Monaco (i/ˈmɒnəkoʊ/), officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque:Principatu de Múnegu; Italian: Principato di Monaco;Occitan: Principat de Mónegue), is a sovereign city stateon the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera). It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy. Its area is 1.98 km2(0.76 sq mi) with a population of 35,986 as of 2011. Monaco boasts the world's highest GDP nominal per capita at $215,163 and is the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco also has the world's highestlife expectancy at almost 90 years, and the lowestunemployment rate. After a recent expansion of Port Hercule Monaco's total area is 2.05 km2 (0.79 sq mi), with new plans to extend the district of Fontvieille, with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea.
Monaco is a principality governed under a form ofconstitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco since 1297, and the state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. Despite Monaco being independent and pursuing its own foreign policy course, its national defence is the responsibility of France.
Monaco's name comes from the 6th century BC nearbyPhocaean Greek colony. Referred to the Ligurians asMonoikos, from the Greek "μόνοικος", "single house", from "μόνος" (monos) "alone, single" + "οἶκος" (oikos) "house", which bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos.
Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was re-founded in 1215 as a colony ofGenoa. Monaco was first ruled by a member of theHouse of Grimaldi in 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi ("Il Malizia", translated from Italian either as "The Malicious One" or "The Cunning One") and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco while he was dressed as a Franciscan monk – a Monaco in Italian, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name. Francesco, however, was chased off only a few years afterwards by the Genovese forces, and the struggle over "the Rock" continued for another century.
In 1419. the Grimaldis purchased Monaco from the crown of Aragon and became the official and undisputed rulers of "the Rock of Monaco", and it was in 1612 Honore II began to style himself "Prince" of Monaco. In the 1630s, Honore II sought French protection against the Spanish forces and was eventually, in 1642, received in the court of Louis XIII as "Duc et Pair Etranger". The princes of Monaco thus became a vassal of the French kings while at the same time remained a sovereign prince. As the successive princes and their families spent most of their lives in Paris, and through marriages with French nobilities, the House of Grimaldi, Italian in origin, became thoroughly French in character. The principality continued its existence as a protectrate of France until the Great Revolution.
In 1793, French Revolutionary forces captured Monaco and it remained under direct French control until 1814 when the Bourbons returned to the throne. The principality was re-established that year, only to be designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Monaco remained in this position until 1860 when, by the Treaty of Turin, the Sardinian forces pulled out of the principality and the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy)was ceded to France. Monaco became a French protectrate once again. Prior to this time there was unrest in Menton and Roquebrune where the townspeople had been weary of heavy taxation by the Grimaldis, and declared independence hoping for annexation by Sardinia. France protested. The unrest continued until Charles III gave up his claim to the two mainland towns (some 95% of the principality) that the Grimaldis ruled for over 500 years. They were ceded to France in return for 4,100,000 francs. The transfer and Monaco's sovereignty was recognised by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. In 1869, the principality stopped collecting income tax from its residents; indulgence the Grimaldis could afford to entertain thanks solely to extraordinary success of the casino. This made Monaco not only the playground for the rich, but the place to live.