Ruler: Prince Albert II (2005)
Minister of State: Serge Telle (2016)
Total area: 0.8 sq mi (2.0 sq km)
Population (2013 est.): 30,508 (growth rate: 0.06%); birth rate: 6.72/1000; infant mortality rate: 1.81/1000; life expectancy: 89.57
Capital (2003 est.): Monaco, 1,400
Largest city: Monte Carlo, 15,400
Monetary unit: Euro
Monaco is a tiny, hilly wedge driven into the French Mediterranean coast; it is 9 mi east of Nice, France.
The Phoenicians, and after them the Greeks, had a temple on the Monacan headland honoring Hercules. The principality took its name from Monoikos, the Greek surname for this mythological hero. After being independent for 800 years, Monaco was annexed to France in 1793 and placed under Sardinia's protection in 1815. By the Franco-Monegasque treaty of 1861, Monaco went under French guardianship but continued to be independent. A treaty made with France in 1918 contained a clause providing that, in the event that the male Grimaldi dynasty should die out, Monaco would become an autonomous state under French protection.
Monaco has a tourist business that attracts as many as 1.5 million visitors a year and is famous for its beaches and casinos, especially world-famous Monte Carlo. It had gaming tables as early as 1856.