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The sovereign city-state of Monaco, officially named the Principality of Monaco, is located on the French Riviera in western Europe. It is a coastal state which has the Mediterranean Sea on its east as its boundary and is surrounded by the country of France on the other three sides. The capital is the city-state of Monaco and its largest quartier, or district, is Monte Carlo, home of the famed Monte Carlo Casino at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera. The official language of Monaco is French. It is a constitutional monarchy, and its ruling monarch is the head of the princely house of Grimaldi.

The first settlers in the region were the Ligurians, who came from Genoa. In the sixth century BC, Greeks from the city of Phocaea founded the colony of Monoikos, which was the name of a place that Hercules passed through in Greek mythology.

In approximately 50 BC, it fell to the Romans, becoming part of the Maritime Alps Province, and Western Roman Empire continued to rule Monaco until it collapsed in 476 AD. Flavius Odacer, the first king of Italy, took over and remained the ruler of Monaco until the late fifth century. The Roman Empire recaptured it in the middle of the sixth century until the seventh century.

The Lombards, the Franks, Barbarians, and Saracens, raided Monaco repeatedly, leaving the region depopulated. The Saracens were expelled in 975, and in the eleventh century, it was reclaimed by the Ligurians.

Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI gave suzerainty over the area to Genoa in 1191, and in 1215 a group of Genoese Ghibellines began building a fortress at the top of the Rock of Monaco, and thus began Monaco's modern history.

The Ghibellines, a faction supporting the Holy Roman Emperor, were in opposition to the Guelphs, an opposition faction supporting the Pope.

The Grimaldi family were Guelphs who fled to Monaco along with other Guelphs to escape the civil unrest in Genoa caused by the struggle between the two groups. In 1297, Francesco Grimaldi seized the Rock of Monaco, an event which started the Grimaldi Dynasty.

In 1814, the Principality of Monaco was established, and the next year, after Napoleon's defeat, it was designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna. In 1860 Sardinia ceded Monaco to France.

In 1849, the towns of Menton, which was first acquired by Charles Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco in 1346, and Roquebrunem which fell under the rule of the Grimaldi family in 1355, both declared their independence and were rife with civil unrest after that. Hoping to become part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, they instead remained in political limbo until they were finally ceded to Francs as a plebiscite in 1861 as one of the conditions of the Franco-Monegasque Treaty. These two towns had previously constituted about 95% of the Principality of Monaco. France covers Monaco's military defense.

The Casino of Monte Carlo, a world-famous gaming resort, opened its doors in 1863, with the goal of saving the Grimaldis, whose financial position was weak after losing approximately 95% of the tax revenue from the loss of the two cities, from bankruptcy.

In 1848, the future Prince of Monaco Louis II was born to 21-year-old Prince Albert I and 19-year-old Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton. Louis was born less latere. His mother hated Monaco and was not much fonder of her husband. She left Monaco forever when Louis was till a baby. Their marriage was annulled, and Louis was raised by his mother and stepfather in Germany.

He did not see his father until he was 11, at which time he had to go back to Monaco and be trained for his princely duties. Louis didn't like Monaco, or his father, any more than his mother did. He left for France to go to military college, and when he graduated four years later, he requested a posting with the French Foreign Legion fighting in the French colonies in Africa. He fell in love with a mother of two, Juliette, but his father would not allow them to marry. Together, they had a daughter Louise Juliette. Louis returned to Monaco after ten years in the military, leaving Juliette and Charlotte behind.

In 1911, a law was passed which recognized Louis's daughter so that if he died, there would be another heir. In 1922, Prince Albert I died.

In 1943, Monaco was invaded and occupied by the Italian Army for the purpose of setting up a fascist puppet government. Soon afterward, Benito Mussolini was dismissed and arrested, and the German Army moved in to occupy Monaco and began deporting Jews. Louis secretly ordered the local police to surreptitiously warn people when the Gestapo was about to arrest them.

Prince Louis died in 1949, and next in succession was Princess Charlotte. However, she had ceded her succession rights to her son Rainier in 1944. When his grandfather died, he became Prince Rainier III.



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