Founded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa, Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, when François Grimaldi, known as “Malizia” seized Monaco’s fortress in response to the exile imposed upon the Guelfs. For seven centuries the Grimaldi family has presided over the Principality of Monaco, the only exception to this was from 1789 to 1814, when Monaco was under French control. Designated as a protectorate of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860 by the Congress of Vienna, Monaco’s sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.
The Principality at the Côte d’Azur has only one commune, Monaco, whose limits are the same as those of the state.
Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad linkup to France and the opening of a casino in Monte-Carlo.
On 11 April 1950 Prince Rainier officially became monarch, succeeding his grandfather Prince Louis II. With the marriage to U.S. actress Grace Kelly in 1956, Prince Rainier brought Hollywood glamor to his tiny Mediterranean state and put Monaco on the international stage. Since then, the principality’s mild climate, splendid scenery and gambling facilities have made Monaco world famous as a tourist and recreation center and a haven for really rich people.