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Major Cities of Monaco in the continent of Europe

La CondamineFontvieilleMonte CarloMoneghettiMonaco-Ville

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Location of Monaco within the continent of Europe
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Map of Monaco
Flag Description of Monaco:The Monaco flag was officially adopted on April 4, 1881. The red and white are the heraldic colors of the Grimaldi family, one that has ruled here since the 13th century.

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Official name Principauté de Monaco (Principality of Monaco)
Form of government constitutional monarchy with one legislative house (National Council [24])
Head of state Prince: Albert II
Head of government1 Minister of State: Michel Roger, assisted by the Council of Government
Capital See footnote 2.
Official language French
Official religion Roman Catholicism
Monetary unit euro (€)3
Population (2013 est.) 37,100COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 0.78
Total area (sq km) 2.02
Urban-rural population

Urban: (2011) 100%
Rural: (2011) 0%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2009) 78 years
Female: (2009) 85 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: not available
Female: not available

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2011) 167,021

1Under the authority of the prince.

2The principality is a single administrative unit, and no separate area within it is distinguished as capital.

3Monaco uses the euro as its official currency, even though it is not a member of the EU.

Background of Monaco

The Genoese built a fortress on the site of present day Monaco in 1215. The current ruling GRIMALDI family first seized temporary control in 1297, and again in 1331, but were not able to permanently secure their holding until 1419. Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad linkup to France and the opening of a casino. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world famous as a tourist and recreation center.

Monaco, officially Principality of Monaco, French Principauté de Monaco, sovereign principality located along the Mediterranean Sea in the midst of the resort area of the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera). The city of Nice lies 9 miles (15 km) to the west, the Italian border 5 miles (8 km) to the east. Monaco’s tiny territory occupies a set of densely clustered hills and a headland that looks southward over the Mediterranean. Many unusual features, however, have made Monaco among the most luxurious tourist resorts in the world and have given it a fame far exceeding its size.

Many visitors to Monaco alternate their hours between its beaches and boating facilities, its international sports-car races, and its world-famous Place du Casino, the gambling centre in the Monte-Carlo section that made Monte-Carlo an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth. The country has a mild Mediterranean climate with annual temperatures averaging 61 °F (16 °C) and with only about 60 days of rainfall. Monthly average temperatures range from 50 °F (10 °C) in January to 75 °F (24 °C) in August.

Evidences of Stone Age settlements in Monaco are preserved in the principality’s Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology. In ancient times the headland was known to the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans. In 1191 the Genoese took possession of it, and in 1297 the long reign of the Grimaldi family began. The Grimaldis allied themselves with France except for the period from 1524 to 1641, when they were under the protection of Spain. In 1793 they were dispossessed by the French Revolutionary regime, and Monaco was annexed to France. With the fall of Napoleon I, however, the Grimaldis returned; the Congress of Vienna (1815) put Monaco under the protection of Sardinia. The principality lost the neighbouring towns of Menton and Roquebrune in 1848 and finally ceded them to France under the terms of the Franco-Monegasque treaty of 1861. The treaty did restore Monaco’s independence, however, and in 1865 a customs union was established between the two countries. Another treaty that was made with France, in 1918, contained a clause providing that, in the event that the Grimaldi dynasty should become extinct, Monaco would become an autonomous state under French protection. A revision to the constitution in 2002 added females and their legitimate children to the line of succession. In 1997 the Grimaldi family commemorated 700 years of rule, and in 1999 Prince Rainier III marked 50 years on the throne. Shortly before his death in 2005, his son Albert became regent. The principality joined the United Nations in 1993. Though not a member of the European Union (EU), Monaco phased out the French franc for the single European currency of the euro by 2002.

Monaco’s refusal to impose income taxes on its residents and on international businesses that have established headquarters in the principality led to a severe crisis with France in 1962. A compromise was reached by which French citizens with less than five years residence in Monaco were taxed at French rates and taxes were imposed on Monegasque companies doing more than 25 percent of their business outside the principality. In the early 21st century, some European nations criticized Monaco’s loose banking regulations, claiming that the principality sheltered tax evaders and money launderers.

