Country Briefs: Covering an area of 1.95 square kilometers, lying in the Western Europe along the French Riviera between Mediterranean Sea and France, few miles to the border with Italy lays the Principality of Monaco or simply Monaco.
Monaco, the most densely populated country in the world and the world's second smallest independent country with a mere population of 32,409, is an ideal holiday destination at present.
Along with numerous attractions Monaco, also known, as the most glamorous place on the planet, particularly is quite famous for the 7000 varieties of cacti and succulents, the Jardin Exotique is a paradise for prickle lovers.
Monaco has also a rich history to its name. According to historians the early history of Monaco is primarily concerned with Rock of Monaco. This Rock served as a shelter for the pre-historic civilizations on the region. The first permanent settlers in this area were the mountains dwelling Ligures who emigrated from Italy.
Monaco derives its name from the Greek colony, Monoikos that lies close to it and was founded by Phoceans in 6th century BCE. Some people believe that Hercules or the hero Heracles crossed Monaco during this time and constructed the temple of Hercules Monoikos.
Monaco remained under the control Romans till the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476. After the Romans the area came under the control of the Saracens and Barbarian tribes. On 10th June 1215 a group of Genoese Ghibellines under Fulco del Cassello began the construction of a fortress on the top of the Rock of Monaco.
In 1297 Francois Grimaldi, the leader of Guelphs, captured the Rock of Monaco. At that time the Grimaldi family dominated the region. In 1789 Monaco came to be governed by the French who remained in power till 17th may 1814.
The Congress of Vienna designated Monaco as a protectorate of Sardinia from 1815 till 1860 when the Treaty of Turin was signed and as a result the bordering counties of Nice and Savoy were ceded to France.
During this time there was immense tension for freedom in the towns of Menton and Roquebrune as the two feared an invasion by Sardinia.
This unrest ended with Prince giving up his claim to the two the towns under the 1861 treaty Franco-Monegasque Treaty. This treaty confirmed Monaco?s sovereignty.
The Monaco lords, mostly belonging to the House of Grimaldi, continued to reign till 1911. In July 1918 a treaty was signed that brought Monaco under limited protection of the French and confirmed that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military and economic interests.
This treaty followed from the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 that was designed to end the First World War between Germany and the Allied and Associated Powers.
In 1949 when Prince Louis II died his grandson Rainier III, Prince of Monaco came to throne. In 1993 Monaco became a member of United Nations. Finally in 2002 a new treaty between France and Monaco was signed that clarified that without any heirs to carry on the dynasty, the Principality will remain an independent nation and will not revert to French. Yet Monaco?s military defense is the onus of France.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision code.
- Population: 2000-07-23 census.