Monaco's beautiful location, natural harbor, exceptionally mild climate, and gambling tables in Monte Carlo make it one of the best-known resorts of the Riviera. Almost half of the mainly Roman Catholic population are French, while about 16% are citizens of Monaco and an equal number are Italian. French is the official language, but English, Italian, and Monegasque (a Romance dialect similar to Provençal) are also widely spoken.
The casino contains a theater, which houses the Monte Carlo Opera. Monaco has a 16th-century palace, a 19th-century cathedral in the Byzantine style, and a noted oceanographic museum, founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I. Auto racing is popular, and Monaco is home to both the Monte Carlo Rally and the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monte Carlo Open is a major professional tennis tournament.
Monaco has a customs union with France, and its currency is interchangeable with the French. Excise, stamp, transfer, and estate taxes are an important source of state revenue. Contrary to popular belief, the gambling casino (which is managed as a concession by a private corporation) accounts for only a small portion of government revenue, although it contributes greatly to the economy by attracting tourists. In addition to tourism and the foreign businesses attracted to Monaco by low corporate taxes, shipping and the manufacture of perfumes, pharmaceuticals, processed food, and precision instruments are also important.
Monaco is governed under the constitution of 1962. The heredity monarch is the head of state. The minister of state, selected by the monarch from three candidates nominated by France, is the head of goverment. The unicameral legislature is the National Council, which is elected by universal suffrage every five years. The monarch may initiate legislation, but all laws must be approved by the National Council.
By a treaty of 1918, the succession to the throne must be approved by the French government. A law had long stipulated that should the throne become vacant for any reason, including the death of a Grimaldi ruler without a direct blood heir, Monaco would become an autonomous state under French protection. In 2002 the constitution was amended so that any sibling of a ruler who died without issue could inherit the throne.
Probably settled by Phoenicians in ancient times, Monaco was annexed by Marseilles and Christianized in the 1st cent. A.D. In the 7th cent. it was part of the kingdom of the Lombards, and in the 8th cent. of the kingdom of Arles. It was under Muslim domination (8th cent.) after the Saracens invaded France.
Monaco was ruled by the Genovese Grimaldi family from the 13th cent. In 1731 the male line died out, but the French Goyon-Matignon family, which succeeded by marriage, assumed the name Grimaldi. Monaco was under Spanish protection from 1542 to 1641, under French protection from 1641 to 1793, annexed to France in 1793, and under Sardinian protection from 1815 to 1861. The districts of Menton and Roquebrune (long part of Monaco) were incorporated (1848) into Sardinia, which in turn ceded them to France in 1860.
Monaco again came under French protection in 1861. In the late 1800s income from gambling by very wealthy visitors became Monaco's primary source of revenue. Until 1911, when the first constitution was promulgated, the prince was an absolute ruler. Rainier III, succeeded his grandfather, Louis II, as ruler of Monaco in 1949. In 1956, Rainier married Grace Kelly (1929-82), an American motion-picture actress, and a male heir, Albert, was born in 1958. Rainier worked to diversify Monaco's economy and make Monaco attractive to middle-class tourists.
In 1962 serious economic disagreements arose between France and Monaco, and new fiscal agreements (1963) severely curtailed the right of French citizens to use Monaco as a tax haven. The Monaco government also came into conflict with Aristotle Onassis, who owned majority interests in most businesses there; Monaco purchased his interests in 1967. Relations with France again became acrimonious in 2000 when Monaco was accused of being a center for money-laundering and France threatened to force the principality to tighten the regulation of its banks. Rainier died in 2005 and was succeeded as ruler by his son, Albert II.
(born circa 1370/71, Siena, Republic of Siena—died circa 1425, Florence, Republic of Florence) Italian painter. He took the vows of the Camaldolese order in Florence in 1391 (Monaco means “Monk”), but in 1402 he was enrolled in the painters' guild there under his lay name and living outside the monastery. His work combined the graceful lines and decorative feeling of the Sienese school with the traditions of the Florentine school. His Coronation of the Virgin (1413) reveals his predilection for swirling draperies and rhythmic, curvilinear forms and his understanding of light. His late frescoes in the Bartolini Chapel of Santa Trinità in Florence establish him as a master of Gothic art.
Learn more about Lorenzo Monaco with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Learn more about Monaco with a free trial on Britannica.com.
