The history of Monaco:
See Also: Grimaldi Family Tree
The Grimaldi family has been in power since 1297, when François Grimaldi (a.k.a. Malizia - "the Cunning") led a group of Guelphs and seized Monaco from the Genoese. There had been fighting between the different aristocratic factions of Genoa since 1270, the Grimaldis being once of these families. In 1296 the Grimaldis and the Guelphs were expelled from Genoa and took refuge in Provence (in the south of France). This group attacked the fortress of Monaco on 8 Jan 1297 and succeeded in capturing it. One version of the story says that François Grimaldi entered the city disguised as a Franciscan Monk, resulting in two armed Monks being added to the Grimaldi arms.
The Grimaldi family lost control of Monaco in 1301, but Charles I of Monaco regained it in 1331 when the Guelphs returned to power. He also acquired the possessions of the Spinolas (another Genoese family). He also purchased the lordships of Menton and Roquebrune, causing historians to consider him the real founder of Monaco.
In 1419, Charles I's grandsons, Ambrose, Antoine and John were Lords of Monaco, and the territory was split between them, with the rock and the Condamine going to John, who retained control of them until his death in 1454. After John I's death, Lordship passed quickly from his son Catlan to his granddaughter Claudine, who married another Grimaldi, Lambert.
Lambert was successful in gaining sovereignty for Monaco; in 1489 King Charles VIII of France and the Duke of Savoy recognized Monaco's independence. The Genoese made only one attempt to recapture the territory; this siege lasted for several months but was eventually repulsed. In 1512, King Louis II of France officially recognized Monaco's sovereignty and declared a perpetual alliance between the two states. This alliance was continued through the next two Lords, John II and Lucien, until Lucien's assignation in 1523.
Lucien's son, Honoré I was young at the time of his father's death, so his uncle, Agustin was given wardship and recognized as Lord of Monaco. However, Agustin did not receive the support previous Lords had received from the French royalty, so he turned to Emperor Charles V and entered into an alliance with Spain in 1524. This proved to be a mistake, with the Spanish not totally fulfilling their obligations while at the same time forcing Monaco to cover the vast majority of the expenses of the Spanish garrison placed at the fortress. At Agustin's death in 1532, Honoré had yet to come of age, so Lordship passed to a Genoese Grimaldi, Stephen (called "the Governor").
Conflicts filled the reigns of Honoré I and his two sons, Charles II and Hercules were all filled with conflict; Hercules was assented in 1604, while his son, also named Honoré, was again too young to rule. Honoré II's uncle, the Prince of Valetare, controlled Monaco until 1616. The Prince also persuaded his nephew in 1612 to take both the traditional title of Lord of Monaco, as well as the title of Prince. The Spanish court recognized these titles, and they were passed on to his successors .
In 1641, Honoré II, after more than 10 years of negotiations, succeeded in regaining the protection of France. The King of France, Louis XIII, gave Honoré II a French garrison to be put under Monegasque command. Honoré was also able to expel the Spanish garrison, and he received numerous honors from the King of France.
After Honoré II's death in 1662, control passed to his grandson, Louis I, who fought in the War of the United Provinces against England at the head of the Monaco Cavalry.
After Louis's death, Antoine I took the throne. In 1707, when the Duke of Savoy invaded Provence, the Prince feared that Monaco might be invaded, despite its neutrality. Therefore, large-scale fortifications were constructed, and the Principality remained wary until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
Because Antione did not have a male heir, his eldest daughter, Louis-Hippolyte married Jacques-François-Léonor de Matignon, who gave up his numerous titles and arms in favor of those of the Grimaldis. After his wife died, he was given the title of Prince of Monaco, and became Jacques I, and held the regency for his eldest son until 1733. At this point, Honoré III became the Prince of Monaco.
Honoré took part in many military campaigns, earning the rank of Field Marshal in 1748. Later, during the War of Austrian Succession, Monaco was blockaded for several months by Austrian-Sardinian forces, which were later repulsed by the forces of Marshall de Belle-Isle.
In 1789, after the French Revolution, the French Constituent Assembly removed rights given to royalty, known as feudal rights. Despite Honoré's attempts to have the Grimaldi's rights reinstated because of the Treaty of Peronne, the family found itself in a dire financial state by the time of his death in 1795.
Also at this time, a political split occurred in Monaco, with one side supporting an absolute monarchy, the other, known as The Party of the People, wanted democracy. The latter won out, and in 1793 the principality was incorporated into France itself. The royal treasures were auctioned off, and the palace became, in turn a place for officers and soldiers to stay, a hospital, and a home for the poor. The members of the royal family did not fare any better; they were imprisoned for a time, the wife of one of Honoré III's sons died at the guillotine, and they were obliged to sell nearly all of their possessions.
