Facts and information about Monaco
Principality of Monaco The fact that Monaco has been inhabited since the late Paleolithic Age, approximately 3000 BC, has been proven by finds brought to light in Monaco itself and in neighbouring villages. Ligurians from eastern Europe invaded the coastal area from Tuscany to the Rhone in about 2000 BC. They introduced their language, an Indo-European derivative, and developed trade with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and, later on, the Greeks. The name of Monaco was first mentioned by Periegesis of Hecate in Miletus who, when listing the major built up areas in the northern Mediterranean basin from west to east, mentioned Narbonne, Marseilles, Monoikos Polis Ligustike (Monaco, town in Liguria), Intemelium and the island of Elba. During the 2nd century BC, the Romans conquered Liguria and what was Monaco at the time was called Portus Herculis Monoeci. The importance of this natural bay where sailors moored their ships is accentuated in texts by Virgil, Strabo, Lucan and Tacitus. At the time of the martyrdom of heretics, the body of a young Corsican victim, Dévote was found at the outlet of the Gaumates valley, on the site of the church which the Monacans then dedicated to their patron saint. After the decline of Rome, the Lombards devastated the Ligurian coast. During the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, Mohammedan pirates touched on the coast during their raids. It was not until the 10th century that this hazard disappeared and it was only then that the peoples who had fled inland returned to settle on the Mediterranean coasts. THE GENOESE As from the 11th century, the Republic of Genoa extended its authority right throughout Liguria and the emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the Genoese mastery of the seas from Portovenere to Monaco. As from 1215, the Genoese were assigned the port and Rock; in accordance with the gold imperial seal, they started building on the site of the current palace a castle encompassed by four towers interconnected by a bastion. In 1252 the Church of St. Nicholas was built on the Rock in Romanesque style. At the beginning of the 13th Century Monaco was afflicted by the wars in Genoa between the Guelphs, who backed the Pope, and the Ghibellines, in support of the Emperor. THE GRIMALDIS It was in the wake of a battle lost by the Guelphs that Francis Grimaldi, known as Malizia, on his way back to Provence, tricked his way into Monaco castle on the night of the 8th January 1297 with his men dressed up as Franciscan monks, taking possession of it. He was driven away some years later but, since then, the two bare-footed, bearded, long-haired monks with their swords drawn feature in the Grimaldi coat-of arms, together with the tapered silver and red shield. The descendants of Otto Canella, the Genoese consul who died in 1143, had taken on as a patronymic the name of Grimaldo, elected Genoese consul three times and son of Otto Canella. Rainier I, great-grandson of Otto Canella and French admiral who defeated the Flemish in the Battle of Zierikzee, is considered the founder of the Grimaldi of Monaco dynasty, despite the fact that he never managed to enter Monaco, renconquered in 1331 by his son Charles who also took possession of the seigniories of Menton and Roquebrune. Charles I, warrior and sailor at the service of the King of France, took part in the Battle of Crécy and the Siege of Calais. He died during the Siege of Monaco led by the doge of Genoa, Simon Boccanegra. Monaco fell into the hands of the Genoese as did Roquebrune; howerer, the Grimaldis kept Menton, where they remained while waiting to seize Monaco. In 1407 Rainier II regained possession of Roquebrune. His three sons - Ambrose, Anthony and John - took advantage of a Ghibelline defeat to reinstate the Seigniory of Monaco in 1419 and each ruled in turn for a year until John I became the only Lord of Monaco. He guaranteed its independence by offering his services to his neighbours: Provence, Savoy, Genoa, Milan and France, depending on how powerful they were at the time. This policy of maintaining the balance of power, continued by his successors, ensured Monaco's survival until the French Revolution. Emprisoned by the Duke of Milan who threatened to kill him if he did not hand over his Seigniory, John I asked his wife Pomelline to resist. She courageously obeyed her husband, who was then finally freed. Upon the death of John I, his son Catalan became sovereign of Monaco. But he only reigned for three years and before dying, he appointed his mother Pomelline as his successor; she was then succeeded by her younger daughter Claudine, destined to marry her cousin Lambert Grimaldi, sovereign of Menton. A fierce struggle ensued between Pomelline and Lambert, who married Claudine when she turned fifteen; she bore fourteen children. Lambert, an astute diplomat and cunning strategist, strengthened Monaco's position by sticking to the balance of power policy but also by extending his alliances beyond his neighbours. His son John II followed in his footsteps and strengthened the good relations established by Lambert with Charles VIII, King of France. After a quarrel, he was killed by his son Lucian. The latter's good faith was never put to the question. Lucian displayed his courage by resisting for one hundred days and thwarting a siege of Monaco on the part of the Genoese. Louis XII sent him letters acknowledging that «the Seigniory of Monaco is held only by God and the sword». He in turn was assassinated with the complicity of Andrea Doria. Augustine Grimaldi, Bishop of Grasse, succeeded his brother for life. He tried to strengthen the alliance with France but action on the part of Francis I forced him to negotiate the treaties of Burgos and Tordesillas with Charles V in 1524, following on which Monaco became a Spanish protectorate. Upon the death of Augustine in 1532, Lucian's son Honoré I was still under age. His guardian was Stephen Grimaldi, known as the Governor, who further strengthened the alliance with Spain, doing his utmost to make Monaco as