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LANGUAGE: French (official), also Monégasque, Italian and English
RELIGION: Roman Catholic; small number of Jewish and Church of England residents


Next to Vatican City, the Principality of Monaco (Principauté de Monaco in French and Principatu de Múnegu in the native Monégasque tongue) is the world's smallest independent state. It is located on the northern coast of the Mediterranean, surrounded on three sides by France, and on the fourth side by the sea, only 8 km (5 mi) from the French-Italian border. Monaco is a Constitutional Monarchy and Principality with Prince Albert II as the head of state. Monaco's defense is the responsibility of France, and its foreign policy is aligned with that of the French Republic. The principality is the smallest of all French-speaking countries and the world's most densely populated state. Its climate is Mediterranean, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

There is ample evidence of Stone Age settlements on the territory of today's Monaco but its first known inhabitants were probably the ancient Ligurians. Throughout antiquity, this area was called "Port Herakles" for an ancient god known in Greek as "Herakles Monoikos" (or "Herakles of the Single House") and a temple that was dedicated to him there. The Greek geographer Strabo describes the place as "The Port of Monoikos." In the Roman Empire Monaco was part of the Province of the Maritime Alps and after the fall of the Empire it was invaded by various tribes of barbarians, among them the Saracens. In 1215 the Genoese Ghibellines, supporters of Emperor Henry VI, attracted by the strategic advantages of Monaco's harbor, lay the first stone of the fortress, the foundation of today's Prince's Palace. Eager to attract residents, they granted the new arrivals exemptions from taxes and important land privileges. In the next three centuries Monaco would become a site of continuous strife between the Ghibellins, supporters of the Emperor, and the Guelphs, supporters of the Pope. One of the most prominent Genoese Guelph families were the Grimaldis. In 1296 the family was expelled from Genoa and settled in Provence. From there, in 1297, with their small army, the Grimaldis seized the fortress and captured Monaco. Th ey lost control over it in 1301 only to return in 1331. Charles Grimaldi, considered to be the real founder of the principality, then bought the neighboring lordships of Menton and Roquebrune; they would remain part of the principality until 1861. Yet, it took the Grimaldis nearly two centuries to establish their indisputable sovereignty over Monaco in 1489, when Charles VIII of France and the Duke of Savoy recognized its independence. In 1524 Monaco was placed under the protection of Spain, with grave financial consequences for the principality's treasury. The reign of Honoré II (1587-1662) marked the most brilliant period in Monaco's history. Honoré II firmly allied himself with France and in 1641 the French king Louis XIII signed a treaty placing Monaco under the friendly protection of France, but recognizing the independence of the country with all its rights and privileges. The Spanish garrison was expelled and a French one installed in Monaco. In addition, the prince significantly enlarged and embellished the Palace and added art by the greatest European masters to its collections. Life at the court flowered, with numerous balls and ceremonies throughout the year.

After Honoré's death, the splendor of Monaco's courtly life greatly diminished and in 1731 the male line of the Grimaldis died out. Jacques-François-Léonor de Matignon, heir of one of the most illustrious families of Normandy, who had married into the Grimaldi family, was in 1731 named Prince of Monaco Jacques I, only to abdicate in 1733 in favor of his son, Honoré III. Honoré ruled Monaco until 1795, but spent more time in his Paris residence and in Normandy than in the principality. In 1789, after the outbreak of the French Revolution, Monaco's rulers, whose income largely depended on their fiefs in France, found themselves cut off from the considerable part of their financial resources. In February 1793 the principality was incorporated into France and the Palace—its works of art dispersed or sold—became a hospital and a home for the poor. Members of the prince's family were imprisoned and then freed; some even served in the French army. Following the abdication of Napoleon in 1814, sovereignty was restored in the principality. In 1815 the second Treaty of Paris placed it under the protection of the King of Sardinia, and the financial resources of the country were considerably diminished. In 1848 the communes of Menton and Roquebrune declared their independence and in 1861 Prince Charles III gave up his rights over these territories to France, reducing thus the principality to one-twentieth of its territory, in exchange for a large indemnity and guaranteed independence. Forced to find additional sources of revenue, in 1863 the prince established a gaming house under the name the Société des Bains de Mer (The Sea Baths Company). The revenue generated by the Company and the number of visitors exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, especially after 1868, following the construction of the railway line between Nice and Ventimiglia. It is indeed to Charles III and to his son Albert I that Monaco owes its most striking economic development. Albert I, who succeeded his father in 1889, was a world-famous oceanographer and paleontologist, one of the founders of modern oceanography, and a great pacifist. Arts prospered once again in the principality and in 1911 Albert I gave Monaco a constitution. His son, Louis II, succeeded him as the prince of Monaco in 1922. In 1943 the Italian army occupied Monaco, establishing a Fascist administration. After the fall of Mussolini's Italy, Germany occupied the principality and started to deport the resident Jewish population. Soon after the end of World War II, in 1949, Louis II was succeeded by his grandson Rainier III, issue of the marriage of Louis's only daughter Charlotte to Prince Pierre de Polignac, who adopted the name of Grimaldi upon his marriage.