For other uses see Monaco (disambiguation)
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque: Principatu de Múnegu; Italian: Principato di Monaco; Occitan: Principat de Mónegue) is a small sovereign city-state located in Western Europe. The territory lies on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and is completely enclosed by France. Monaco is often regarded as a tax haven, and many of its inhabitants are wealthy and from foreign countries, making up a majority of 84%.
Monaco is a Constitutional Monarchy and Principality with Prince Albert II as head of state. The Grimaldi family has ruled over Monaco since 1297 and the state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. Despite being independent, Monaco’s defence is still the responsibility of France.
Monaco is a small country in Europe, and the distinction between the State and City of Monaco is purely theoretical. The state in fact consists of only one municipality (commune). According to the constitution of 1911, the principality was subdivided into three municipalities:
The three municipalities were merged into one in 1954 (after accusations that the government was acting according to the motto "divide and conquer"), and they had the status of wards (quartiers) thereafter.
Subsequently, three additional wards were created:
An additional ward is planned by new land reclamation, to be settled from 2014:
Currently the principality is subdivided into 10 wards (with their official numbers - Le Portier, the planned ward, is anticipated as number 11):
|Former municipality of Monaco|
|05||Monaco-Ville||184,750||1,034||5597||19||Old City with palace|
|Former municipality of Monte Carlo|
|01||Monte Carlo/Spélugues (Bd. Des Moulins-Av. de la Madone)||281,461||3,034||10779||20||the casino and resort area|
|02||La Rousse/Saint Roman (Annonciade-Château Périgord)||105,215||3,223||30633||15||in the northeast, incl. Le Ténao|
|03||Larvotto/Bas Moulins (Larvotto-Bd Psse Grace)||328,479||5,443||16570||15||eastern beach area|
|10||Saint Michel (Psse Charlotte-Park Palace)||142,223||3,807||26768||24||central residential area|
|Former municipality of La Condamine|
|04||La Condamine||237,283||3,847||16213||27||port area in the northwest|
|07||La Colle (Plati-Pasteur-Bd Charles III)||188,073||2,822||15005||15||on the western border with Cap d'Ail|
|08||Les Révoires (Hector Otto-Honoré Labande)||75,747||2,515||33203||11||containing the Jardin Exotique|
|09||Moneghetti/ Bd de Belgique (Bd Rainier III-Bd de Belgique||107,056||3,003||28051||18|
|new land reclaimed from the sea|
|11||Le Portier||275,0001)||-||-||-||planned (for 2014)|
|1) Area not included in total, as it is only proposed|
Monaco first gained its name from the nearby Phocaean Greek colony, in the sixth century, which referred to the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek Μόνοικος "single house", from μόνος "alone, single" + οίκος "house", which bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result a temple was constructed there by a man, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos.
Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was re-founded in 1228 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi ("Malizia", Italian for "The Malicious") and his men captured the fortress protecting the famous Rock of Monaco while he was dressed as a Franciscan monk - a monaco in Italian, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name.
In 1793, French Revolutionary forces captured Monaco, and it remained under French control until 1814. The principality was re-established that year, only to be designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Monaco remained in this position until 1860, when by the Treaty of Turin, Sardinia ceded to France the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy). During this time there was unrest in the towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which declared independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia. The unrest continued until the ruling prince gave up his claim to the two towns (some 95% of the country), and they were ceded to France in return for four million francs. This transfer and Monaco's sovereignty was recognised by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.
Until the adoption of the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers. In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, part of the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.
In 1943, the Italian army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a Fascist administration. Shortly thereafter, following Mussolini's collapse in Italy, the Nazi German Wehrmacht occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum (Paris, 13 March 1878 - Auschwitz, 30 April 1943), who founded the Ballet de l'Opera in Monte Carlo. He was held in the Drancy deportation camp outside Paris, France from whence he was then shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he died.
Rainier III until 2005 acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. A new constitution, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for women's suffrage, and established a Supreme Court of Monaco to guarantee fundamental liberties. In 1993, the Principality of Monaco became a member of the United Nations, with full voting rights.
In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco's military defence, however, is still the responsibility of France.
