May 29, 2012, 12:13 pm
Source: CIA World Factbook
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Monoco (formally, the Principality of Monaco) is a nation of 30,000 people bordering the Mediterranean Sea on the southern coast of France, near the border with Italy. With an area of just two square miles it is second-smallest independent state in the world (after Holy See). It is almost entirely urban.

The Genoese built a fortress on the site of present day Monaco in 1215. The current ruling Grimaldi family first seized temporary control in 1297, and again in 1331, but were not able to permanently secure their holding until 1419.

Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad linkup to France and the opening of a casino.

Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world famous as a tourist and recreation center.


The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest independent state in the world, after the Holy See (Vatican City). It is located on the Mediterranean coast, 18 kilometers (11 mi.) east of Nice, France, and is surrounded on three sides by France. Monaco is divided into four sections: Monaco-Ville, the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean; La Condamine, the section along the port; Monte-Carlo, the principal residential and resort area; and Fontvieille, an area constructed on land reclaimed from the sea.

The principality is noted for its beautiful natural scenery and mild, sunny climate. The average minimum temperature in January and February is 8oC (47oF); in July and August the average maximum temperature is 26oC (78oF).

Location: Western Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea on the southern coast of France, near the border with Italy

Geographic Coordinates: 43 44 N, 7 24 E

Area: 2 sq km

Land Boundaries:  4.4 km (France)

Coastline: 4.1 km

Maritime Claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 12 nm

Terrain:   hilly, rugged, rocky. The highest point is Mont Agel (140 m).

Climate: Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers

People and Society

Population: 30,510 (July 2012 est.)

French is the official language; English, Italian, and Monegasque (a blend of French and Italian) also are spoken. The literacy rate is 99%. Roman Catholicism is the official religion, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution.

Ethnic Groups: French 47%, Monegasque 16%, Italian 16%, other 21%

Age Structure:

0-14 years: 12.3% (male 1,930/female 1,841)
15-64 years: 60.8% (male 9,317/female 9,249)
65 years and over: 26.9% (male 3,640/female 4,562) (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate: -0.066% (2012 est.)

Birthrate: 6.85 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death Rate: 8.52 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net Migration Rate: 1.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 89.68 years 

male: 85.74 years
female: 93.77 years (2012 est.)

Total Fertility Rate: 1.51 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Languages: French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque

Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write)99% (2003 est.)

Urbanization: 100% of total population (2010)


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.

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.

A new constitution, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for female suffrage, and established a Supreme Court to guarantee fundamental liberties.

In 1993, Monaco became an official member of the United Nations with full voting rights. It joined the Council of Europe in 2004.

Three months after the death of his father, Prince Rainier III, on April 6, Prince Albert II formally acceded to the throne on July 12, 2005.


Government Type: constitutional monarchy

Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Prince as chief of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (head of government), who presides over a five-member Council of Government (cabinet). The Minister of State is responsible for foreign relations. As the Prince's representative, the Minister of State also directs the executive services, commands the police, and presides (with voting powers) over the Council of Government. The five members of the Council are respectively responsible for internal affairs, external affairs, the environment, finance and economy, and social affairs and health.

Under the 1962 constitution, the Prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council. Sixteen of the 24 members of this legislative body are elected by list majority system, and 8 by proportional representation to serve 5-year terms. The elections were last held in February 2008. If the Prince dissolves the National Council, new elections must be held within 3 months. Usually meeting twice annually, the Council votes on the budget and endorses laws proposed by the Prince.

Ordinances passed by the National Council are debated in the Council of Government, as are the ministerial decrees signed by the Minister of State. Once approved, the ordinances must be submitted to the Prince within 80 days for his signature, which makes them legally enforceable. If he does not express opposition within 10 days of submission, they become valid.

The principality's local affairs (the administration of the four quarters of Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille) are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of 15 elected members and is presided over by the Mayor.

Capital: Monaco

Administrative divisions:  none; there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are four quarters (quartiers, singular - quartier); Fontvieille, La Condamine, Monaco-Ville, Monte-Carlo

Independence:  1419 (beginning of permanent rule by the House of Grimaldi)

Legal System: civil law system influenced by French legal tradition.  Monoco has not submitted an International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction declaration; and is a non-party state to the International criminal court (ICCt).

