Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In 1846 the state of Michigan became the first state in the United States to abolish the use of the death penalty, which still stands today.

Is there any country (or state/province/etc.) elsewhere that has had the death penalty abolished for longer and still has it abolished?

share|improve this question
    
Note that even though the Catholic Church is well-known for being against the Death Penalty, Vatican City only abolished it in 1969. –  T.E.D. Oct 22 '13 at 18:46
    
@T.E.D. A side note: Catholic Church as a whole is not against the death penalty. In the Catechism 2267 the DP is still allowed. Only the people of the Church can be against (like popes, bishops etc.). –  Voitcus Oct 23 '13 at 7:05
    
People accused of (some types of) crimes in Michigan are still at risk of the federal death penalty of the United States, so I would say Venezuela "wins" (if Olivier's answer is correct), even if abolition took place at a later point in time. –  Jørgen Oct 23 '13 at 9:13
    
@ZeekLTK Are you somehow unsatisfied with the current answer to your question? If so, it could be nice to explain why. If you are satisfied, it is also nice to accept the answer: the SE websites work much better in this way. –  Olivier Dec 12 '13 at 22:17
add comment

1 Answer

This answer is thoroughly non original, as it is drawn extensively from Wikipedia's article on the topic. According to this source, Tuscany officially abolished the death penalty in 1786. Of course, this presumably does not count, because Tuscany was later absorbed into Italy, which reinstated it in Tuscany in 1927 under the Fascist regime. So, again according to this article, the nation-state which has officially abolished death penalty for the longest period of time is Venezuela, which abolished it in 1854, so well after Michigan. However, one possible contender would be San Marino, which abolished death penalty "only" in 1865 but which carried its last execution in 1468.

All in all, if this article is to be trusted, then Michigan seems indeed to be the legal entity which holds the record of de jure abolition, with San Marino by far the record holder for de facto abolition.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment#Abolitionism

share|improve this answer
    
Last paragraph has it. While we are throwing in extraneous factoids though, it was outlawed in ancient Japan for most of the Heian period (the entire time the Minamotos were ruling, to be specific. 338 years.) I believe that's the current record holder for longest official abolition. –  T.E.D. Oct 23 '13 at 2:07
    
@T.E.D.: I'm not sure if modern Japan also has no death penalty, but I get the impression that WWII Japan, at least, had the death penalty, given its "death marches," etc. So I would not credit Japan with "continuous" abolition of the death penalty, even it was abolished for 338 years in an earlier epoch. –  Tom Au Mar 27 at 18:09
    
@TomAu Japan has the death penalty and in fact regularly executes convicts but I believe that T.E.D's point is that 338 years of abolition is the longest official abolition on record, even if it was ultimately reinstated. –  Olivier Mar 27 at 20:19
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.