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Cities in MONACO

Monaco city


Prehistory and antiquity

Various peoples from prehistoric to ancient times found refuge on the Rock and in the port of Monaco. Le Rocher (The Rock) was already inhabited in prehistoric times. The discovery of human remains in a cave in the Jardins Saint-Martin proves it. It is certain that the Cro-Magnon man lived here some 20,000 years ago.

The Phoenicians and the Greeks used The Rock as a trading post and the first permanent residents in the 6th century B.C. were Ligurians, who built a temple there in honour of the Greek god Heracles. The name of the area also originated at this time: the temple was called "Heracles monoikos", which in the course of time became known as Monaco.

The Romans, too, were charmed by the strategic location of "Portus Herculis Monoeci", as they called Monaco. In the 2nd century B.C., Monaco was incorporated into the Roman province of Alpes Maritimes.

Middle Ages

The harbour also became increasingly important under the Romans, but after the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, a period of decline followed. During the Great Migrations, the city was destroyed several times by Germanic tribes and Saracens. It was not until 975 that the Count of Provence succeeded in driving out the Saracens and a new era could begin.

In 1162, Frederick Barbarossa extended the right to govern the Ligurian coast, from Port Venere to Monaco. In 1191, Emperor Henry VI ceded the rock, the port and the surrounding land to the Ghibellines from Genoa.

In 1215, the Ghibellines built a fortress on the rock, which at that time was the westernmost border of the Genoese Republic. However, from 1270 onwards the Ghibellines, followers of the German Emperor, were constantly attacked by the Guelfs, followers of the Pope and the Count of Provence. In 1296, the Guelphs, including the Grimaldi family, were driven out by the Ghibellines.

However, as early as 8 January 1297, François Grimaldi (under the name of "Malizia") managed, by means of a ruse (disguised as Franciscan monks), to chase away the Ghibellines and take the fortress.

In 1301, however, the Ghibellines came back strongly and it was not until 1331, under Charles I, that the Grimaldi's managed to take firm control. In 1342, he gave himself the title of Lord of Monaco. In 1346 and 1355 the kingdom was expanded with the nearby towns of Menton and Roquebrune.

15th to 18th centuries

In 1454, Jean I fixed the inheritance tax for the next five centuries. He decided that the first-born son would be the heir to the throne. If no son was available, the title could be transferred to a daughter on the condition that her descendants would take the name Grimaldi.

In 1489 the independence of Monaco was recognised by the French king Charles VIII, in 1512 it was confirmed again by king Louis XII.

In 1523 the good relations with the French came to an end. Augustin I thought it would be good for Monaco to become a protectorate of Spain, which was ruled at the time by Charles V. The Spanish, however, were not very interested and in fact left Monaco to fend for itself. In 1612, Honoré II was the first to proclaim himself prince of Monaco. It was also he who restored the disrupted relationship with the French of Louis XIII and ended the status of Spanish protectorate. In 1641, the independence of Monaco was recognised by the French in the Treaty of Péronne.

In 1731 there was no Grimaldi on the princely throne. Antoine I had no sons and was succeeded by his daughter, who died after only a few months. Her husband, Jacques I, took her place as Prince of Monaco. In 1733, his son Honoré III took over and the Grimaldi dynasty continued.

19th century

During the French Revolution in 1789, Monaco was effectively abolished and its prosperity rapidly declined. Between 1793 and 1814, Monaco was incorporated into France as the department of Fort Hercule. In 1814 Napoleon abdicated and the Grimaldi's were restored to their rights by the Treaty of Paris and Monaco gained its independence.

This led to even greater poverty and, as a result, Menton and Roquebrune declared their independence in 1848. In 1861 Prince Charles III officially renounced these territories. They joined France, which reduced the territory of Monaco to only about 1.5 km2.

As compensation, Monaco received a sum of money from France, and under the condition that Monaco would take good care of France's interests, France protected and recognised Monaco as an independent country.

In order to overcome the economic malaise, Charles III tried to attract wealthy tourists to Monaco. The idea was to follow the example of Belgium and Germany and set up gambling banks with which a lot of money could be earned. Even before independence, in 1859, a gaming bank was set up in Les Spélugues. It turned out to be a great success and in 1863 the Société des Bains de Mer was founded, which obtained the monopoly of gambling in Monaco. In return, the company was entrusted with the development of public works. In a very short time, hotels (including the Hôtel de Paris, for a long time the largest hotel in Europe), a theatre and in 1865 a real casino were built (the current casino dates from 1878, architect Charles Garnier). Charles III, the instigator of these developments, was honoured by the change of name from Les Spélugues to Monte Carlo.

The results of these investments were spectacular: in barely a decade, Monaco changed into a prosperous country, in which it was even possible to exempt its inhabitants from income tax, among other things (since 1869).

Until the 19th century, Monaco consisted of Monaco-Village and La Condamine. Prince Carlo III decided in 1866 to develop the rest of the Monegasque coast, resulting in the beautiful district of Monte Carlo.

20th century

The Monegasque Constitution of 1911 placed legislative power in the hands of the Prince, at that time Albert I. This brought an end to the absolute monarchy, although the 18-member National Council had only an advisory role.

An agreement with France in 1918 regulated, among other things, the incorporation of Monaco into France as an "Etat Monégasque" if the reigning Monarch died without leaving a male heir to the throne. This was changed in 2002 and currently a woman can also ascend the throne.

In 1933, Monaco's economy was hit hard by the legalisation of gambling in neighbouring France and Italy. The income from gambling declined noticeably after this.

On 8 July 1948, Monaco became a member of the WHO (World Health Organization). From 1949, Prince Rainier III built Monaco into a highly successful commercial 'company' and the most famous tax haven in the world. In 1954, American film star Grace Kelly came to Monaco to shoot the film "To Catch a Thief". She fell in love with Rainier and married him. A new constitution was introduced on 17 December 1962, abolishing once and for all the absolute power of the Sovereign and providing for the National Council to be elected by universal suffrage. The government submits new laws to the National Council, and the government and the National Council then try to reach agreement. If this does not succeed, the bill is definitively repealed. In 1982, Grace Kelly died in a car accident.

Since 2003, the National Council has also had the right to propose legislation, but it is still obliged to reach agreement with the government. Monaco is a member of several international organisations and was admitted to the United Nations in May 1993.

21th century

In October 2004, Monaco joined the Council of Europe. The 81-year-old Prince Rainier III died after a period of illness on 6 April 2005. The 47-year-old Crown Prince Albert took over his father's duties. In December 2008 Monaco cancelled an expansion of its maritime territory due to the financial crisis and for environmental reasons. In 2011 Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock, and in December 2014 twins were born. In line with tradition, the male Jacques is the heir to the throne. In July 2016, a tax agreement is concluded with the EU, which provides for an automatic exchange of information from 2018 onwards. Since September 2020, Pierre Dartout has been Minister of State.


Côte d’Azur

Eck, N. van / Provence, Côte d’Azur

Gauldie, R. / Provence & Côte d’Azur
Van Reemst

Noe, B.A. / Provence en Côte d’Azur

Provence, Côte d’Azur

Simons, J. / Minilanden : een presentatie van de vijf kleinste landen ter wereld: Vaticaanstad, Monaco, Nauru, Tuvalu, San Marino

Zwijnenburg, H. / Provence, Côte d’Azur

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info