Rainier III (1923-2005) was to be, with his 56-year long reign, one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century. He drew international attention by his 1956 marriage to the American motion picture actress Grace Kelly. After ascending the throne of a country with a practically empty treasury, Rainier III worked assiduously on promoting Monaco as a tax haven and a sophisticated commercial and international tourist center. In 1962 he introduced a new constitution that reduced the power of the sovereign, abolished capital punishment, and granted voting rights to women. He became popularly known as "The Builder Prince," working tirelessly to transform Monaco into a thriving international business, sports, tourism, and culture center, and launching in 1965 the land reclamation project to increase his country's small territory. Rainier was equally dedicated to establishing Monaco's status in the international community and in 1993 the principality become the 183rd member of the United Nations. With the contribution of Princess Grace, Monaco became an international cultural center, attracting visitors and celebrities from all over the world. After the princess was killed in a 1982 car accident, her eldest child, Princess Caroline, assumed her mother's official duties. Rainer III died in April 2005 and the enthronement of Prince Albert II took place in July of the same year. Princess Caroline of Hanover (as she has been officially known after her 1999 marriage to Prince Ernst-August of Hanover, grandson of the last German Emperor) continues to represent Monaco in her country and abroad and is UNESCO's goodwill ambassador for the education of young girls and women. Th rough AMADE (World Association of Children's Friends), founded in 1963 by Princess Grace, she continues to promote children's rights around the world, especially in Africa and Asia. Princess Stéphanie, the youngest of the three children of Rainier III and Princess Grace, after pursuing a career as a pop singer and fashion designer, became involved in the battle against AIDS as a UNAIDS ambassador. She is also the founding president of "Fight Aids Monaco," an organization she established to help people living with HIV. The Foundation Prince Albert II of Monaco, created by Prince Albert II, has as its goal the protection of the environment and funding research on sustainable development at the international level.


Monaco is situated at France's southeastern-most corner, near the Italian border. With an area of 1.97 sq km (0.76 sq mi) it is roughly the size of New York City's Central Park. Its coastline is 4.1 km (2.5 mi) long. The principality is divided into four traditional quarters. Monaco-Ville, the oldest section, is the site of the prince's palace, which is located on a promontory called le Rocher (the Rock), the gardens, Saint Nicholas Cathedral, and the Oceanographic museum. The Condamine is the second oldest area of Monaco, situated in the northwest corner of the principality. Monte-Carlo, created in 1866 and named by Prince Charles III, is the main luxury resort area and home to Monaco's famous gambling casino. Fontvieille is the newest of the four traditional quarters and is built on the land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea since the 1970s. Its waterfront area features an industrial zone consisting mainly of light, non-polluting industries, the Louis II soccer stadium, a heliport with links to Nice airport in France, and the International University of Monaco. Administratively, Monaco is divided into 10 wards. They are: Monte-Carlo, Saint Roman, Larvotto, La Condamine, Monaco-Ville, Fontvieille, La Colle, Les Révoires, Moneghetti, Saint Michel. The 11th ward, Le Portier, is to be created from land reclamation and settled from 2014.

