities is usually the first thing the players do.
** VideoGame/{{Civilization}} series veterans have popularized a [[SelfImposedChallenge variant]] called the One City Challenge in which the player restricts himself or herself to a single city at all times, thus radically changing the gameplay and the methods or mindset needed to secure a victory. Some later iterations of the game [[AscendedFanon made this an official game mode]].
*** Also from ''Civilization'', ''Civilization V'' introduced "city-states", which despite the name typically control a substantial amount of surrounding territory. Realistically, they're more like small-to-midsize countries than what we usually think of as city-states, as evidenced by the fact that many of them take the names of real-life cities from countries that have only one large, well-known city (e.g. Stockholm, Seoul, Dublin) or only a small handful of them (e.g. Warsaw, Sydney, Quebec City, and Hanoi).
*** In the ''Civ V'' update ''Brave New World'', one of the new player civilizations (Venice) makes this obligatory by disabling the creation of Settlers and preventing the 'proper' annexation of any city you conquer. In exchange for that, you get extra influence over the "city-states" and extra opportunities to become [[{{Fiction 500}} ludicrously wealthy]].
* What are commonly called One Province Minors([=OPMs=]) in games designed by ''ParadoxInteractive'' are these, states with only one province, and thus, in game terms, only one city.
* ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'''s [[CityWithNoName The City]]. In fact, there are only two other cities mentioned in the series, and they're both feudal city states as well. Civilisation of any kind outside the City certainly exists, but it is hardly ever elaborated on.
* The Good strategy in ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite 2'' involves building a huge city that will, eventually, house everyone on the island, as neighbors will immigrate.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'', Dalaran is a city-state [[TheMagocracy ruled by mages]]. Despite being only a city-state, they are treated as equals to the other Seven Kingdoms.
* In ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings'' most counties consist of a city, a castle (the capital in the prevailing government of the era), and a temple. Many counties can have more holdings built but they're expensive. And there's a large number of "petty kingdoms" and independent counties that consist of a single county, as well as most [[MerchantCity Merchant Republics]].
* The kingdom of Overture in ''VisualNovel/AnOctaveHigher'' is a technologically-advanced nation with colonies all over the world, yet the nation itself is just one city.
* The entire continent of Gransys in [[DragonsDogma Dragon's Dogma]] has only one city (Gran Soren) and one small fishing village. Lots of vast, wide-open tracts of land, though.
* Averted in the earlier ''VideoGame/{{Neptunia}}'' games, which had numerous small towns as well as the capitals, but this ended up achieving little besides making the Shares system [[GuideDangIt unnecessarily byzantine]]. Later games reduce Planeptune, Lastation, Leanbox, and Lowee to only having the capitals visible, with the understanding that the PlayerParty being composed of those nations' leaders means they're [[LawOfConservationOfDetail only interested in]] the industrial and political centers of each nation anyway.

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* The eponymous village of ''TheQuestportChronicles''.
* ''Literature/MetamorKeep'' consists of the titular keep and a few outlying villages. By the time of ''MetamorCity'' the keep has developed into an arcology covering most of its original territory and is the capital of an empire spanning most of the continent.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': The north and south poles are inhabited by the Water Tribes. The Northern tribe have one huge city[=/=]fortress, while the Southern tribe started out similarly before being decimated by the Fire Nation and scattering into dispersed hamlets.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Phantom 2040}}'': Following the Resource Wars, the United States no longer exists as an entity but as a bunch of independently-ruled city-states.
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperforceGo'' gives us a ''Planet'' of one City; Shuggazoom City is the only one on the planet of the same name, with the rest of the planet being a vast wasteland.
* Spoofed in the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "E. Peterbus Unum" when Peter turns his house into the nation of Petoria.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* UsefulNotes/{{Monaco}} and UsefulNotes/{{Singapore}} are RealLife examples, while [[UsefulNotes/VaticanCity the Vatican]] takes it UpToEleven by being an enclave ''within'' the city of Rome (making it what, a Land of Less Than One City? Land of One City Block?). That makes this trope TruthInTelevision.
* The Italian peninsula also has UsefulNotes/SanMarino, made notable by being the last survivor of Italy's ancient city states and the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world (as the continuation of a monastic community traditionally founded on September 3, 301), with the oldest republican constitution still in effect (ratified in 1600, beating the runner-up, the US Constitution, by 189 years)
* Similarly, UsefulNotes/HongKong and UsefulNotes/{{Macau}} are not exactly states, but they're self-governed enough to be considered as such.
