Monaco Facts

Monaco Facts and History


The city-state of Monaco is surrounded by French territory on a bay of the Ligurian Sea.

Due to the mild temperatures, the vegetation of the small country on the Côte d’Azur is Mediterranean. Due to the very limited area, the land grows in height and depth. Therefore, the state has the highest population density in the world with 16,410 residents per km².

The state of Monaco and the city are more or less identical. Since 1965 the area of the city-state has increased by around 25% due to landfills.

Monaco is not only known to many as a tax haven, but also for its magnificent casino in Monte Carlo, a district of Monaco that Charles Garnier built between 1878 and 1881. In addition, the third largest sporting event in the world, the Formula One Grand Prix of Monte Carlo, takes place in the center of the city every year in May. Monte Carlo is a district of Monaco, like Monaco Ville, where the Prince’s Palace and numerous administrative buildings are located.

To get in the mood for a trip to Monaco, you should take a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Above the Roofs of Nice”.

The film was not shot exclusively in Monaco, but it starred the actress Grace Kelly, who later on the side of the then reigning Prince Rainier III. (1923-2005) became Princess Gracia Patricia. The church wedding took place on April 19, 1956 in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco. Gracia Patricia unfortunately died on September 14, 1982 in Monaco as a result of a car accident. Her husband, Prince Rainier III. died on April 6, 2005.

On July 1, 2011, his son and successor – Prince Albert II – married the one from South Africa former competitive swimmer Charlene Wittwock – and on July 2nd in church.

There is a small industry in the principality that employs around 3,000 people – chocolate and perfume companies.

Name of the country Principality of Monaco/Principauté de Monaco
Form of government constitutional hereditary monarchy
Head of state Prince Albert II (since March 31, 2005)his father died shortly afterwards on April 6
location Enclave on the Ligurian Sea, part of the Mediterranean in themiddle of French territory
National anthem Principauté Monaco, ma patrie
Population approx. 35,500 (Credit: Countryaah: Monaco Population)
Population density Together with Singapore, Monaco hasthe highest population density in the world
Ethnicities 47% French,17% Italian,

15% Monegasque and

3% German

Religions Roman Catholicism
Languages French (official language), Monegasqueas well as English, Italian
Capital Monaco
Surface 2.02 km² (= 202 ha)together with the

Fontvieille district gained through landfill

International license plate MC
currency Euro (1 € = 100 cents)
Difference to CET CET applies.
International phone code 00377
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .mc
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz

History of Monaco

Until around the year 1000

The oldest traces of human settlement in what is now Monaco are around 300,000 years old.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, around 2,000 BC, the area was settled by the Ligurians, later by the Greeks and Phoenicians. In the first century BC it fell to the Romans.

From the fifth century the Mediterranean coast was ravaged by barbaric peoples, pirates and Saracens. In 975 the Saracens were expelled and Provence was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Towards the end of the 12th century, the emperors Friedrich I. Barbarossa (1122-1190) and Heinrich VI. (1165-1197) the coastal region under the rule of Genoa.

Established until the 17th century

On June 10, 1215, Fulco del Casello, the head of an influential Genoese family, laid the foundation stone for a border fortress on the rock of Monaco – exactly where the princely palace stands today.

Genoa was one of the leading powers of the Mediterranean at the time. In the course of the Genoese Civil War, the Guelphs (Welfen), and with them the Grimaldi family, were driven out of the city by the Ghibellines (Staufer) in 1296.

Disguised as Franciscan monks, the Grimaldis invaded the fortress of Monaco, which was ruled by the Ghibellines and built by the Genoese, on January 8, 1297. By surprise attack they captured the fortress with their swords hidden under their robes. This statue of Francois Grimaldi (Francesco Grimaldi), known as Malizia (the clever one), is located near the Prince’s Palace. He has hidden a sword under his robe. However, they lost their rule in 1301 again,

Charles I Grimaldi (1267-1315) conquered Monaco back in 1331. He was the first to hold the title of Lord (Seigneur) of Monaco.

In 1357, however, Monaco fell back to Genoa, and Charles I lost his life during the siege. Charles’s grandsons Ambrosius, Anton and Johann succeeded in 1419 in conquering Monaco again.

