1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Monaco

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MONACO, a territory of south-eastern France, the smallest of the sovereign principalities of Europe. Area about 8 sq. m., the length being 2¼ m. and the width varying from 165 to 1100 yds. Pop. (1900), 15,180. Monaco is situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, 9 m. east of Nice, and is bounded on all sides by the French department of Alpes-Maritimes. It includes the towns of Monaco (3292), Condamine (6218) and Monte Carlo (3794). The principality at one time included Mentone and Roccabruna, now known as Roquebrune, which towns, however, were ceded to France in 1861 for a sum of four million francs. The town of Monaco occupies the level summit of a rocky headland, rising about 200 ft. from the shore, and still defended by ramparts. Though largely modernized, the palace is an interesting specimen of Renaissance architecture; the “cathedral” (Romanesque-Byzantine style), and the oceanographical museum may also be mentioned. For this museum a fine building, appropriately decorated, was opened in March 1910 by the prince of Monaco. It stands on the edge of the cliff rising from the sea at the gardens of St Martin, and was designed to house the collections made by the prince during twenty-five years of oceanographical research, and others. Behind the rock, between Mont Tête de Chien and Mont de la Justice, the high grounds rise towards La Turbie, the village on the hill which takes its name from the tropaea with which Augustus marked the boundary between Gaul and Italy. On the north lies the bay of Monaco; along the lower ground on the west of the bay stretches the health and bathing resort of Condamine, with orange-gardens, manufactures of perfumes and liqueurs, and the chapel of Ste Dévote, the patron saint of Monaco; to the north of the bay on the rocky slopes of the Spélugues (speluncae) are grouped the various buildings of the Casino of Monte Carlo with the elaborate gardens and the numerous villas and hotels which it has called into existence. Adjoining the Casino terrace and overlooking the sea is the pigeon-shooting ground, the competitions on which are celebrated.

There appear to have been gambling-tables at Monte Carlo in the year 1856, but it was in 1861 that François Blanc, seeing his tenancy at Homburg coming to an end, with no hope of renewal, obtained a concession for fifty years from Charles III. This concession passed into the hands of a joint-stock company, which in 1898 obtained an extension to 1947, in return for a payment to the prince of £400,000 in 1899 and of £600,000 in 1913, together with an increase of the annual tribute of £50,000 to £70,000 in 1907, £80,000 in 1917, £90,000 in 1927, and £100,000 in 1937. None of the inhabitants of Monaco have access to the tables; and their interest in the maintenance of the status quo is secured by their complete exemption from taxation and the large prices paid for their lands. The ruler of the principality, Prince Albert, born 1848, succeeded his father, Prince Charles III., in 1889. He married in 1869 Lady Mary Douglas Hamilton, by whom in 1870 he had a son, Prince Louis: that marriage was, however, annulled in 1880, and subsequently Prince Albert married Alice, dowager-duchess of Richelieu, from whom he was divorced in 1902. The prince is absolute ruler, as there is no parliament in the principality. He is advised by a small council of state, the members of which are appointed by himself. The maire and other municipal authorities are also appointed by the prince. A governor-general presides over the administration. The judicial system is the same as that of France, there being a court of first instance and a juge de paix. By arrangement, two Paris judges form a court of appeal. Monaco is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop.

A temple of Heracles seems to have been built on the Monaco headland by the Phoenicians at a very early date, and the same god was afterwards worshipped there by the Greeks under the surname of Μόνοικος, whence the name Monaco. Monoeci Portus or Portus Herculis is frequently mentioned by the later Latin writers. From the 10th century the place was associated with the Grimaldi, a powerful Genoese family who held high offices under the republic and the emperors; but not till a much later date did it become their permanent possession and residence. In the beginning of the 14th century it was notorious for its piracies. Charles I. (a man of considerable mark, who, after doing great service by sea and land to Philip of Valois in his English wars, was severely wounded at Crecy) purchased Mentone and Roccabruna, and bought up the claims of the Spinola to Monaco. The princes of Monaco continued true to France till 1524, when Augustin Grimaldi threw in his lot with Charles V. Honoré I., Augustin's successor, was made marquis of Campagna and count of Canosa, and people as well as rulers were accorded various important privileges. The right to exact toll from vessels passing the port continued to be exercised till the close of the 18th century. Honoré II. in 1641 threw off the supremacy of Spain and placed himself under the protectorate of France; he was compensated for the loss of Canosa, &c., with the duchy and peerage of Valentinois and various lesser lordships; and “duke of Valentinois” long continued to be the title of the heir-apparent of the principality. In 1731 Antoine, his great-grandson, was succeeded by his daughter Louise Hippolyte; she had married Jacques Goyon, count of Matignon and Thorigny, who took the name of Grimaldi and succeeded his wife. The National Convention annexed the principality to France in 1793; restored to the Goyon Grimaldis by the Treaty of Paris in 1814, it was placed by that of Vienna under the protection of Sardinia. The Sardinian government took the opportunity of disturbances that occurred in 1848 to annex Mentone and Roccabruna, which were occupied by a Sardinian garrison till 1859. With the transference of Nice to France in 1860 the principality passed again under French protection.

See H. Métivier, Monaco et ses princes, La Flèche (1862).