Monaco i/ˈmɒnəkoʊ/, officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco ; Monégasque: Principatu de Múnegu; Italian: Principato di Monaco; Occitan: Principat de Mónegue), is a sovereign city state, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. Bordered by France on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea, its center is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy, and is only 13 km (8.1 mi) north east of Nice, France. It has an area of 1.98 km2 (0.76 sq mi), and a population of 36,371, making Monaco the second smallest, and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of only 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), and a width that varies between 1.7 km (1.1 mi), and 349 metres (382 yards). The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires district, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco's most populated Quartier is Monte Carlo, and the most populated Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. After a recent expansion of Port Hercules, Monaco's total area is 2.05 km2 (0.79 sq mi), with new plans to extend the district of Fontvieille, with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea.
Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Even though Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he still has immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full UN voting member in 1993, after much political debate. Despite Monaco's independence and separate foreign policy, its defence is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units, totaling 263 officers and men, the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco, and the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince.
Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad line to France, and the opening of the first casino, Monte Carlo. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world-famous as a tourist and recreation center for the rich and famous. However, in more recent years Monaco has become a major banking center holding over €100 billion worth of funds, and has successfully sought to diversify its economy into the services and small, high-value-added, nonpolluting industries. The state has no income tax and low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. Monaco boasts the world's highest GDP nominal per capita at $153,177, GDP PPP per capita at $132,571, and GNI per capita at $183,150. Monaco also has the world's highest life expectancy at nearly 90 years, and the lowest unemployment rate at 0%, with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. For the third year in a row, Monaco in 2011 had the world's most expensive real estate market, at $65,600 per square metre. According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the world's lowest poverty rate, and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.
Famous quotes containing the word monaco:
“If there is anything so romantic as that castle-palace-fortress of Monaco I have not seen it. If there is anything more delicious than the lovely terraces and villas of Monte Carlo I do not wish to see them. There is nothing beyond the semi-tropical vegetation, the projecting promontories into the Mediterranean, the all-embracing sweep of the ocean, the olive groves, and the enchanting climate! One gets tired of the word beautiful.”
—M. E. W. Sherwood (18261903)