Friday, July 21, 2006
History of Monaco
History of Monaco. This is a brief history of the European microstate known as Monaco. It is more than just casinos. Can you believe this tiny plot has been around since the 13th century?
The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Officially the 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 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."
From the site:
Founded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa, Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, except when under French control from 1789 to 1814. Designated as a protectorate of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860 by the Treaty of Vienna, Monaco's sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. The Prince of Monaco was an absolute ruler until a constitution was promulgated in 1911.
The 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia wrote, "From ancient times until the nineteenth century the port of Monaco was among the most important of the French Mediterranean coast, but now it has lost all commercial significance. Among the notable constructions of the principality are the ancient fortifications, the old ducal palace which contains beautiful frescoes by Annibale Carracci, Orazio Ferrari, and Carlone, the cathedral, built (1884-87) in the Byzantine style, by Prince Albert III, the Casino of Monte Carlo, and the monumental fountain of the public square. Monaco dates from the time of the Phoenicians, who, on the promontory upon which the old town is built, erected a temple to the god Melkarth, called Monoicos, solitary, that is, not connected with the cult of Ashtoreth; whence the town derived its name, which is Moneque, in Provencal. In the early Middle Ages the neighbouring lords often contended with each other for the possession of this important port, which later was occupied by the Saracens; it was taken from them in the tenth century by Count Grimaldi, in whose family the principality remains to this day. Formerly, it comprised Mentone and Roquebrune. The Grimaldis often had to defend themselves against Spanish or Genoese fleets; the most famous blockade of the town was that of 1506, which failed. In 1619 Prince Honoratus II, with the assistance of the French, drove the Spaniards from Monaco, and since that time the principality has been under the protection of France. During the Revolution, Monaco was annexed to France, but the principality was re-established in 1814. A revolution broke out in 1848 against the misgovernment of Prince Honoratus V, who lost Mentone and Roquebrune, these cities declaring themselves free republics, and (1860) voting for their annexation to France."
In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, formally noted in the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.