independent as possible. In this way, Stephen ruled supreme until he died, with the approval of Honoré who was to continue the same policy during the twenty years in which he actually reigned. Hard times marked by intrigues and conflicts were to follow for the son of Honoré I, Charles II, and his son Hercules I. Upon Hercules I's violent death, once again a minor came to the throne of Monaco: Honoré II. Prince Frederick of Valdetare, his tutor, convinced him to take on the title of prince. The young sovereign, educated with a taste for literature, art and the cult of grandeur, renovated the palace, which he filled with art and valuable collections. He had coins minted in his own image and commenced a reconciliation with France through Richelieu. In 1641 he signed the Treaty of Péronne with Louis XIII, guaranteeing the friendship and protection of France. The Spaniards were expelled from Monaco. Honoré was received at the court of France with art and valuable collections. He had coins minted in his own image and commenced a reconciliation with France through Richelieu. In 1641 he signed the Treaty of Péronne with Louis XIII, guaranteeing the friendship and protection of France. The Spaniards were expelled from Monaco. Honoré was received at the court of France with great pomp and ceremony and King Louis XIV became godfather to his grandson, the future Louis I. At the Monaco palace, sumptuous balls continued right throughout his reign. In 1662 he was suceeded by Louis I, after his brilliant debut at the French court where he met his future wife, Charlotte, daughter of Marshal De Gramont. He offered his services to the king of France, took part in the United Provinces war against England and, at the head of his Monaco-Cavalry regiment, he participated in the campaign of Flanders and Franche-Comté. In his desire to guarantee the succession of the Spanish king Charles II to his daughter Maria Theresa, King Louis XIV chose him as ambassador at the Holy See on account of his diplomacy and numerous cardinal relatives. Louis I spent part of his wealth to make his embassy as sumptuous as possible. He died in Rome in 1701. His son Anthony I came to the Grimaldi throne at the age of forty. In the past, he had distinguished himself on the battlefield at Fleurus, Mons and Namur, where his courage and stature won him the nick-name of Goliath. An accomplished musician, he directed his orchestra with the stick left to him by Lully and organised a sizeable library of musical works. In fear of an invasion, he fortified the palace and the point of the Rock peninsula. His daughter, Louise-Hippolyte, married Jacques-François-Léonor of Goyon-Matignon. She only reigned for a couple of months before dying of smallpox. James I soon abdicated in favour of his son Honoré III, who was still under age; he remained his guardian having appointed as governor of the principality Chevalier de Grimaldi, the natural son of Anthony I. At the beginning of his reign, Honoré III participated in the campaign of Flanders, the Rhine and the Netherlands. He spent most of his time in Paris and in Normandy, entrusting dutiful Chevalier de Grimaldi with the government of Monaco. The principality then went through a long period of peace, interrupted only by the block imposed from October 1746 to June 1747 by the empress Maria Theresa and by the King of Sardinia Charles Emmanuel III, who were not convinced by Honoré III's declaration of neutrality.
Mastery of the sea, sea traffic and fishing contributed to the local economy. Citrus fruit was grown. The first industries and a printing works came into being. Art and literature were given a substantial boost. However, new ideas from France angered the townsfolk of Menton and Roquebrune. Prince Honoré III wreaked his revenge to a certain extent but the fall of the French monarchy and the severing of diplomatic ties between France and Sardinia brought the French troops to Monaco, where they set up a people's society which declared the fall of the Grimaldis. With the proclamation of the republic, annexation to France was requested. On 4th February 1793, the Convention voted the union of the principality with France. The palace was looted and turned into a military barracks, and then a poorhouse. Prince Honoré was incarcerated, along with all the members of his family. His daughter-in-law, Françoise de Choiseul-Stainville was guillotined at the age of twenty-seven. Freed in October 1794, Honoré III died a couple of months later. During the Napoleonic age, his grandchildren served in the French army. After Napoleon abdicated, Prince Honoré IV, son of Honoré III, staked his claim. Once ill, he delegated his powers to his brother Joseph and then to his elder son who reigned under the name of Honoré V. After the Hundred Days, the Congress of Vienna placed the principality under the protectorate of the King of Sardinia. Honoré V tried courageously to face the financial difficulties of the restoration by creating industrial and artisan activities and by granting certain monopolies, in particular wheat and flour monopolies. This system, considered «exclusive», led to the dissension of the people due to the secession of the Communes of Menton and Roquebrune. On his death bed, Honoré V composed his own epitaph, which sums up perfectly the action of a difficult, yet generous, reign: «Here lies he who meant well». He was succeeded by his brother Florestan I, a man of letters and a liberal. He abolished the monopoly policy, but in Menton and Roquebrune the situation was coming to a head and in 1848 the two Communes declared themselves free towns. Despite his popularity, the Crown Prince Charles, who visited the towns of unrest where he could count on the aid of countless admirers, never managed to prevent the two towns from being attached to France, right at the time when it was annexing the county of Nice and Savoy. On the death of Prince Florestan on 26th June 1856, Prince Charles III, who had been administering the principality for some years with the help of his mother Princess Caroline, signed with Napoleon III the treaty of the 2nd February 