Monaco has been a luxury resort since the middle of the 19th century. A small, mostly rocky strip along the Mediterranean coast of France, it plays host to millions of people per year that come to the little country to enjoy the yacht harbor, the beachfront hotels, the Opera House and the Monte Carlo Casino.
Fun Facts about Monaco:
Population: 33,000 people
Capital City: Monaco
Languages: French, English, Italian and Monegasque
Religion: Roman Catholic
Area: 1 sq mi (2 sq km)
Literacy Percentage: 99
Life Expectancy: 79 years
Monaco was once known for the single major landmark of the Rock of Monaco which became a shelter for early civilizations in 300,000 B.C. that lived there and then later acted as a fortress for protection.
It is believed that many of the people that immigrated to the area were the Ligures from the mountainous regions of Genoa, Italy.
The Massalia (Marseille of today) and Phocaceans established colonies in the area of Monaco in the 6th century B.C. The colony was called “Monoikos” after the Roman god Hercules who was said to have created a path from Italy to Spain.
In the post Gallic War era, Monoecus (which is was now called) was a stopping point for the Romans, specifically Julius Caesar, as he traveled into Greece. It eventually fell under Roman control where it remained until the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D.
In the late 5th century the territory was under the domain of Odoacer but was recaptured by the Romans during the mid-6th century under the Justinian reign. It remained in this condition until it was captured in the 7th century by the Lombards and then passed over to the Franks.
The various battles and wars left the area mostly unpopulated but in the 11th century the Lingurian people started returning as well as immigrating back to the area.
By 1191, Henry VI, the Holy Roman Emperor was granted sovereignty over the native home of the Lugurians, which was the city of Genoa. It was in 1215 when the Genoese started construction of a fortress at the top of the Rock of Monaco and this is the date that the people of Monaco use for the beginning of their modern history. To encourage people to relocate there, land and tax exemptions were given.
An old and prominent Genoese family called the Grimaldis took sanctuary in Monaco after disagreements between rivaling areas. Francesco Grimaldi seized possession in 1297 of the rock and began the Grimaldi dynasty as listed under the Republic of Genoa sovereignty.
The principality gained wealth after an involvement in 1338 through plunder and sacking of Southampton (England).
By 1633, the Prince of Monaco, Honore II, was recognized as an independent sovereign from Spain and then France’s King Louis XIII signed a treaty that gave the Grimaldi family the control of the area. This remains today, with the exception of an interruption during the French Revolution.
In 1814, the principality was again adjusted and this time was listed as part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. By 1860 a treaty was signed allowing the area to secede from France. 1861 brought about a treaty that transferred the sovereign dynasty but annexed a large portion of its former property.
Although much of Monaco’s history has been influenced by those from Italy, its native language is a combination of both Italian and French.
In 1863, the famous Casino of Monte Carlo was opened by an organization known as the ‘Sea-Bathing Society’ and they also operated the Hotel de Paris.
In 1911, the prince of Monaco was listed as an absolute ruler, however, there was a requirement to establish a constitution.
During the various World Wars, Monaco attempted to maintain neutrality but they were invaded by the Fascist group of Italy’s Mussolini as well as Germany’s Nazi troops.
1962 brought about a revision of the Constitution of Monaco getting rid of capital punishment, making provisions for female suffrage, establishing a Supreme Court to ensure fundamental liberties and making it difficult for any one of the
French nationals to transfer a permanent residence to the area.
Monaco became an official member of the United Nations in 1993, with full voting rights