M. wurde im 5. Jh. v. Chr. gegr. 1454 gelangte M. unter die Herrschaft der Grimaldi. 1793 annektierte Frankreich M. (bis 1814); 1815–60 war es der Schutzherrschaft von Sardinien unterstellt. M. bildet mit Frankreich, mit dem seit 1918 ein Schutzvertrag besteht, ein einheitl. Zollgebiet. Beim Aussterben der Grimaldi wird M. frz. Protektorat. Regierender Fürst ist seit dem Jahr 1949 Rainier III.
A constitutional monarchy on the French Riviera.
Small sovereign state forming an enclave in S France, with the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
Under the 1911 constitution, modified 1917 and largely rewritten 1962, Monaco is a hereditary principality, but an earlier concept of endowing the prince with a divine right to rule has been deleted. Legislative power is shared between the prince and a single-chamber national council, with 18 members elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is formally vested in the prince but in practice is exercised by a four-member council of government.
France is closely involved in the government of Monaco, providing a civil servant, of the prince's choosing, to head its council of government. Agreements between France and Monaco state that Monaco will be incorporated into France if the reigning prince dies without a male heir.
Formerly part of the Roman Empire, Monaco became a Genoese possession in the 12th century and has been ruled since 1297 by the Grimaldi family. It was a Spanish protectorate 1542–1641, then came under French protection and during the French revolution was annexed by France. The ruling family was imprisoned (one was guillotined) but regained power after the 1814 Treaty of Paris. In 1815 Monaco became a protectorate of Sardinia but reverted to French protection 1861. In 1940 it was occupied by Italy and in 1943 by Germany but was liberated 1945. Prince Rainier III came to the throne 1949 and a male heir, Prince Albert, was born 1958. In May 1993 Monaco became a full member of the United Nations, having held observer status since 1955.