Musical Theme: Hymne Monégasque, the national anthem of Monaco (the very ending of it)
The Principality of Monaco is the world's smallest monarchy and the second smallest country, larger only than Vatican City. While being populated by Ligurian people (Monoikos in Greek) from the 6th century AD, the city of Monaco was founded in 1228 as a colony of Genoa. In 1297 Francesco Grimaldi captured the fortress protecting the small city state, and his family has ruled the country since.
French Revolutionary forces captured the principality in 1793, and it remained under French control until 1814 when it was designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna. It remained under Sardinia until Sardinia was also annexed to France, then gaining its independence in 1861. France, however, was (and still is) required to provide any military defenses for the small country. Not a bad deal for a country less than 1 square mile in area. Monaco was briefly occupied during World War II, but the attempt to set up a Fascist administration and replace the Grimaldis failed, leaving the country little changed.
Monaco's current claim to fame comes primarily from three sources - the late Princess Grace, its status as a tax haven, and its world renowned casino. For the first, Prince Rainier III married the American actress Grace Kelly in 1956, focusing the world's attention on the small country for the first time in centuries. Besides the constant attention she brought to the country, she also avidly worked to improve arts and education support in the US and Monaco. For a second point of fame, or rather infamy, Monaco has never levied a personal income tax on its inhabitants, thereby attracting numerous wealthy residents from around the world. The country is currently being investigated by the International Monetary Fund and the Council of Europe for possible infringements and felonies involving money laundering. Finally, the Monte Carlo Casino is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the country. Opened since 1856, the casino is visited by many of the world's wealthiest gamblers, but is forbidden to the country's own citizens. The casino serves as a landmark in the annual Monaco Grand Prix and as a location for three James Bond films. A class of computational algorithms and methods for sampling random data also take their name from the casino.
Today Monaco is one of only a handful of surviving city-states in the world.