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The Genoese built a fortress on the site of present day Monaco in 1215. The current ruling Grimaldi family first seized temporary control in 1297, and again in 1331, but were not able to permanently secure their holding until 1419. Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad linkup to France and the opening of a casino. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world famous as a tourist and recreation center.


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Geography

Location
Western Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea on the southern coast of France, near the border with Italy

Geographic coordinates
43 44 N, 7 24 E

Map references
Europe

Area World Ranking: 249
Total 2 sq km
Land 2 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Area - comparative
About three times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries
Total 4.4 km
Border countries France 4.4 km

Coastline
4.1 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 12 nm

Climate
Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers

Terrain
Hilly, rugged, rocky

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point Mont Agel 140 m

Natural resources
None

Land use
Arable land 0%
Permanent crops 0%
Other 100% (urban area) (2005)

Irrigated land
NA

Natural hazards
NA

Environment - current issues
NA

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Second-smallest independent state in the world (after Holy See); almost entirely urban


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