From 1457 Monaco was ruled by Lambert Grimaldi (1420-1498). As an excellent diplomat, he became steward and advisor to the French King Charles VIII (1470-1498) and achieved recognition of Monegasque independence in 1489 through his clever diplomacy.

In 1525, Augustine I Grimaldi (1482-1532) and Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) signed the Treaty of Burgos and Tordesillas, which placed Monaco under Spanish protection and which lasted until 1641.

In 1612 Honoré II (1597-1662) assumed the title of Prince and Lord of Monaco.

In 1641 he concluded with the French King Louis XIII. () the Treaty of Péronne, in which France again became the protective power of Monaco and recognized its independence. Honoré II also converted the old castle on the rock in Monaco into a representative palace and with a collection of over 700 paintings laid the foundation for the famous art collection of the Princes of Monaco.

After Honoré II’s death, his grandson Louis I (1642-1701) – his son had previously died in an accident – took power in the principality.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

Louis I was succeeded by his son Antoine I (1661-1731) on the throne.

After the death of Antoine I, the male line of the Grimaldis became extinct. His eldest daughter, Louise-Hippolyte (1697 – 1731) was the first woman to ascend the Monegasque throne in 1731, but died in the same year.

Her husband then ascended the Monegasque throne as Jacques I (1689-1751).

But since he was not recognized by the population as a local, he renounced on November 7, 1733 in favor of his son Honoré III. (1720-1795) volunteered to the throne.

In 1789, the French Revolution expropriated the Grimaldi family from their French feudal holdings. Monaco was annexed to France under the name of Fort Hercules.

Honoré III. died in prison in Paris in 1795. The wife of his second son Josef was guillotined in 1794 at the age of 27. After Napoleon’s deposition, the first treaty of Paris in 1814 restored the independence of the principality. In 1817 it was placed under the protection of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which incidentally resulted in high indebtedness for the principality.

In 1861 Charles III signed (1818-1889) – together with the French Emperor Napoleon III. (1808-1873) – a treaty with which Monaco finally ceded the two cities of Menton and Roquebrune to France. With this the principality lost over 80% of its national territory. For the first time, however, the principality was completely sovereign and no longer tied to a protective power. Due to the customs union with France there was no longer a customs border, which significantly increased trade. The economic boom of the principality under Charles III. was like an economic miracle.

Charles III had a casino built from 1863, which was subsequently a worldwide success thanks to François Blanc, the “Magician of Monaco”.

The first luxury hotels were built on the rock of Spelugues. The principality was increasingly visited by well-heeled foreign tourists.

The area around the casino was officially named after Charles III in 1866. named in Monte Carlo. The state gained so much income from the casino that direct taxation was abolished as early as 1869.

20th century until today

Albert I (1848-1922), the son of Charles III, gave the country its first constitution in 1911. In 1919 another protection treaty was signed with France.

As early as the 1930s, a commercial bank under the influence of the “Third Reich” functioned in Monaco as a foreign exchange procurement office. The principality was so important for Hitler as an externally independent, neutral state, since in this way foreign currency could be earned and strategic goods could be bought even during the war. Some German companies and banks with international connections were involved. On July 3, 1941, a law was passed to register the Jews. During World War II, German troops occupied Monaco from September 8, 1943 to September 3, 1944.

Prince Rainier III. (1923-2005) took the throne in 1949. In 1956 he married the American film actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982), who took the name Gracia Patricia as a princess. In 1962 the current constitution came into force. In 1982 Gracia Patricia died as a result of a traffic accident. In 1993 Monaco joined the United Nations. Rainier III died on April 6, 2005. and his son Albert II (born 1958) took over the line of succession. On July 1, 2011, he married the former swimmer Charlene Wittstock (born 1978) from South Africa and on July 2, he married in church – due to lack of space in the cathedral in the courtyard of the palace.

Today Monaco is still a tax haven, especially for private individuals, as very high salaries are paid tax-free there. The principality is home to over 30 internationally active banks, which, however, are subject to French supervision.

Monaco Facts