The Grimaldis returned to their former status after Napoleon's abdication in 1814; the Treaty of Paris returned the principality's rights. Honoré IV (the heir apparent) was in poor health, so he passed sovereignty to his son, Honoré-Gabriel.
In 1815, the Second Treaty of Paris placed Monaco under the protection of Sardinia. This was superceded, however, by a new treaty signed in 1817 with King Victor Emmanuel I of Italy, putting Monaco under Italy's protection. This turned out to be a great deal less advantageous than the treaty with France had been, and Honoré-Gabriel, now Prince Honoré V, tried unsuccessfully to remedy the situation.
In 1841, Honoré V died, and since the Prince was unmarried, Honoré's brother Florestan took power. Although Florestan was not prepared for this position of power, his wife was. Caroline Gilbert of Lametz at first had her husband redress the situation created by the decrees passed by his father, which had caused great unrest. After pacifying the population, the couple made every effort to bring back prosperity.
The citizens of the commune of Menton, meanwhile, began to demand a liberal constitution, similar to the one in Sardinia. Florestan's two constitutional drafts did not satisfy them, and after the 1848 French Revolution, the situation got so bad that Florestan and Caroline handed over power to their son, Charles.
This last-ditch effort, however, failed, and in 1848 the Lordships of Menton and Roquebrune declared their independence. Troubles continued still continued, though, until the Treaty of Turin in 1860, ceding the county of Nice and Savoy to France. In 1861, Charles III (Florestan's son) also gave France the rights to Menton and Roquebrune, in return for 4 million francs and the independence of Monaco under his sole authority. This would be the first time in over 300 years that Monaco had been totally independent, with no connections to a "protecting power".
This, however, turned out to be a bit of a mixed blessing. Monaco was now only 5% of its original size, and no longer had the revenues that Menton and Roquebrune had produced. This put the principality into a dire financial situation. In 1863, Charles III and his mother, Princess Caroline, decided to start a casino under the name of the Société des Bains de Mer (now the SBM). After the first owners failed to run the business with success, control was given to François Blanc, director of gaming at Homburg. His management caused the business to go beyond all forecasts and earned him the nickname "the Magician of Monte-Carlo". The hotels, theatre, and casino under SBM drew many tourists, and the numbers increased after the construction of a railway line from Nice, through Monaco, to Ventimiglia. In 1866, the area around the casino changed its name to "Monte-Carlo", in honor of Prince Charles.
Between 1866 and 1905, Monaco signed many treaties with its neighbors, as well as other countries, over such issues as extradition, legal aid, and civil status deeds. Monaco also began sending out diplomatic representatives to other countries.
In 1889, Albert I succeeded his father. During his rein, he founded the Oceanographic Institute, the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology, the Monte-Carlo Opera, and the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris. He also founded the International Institute of Peace in 1903, giving it the duty of "studying the means of resolving disagreements between nations by arbitration, propagating attachment to methods of harmonious agreement and removing hatred from the hearts of people". One of the most important achievements, though, came in 1911, when Prince Albert gave Monaco a constitution.
In 1922, Albert’s son, Louis II, took power. Louis served during World War II. Although he attempted to keep Monaco neutral during the war, he ended up supporting the Vichy government in France, run by a friend of his from his army days, Marshall Petain. At the same time, the people of Monaco, largely of Italian descent, supported the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini in Italy. In 1943, Italy invaded Monaco and established a Fascist regieme. After Mussolini's regime fell in Italy, the Germans took control of Monaco, and began arresting Jews and sending them to concentration camps. (One Monegasque Jew who died in the Nazi camps was René Blum, the Monte-Carlo Opera's founder.) In an attempt to protect his citizens, Louis II gave secret orders to his police to warn persons whom the Gestapo was about to arrest.
Louis's daughter, Princess Charlotte married Prince Pierre de Polignac, giving birth to Princess Antionette and Prince Rainier III. Throughout World War II, Rainier was a staunch supporter of the Allies, and this created a rift between him and his grandfather. After Monaco was liberated by Allied forces, Louis began to neglect the principality, and spent more and more time outside of the country. Rainier took power from his grandfather in 1949 (after Princess Charlotte ceded her succession rights to him), and since has focused on expanding other areas of the Monegasque economy, including industry and tourism, as well as sponsoring scientific research and expanding sports and culture.
The Prince married the American actress Grace Kelly in 1956, and had three children, Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, the heir apparent, and Princess Stephanie. Princess Grace died in 1982 from injuries received in a car accident of questionable circumstance.
In 1993, Monaco joined the United Nations.
Credit to: http://www.monaco.mc/monaco/info/history1.html, Wikipedia