|Official Country Name:||Principality of Monaco|
|Region (Map name):||Europe|
|Language(s):||French, English, Italian, Monegasque|
When infighting forced the Grimaldi family to leave the Holy Roman Empire in the late thirteenth century, they fled to a tiny patch of land along the French Mediterranean coast called Monaco. Francois Grimaldi became the first monarch, and his descendants have ruled the country ever since. Now a constitutional monarchy, the government is headed by a Minister of State, who presides over a unicameral, 18-seat National Council. The official language is French, but English and Italian are also widely spoken. Some older residents speak the native language, Montegasque, which is a mixture of French Provençal and Italian Ligurian. Approximately 35,000 people live within the country's single square mile. The famous casinos of capital Monte Carlo, combined with beautiful scenery and a mild climate, have made Monaco a popular destination, and tourism accounts for about 25 percent of its gross national product. Banking is also an important sector of the economy, employing approximately 5 percent of the workforce. Monaco levies no income tax and business taxes are low, making it a haven for individuals and companies, but also a magnet for money laundering and organized crime. English writer Somerset Maugham once called it "a sunny place for shady people."
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Montagasque constitution, but its penal code prohibits denunciations of the Grimaldi family. The Centre de Presse is the official, state-run distribution point for information and photographs. It also handles press credentials for journalists. Monaco's daily newspaper is the Nice-Matin. Al-though it is published in Nice, France, it dedicates two pages to news coverage in Monaco. It is available online. The Ministry of State publishes a weekly government journal called the Journal de Monaco. It was founded in 1898 and provides information about legislation.
There are no FM radio stations in Monaco, but there is one AM station serving the country's 34,000 radios. There are five television stations, 25,000 televisions and two Internet service providers.
"Monaco," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from http://www.cia.gov .
"Monaco," Freedom House (2000). Available from http://www.freedomhouse.org .
Nice-Matin. (n.d.). Home Page. Available from http://www.nicematin.fr .
"Travel Guide-Europe-Monaco," Americanexpress.ca (2001). Available from www.americanexpress.canada.travel-guides.com .
Jenny B. Davis