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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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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Principality of Monaco
Conventional short form Monaco
Local long form Principaute de Monaco
Local short form Monaco

Government type
Constitutional monarchy

Capital
Name Monaco
Geographic coordinates 43 44 N, 7 25 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions
None; there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are four quarters (quartiers, singular - quartier); Fontvieille, La Condamine, Monaco-Ville, Monte-Carlo

Independence
1419 (beginning of permanent rule by the House of GRIMALDI)

National holiday
National Day (Saint Rainier's Day), 19 November (1857)

Constitution
17 December 1962; modified 2 April 2002

Legal system
Civil law system influenced by French legal tradition

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
Prince ALBERT II (since 6 April 2005)
Head of government
Minister of State Michel ROGER (since 29 March 2010)
Cabinet
Council of Government under the authority of the monarch
Elections
The monarchy is hereditary; minister of state appointed by the monarch from a list of three French national candidates presented by the French Government

Legislative branch
Unicameral National Council or Conseil National (24 seats; 16 members elected by list majority system, 8 by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
Elections
Last held on 3 February 2008 (next to be held in February 2013)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - UPM 52.2%, REM 40.5%, Monaco Together 7.3%; seats by party - UPM 21, REM 3

Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Tribunal Supreme (judges appointed by the monarch on the basis of nominations by the National Council)

Political parties and leaders
Monaco Together; Rally and Issues for Monaco or REM; Union for Monaco or UPM (including National Union for the Future of Monaco or UNAM)

Political pressure groups and leaders
NA

International organization participation
CE, FAO, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Schengen Convention (de facto member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Gilles NOGHES
Chancery
3400 International Drive NW, Suite 2K-100, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone (202) 234-1530
FAX (202) 244-7656
Consulate(s) general New York

Diplomatic representation from the us
The US does not have an embassy in Monaco; the US Ambassador to France is accredited to Monaco; the US Consul General in Marseille (France), under the authority of the US ambassador to France, handles routine diplomatic and consular matters concerning Monaco

Flag description
Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; the colors are those of the ruling House of Grimaldi and have been in use since 1339, making the flag one of the world's oldest national banners
Note
Similar to the flag of Indonesia which is longer and the flag of Poland which is white (top) and red

National anthem
Name
"A Marcia de Muneghu" (The March of Monaco)
Lyrics/music Louis NOTARI/Charles ALBRECHT
Note
Music adopted 1867, lyrics adopted 1931; although French is much more commonly spoken, only the Monegasque lyrics are official; the French version is known as "Hymne Monegasque" (Monegasque Anthem); the words are generally only sung on official occasions


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