On 31 March 2005, Prince Rainier III, too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them onto his only son and heir, Prince Albert Alexandre Louis. Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005, after a reign of 56 years, and his son succeeded him as Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
Following a period of official mourning, Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on 12 July 2005, in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Monaco cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monegasque throne was a two-step event, with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate levée, held on 19 November 2005 at the historic palace in Monaco-Ville. Albert II is also the son of the late Princess Grace, previously known as the actress, Grace Kelly.
Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as head of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (the head of government), who presides over a four-member Council of Government (the Cabinet). Until 2002, the Minister of State was a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government; since the constitution amendment in 2002, the Minister of State can be French or Monegasque. Under the 1962 constitution, the prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council (parliament). The twenty-four members of this legislative body are elected from lists by universal suffrage for five-year terms. The principality's local affairs are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of fifteen elected members and is presided over by the mayor.
One of Monaco's main sources of income is tourism; each year many are attracted to its casino and pleasant climate. In 2001, a major new construction project extended the pier used by cruise ships in the main harbour. The principality has successfully sought to diversify into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries such as cosmetics and biothermics.
The state retains monopolies in numerous sectors, including tobacco and the postal service. The telephone network (Monaco Telecom) used to be owned by the state; it now owns 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by Cable and Wireless (49%) and Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (6%). It is still, however, a monopoly. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas.
Monaco is not a member of the European Union but is very closely linked to it via a customs union with France, and as such its currency is the same as that of France: the euro. Before 2002, Monaco minted its own franc coins, the Monegasque franc. Monaco has acquired the right to mint euro coins with Monegasque designs on their national side.
Monaco levies no income tax on individuals. The absence of a personal income tax in the principality has attracted to it a considerable number of wealthy "tax refugee" residents from European countries who derive the majority of their income from activity outside Monaco; celebrities such as Formula One drivers attract most of the attention, but the vast majority of them are less well-known business people.
In 2000, a report by French parliamentarians Arnaud Montebourg and Vincent Peillon alleged that Monaco has lax policies with respect to money laundering, including within its famed casino, and that the government of Monaco puts political pressure on the judiciary so that alleged crimes are not properly investigated.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued in 1998 a first report on the consequences of the tax havens financial systems. Monaco did not appear in the list of these territories until 2004, when OECD became indignant regarding the Monegasque situation and denounced it in its last report (as well as Andorra, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Liberia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands) underlining its lack of co-operation as regards financial information disclosure and availability.
In 2000, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) underlined that Monaco suffers a great lack of adequate resources. The Principality is no longer blamed in the FATF 2005 report, as well as all other territories in 2006.
The Council of Europe also decided to issue reports naming tax havens. Twenty-two territories, Monaco included, were thus evaluated between 1998 and 2000 on a first round. Monaco is the only territory that refuses to perform the second round, initially forecast between 2001 and 2003, whereas the 21 other territories are implementing the third and last round, planned between 2005 and 2007.
There is also a Monaco national football team who play matches against other small nations, islands and dependencies. They are currently seeking membership of FIFA which would allow them to attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world, along with the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The erecting of the circuit takes six weeks to complete, and the removal after the race another three weeks. The circuit has many elevation changes and tight corners, along with a tunnel. This together with being incredibly narrow make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. Only two drivers have ever crashed into the harbour, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Grand Prix (Ascari would lose his life four days later at Monza). The other was Paul Hawkins during the 1965 Grand Prix.
The wider defence of the nation is provided by France.
Monaco has no navy or air force, but on both a per-capita and per-area basis, Monaco has the largest police force (515 police officers for 32,000 people) and police presence in the world. Its police includes a specialist unit which operates patrol and surveillance boats. There is also a small military consisting of a (mainly ceremonial) bodyguard unit for the Prince and his palace called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince which numbers 112 officers and men and is equipped with modern weapons such as M-16 rifles and 9 mm pistols, and a militarized (and armed) fire and civil defence Corps.
The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince's Company of Carabiniers) is the main ceremonial unit of the military force of Monaco. It was created by Prince Honoré IV in 1817 for the protection of the Principality and the Princely family. The company numbers exactly 121 officers and men; while the NCOs and soldiers are local, the officers have generally served in the French Army. Together with the local fire service, the Carabiniers form Monaco's total public forces. In addition to their guard duties, the company patrols the Principality's beaches and coastal waters, as well as duties around the Palace in Monaco-Ville.