Identification. Officially known as the Principality of Monaco, or the Principaute de Monaco.
Location and Geography. This small country is 0.8 square miles (1.95 square kilometers) in size, or approximately the same size as Central Park in New York City. It is the smallest state in the world after Vatican City. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco is surrounded by France on three sides. Nice, France, is the nearest large city at a distance of 11 miles (18 kilometers). Monaco is rocky and situated on steep hills that drop off into the Mediterranean. Part of the Côte d'Azur, Monaco's terrain and geography are typical of the northwestern area of the Mediterranean. The climate is mild year-round, with an average low temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) and an average maximum high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). Monaco is divided into four neighborhoods: Monaco-Ville, the old original city, which is on a rocky promontory extending into the sea; La Condamine, along the port; Monte-Carlo, the main resort, residential and tourist area; and Fontvieille, a newly constructed area on land reclaimed from the sea.
Demography. Recent surveys place the permanent population of Monaco at about 30,744. Approximately 22 percent are native Monegasque, 35 percent French, 18 percent Italian, and another 25 percent consist of various other nationalities. Roman Catholicism is the main religion, practiced by 95 percent of the population.
Linguistic Affiliation. French is the official language, but Italian and English are also spoken frequently. Monegasque, a language derived from both French and Italian, is spoken by native residents of Monaco, although only about 22 percent of the population claims direct Monegasque descent.
Symbolism. The Monegasque flag consists of two equal horizontal bands of red and white: red on top, white beneath. The state seal and emblem of the House of Grimaldi is made up of a shield with red and white diamonds flanked by two monks holding swords pointed upward, with a crown draped with red cloth in the background. The monks represent the legend of François Grimaldi, and who supposedly seized control of Monaco by disguising himself as a Franciscan monk, entering the fortress unnoticed during the night.
Emergence of the Nation. The first inhabitants of Monaco were the Ligurians, an ancient Indo-European tribe. Monaco was located near an important coastal path that stretched from Spain through southern France and into Italy. The peoples living in this area were eventually absorbed into the Roman Empire and became part of the province of Maritime Alps. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Monaco and the surrounding coastal areas were perpetually attacked by various invaders, including the Saracens, and the native population fled inland. It was only after the final expulsion of the Saracens in about 1000 C.E. , that people returned to living on the coast.
Monaco's recorded history began in 1215 when the Ghibellines of Genoa, led by Fulco del Cassello, colonized it after receiving sovereignty over the area from Emperor Henry VI. Attracted by Monaco's strategic location and harbor, the Genoese immediately began to construct a fortress, known as the Rock of Monaco, and a walled city. To attract permanent residents, the Genoese granted land and tax exemptions. As a result, Monaco quickly became an important city and over the next three centuries was frequently contested by rival political factions.
Charles Grimaldi, known as Charles I, succeeded in reinstating the House of Grimaldi on 12 September 1331 and is considered the founder of the principality. However, it was not until 1489 that Monaco gained complete autonomy from French control when Lambert Grimaldi convinced King Charles VIII of France to grant the principality its independence. Monaco's sovereignty was officially recognized in 1512 by Louis XII in a signed document that also declared a perpetual alliance with the king of France. In 1524 Monaco was placed under the protection of Spain for political reasons. This caused long-term financial difficulties for Monaco, since the occupying Spanish military force was entirely supported by the Monegasques. In the early 1600s Monaco once again flourished, under the reign of Honoré II, who strengthened his country's alliance with France. Over the next two hundred years Monaco prospered under France's protection. In 1861,with the Treaty of 2 February, Charles III ceded Monaco's authority over the towns of Menton and Roquebrune to France in exchange for total independence from French political influence. However, in July 1919, after the end of World War I, Monaco was placed once again under limited French protection according to the Treaty of Versailles, a relationship that still exists today.