Monaco’s constitution of 1911 provided for an elected National Council, but in 1959 Prince Rainier III suspended part of the constitution and dissolved the National Council because of a disagreement over the budget. In 1961 he appointed instead a national assembly. The aforementioned crisis of 1962 with France led him to restore the National Council and to grant a new, liberal constitution. The council comprises 18 members, elected by universal suffrage for a term of five years. Government is carried on by a minister of state (who must be a French citizen) and three state councillors acting under the authority of the prince, who is the official chief of state. Legislative power is shared by the prince and the National Council. Since 1819 the judicial system has been based on that of France; since 1962 the highest judicial authority has been the Supreme Tribunal.

A substantial portion of the government’s revenues comes from taxes on commercial transactions; additional revenue is drawn from franchises on radio, television, and the casino, from state-operated monopolies on tobacco and postage stamps, from sales taxes, and from the taxes imposed since 1962.

Monaco’s chief industry is tourism, and its facilities make it one of Europe’s most luxurious resorts. Once a winter attraction, it now draws summer visitors as well to its beaches and expanded mooring facilities. Business conferences are especially important. The social life of Monte-Carlo revolves around the Place du Casino. The casino was built in 1861, and in 1967 its operations were taken over by the principality. Banking and finance and real estate are other important components of the diverse services sector.

A majority of Monaco’s population is composed of French citizens (nearly half); a smaller but significant number are Italian, Swiss, and Belgian. Only about one-sixth of the population claims Monegasque descent. Most of the people are Roman Catholics. The official language is French.

The four sections, or quartiers, of Monaco are the town of Monaco, or “the Rock,” a headland jutting into the sea on which the old town is located; La Condamine, the business district on the west of the bay, with its natural harbour; Monte-Carlo, including the gambling casino; and the newer zone of Fontvieille, in which various light industries have developed.

In Monaco are the Roman Catholic cathedral, the prince’s Genoese and Renaissance palace, and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, built in 1910. The casino itself contains a theatre designed by the 19th-century French architect Charles Garnier, which is the home of the Opéra de Monte Carlo. During the 1920s many of the works of the famous Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev were given their premieres there. There is also a Monte-Carlo national orchestra. The best known of the automobile events held in the principality are the Monte-Carlo Rally and the Grand Prix de Monaco.

Geography of Monaco

Monaco is located towards the western part of Europe, and covers an area of 485 acres of land. Monaco geography shows that Monaco is a coastal strip of land with certain areas having a higher elevation than the others.

The highest point in Monaco lies at an elevation of 206 feet. The latitudinal and longitudinal extent of Monaco is 43° 44' North and 7° 24' East. Overall Monaco geography is characterized by the presence of hilly, rugged terrain.

The climate of Monaco is one of the major aspects of the geography of Monaco. Climatically, Monaco weather exhibits a Mediterranean type of climate with mild winters that are wet and hot dry summers. Therefore, Monaco has a pleasant climate with absence of extreme types of temperature.

Since Monaco borders the Mediterranean sea, the geography of Monaco features a range of flora and fauna that is typical of the Mediterranean lands. The vegetation and natural habitat of Monaco are greatly influenced by the sea conditions. Palms, aloes, carobs are some of the major species of plants found in Monaco. Besides, a few shrubs and flowers are also found in Monaco.

    • This small country is 0.8 square miles (1.95 square kilometers) in size, or approximately the same size as Central Park in New York City. It is the smallest state in the world after Vatican City. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is surrounded by France on three sides. Nice, France, is the nearest large city at a distance of 11 miles (18 kilometers). Monaco is rocky and situated on steep hills that drop off into the Mediterranean. Part of the Côte d'Azur, Monaco's terrain and geography are typical of the northwestern area of the Mediterranean. The climate is mild year-round, with an average low temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) and an average maximum high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). Monaco is divided into four neighborhoods: Monaco-Ville, the old original city, which is on a rocky promontory extending into the sea; La Condamine, along the port; Monte-Carlo, the main resort, residential and tourist area; and Fontvieille, a newly constructed area on land reclaimed from the sea.