Judicial power is invested in the Prince, who delegates judicial procedures to the various courts, which dispense justice in his name. The independence of the judges is guaranteed by the constitution. The Supreme Court is composed of five chief members and two assistant judges named by the Prince on the basis of nominations by the National Council and other government bodies. The Supreme Court is the highest court for judicial appeals and also interprets the constitution when necessary. Monaco's legal system, closely related to that of France, is patterned after the Napoleonic Code.

International Environmental Agreements

Monoco is party to international agreements on: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, and Whaling.

Foreign Relations

Monaco actively participates in the United Nations, which it joined in 1993. Monaco joined the Council of Europe on October 4, 2004. Monaco also is a member of several other international and intergovernmental organizations, including Interpol, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) is headquartered in Monaco.

The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign and independent state, linked closely to France by the Treaty of July 1918, which was formally noted in Article 436 of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The foreign policy of Monaco is one illustration of this accord: France has agreed to defend the independence and sovereignty of Monaco, while the Monegasque Government has agreed to exercise its sovereign rights in conformity with French interests. Since then, the relations between the sovereign states of France and Monaco have been further defined in the Treaty of 1945 and the Agreement of 1963.

In 2002, Monaco renegotiated its 1918 treaty with France. In 2005, it was ratified by both parties and entered into force. The terms of the treaty:

  • Upgrade France's representation in Monaco from Consulate General to that of an embassy;
  • Permit, for the first time, other countries to accredit ambassadors to Monaco; and
  • Formally recognize the succession scheme set out in the 1962 Constitution, which extends eligibility to the Prince's daughters and other family members.

Although not a member of the European Union (EU), Monaco is closely associated with the economic apparatus of the EU through its customs union with France and its reliance upon the Euro as its official currency. It is a de facto member of the Schengen Convention.

Monaco has 10 diplomatic missions in Western Europe and permanent representation at the United Nations and the Council of Europe. It maintains honorary consulates in 106 cities in 45 countries. Seventy-six countries have ambassadors, consulates general, consulates, or honorary consulates in or accredited to Monaco. The U.S. Ambassador to Paris has been accredited to Monaco since 2006.


Monaco, located on the Mediterranean coast, has an economy primarily geared toward finance, commerce, and tourism. Low taxes have drawn many foreign companies to Monaco; the companies' production accounts for around 50% of the €850 million annual government income (approx. $1.13 billion; 2010). The principality also is a major banking center and has successfully sought to diversify into services and small, high-value-added, nonpolluting industries.

The state has no income tax and low business taxes and thrives as a tax haven both for individuals who have established residence and for foreign companies that have set up businesses and offices. Monaco, however, is not a tax-free shelter; it charges nearly 20% value-added tax, collects stamp duties, and companies face a 33% tax on profits unless they can show that three-quarters of profits are generated within the principality.

Ever since Monaco's famed casino opened in 1856, the tourism industry has been booming. It currently accounts for close to 25% of annual revenue.

Customs, postal services, telecommunications, and banking in Monaco are governed by an economic and customs union with France. The official currency is the Euro.

Monaco is noted for its activity in the field of marine sciences. Its Oceanographic Museum, formerly directed by Jacques Cousteau, is one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the world. Monaco imports and exports products and services from all over the world. There is almost no commercial agriculture in Monaco.

Monaco was formally removed from the OECD's "grey list" of uncooperative tax jurisdictions in late 2009, but continues to face international pressure to abandon its banking secrecy laws and help combat tax evasion.

The state retains monopolies in a number of sectors, including tobacco, the telephone network, and the postal service.

Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas.

GDP: (Purchasing Power Parity): $5.47 billion (2010 est.)

GDP: (Official Exchange Rate): $5.47 billion (2010 est.)

GDP- per capita (PPP): $63,400 (2009 est.)

GDP- composition by sector:

agriculture: 0%
industry: 4.9%
services: 95.1% (2005)

Industries: tourism, construction, small-scale industrial and consumer products

Currency: Euros (EUR)




Agency, C., & Department, U. (2012). Monaco. Retrieved from


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