National Identity. The native Monegasques are proud of their country's unique history and position in the world. The name Monaco is believed to derive from the word "monoikos" associated both with the ancient Greeks and the Ligurians. The Ligurians settled along the Mediterranean coast, from Spain to Italy, before the age of the Roman Empire. The coastal road used by the Ligurians later came to be known as "The Road of Hercules." In Greek, Hercules was often called "Heracles Monoikos," or "Hercules Along" but it is possible that "monoikos" derives from an older Ligurian word. The Monegasque have managed to maintain their traditions, institutions, and dialect through the centuries despite the influence of their much-larger neighbors. This cultural identity is reflected in many of the local festivals and in Monaco's world prominence, which is disproportionate to the principality's size. However, only a small part of the population, less that 20 percent, can claim direct Monegasque heritage. The majority of the principality's citizens are French or of French descent (47 percent). People of Italian origin make up about 16 percent with the rest of the population consisting of a variety of nationalities.
Ethnic Relations. Monaco has close ethnic ties with France and Italy, and nationals of these countries account for more than half of the population. Some one-quarter of the population consists of people from a variety of other nationalities, reflecting a tolerance of different ethnic groups. However, immigration is very limited due to the principality's size, and citizenship is not easy to acquire.
The steep, rocky hills and narrow coastline have influenced architecture and urban planning in Monaco. Streets are narrow and steep, and buildings must be constructed into the hills in limited amounts of space. The architecture in general reflects a Mediterranean influence, and local materials, including granite, marble, and terra-cotta tiles, are common. Recent-twentieth-century residential construction included numerous high-rise apartment buildings. Like many Mediterranean communities, Monaco has public squares, and its mild climate is favorable to outdoor living. Many buildings have balconies or terraces that face the sea. Some medieval structures survive in the old fortified city of Monaco-Ville on the Rock, where the royal palace is located. Monaco's most famous building is the Casino in Monte Carlo, built in 1866 and designed by French architect Charles Garnier.
Food in Daily Life. Access to fresh, local produce and the sea has led to the development of a local cuisine and appreciation for good food. Monaco has many restaurants, and seafood is featured in many dishes. Daily eating habits reflect a Mediterranean heritage, and both French and Italian influences can be found in the local recipes. Breakfast is very small, but lunch and dinner often have several courses.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Holidays such as Christmas, Holy Week before Easter, and Carnival before Lent are occasions for special food. Some traditional Monegasque dishes include brandamincium, salt cod pounded with garlic, oil, and cream surrounded by cardoons, edible Mediterranean plants, in white sauce; barba-Giuan, or "Uncle John," stuffed fritters; and fougasses, flat, crunchy biscuits sprinkled with sugared anise seeds and flavored with rum and orange-flower water.
Basic Economy. Tourism and related businesses are the main components of the Monegasque economy today. The tourist industry began when the famous casino was opened in Monte Carlo. Banking and financial activities are the second most important part of the economy. The industrial sector is small but significant and includes pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, flour-milling, and food products. Investment in real estate and business services make up the fourth most important sector of the economy. Foreign companies receive special investment incentives that have led many to open offices in the principality. Monaco does not impose an income tax on its residents and consequently has attracted corporate and individual investment. A significant financial services industry has developed as a result.
Land Tenure and Property. Due to Monaco's small size, the availability of land and private space has always been limited. Significant economic growth and an increase in population since 1950 have greatly augmented this problem, forcing developers to build multistoried structures very close together. An increase in tourism and the necessity for hotels have put an added strain on available space. Property is expensive both to buy and maintain, but Monaco's real estate business continues to thrive. To create additional space, the Monegasque government has had to find innovative ways to satisfy the demand for construction: the use of land reclaimed from the sea. The most recent of these is the neighborhood of Fontvieille.
Commercial Activities. Business related to tourism accounts for the majority of commercial activities. Hotels, restaurants, shops, gambling, and services related to Monaco's port provide both employment and revenue for the principality. The real estate business has also become an important commercial concern since 1970.
Major Industries. Industry did not begin to significantly develop until the 1950s, and consists entirely of light industry, with no obvious adverse effects on other parts of the economy or Monegasque society. The first industries, which developed at the beginning of the twentieth century, included a brewery, a chocolate factory, and a flour mill. The chemical, pharmaceutical, parapharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries all developed after World War II and today consist of twenty-three separate businesses—many of which are leaders in their sectors in Europe. Plastics, electronics, printing, textiles, and construction also are significant industries.