Demography of Monaco

Recent surveys place the permanent population of Monaco at about 30,744. Approximately 22 percent are native Monegasque, 35 percent French, 18 percent Italian, and another 25 percent consist of various other nationalities. Roman Catholicism is the main religion, practiced by 95 percent of the population.

  • Linguistic Affiliation. French is the official language, but Italian and English are also spoken frequently. Monegasque, a language derived from both French and Italian, is spoken by native residents of Monaco, although only about 22 percent of the population claims direct Monegasque descent.
  • Symbolism. The Monegasque flag consists of two equal horizontal bands of red and white: red on top, white beneath. The state seal and emblem of the House of Grimaldi is made up of a shield with red and white diamonds flanked by two monks holding swords pointed upward, with a crown draped with red cloth in the background. The monks represent the legend of François Grimaldi, and who supposedly seized control of Monaco by disguising himself as a Franciscan monk, entering the fortress unnoticed during the night.

Food and Economy of Monaco

Food in Daily Life. Access to fresh, local produce and the sea has led to the development of a local cuisine and appreciation for good food. Monaco has many restaurants, and seafood is featured in many dishes. Daily eating habits reflect a Mediterranean heritage, and both French and Italian influences can be found in the local recipes. Breakfast is very small, but lunch and dinner often have several courses.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Holidays such as Christmas, Holy Week before Easter, and Carnival before Lent are occasions for special food. Some traditional Monegasque dishes include brandamincium, salt cod pounded with garlic, oil, and cream surrounded by cardoons, edible Mediterranean plants, in white sauce; barba-Giuan, or "Uncle John," stuffed fritters; and fougasses, flat, crunchy biscuits sprinkled with sugared anise seeds and flavored with rum and orange-flower water.

Basic Economy. Tourism and related businesses are the main components of the Monegasque economy today. The tourist industry began when the famous casino was opened in Monte Carlo. Banking and financial activities are the second most important part of the economy. The industrial sector is small but significant and includes pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, flour-milling, and food products. Investment in real estate and business services make up the fourth most important sector of the economy. Foreign companies receive special investment incentives that have led many to open offices in the principality. Monaco does not impose an income tax on its residents and consequently has attracted corporate and individual investment. A significant financial services industry has developed as a result.

Land Tenure and Property. Due to Monaco's small size, the availability of land and private space has always been limited. Significant economic growth and an increase in population since 1950 have greatly augmented this problem, forcing developers to build multistoried structures very close together. An increase in tourism and the necessity for hotels have put an added strain on available space. Property is expensive both to buy and maintain, but Monaco's real estate business continues to thrive. To create additional space, the Monegasque government has had to find innovative ways to satisfy the demand for construction: the use of land reclaimed from the sea. The most recent of these is the neighborhood of Fontvieille.

Commercial Activities. Business related to tourism accounts for the majority of commercial activities. Hotels, restaurants, shops, gambling, and services related to Monaco's port provide both employment and revenue for the principality. The real estate business has also become an important commercial concern since 1970.

Major Industries. Industry did not begin to significantly develop until the 1950s, and consists entirely of light industry, with no obvious adverse effects on other parts of the economy or Monegasque society. The first industries, which developed at the beginning of the twentieth century, included a brewery, a chocolate factory, and a flour mill. The chemical, pharmaceutical, parapharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries all developed after World War II and today consist of twenty-three separate businesses—many of which are leaders in their sectors in Europe. Plastics, electronics, printing, textiles, and construction also are significant industries.

Trade. Recent figures place the estimated value of Monegasque imports at U.S. $415,300 and exports at approximately the same figure. Monaco does not publish economic figures including gross domestic product, although recent estimates put it at about U.S. $800 million. Exports include a variety of Monegasque products, and imports include agricultural products and manufactured and consumer goods. Some of Monaco's most important exports include: cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing, small electronics, and paper products.

Division of Labor. Of the estimated thirty thousand jobs existing in Monaco, two-thirds of them are held by workers commuting from neighboring French or Italian towns along the coast. Seasonal tourist work also accounts for an increase in non-native

Contrasting old and modern architecture. The rocky, steep terrain of Monaco has influenced urban architecture; many buildings are constructed into the hills. Monegasque workers to the principality, including workers who have immigrated to Europe from other parts of the world. Women make up slightly less than half the workforce, and recent statistics place unemployment at about 3.2 percent.