1861. Its main clauses ensured the independence of the principality, ratified once and for all the loss of Menton and Roquebrune, stipulated the payment of a compensatory indemnity and established the construction of a coast road between Nice and Monaco and the passing of the Nice-Genoa railway over the territory of the principality. In 1865 a French-Monacan agreement settled the procedures of the customs union and relations between the two countries. Even before the death of Prince Florestan, Prince Charles II and Princess Caroline had made several attempts to industrialize the principality in order to bottom out of the recession. They had all gone up in smoke apart from attempts at exploiting the country's favourable climatic conditions, at the time that the Côte d'Azur was coming into full swing. In 1866, a new district came into being in front of the Grimaldi Rock. It was called Monte Carlo after Prince Charles III and soon became synonymous with parties, elegance, shows, leisure and sports. Direct taxes were suppressed. The worlds of politics, literature and arts met in the principality. Prince Charles III created the Order of Saint Charles, minted gold coins, issued the first Monacan stamps, opened legations and consulates abroad, signed bilateral treaties with major European countries and obtained from the Holy See the religious independence of the principality, which then became a bishopric. Justice, the police and teaching underwent considerable reforms. When Prince Charles III died on 10th September 1889, he left his son Albert a modern state that fitted perfectly well into the new Europe. The Crown Prince Albert had dedicated his youth to sailing and science and his coming to power did not thwart these interests. Prince Albert I followed in his father's footsteps, adding a scientific dimension. During his reign, art flourished with the unforgettable creation of operas and the installation of the Diaghilev Russian ballets in Monaco. In the political field, Prince Albert I granted the first constitution; he signed a friendly agreement with France settling dynastic problems and redefining the customs union, not to mention countless international agreements with other countries. He turned the principality into an international meeting place and in 1903 he founded the International Peace Institute for the peaceful settlement of conflicts. In Paris he set up the Oceanographic Institute and the Institute of Human Paleontology whereas in Monaco he founded the Oceanographic Museum, the Museum of Prehistoric Paleontology and the Exotic Garden. He modernized the port, had the government buildings erected, opened a grammar school, created a girls' boarding school and schools, had a new hospital built and organised air displays, motor-boat races and the first Monte Carlo car rally. Corresponding member of the French Scientific Academy and French Academy of Medicine and holder of the Agassiz medal, Prince Albert I died on 26th June 1922. His son, Prince Louis II, who had distinguished himself in the ranks of the French army during the First World War on account of his heroic acts, directed Monacan politics during the difficult period during the two World Wars and the long economic recession, which ended with the Second World War. Despite the double occupation of Monte Carlo, he preserved the work of his predecessors by pursuing a policy of independence and cultural, economic and social development. He created the medical-juridical commission for humanitarian purposes and, in the field of information, Radio Monte Carlo broadcasting station. In 1929, during his reign, the first Grand Prix in Monaco came into being. When he died in 1949, he was succeeded by his grandson, Prince Rainier III, son of Princess Charlotte and Prince Pierre, Count of Polignac. At twenty-six, he started one of the greatest reigns in the history of Monaco. Having served in the French army, once he came of age Prince Rainier already knew the ropes of the Monacan administration which was developing rapidly under his guidance. He increased the national territory by one-fifth of its surface by means of spectacular constructions over the sea. He was responsible for creating new scientific institutions: the Scientific Centre, the Acclimatization Zoological Centre and the Larvotto Underwater Reserve hosting the Marine Radioactivity Laboratories. Furthermore, he launched a real crusade against marine pollution, equipped Monte Carlo with a long sandy beach, established a quick network across the whole territory thanks to an underground railway, renewed the road network by tunnelling through the Rock, linked the various districts of the built up area vertically, modernized the Bas-Moulins districts and urbanized Fontvieille where a new stadium, church, public facilities, school facilities, heliport, council housing and industrial premises were built. He gave the Monacans a new Constitution. Moreover, he signed new agreements with France, various bilateral treaties with other European countries and several multilateral treaties. During his reign, the principality belonged to major international organisations; all legations in Monaco were raised to the rank of embassy and the bishop was made Archbishop. The cultural Order of Merit was then instituted to reward artistic talents and the Grimaldi Order for services rendered to the Head of State and for contributing to the principality's renown throughout the world. Economic develpment was favoured by the extension of hotel accommodation and the diversification of tourist activities, extended to business tourism and congresses, thanks to the creation of the International Meetings Centre and the Congress Centre Auditorium of Monaco. It was likewise stimulated by a powerful industrial and commercial sector basically consisting of high value added activities that require highly trained staff and a risk minimum. However, services in transport, banks, media and technical design and link departments expanded most rapidly. On her part, Princess Grace of Monaco created the Monte Carlo Flower Show, Garden Club and Festival of Arts.