The people of Monaco are called Monégasques or Monegasques. Of Monaco's estimated population of 34,000 only approximately 16% claim Monégasque descent. The remainder of its residents are foreigners (among which 47% are French, 16% Italian, and 21% Swiss, Belgian, British, and other, with some 125 countries represented), attracted by its glamorous lifestyle and—on a more practical level—its liberal tax policies. Non-French residents pay no personal income, capital gains, housing, or real estate tax. With 15,000 residents per sq km (40,000 per sq mi), the tiny principality is one of the world's most densely populated countries.


French is Monaco's official language, but the language of daily communication among its Monégasque residents is often Monégasque (natively Munegascu or Munegu). It is a Romance language and a dialect of the modern Ligurian language, currently spoken in the Italian region of Liguria and parts of the Mediterranean coastal zone of France. Monégasque is most similar to the language spoken in the nearby Italian city of Genoa, and it has been strongly influenced by the Proven al (also known as Occitan), a Romance language very similar to modern Catalan, and spoken in Southern France and some parts of Italy and Spain. Because the Monégasques are a minority in Monaco, in the 1970s the Monégasque language was considered threatened. Strong efforts have been made since to prevent its disappearance. Monégasque is now taught in schools and its survival among the new generation of Monégasques is considered certain.

The most important literary work in Monégasque is widely considered to be the poem "The Legend of Saint Dévote" ("A Legenda de Santa Devota"), sung in 1927 by the Monégasque poet Louis Notari (1879-1961). Before Notari, only oral literature existed in Monégasque. His writing, mostly religious in its inspiration, represents the starting point of the revival of the Monégasque language in the principality and the flowering of its literature. Notari also wrote Monaco's national anthem.

Because of the large number of foreign nationals residing in the principality and many visitors, English is frequently used as a lingua franca (vehicular language). Italian is also widely spoken.


A colorful legend surrounds Monaco's patron saint, St. Dévote, who was born in the island of Corsica in the 3rd century ad. Persecuted by the Romans for her religious beliefs, she died a martyr's death before reaching the age of 20. Obeying the instructions they had received in a vision, a priest and his deacon put the martyr's body in a boat and set out to sea. The boatman, following the dove that he saw flying out of the dead woman's mouth, landed in Monaco, where her body was buried at a chapel. St. Dévote's martyrdom is commemorated every year on January 27, a national holiday. As part of the observance, in the evening of January 26 the Grimaldi family and other government officials set fire to a wooden boat in front of the church of St. Dévote near the harbor. On January 27 a religious service at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral is held, and there is a procession of the relics and the blessing of the Palace, the town, and the sea. The service is followed by fireworks and receptions in the Monte Carlo Opera House.

National Day (November 19) festivities typically are: a Thanksgiving Mass, a conferring of honors and decorations at the Palace, a gala evening at the Opera House, gifts and treats for children and the elderly, and fireworks. Monégasque Christmas typically means a family meal consisting of bran-damincium, a Monégasque dish of salt cod with garlic, oil and cream; cardu, cardoon in white sauce; barbagiuan (literally "Uncle John"), fritters stuffed with vegetables and cheese; and flat, crunchy biscuits called fougasses. A Christmas loaf (u pan de Natale), with an ornament in the shape of a cross, made of walnuts and olive twigs, decorates the table. Before Christmas dinner, the youngest or the oldest guest soaks an olive branch in a glass of old wine. He or she then approaches the fireplace, makes a sign of a cross with the branch, and pronounces a few words on the virtues of the olive tree.

On a darker note, another legend claims that a woman wronged by Rainier I, an ancestor of the current monarch, placed a curse on his family, casting a shadow on any happiness they might enjoy in marriage. The Grimaldi family has certainly had its share of unhappy events in the recent past. In 1982 Princess Grace was killed in a car accident and in 1990 Stefano Casiraghi, the first husband of Grace's eldest daughter Caroline, died while competing in a boating race, leaving his young wife a widow with three small children.


The official religion of the principality is Roman Catholicism (approximately 90% of residents are Roman Catholic), but freedom to practice other religions is guaranteed by the Constitution. There are five Catholic churches in Monaco and one cathedral. Monaco also belongs to the Church of England's Gibraltar diocese. There is one Anglican church, with membership of 135, but serving also a large number of visitors and tourists. The Jewish community numbers 1,500 and congregates in the Association Culturelle Israélite de Monaco, a house converted into a synagogue, Hebrew school, and a kosher shop.