Trade. Recent figures place the estimated value of Monegasque imports at U.S. $415,300 and exports at approximately the same figure. Monaco does not publish economic figures including gross domestic product, although recent estimates put it at about U.S. $800 million. Exports include a variety of Monegasque products, and imports include agricultural products and manufactured and consumer goods. Some of Monaco's most important exports include: cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing, small electronics, and paper products.
Division of Labor. Of the estimated thirty thousand jobs existing in Monaco, two-thirds of them are held by workers commuting from neighboring French or Italian towns along the coast. Seasonal tourist work also accounts for an increase in non-native
Classes and Castes. Monaco's high average income and individual wealth, as well as its very small size, make it a country with minimal class distinctions. The principality's status as a tax haven make it an attractive place to establish residence for wealthy people from all over the world. A significant number of residents are from a variety of nationalities, and several are celebrities, helping to make Monaco synonymous with wealth, power and prestige the world over.
Symbols of Social Stratification. Overall Monaco has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Differences in social stratification are not immediately obvious. The principality's popularity as an exclusive resort and tax haven has led to the development of a very wealthy social class. Material symbols of wealth such as luxury goods, expensive cars, and exclusive shops are visible everywhere. Monaco's coastal position has also made it a popular port for luxury yachts. The tourist industry necessitates a large workforce, as do Monaco's light industrial concerns, but more than half the people employed in these sectors do not live in Monaco.
Government. Until 1910, the Principality of Monaco was governed by an absolute monarchy. In 1911 Prince Albert I promulgated the first constitution, which was modified in 1917. It was modified again in 1933 by Prince Louis II, and other reforms were made by Prince Rainier III in 1962. Monaco's refusal to impost tax on its residents and international businesses led to a severe crisis with France in 1962. This crisis led to a compromise in which it was agreed that French citizens with less than five years of residence in Monaco would be taxed at French rates and companies doing more than 25 percent of their business outside the principality. Another result of the crisis was the creation of a new, more liberal constitution ad the restoration of the National Council. The constitution provides that executive power is under the authority of the reigning prince. Succession to the throne passes to the direct and legitimate descendants of the prince, with male descendants taking precedence over female. The prince represents Monaco in its foreign relations and signs and ratifies treaties. The prince nominates a Council of Government, consisting of a minister of state and three government councilors, one each for finance and economy, the interior, and public works and social affairs. The Minister of State is a French Citizen, appointed by the prince, and selected for a three-year term a from a group of senior French civil servants selected by the French government. The Minister of State is in charge of foreign relations and, as the prince's representative, directs executive services, the police and the Council of Government. Under the Council of Government's authority is the eighteen-member National Council. Members of the National Council are elected for five years by direct vote based on a system of proportional representation. Eligible voters must be over the age of twenty-one and hold Monegasque citizenship for more than five years. The new constitution of 1962 gave the right to vote to women, established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental rights, and abolished the death penalty.
Leadership and Political Officials. Local affairs are directed by the Communal Council which administers the principality's four quarters: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille. The Council of the Crown consists of seven members holding Monégasque nationality who are nominated by the prince. The president and three members are selected by the sovereign: the others are selected by the national Council. Current government officials include: the Chief of State, Prince Rainier III; the Minister of State, Michel Leveque; the Council of Government, ministers for: the Interior, Finance, and Economic Affairs, Public Works and Social Affairs, National Council President, President of the Supreme Court, and the Director of Judicial Services.
Social Problems and Control. Due to its small population and unique economic situation, Monaco does not face many of the social problems that larger countries must deal with, such as violent crime and poverty. After going through a period of economic growth and industrial development following World War II, a primary concern is the principality's ability to sustain its economy, attract new investments, and maintain the quality of life for its citizens. Current social problems include managing industrial growth and tourism, environmental concerns, and maintaining the quality of life. Alcoholism and illegal drug abuse are present but not widespread. Monaco has a very low crime rate, in part due to the high number of law enforcement officials in relation to the total population and the high standard of living. Widespread use of security cameras throughout the principality also further discourage open criminal activity. Excluding private security, there are around 400 permanent police officers, 95 percent of whom are French. Legal power belongs to the Sovereign, presently Prince Rainier III, who delegates full exercise of it to the courts and tribunals. The independence of the judges is guaranteed by the constitution. Monaco's legal organization includes all degrees of jurisdiction: a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal, a Higher Court of Appeal and a Criminal Court. There are also tribunals with specific competence, such as the Work Tribunal, the Rent Arbitration Commission, and the Higher Arbitration Court, for collective work disputes. The Supreme Court is at the top of the principality's legal organization.
