Monaco might be a tiny country, with its size of just over 2 square kilometres and population of roughly 38,400; however, its history as an independent state has been lengthy and extraordinary. Much of what is widely known about Monaco today, such as its monarchy and gambling industry, has roots that took hold many decades or, in some instances, even centuries ago. Here are some intriguing things about Monaco’s history that you might not have previously known.
The ruling family’s rise began over seven centuries ago
Today, Monaco is ruled by the Grimaldi family. That dynasty’s rise to the royal throne of Monaco began in 1297 – when, one night, François Grimaldi seized Monaco’s fortress from a competing Italian faction. He had pulled off the feat in disguise as a monk – and, for that reason, Monaco’s coat of arms today shows two sword-brandishing monks. The Grimaldi family is today one of the world’s oldest royal dynasties, despite their rule having occasionally been interrupted over the centuries.
The title of Prince originated from a Great Century
You might wonder where the Monaco sovereign’s title of Prince originally came from. The answer is the leader who came to the country’s throne as Lord Honoré II in 1604. The Monaco tourism website www.visitmonaco.com explains that he led Monaco to enjoy a “Great Century”. Due to what he had achieved, he believed himself to warrant a new title – that of Prince. So, Prince Honoré II he became.
Modern Monaco was effectively born in 1861
That year, half of Monaco’s territory was handed over to France in a deal that, nonetheless, saw the state preserve its independence. The country’s ruler at that point, Prince Charles III, knew that he had to re-establish the Principality’s economic prowess due to the natural resources that had just been lost. He decided to turn Monaco into a hub for gambling and tourism – and, to this end, hotels, a casino and a theatre were set up, paving the way for Monte-Carlo’s rise.
The French Revolution marked a dark chapter in Monaco’s history
The French Revolution broke out in 1789 and, that year, led to Monaco’s annexation to France. French Riviera Blog says that the territory got a new name of Fort d’Hercule. Members of Monaco’s royal family were put in prison, but all of their rights were, along with Monaco’s independence and name, restored in 1814. That was when Napoleon first fell from power in France – and, despite returning to the French imperial throne in 1815, he was soon dispatched at the Battle of Waterloo.
Direct personal taxation was removed in the late nineteenth century
After the Monte-Carlo winter spa resort formed by Prince Charles III become lucrative, the Prince pragmatically and strategically decided, in 1869, to lift residents’ obligations to pay direct personal taxation. To this day, Monaco residents enjoy zero income tax, wealth tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax; you could enjoy all of that, too, after relocating to Monaco with help from Monaco Relocation Services.