Most national holidays in Monaco are holy days of the Christian calendar, including Easter, Saint John's Day (June 24), the Day of Saint Roman (August 9), who is, after Saint Dévote, the most venerated saint in the Principality, the feasts of the Assumption (August 15), and the Immaculate Conception (December 8), Ascension, Pentecost Monday, All Saints' Day (November 1), and Christmas. The martyrdom of Monaco's patron saint, St. Dévote, is commemorated on January 27. Other holidays include New Year's Day and Labor Day (May 1) and the Monégasque National Holiday (or Saint Rainier's Day, November 19; before 1857, the Day of Saint Dévote was celebrated as the National Holiday).


Monégasques live in a modern European country, where Roman Catholicism is nominally the faith of the majority, but where religion, like in the rest of Western Europe, is not widely practiced. Many of the rites of passage that young people undergo are based on religious rituals, such as baptism, first Communion, confirmation, and marriage, but the emphasis is placed significantly less on the religious than on the social aspect of the ritual. In addition, a student's progress through the education system is marked in many families by graduation parties, culminating with the celebration of the successful passing of the baccalauréat, a demanding comprehensive examination taken at the end of the last year of high school.


The people of Monaco interact with each other in ways similar to those of people in sophisticated cities worldwide. Relationships between sexes are marked by complete equality and cohabitation (either before or, increasingly, instead of marriage) is common. The customary greeting is a handshake while the embrace and kisses on both cheeks are reserved for friends and relatives. The usual form of address is "Mr." or "Mrs." (Madame, used with all women except with very young girls), followed by the last name. Some of the more traditional ways of interaction and courtesy (opening a door for a woman or an elderly person, or offering them a better seat in a restaurant or in public transportation) are still widely observed. In daily interactions with strangers and casual acquaintances, great importance is attached to a courteous and cordial, but unintrusive mode of communication, where spirited remarks are exchanged and appreciated, but where questions of a more personal nature are generally discouraged until a much closer relationship has developed. In conversation, strong and straightforward opinions bout politics and culture are expected. Invitations to dinner are usually reciprocated by a small gift of chocolates for the hostess. In restaurants with friends, acquaintances or business partners, most Monégasques do not split the cost of a meal, instead taking turns in paying for meals on different occasions.


Monaco's residents enjoy a high standard of living that includes one of the greatest per capita incomes ($70,670) in the world. The demand for residential space in the tiny principality is so great that lawns are built on the roofs of some new residential dwellings. Architectural styles range from the ornate grandeur of 19th-century villas to the modern lines of concrete high-rise apartment buildings. Meeting the high demand for luxury housing is a high priority for both the government and the construction industry. Apartments rent for as high as $25,000 a month or more, and the cost of a square meter (10.7 sq ft) in a new building varies between $10,000 and $20,000. Nationals of any country may buy real estate in the principality.

Monaco's residents can afford the best in health care and enjoy excellent health. There is no governmental or societal discrimination against persons with disabilities. The average life expectancy is close to 78 years, and the country has a low infant mortality rate of 4 deaths for every 1,000 live births, with one physician and over 100 nurses for every 700 people. The principality has frequent bus service, and rail service is provided by the French national railroad system, which has about 1.6 km (1 mi) of track in the country. The international airport at Nice is only 10 km (6 mi) from Monaco, and the principality's harbor provides sea access.

Though not a member of the European Union, Monaco uses the single European currency of the euro. About 45.9 out of 100 residents are cellular phone users, and 49.4 are Internet users. The majority of Monaco's restaurants and hotels are pet-friendly. Public cleaning service employees keep Monaco's streets and green areas outstandingly clean and beautiful at all times of the year.


The typical family in Monaco is the nuclear family composed of parents and their children, where close relationships are maintained with grandparents, cousins and in-laws. Most Monégasque women have one or two children during the course of their childbearing years. Like in the neighboring France, cohabitation is increasingly replacing marriage, and the number of children born out of wedlock is consequently rising. Because of the small size of their country, the residents of Monaco have an unusually personal relationship with their ruling family, the Grimaldis. All adult Monégasques are invited to the palace to celebrate major events in the lives of the Grimaldi family, such as engagements, weddings, and christenings. All Monégasque children under the age of 12 are invited to an annual palace Christmas party that includes refreshments, entertainment, and a gift for every child.


