Monaco, officially Principality of Monaco, French Principauté de Monaco, sovereign principality located along the Mediterranean Sea in the midst of the resort area of the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera). The city of Nice, France, lies 9 miles (15 km) to the west, the Italian border 5 miles (8 km) to the east. Monaco’s tiny territory occupies a set of densely clustered hills and a headland that looks southward over the Mediterranean. Many unusual features, however, have made Monaco among the most luxurious tourist resorts in the world and have given it a fame far exceeding its size.
Many visitors to Monaco alternate their hours between its beaches and boating facilities, its international sports-car races, and its world-famous Place du Casino, the gambling centre in the Monte-Carlo section that made Monte-Carlo an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth. The country has a mild Mediterranean climate with annual temperatures averaging 61 °F (16 °C) and with only about 60 days of rainfall. Monthly average temperatures range from 50 °F (10 °C) in January to 75 °F (24 °C) in August.
Evidences of Stone Age settlements in Monaco are preserved in the principality’s Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology. In ancient times the headland was known to the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans. In 1191 the Genoese took possession of it, and in 1297 the long reign of the Grimaldi family began. The Grimaldis allied themselves with France except for the period from 1524 to 1641, when they were under the protection of Spain. In 1793 they were dispossessed by the French Revolutionary regime, and Monaco was annexed to France. With the fall of Napoleon I, however, the Grimaldis returned; the Congress of Vienna (1815) put Monaco under the protection of Sardinia. The principality lost the neighboring towns of Menton and Roquebrune in 1848 and finally ceded them to France under the terms of the Franco-Monegasque treaty of 1861. The treaty did restore Monaco’s independence, however, and in 1865 a customs union was established between the two countries. Another treaty that was made with France, in 1918, contained a clause providing that, in the event that the Grimaldi dynasty should become extinct, Monaco would become an autonomous state under French protection. A revision to the constitution in 2002 added females and their legitimate children to the line of succession. In 1997 the Grimaldi family commemorated 700 years of rule, and in 1999 Prince Rainier III marked 50 years on the throne. Upon his death in April 2005, he was succeeded by his son, Albert; Albert formally assumed the throne on July 12, 2005. The principality joined the United Nations in 1993. Though not a member of the European Union (EU), Monaco phased out the French franc for the single European currency of the euro by 2002.
Monaco’s refusal to impose income taxes on its residents and on international businesses that have established headquarters in the principality led to a severe crisis with France in 1962. A compromise was reached by which French citizens with less than five years residence in Monaco were taxed at French rates and taxes were imposed on Monegasque companies doing more than 25 percent of their business outside the principality. In the early 21st century, some European nations criticized Monaco’s loose banking regulations, claiming that the principality sheltered tax evaders and money launderers. In 2002 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) added Monaco to its “blacklist” of uncooperative tax havens. The principality was removed from the blacklist in 2009 after committing to OECD transparency standards.
Monaco’s constitution of 1911 provided for an elected National Council, but in 1959 Prince Rainier III suspended part of the constitution and dissolved the National Council because of a disagreement over the budget. In 1961 he appointed instead a national assembly. The aforementioned crisis of 1962 with France led him to restore the National Council and to grant a new, liberal constitution. The council comprises 18 members, elected by universal suffrage for a term of five years. Government is carried on by a minister of state (who must be a French citizen) and three state councillors acting under the authority of the prince, who is the official chief of state. Legislative power is shared by the prince and the National Council. Since 1819 the judicial system has been based on that of France; since 1962 the highest judicial authority has been the Supreme Tribunal.
Monaco’s chief industry is tourism, and its facilities make it one of Europe’s most luxurious resorts. Once a winter attraction, it now draws summer visitors as well to its beaches and expanded mooring facilities. Business conferences are especially important. The social life of Monte-Carlo revolves around the Place du Casino. The casino was built in 1861, and in 1967 its operations were taken over by the principality. Banking and finance and real estate are other important components of the diverse services sector.
Monaco and Monte-Carlo are names which have been a magnet for prestigious and luxury brands for nigh on two centuries. The purpose of the Monaco and Monte-Carlo brand licences is to develop the appeal and renown of the Principality by promoting its many assets. In order to boost their profile and bring together all of the touristic, economic and cultural players, Monaco and Monte-Carlo have become protected and patented brands.
- Madame Monte-Carlo produces elegant and iconic swimwear in rich, soft fabrics under an official licence from Monaco Brands. Hand made in Italy from the finest materials, and hiding …
- MONTE CARLO ART FACTORY
Since 1958, the heart of the Principality of Monaco, the tradition of popular fashion has been continuing. The Monte-Carlo Art Factory selects the best and most fashionable designer…
- PERLES MONTE-CARLO
The “Pearls of Monte-Carlo” are born in the Fontvieille district or, more specifically, in the hatchery at the foot of the Rock of Monaco.