Government and Society of Monaco

Political Life of Monaco

Government. Until 1910, the Principality of Monaco was governed by an absolute monarchy. In 1911 Prince Albert I promulgated the first constitution, which was modified in 1917. It was modified again in 1933 by Prince Louis II, and other reforms were made by Prince Rainier III in 1962. Monaco's refusal to impost tax on its residents and international businesses led to a severe crisis with France in 1962. This crisis led to a compromise in which it was agreed that French citizens with less than five years of residence in Monaco would be taxed at French rates and companies doing more than 25 percent of their business outside the principality. Another result of the crisis was the creation of a new, more liberal constitution ad the restoration of the National Council. The constitution provides that executive power is under the authority of the reigning prince. Succession to the throne passes to the direct and legitimate descendants of the prince, with male descendants taking precedence over female. The prince represents Monaco in its foreign relations and signs and ratifies treaties. The prince nominates a Council of Government, consisting of a minister of state and three government councilors, one each for finance and economy, the interior, and public works and social affairs. The Minister of State is a French Citizen, appointed by the prince, and selected for a three-year term a from a group of senior French civil servants selected by the French government. The Minister of State is in charge of foreign relations and, as the prince's representative, directs executive services, the police and the Council of Government. Under the Council of Government's authority is the eighteen-member National Council. Members of the National Council are elected for five years by direct vote based on a system of proportional representation. Eligible voters must be over the age of twenty-one and hold Monegasque citizenship for more than five years. The new constitution of 1962 gave the right to vote to women, established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental rights, and abolished the death penalty.

Leadership and Political Officials. Local affairs are directed by the Communal Council which administers the principality's four quarters: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille. The Council of the Crown consists of seven members holding Monégasque nationality who are nominated by the prince. The president and three members are selected by the sovereign: the others are selected by the national Council. Current government officials include: the Chief of State, Prince Rainier III; the Minister of State, Michel Leveque; the Council of Government, ministers for: the Interior, Finance, and Economic Affairs, Public Works and Social Affairs, National Council President, President of the Supreme Court, and the Director of Judicial Services.

Social Problems and Control. Due to its small population and unique economic situation, Monaco does not face many of the social problems that larger countries must deal with, such as violent crime and poverty. After going through a period of economic growth and industrial development following World War II, a primary concern is the principality's ability to sustain its economy, attract new investments, and maintain the quality of life for its citizens. Current social problems include managing industrial growth and tourism, environmental concerns, and maintaining the quality of life. Alcoholism and illegal drug abuse are present but not widespread. Monaco has a very low crime rate, in part due to the high number of law enforcement officials in relation to the total population and the high standard of living. Widespread use of security cameras throughout the principality also further discourage open criminal activity. Excluding private security, there are around 400 permanent police officers, 95 percent of whom are French. Legal power belongs to the Sovereign, presently Prince Rainier III, who delegates full exercise of it to the courts and tribunals. The independence of the judges is guaranteed by the constitution. Monaco's legal organization includes all degrees of jurisdiction: a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal, a Higher Court of Appeal and a Criminal Court. There are also tribunals with specific competence, such as the Work Tribunal, the Rent Arbitration Commission, and the Higher Arbitration Court, for collective work disputes. The Supreme Court is at the top of the principality's legal organization.

Military Activity. Monaco does not have a military, although it does have a small police force. The French government is responsible for Monaco's defense.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The government efficiently manages several social welfare and change programs. Some current programs include creating more affordable housing for workers by reclaiming land from the sea for new construction and promotion of Monegasque culture, brought about by a revived interest in the principality's history. Consequently, Monegasque language classes have now been instituted in all elementary schools. The Monegasque government also ensures generous pensions, maternity leave, vacation time, and welfare programs for all citizens.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Monaco has many nongovernmental organizations and cultural, academic, and professional associations. Among these are the Permanent International Association of Navigation Conventions, the International Committee of Military Medicine and Pharmacy, the Scientific Community for Oceanic Research, the International Music Council, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Sciences. Monaco joined the United Nations in 1993 and is an active participant. Other intergovernmental organizations of which Monaco is a member include Interpol, UNESCO, and WHO. The International Hydrographic Bureau has its headquarters in Monaco.