Military Activity. Monaco does not have a military, although it does have a small police force. The French government is responsible for Monaco's defense.
The government efficiently manages several social welfare and change programs. Some current programs include creating more affordable housing for workers by reclaiming land from the sea for new construction and promotion of Monegasque culture, brought about by a revived interest in the principality's history. Consequently, Monegasque language classes have now been instituted in all elementary schools. The Monegasque government also ensures generous pensions, maternity leave, vacation time, and welfare programs for all citizens.
Monaco has many nongovernmental organizations and cultural, academic, and professional associations. Among these are the Permanent International Association of Navigation Conventions, the International Committee of Military Medicine and Pharmacy, the Scientific Community for Oceanic Research, the International Music Council, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Sciences. Monaco joined the United Nations in 1993 and is an active participant. Other intergovernmental organizations of which Monaco is a member include Interpol, UNESCO, and WHO. The International Hydrographic Bureau has its headquarters in Monaco.
Monaco has a Mediterranean, Roman Catholic culture emphasizing the family. Until the second half of the twentieth century, women's roles revolved principally around family and household. Women were not active in politics until the 1960s when they first received the vote. Although fewer women than men are employed outside the home, Monegasque women work in a variety of fields and are politically active.
Not withstanding its status as a cosmopolitan resort, Monegasque society is based on centuries-old traditions. Immediate and extended family are the basic social units. Marriage is considered an important family event and the divorce rate is low, with less than a quarter of marriages ending in divorce.
Marriage. Marriage is an important family event, Church weddings, held according to Roman Catholic traditions, are popular. A civil ceremony, held at the city hall, is also required even when a religious ceremony is organized. Some couples choose only to have the civil ceremony.
Domestic Unit. The domestic unit consists of immediate family members. Before industrialization after World War II, the domestic unit also included extended family such as grandparents and other elderly relatives. The low divorce rate and general affluence help contribute to a stable average domestic unit in Monaco. Monegasque social activities frequently revolve around family events and gatherings.
Inheritance. Inheritance laws are based on those of France.
Infant Care. Monaco provides excellent maternity and infant care. Women are guaranteed several months of maternity leave and there are high quality, low cost day care centers and nurseries available. National health and education programs ensure that Monegasque families have complete early childhood support and care.
Child Rearing and Education. A national health service and an excellent public education system provide Monegasque children with high-quality, low-cost education and with health care from infancy through adolescence. Monaco's small size, unique history, and high standard of living have helped the principality avoid many of the child social problems that face larger countries. The traditional Monegasque culture, based on family and kinship ties, has changed with twentieth-century industrialization and growth, but child welfare remains important. Grandparents often help in caring for young children, particularly when both parents work.
Education is compulsory from ages of six to sixteen. School curricula are identical to those of France but also include the study of Monegasque history, the institutions of the principality, and the Monegasque language. There are four public primary schools for study up to age fourteen and three specialized high schools: Lycée Albert I, the Technical Lycée of Monte Carlo, and the Charles II College. There are also four private schools through the high school level.
Higher Education. Monaco does not have a university, although there are several specialized institutions of higher learning, including the Rainier III Academy of Music and the Nursing School at the Princess Grace Hospital Complex. Monaco's literacy rate is 99 percent.
Etiquette in Monaco is influenced by the country's unusual blending of roles as an international tax haven, exclusive resort destination in combination with the Monegasque traditions. The Monegasque are proud of the country's history and residents strive to maintain the quality of life that exists there. The principality attracts people from a variety of nationalities who are nevertheless united by a high level of personal wealth. The rules of etiquette are much like those found in France with an emphasis on respect for privacy. The royal family of Monaco, the Grimaldi, frequently attract the attention of the press. Monaco's royal family became a popular subject of tabloid journalism when the American actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III. Discretion and privacy are still emphasized in Monaco.