Monégasques wear modern, stylish clothing typical of Western and Mediterranean Europe, especially France and Italy. Monaco's residents can be seen sporting the best in fashion (formal or casual), especially in the evening, at Monaco's restaurants, casinos, and other entertainment spots. While topless bathing is common and accepted in Monaco as in other parts of the French Riviera, multilingual signs posted throughout Monaco warn: "Apart from the immediate vicinity of the beaches and bathing facilities it is forbidden to walk around bare-chested, wearing only a swimming costume, or barefoot. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in prosecution." Visits to local churches require modesty in dress, banning bare shoulders for women and shorts for both sexes.


Monaco's cuisine, like that of the neighboring cities on the French Riviera, is essentially Mediterranean in nature, with plenty of olive oil, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, and anchovies. Fresh fish—including sea bass, red mullet, and daurade— are, naturally, plentiful and popular, as is the famous fish stew, bouillabaisse. The region is also known for its abundance of fresh vegetables, savored both in salads and dishes such as ratatouille, a vegetable stew made from tomatoes, onions, peppers, and eggplant (called aubergine on the Mediterranean coast). A local favorite for a warm snack is barbajuan (or barbagiuan), a fried pastry filled with chard, spinach, leek, oregano, and cheese. Wine is drunk with lunch and dinner. The Hôtel de Paris has the world's deepest hotel wine cellar, with a special section boasting champagnes that are almost 200 years old.


Education in Monaco is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16, and literacy is practically universal (99%). The school curriculum is based on that of France, but students are also taught the history of Monaco and, increasingly, there is formal instruction in Monégasque (natively Munegascu or Munegu), a small Romance language spoken in the principality. Students attend école élémentaire (primary school) between the ages of 6 and 11, collège (junior high or secondary school) and lycée (high school) between the ages of 11 and 15, and 15 and 18, respectively. Monaco has 10 public schools, among which seven are nursery (école maternelle) and primary schools, one collège, and two lycées, in addition to two denominational private schools and one international school. About 80% of students in public schools are not Monaco nationals, and one-third of these students are not domiciled in the principality.

The International University of Monaco is an English-language private institution founded in 1986. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business.


The lively interest that the Grimaldi family has always demonstrated for the arts, and their continuously strong patronage of resident and visiting artists, set the tone for the principality's cultural life. The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra is a permanent orchestra established in 1863. It found its home in the Salle Garnier Opera House in 1879, and in 1953 it was renamed the National Orchestra of the Monte-Carlo Opera, becoming finally in 1979 the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. Among its past conductors are many great names, from Richard Strauss and Arturo Toscanini, to Leonard Bernstein, Lovro von Matacic and Lorin Maazel. Its Artistic Director and Conductor-in-Chief in 2008 was Marek Janowski, scheduled to step down in 2009. Another one of Monaco's cultural attractions is its opera. Since its creation, the Opera of Monte-Carlo has attracted the world's best singers, and composers such as Bizet, Franck, or Massenet wrote some of their best works for the Opera. At one time the Opera was also home to the Ballets Russes, a ballet company of the famous Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev. Today, Monaco has its own ballet company. In 1985, following the wishes of her mother, the late Princess Grace, Princess Caroline of Hanover established the new Monte-Carlo Ballet, the official national company of the principality. The company is housed at The Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance, a ballet school that the late Princess Grace established in 1975. The youngest Monégasques are represented by The Little Singers of Monaco, a world-renowned children's choir, established by Prince Antoine I in the early 18th century. Monaco's Music Academy was founded in 1956, under the patronage of Prince Rainier III. In memory of his father, in 1966 Prince Rainier also established the Foundation Prince Pierre, which assigns the Prince Pierre Literary Prize, the Musical Composition Prize, and the Contemporary Art International Prize. In 1964 the Princess Grace of Monaco Foundation was created to support the performing arts. The Foundation, now chaired by Princess Caroline of Hanover, has three permanent activities: The Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance, the Boutiques du Rocher, and The Princess Grace Irish Library, established by Prince Rainier in 1984 as a tribute to the Irish heritage of his late wife. The library houses a collection of rare Irish books and music sheets, and its staff promotes Irish culture through conferences, readings, and fellowships.