Culture Life of Monaco

Contrary to popular belief, the people of Monaco do work, but many visitors fail to see this as they are blinded by the shiny cars, casinos, and high price tags. For some people work life takes place in Monaco, while for others Monaco is a vacation destination and when here life is all about enjoyment. Due to the differing crowds of people in Monaco the dynamic and way of life is significantly different from person to person. For the local workers, most jobs are in tourism, but construction is also a never-ending project in the country, either in building the new or improving the existing. In fact, the country boasts a 0% unemployment rate as there are few citizens and enough jobs to cover the citizens as well as numerous immigrants or commuters from nearby France or Italy. For the people that work in Monaco the jobs vary drastically; many positions are in finance, tourism, service, or entertainment (such as restaurants or casinos). All of these jobs offer the employee different hours and lifestyles. For many others, Monaco is only their weekend home or vacation destination. Most of these people have jobs, often times well-paying jobs, in France, Italy, or whatever their home country might be. Their time spent in Monaco is to relax and enjoy life, the place to socialize, to see, and to be seen. The attraction to Monaco is the natural beauty, the many amenities, the incredible service, great food, and really anything one could want (although not everyone can afford it). Because of this, the people living here tend to enjoy these things and this is how most weekends are spent.

Of course, Monaco is more than just luxury; many people live and work in the country, having a somewhat normal life compared to neighboring countries. These people have regular jobs, start families, and life a life as quiet and normal as one can when surrounded by the glamour of the country. For these families, schools run from about mid-September to about early July each year and free time is often spent at home with their family. In fact, for these locals the glitz and glamour that attracts outsiders is often times avoided altogether by the locals.

History and Ethnic Relations of Monaco

Emergence of the Nation. The first inhabitants of Monaco were the Ligurians, an ancient Indo-European tribe. Monaco was located near an important coastal path that stretched from Spain through southern France and into Italy. The peoples living in this area were eventually absorbed into the Roman Empire and became part of the province of Maritime Alps. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Monaco and the surrounding coastal areas were perpetually attacked by various invaders, including the Saracens, and the native population fled inland. It was only after the final expulsion of the Saracens in about 1000 C.E. , that people returned to living on the coast.

Monaco's recorded history began in 1215 when the Ghibellines of Genoa, led by Fulco del Cassello, colonized it after receiving sovereignty over the area from Emperor Henry VI. Attracted by Monaco's strategic location and harbor, the Genoese immediately began to construct a fortress, known as the Rock of Monaco, and a walled city. To attract permanent residents, the Genoese granted land and tax exemptions. As a result, Monaco quickly became an important city and over the next three centuries was frequently contested by rival political factions.

In 1297 François Grimaldi, who was originally from a powerful Guelph family in Genoa, and a small army seized control of the Rock of Monaco. Although the Grimaldis were expelled in 1301, they returned thirty years later, and the House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco uninterrupted (except from 1789 to 1814, when it fell under French rule) since then. Charles Grimaldi, known as Charles I, succeeded in reinstating the House of Grimaldi on 12 September 1331 and is considered the founder of the principality. However, it was not until 1489 that Monaco gained complete autonomy from French control when Lambert Grimaldi convinced King Charles VIII of France to grant the principality its independence. Monaco's sovereignty was officially recognized in 1512 by Louis XII in a signed document that also declared a perpetual alliance with the king of France. In 1524 Monaco was placed under the protection of Spain for political reasons. This caused long-term financial difficulties for Monaco, since the occupying Spanish military force was entirely supported by the Monegasques. In the early 1600s Monaco once again flourished, under the reign of Honoré II, who strengthened his country's alliance with France. Over the next two hundred years Monaco prospered under France's protection. In 1861,with the Treaty of 2 February, Charles III ceded Monaco's authority over the towns of Menton and Roquebrune to France in exchange for total independence from French political influence. However, in July 1919, after the end of World War I, Monaco was placed once again under limited French protection according to the Treaty of Versailles, a relationship that still exists today.