* In spite of their name, Ancient Greek city-states incorporated numerous surrounding settlements and townships. They were only city-states to the extent that power was concentrated in the hands of the eponymous cities, such as would also be the case with medieval and renaissance Italian city-states like Florence and Venice.
* Also many of the smaller states that made up the HolyRomanEmpire. Fully 51 were officially deemed ''Freie und Reichsstädte'' (Free and Imperial Cities) as of 1792; while a number of the monarchies, prince-bishoprics, and abbeys sharing representation in the Imperial Diet were often even smaller than most of said cities. There were even five ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Village Reichsdörfer]]'' directly under the emperor's authority[[note]]yes, they were as small as the name implied[[/note]] on record as of 1803.
** The Italian city-states mentioned above were also part of these, as the vast majority of them lay in what was officially Imperial territory (the Holy Roman Empire technically controlled the northern part of the Italian peninsula ending at the borders of the Papal States and the Byzantine Empire), the only exceptions being Venice (nominally Byzantine territory) and those south or ''inside'' the Papal States.
** This also applies to some of the states that made and make up the successors of the Holy Roman Empire. For instance, one of the cantons of the [[UsefulNotes/{{Switzerland}} Swiss Federation]] is the self-explanatory one of Basel-Stadt (Basel city, as opposed to the canton of Basel-Land (Basel countryside)). The [[UsefulNotes/TheBerlinRepublic Federal Republic of Germany]] contains three city-states, of which UsefulNotes/{{Berlin}} and the Free and Hanseatic City of UsefulNotes/{{Hamburg}} consist only of one city, and the third, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen consists of two (Bremen proper and Bremerhaven). This is also reflected in the fact that these three states do not have a ''Ministerpräsident'' (prime minister), but a ''Bürgermeister'' (burgomaster or mayor).
* The UsefulNotes/ByzantineEmpire once controlled roughly half of Europe, but by [[UsefulNotes/TheFallOfConstantinople its fall]] in the 13th century was [[VestigialEmpire little more than one, depopulated city]] and a few enclaves within the Ottoman Empire.
* There are numerous first order administrative divisions worldwide (States, to use a US-specific example) that are made up of a single city. They all qualify for this trope to whatever extent the central government permits them to handle their own affairs. Berlin/Hamburg/Bremen are good examples, while others might be in doubt.
** There are also numerous examples of such divisions which are much larger than their largest city, but which have a significant majority of their population in said city which also has an overwhelming influence on the state and outsiders' views of the state. One notable example is New York City, which also has the same name as the first-order division containing it, and is a city which stretches among multiple second-order divisions (counties).
* "Free cities" Gdansk (Danzig), Fiume, Memel (Klaipėda) created after UsefulNotes/WW1 and Triest after UsefulNotes/WW2. Only Gdansk/Danzig stayed independent more than a few years, though. West Berlin wasn't officially called that, but it probably qualifies too.
** West Berlin [[ZigzaggedTrope is a special case]]. Officially, the city was a free and independent entity jointly ruled by the Mayor of (West) Berlin and the Western Allies (US, UK, France), and West German laws had no legal effect inside West Berlin. Practically, the city was ''de facto'' part of the ''Bundesrepublik Deutschlands'', as the citizens of West Berlin held West German citizenship [[note]]technically, West German citizenship was also extended to the citizens of the ''Deutsche Demokratische Republik'', but for obvious reasons, this could not kick in until the person was actually on West German soil to claim it, something [[UsefulNotes/TheBerlinWall East Germany went to insane lengths to prevent]][[/note]], West German currency was the official legal tender of West Berlin, when Bonn passed a law, West Berlin would enact the same law to keep legal parity, and West Berlin sent non-voting observer delegates to the ''Bundestag'' and ''Bundesrat'' in Bonn. Still, the Allies blocked official incorporation of West Berlin into the ''BRD'' in 1950 to avoid a serious flare-up in east-west tensions (the relevant law in the Berlin Constitution passed then didn't kick in until 1990, at the time of reunification). Additionally, West Berliners were not subject to the West German compulsory military service for young men, which was a major reason why West Berlin was famously full of anti-establishment punks. The fact that West Berliners were West German citizens but not in West Germany led to the bizarre situation where a West Berliner could not vote in West German elections, but ''could'' run and even be elected to office in them (as happened with former West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt, who would eventually be elected Chancellor of West Germany in the '70s.)