Contrary to the belief of popular culture, Vatican City is not at all the smallest sovereign state in the world. This title in fact belongs to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). An Order of Saint John, the SMOM gained its independent sovereignty in the 17th century, when it was given the island of Malta, and conducted naval raids on Muslim shipping from the island of Rhodes, off the coast of Asia Minor. The SMOM lost control of the island of Malta in 1798, but retained its sovereign status, and now exists as half of a single floor in a high-rise in modern downtown Rome. It is the only sovereign state in the world to be more effectively measured in square feet than in acres or square miles. It is also the only sovereign state in the world that has no full-time inhabitants. While more than 10,000 people are members of the SMOM, there are no persons who actually own residences within the boundaries of its sovereignty.