Religious Beliefs. Roman Catholicism is the state religion, although freedom of worship is guaranteed by Article 23 of the Constitution. However, 95 percent of the population claims to be Roman Catholic.
Religious Practitioners. Most Monegasque are Roman Catholic and the church plays an important role in Monegasque traditions, particularly on feast days and special holidays. Church attendance is not as high as a century ago and it is difficult to estimate the exact number of practicing Catholics.
Rituals and Holy Places. There are several traditional festivals and rituals in Monaco. Saint Devote, the patron saint of Monaco, is venerated in a ritual held on 27 January every year. A torchlight procession, a religious ceremony and blessing mark the day that Saint Dévoe is believed to have arrived in Monaco. Other religious rituals and ceremonies are held during Holy Week before Easter, and on the feast days of Saint Roman, 9 August, Saint John, 23 June and Saint Blaise.
Death and the Afterlife. Monegasque beliefs about death and the afterlife are in accordance with the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.
Monaco has a government-supported health system that provides high-quality medical care to all its citizens. Life expectancy is placed at 74 years for males and 81 for females. Infant mortality rate is approximately 7 per 1000 births. Monaco's birth-rate exceeds the number of deaths per year. For specialized care of serious care of serious health problems Monaco's residents may seek care in larger medical centers, such as the hospital in Nice.
National Day, 19 November, celebrates Monaco's independence as a principality. A parade, a thanksgiving Mass held in the cathedral, and special events are organized. Other important celebrations have religious origins. The Feast of Saint Devote, the patron saint of Monaco, is celebrated on 27 January. The festival of Saint John, on 24 June, is another important Monegasque holiday. Religious holidays are celebrated with the closing of businesses, special church services, and traditional customs. The National Committee of Monegasque Traditions, established in 1924, is dedicated to the preservation and revival of Monegasque folk traditions and festivals.
Support for the Arts. The Monegasque government actively supports the arts, cultural institutions, and the humanities through a variety of programs and events. The Prince Pierre Foundation was founded to encourage culture in the letters and the arts, by the creation and awarding of prizes. These
Literature. The Great Literary Prize recognizes outstanding literary works annually. The Princess Grace Irish Library was established recently to hold a collection of over 8,000 volumes related to Irish history, culture and writing, in both Irish and English languages.
Graphic Arts. The Prince Pierre Foundation annually awards the International Prize for Art, established in 1965, to recognize outstanding achievement in the visual arts. The Municipal School of Decorative Arts provides education in the visual arts.
Performance Arts. The Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 1863 and found its permanent home in the Garnier Palace in 1879. The Monte Carlo Ballet and the Monte Carlo Opera are internationally acclaimed. Since 1892 the Monte Carlo Opera has occupied Garnier Hall, named after its architect, who also designed the Paris Opera House. Many premier performances have been staged at the Monte Carlo Opera, including Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the 1920s. The International Circus Festival is also held annually in Monaco.
Monaco is particularly well known for its activity in the marine science field. The Oceanographic Museum, formerly directed by Jacques Cousteau, is the most famous institution devoted to marine science in the world. The Scientific Community for Oceanic Research is based in Monaco, and numerous other scientific and academic societies also have branch offices in the principality. Monaco's history of supporting oceanic and scientific studies dates to the 1860s when Prince Albert pursued his scientific interests by conducting numerous maritime expeditions. Throughout the twentieth century, Monaco has promoted scientific research. The Prehistory and Speleological Association was formed in 1951 and in 1960 Prince Rainier III inaugurated the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology. Prince Rainier is also the president of the International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean. The Scientific Center of Monaco is host to a variety of activities including seismological, meteorological, and radioactivity studies. The Monaco Underwater Reserve, consisting of almost 50 hectares, was established by the Monégasque Association for the Protection of Nature to provide a protected environment for a wide variety of marine life. In 1971 the "Albert I of Monaco" Prize for Oceanography was created to recognize outstanding research.
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—M. C AMERON A RNOLD