The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, located at the water's edge and towering over a cliff, was inaugurated in 1910 by Prince Albert I, grandfather of Prince Rainier III, and an internationally recognized scientist and oceanographer. It houses an impressive aquarium and a display of whales' skeletons, as well as both historical and modern exhibits dealing with oceanographic study. In 1902 Prince Albert I founded Monaco's Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology, and in 1913 he established the basis for today's Exotic Garden, devoted to the preservation of the flora of the world's arid zones.


Monaco has practically no unemployment. It is the only country in the world in which the labor force exceeds the total population. Over two-thirds (28,000 French and 6,000 Italians) of its labor force of 44,200 commutes to work from France or Italy. All non-French citizens wishing to work in Monaco must obtain a work permit from the Department of Employment. Every employee in Monaco is entitled to 12 legal paid public holidays and a minimum of 30 days annual paid vacation days. Commerce represents 40% of all economic activity in the principality. Banking and financial sector account for 15% of its economy. Tourism is a major employer in this nation that welcomes over 6 million visitors from abroad every year, with 700,000 overnight stays and 700 conferences (2005), and it represents 13% of the economy. Monte-Carlo's casino enterprise, the Société des Bains de Mer (S.B.M.), provides numerous jobs in its restaurants and hotels, as well as in the casino itself. Industrial activity represents approximately 8% of the total economy in the principality. Many workers—especially those who commute from neighboring countries—are employed in new real-estate projects and in the low-polluting, but high-added-value light industries that have been established in Monaco since the 1970s through the efforts of Prince Rainier III. Products include perfumes and cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, precision instruments, jewelry, leather goods, radio parts, textiles and garments, with the emphasis on high-tech production. The rest of Monaco's economy is based on real-estate development, shipping, transportation and other services. Most recently, discussions about the future of Monaco's economy have been directed toward attracting businesses based on information technology services. The total turnover of the private sector in 2005 was approximately Û11 billion.


Monaco is connected with several world-famous sporting events. The first Monégasque sports association was founded in 1888, eleven years after the Tennis Master Series had begun in Monte-Carlo. 1904 saw the first speedboat meeting, and 1929 saw the first automobile Grand Prize race. Today the race is named Monaco Grand Prix and is widely considered to be the most challenging Formula One track in the world. The Grand Prix is a unique event whose circuit lies totally within Monaco's modest borders. Its 100 laps include both uphill and downhill stretches, hairpin turns, and passage through a tunnel. Residents gather at strategic spots throughout the principality to view the race, and some lucky ones can even see part of the route from their own houses. Other well-known sporting events include the Monte-Carlo Golf Open, which was held at Monte Carlo Golf Club at Mont Agel (France) between 1984 and 1992, and the prestigious Monte-Carlo Masters (until the early 1990s known as the Monte-Carlo Open), an annual tennis tournament for male professional players, held in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (France). The tournament is played on clay courts, every year in April/May, and is part of the ATP Masters Series. Additionally, a number of world's top professional tennis players have made Monaco their primary residence.

In addition to their status as top spectator sports, both golf and tennis are also popular participatory sports in Monaco. The Monte-Carlo Country Club's clay tennis courts overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean are some of the most scenically located in Europe. Monégasques also enjoy a variety of water sports. The Monaco Yacht Club runs a sailing school and also rents out boats for big-game fishing.


Monaco residents and visitors enjoy a variety of opera, ballet, and concert events all year round. In addition to high culture, Monaco hosts International Circus Festival, Monte-Carlo Television Festival and Market, Monte-Carlo Spring Arts Festival, Monaco International Dogs Show, International Fireworks Festival, Monaco Yacht Show, and International Fine Art and Antiques show.

Monaco has been known as a gambling mecca since the opening of the Casino at Monte-Carlo in 1863. Residents and visitors alike enjoy its beaches, its numerous museums and other cultural events, and its beautiful gardens, including the Princess Grace Rose Garden that boasts 150 different varieties of roses. The yearly Rose Ball and Monte-Carlo Red Cross Gala Ball are two of Europe's most glamorous charity events, bringing together many international celebrities, and benefiting the Princess Grace Foundation and the Red Cross. The annual film festival in nearby Cannes, France, is one of the most famous in the world of entertainment. Monaco's residents receive numerous foreign and locally produced radio and television programs.