National Identity. The native Monegasques are proud of their country's unique history and position in the world. The name Monaco is believed to derive from the word "monoikos" associated both with the ancient Greeks and the Ligurians. The Ligurians settled along the Mediterranean coast, from Spain to Italy, before the age of the Roman Empire. The coastal road used by the Ligurians later came to be known as "The Road of Hercules." In Greek, Hercules was often called "Heracles Monoikos," or "Hercules Along" but it is possible that "monoikos" derives from an older Ligurian word. The Monegasque have managed to maintain their traditions, institutions, and dialect through the centuries despite the influence of their much-larger neighbors. This cultural identity is reflected in many of the local festivals and in Monaco's world prominence, which is disproportionate to the principality's size. However, only a small part of the population, less that 20 percent, can claim direct Monegasque heritage. The majority of the principality's citizens are French or of French descent (47 percent). People of Italian origin make up about 16 percent with the rest of the population consisting of a variety of nationalities.

Ethnic Relations. Monaco has close ethnic ties with France and Italy, and nationals of these countries account for more than half of the population. Some one-quarter of the population consists of people from a variety of other nationalities, reflecting a tolerance of different ethnic groups. However, immigration is very limited due to the principality's size, and citizenship is not easy to acquire.

Early history and Ligurian settlement

  • Satellite map

The Rock of Monaco served as a shelter for the area's early inhabitants from the end of the Paleolithic period, approximately 300,000 B.C.E., evidence of which has been found in a cave in St. Martin's Gardens. According to the accounts of historian Diodorus Siculus and geographer Strabo, the area's first permanent settlers were the mountain-dwelling Ligures, who emigrated from their native city of Genoa, Italy. However, the ancient Ligurian language, which was apparently not Indo-European, is not connected to the Italian dialect spoken by the modern inhabitants of Liguria, nor to the modern Monegasque language.

  • Greek colonization and Herculean legend

The Phocaeans of Massalia founded the colony of Monoikos, named for its Ligurian inhabitants, in the sixth century B.C.E. in the area now known as Monaco. Monoikos was associated with Hercules, venerated in this location alone as Hercules Monoecus. According to the "travels of Hercules" theme, also documented by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, both Greeks and native Ligurian people asserted that Hercules passed through the area.

The modern port is still sometimes called the "Port of Hercules." The 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia wrote, "From ancient times until the nineteenth century the port of Monaco was among the most important of the French Mediterranean coast, but now it has lost all commercial significance."

  • Roman rule

The whole territory of Principate of Monaco After the Gallic Wars, Monoecus, which served as a stopping-point for Julius Caesar on his way to campaign in Greece, fell under Roman control as part of the Maritime Alps province (Gallia Transalpina).

The Roman poet Virgil called it "that castled cliff, Monoecus by the sea" (Aeneid, VI.830). The commentator Servius's use of the passage (in R. Maltby, Lexicon of Ancient Latin Etymologies, Leeds) asserts, under the entry portus, that the epithet was derived:

dictus autem Monoecus vel quod pulsis omnibus illic solus habitavit ("either because Hercules drove off everyone else and lived there alone"), vel quod in eius templo numquam aliquis deorum simul colitur ("or because in his temple no other of the gods is worshipped at the same time"). (No actual temple to Hercules has been located at Monaco). The port is mentioned in Pliny the Elder's Natural History (III.v) and in Tacitus' Histories (III.42), when Valens was forced to pull into the port.

  • Middle Ages

Monaco remained under Roman control until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476, from which point the area was ravaged by Saracens and various barbarian tribes. Though these raids left the area almost entirely depopulated, the Saracens were expelled in 975, and by the eleventh century the area was again populated by Ligurians.

In 1191, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI granted suzerainty over the area to the city of Genoa, the native home of the Ligurians. On June 10, 1215, a detachment of Genoese Ghibellines led by Fulco del Cassello began the construction of a fortress atop the Rock of Monaco. This date is often cited as the beginning of Monaco's modern history.

As the Ghibellines intended their fortress to be a strategic military stronghold and center of control for the area, they set about creating a settlement around the base of the Rock to support the garrison; in an attempt to lure residents from Genoa and the surrounding cities, they offered land grants and tax exemption to new settlers.