In 1964 the Princess Grace of Monaco Foundation was established to support local craftsmen and women. In 1960s, the princess opened shops in Monte Carlo and Monaco-Ville where potters and other local artisans could sell their work. The two shops, known as the Boutiques du Rocher, continue to sell Monégasque and Provençal hand-made wares, gifts made of porcelain, wood and textiles, toys and dolls. Th eir income benefits hospitalized children, and their entire costs of operation are underwritten by the Foundation.


With its high level of per capita income ($70,670 in 2007), high employment, and efficient government, Monaco is free of the social problems encountered in most countries. A watchful police force sees to it that street crime is virtually nonexistent. Some 500 police officers patrol the streets of the tiny principality, and close to 100 surveillance cameras allow the officers at police headquarters to further monitor any suspicious activity. Concern has been voiced in some quarters about the impact of the country's industrial development and residential construction boom on the quality of daily life for its residents.


Life expectancy for women in Monaco in 2007 is 83.85 years (compared to 75.99 for men). The median age of Monaco women residents is 47.5 (compared to 43.5 for males). The fertility rate for 2007 was 1.75 children born/woman; the birth rate is 9.12 births/1,000 residents. The literacy rate for women in Monaco is 99% (same as for men).

The new Constitution of Monaco was proclaimed on 17 December 1962, establishing the Supreme Court of Monaco, abolishing capital punishment, and providing for women's suffrage. The Constitution declares all Monaco nationals to be equal before the law. While the percentage of women in politics and government still does not correspond to their percentage of the population, women are very active in public service. Some remnants of legal discrimination are still present, particularly with regard to the transmission of citizenship: women who acquire Monégasque citizenship by naturalization cannot transmit it to their children, while naturalized male citizens can. Only male nationals between the ages of 16-49 are considered available for military service. On a historic note, a treaty between Monaco and France, signed in 1918, contained a clause providing that, should the Grimaldi dynasty 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, making Princess Caroline second in line for the throne of the principality.

Women are generally represented well in the professions. although somewhat less well in the business. They receive equal pay for equal work. In 2008 the Dean of the International University of Monaco was a woman, as were two out of the seven members of Monaco's Physicians Association Council, and one of the three members of Monaco's Attorneys Association Council.

Reported occurrences of violence against women are rare, and there are no reports of sexual harassment. Domestic violence is illegal, and any wife who is a victim of marital violence may bring criminal charges against her husband. The Monaco government provides mandatory, free and universal education for children up to the age of 16.

Monaco shares very liberal French attitudes towards sexuality. Cohabitation is increasingly replacing marriage. Homosexuality, male and female, enjoys wide social acceptance, and is legal under the Monégasque Penal Code, all criminal penalties for homosexual behavior having been eliminated in 1973. The legal age of consent is set at 16 years. At present, Monaco provides no civil unions, or recognition of same-sex partners. There are, so far, no exclusively gay public clubs or gathering places in Monaco.

The Grimaldi family has demonstrated firm commitment to promoting equal rights for women and homosexuals. Princess Caroline of Hanover, appointed as UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador for the education of young girls and women, is active in lending Monaco's financial support to women's welfare in developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia. Her younger sister Princess Stéphanie has dedicated considerable efforts to the fight against AIDS, and to removing the stigma surrounding the disease. She created the foundation "Fight Aids Monaco" in support of people living with HIV and is an UNAIDS (Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS) ambassador.


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Conniff, Richard. "Monaco." National Geographic. May 1996, pp. 81–94.

Eccardt, Th omas M. Secrets of the Seven Smallest States of Europe: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2004.

Edwards, Anne. The Grimaldis of Monaco. New York: Morrow, 1992.

Gall, Timothy, and Susan Gall, ed. Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. Detroit: Gale Research, 1995.

Glatt, John. The Royal House of Monaco: Dynasty of Glamour, Tragedy and Scandal. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Grinda, Georges and Jorri C. Duursma, trans. The Principality of Monaco: State, International Status, Institutions. Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2006.

—by K. von Wittelsbach.

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Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.