  • Rise of the Grimaldis

The Grimaldis, descended from Otto Canella and taking their name from his son Grimaldo, were an ancient and prominent Guelphic Genoese family who, in the course of the civil strife in Genoa between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, took refuge in Monaco, accompanied by various other Guelphic families, most notably the Fieschis. François Grimaldi seized the Rock of Monaco in 1297; the area remains under the control of the Grimaldi family to the present day, except when it fell under French control from 1793 to May 17, 1814. Designated as a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna after Napoleon's defeat, Monaco's sovereignty was confirmed by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. The Prince of Monaco was an absolute ruler until a constitution was promulgated in 1911.

The famous Casino of Monte Carlo opened in 1863, organized by the Societé des Bains de Mer ("Sea-bathing Society"), which also ran the Hotel de Paris; taxes paid by the Sea-bathing Society have supported Monaco's infrastructure. Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad link to France. In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, written into the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests. One of the motivations for the treaty was the anticipated upcoming Monaco Succession Crisis of 1918.

While Prince Louis II' sympathies were strongly pro-French, he tried to keep Monaco neutral during World War II but supported the Vichy French government of his old army colleague, Marshall Philippe Pétain. Nonetheless, his tiny principality was tormented by domestic conflict partly as a result of Louis' indecisiveness, and also because the majority of the population was of Italian descent; many of them supported the fascist regime of Italy's Benito Mussolini. In 1943, the Italian Army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a fascist puppet government. Soon after, following Mussolini's fall in Italy, the German Army occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum, founder of the Opera, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. Under Prince Louis' secret orders, the Monaco police, often at great risk to themselves, warned people in advance that the Gestapo was planning on arresting them. The country was liberated as German troops retreated.

Present day

Prince Albert II succeeded his father Prince Rainier III in 2005. Prince Rainier, in turn, had acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949.

The revised Constitution of Monaco, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for female suffrage, established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental liberties and made it difficult for a French national to transfer his or her residence there.

In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco clarifies that if there are no heirs to carry on the dynasty, the Principality will remain an independent nation, rather than be annexed by France. Monaco's military defense, however, is still the responsibility of France.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space of Monaco

The steep, rocky hills and narrow coastline have influenced architecture and urban planning in Monaco. Streets are narrow and steep, and buildings must be constructed into the hills in limited amounts of space. The architecture in general reflects a Mediterranean influence, and local materials, including granite, marble, and terra-cotta tiles, are common. Recent-twentieth-century residential construction included numerous high-rise apartment buildings. Like many Mediterranean communities, Monaco has public squares, and its mild climate is favorable to outdoor living. Many buildings have balconies or terraces that face the sea. Some medieval structures survive in the old fortified city of Monaco-Ville on the Rock, where the royal palace is located. Monaco's most famous building is the Casino in Monte Carlo, built in 1866 and designed by French architect Charles Garnier.

Social Stratification of Monaco

Classes and Castes. Monaco's high average income and individual wealth, as well as its very small size, make it a country with minimal class distinctions. The principality's status as a tax haven make it an attractive place to establish residence for wealthy people from all over the world. A significant number of residents are from a variety of nationalities, and several are celebrities, helping to make Monaco synonymous with wealth, power and prestige the world over.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Overall Monaco has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Differences in social stratification are not immediately obvious. The principality's popularity as an exclusive resort and tax haven has led to the development of a very wealthy social class. Material symbols of wealth such as luxury goods, expensive cars, and exclusive shops are visible everywhere. Monaco's coastal position has also made it a popular port for luxury yachts. The tourist industry necessitates a large workforce, as do Monaco's light industrial concerns, but more than half the people employed in these sectors do not live in Monaco.

Facts about Monaco

  • What is Monaco ?

The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state in Europe.--->>>>>Read On.<<<<

Prince de Monaco

Monaco in 2004

Monaco Area: 1.95 sq km (0.75 sq mi) Population (2004 est.): 32,600 Chief of state: Prince Rainier III Head of government: Minister of State Patrick Leclercq The year 2004 began in Monaco ...>>>Read On<<<


This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.