Thursday, June 14, 2012

Principality of Monaco

The Principality of Monaco is the world's second smallest country, just ahead of the Vatican.  It's basically a city state on the French Riviera.  It's tiny; about three times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC.  Monaco sits on the Mediterranean Sea with France bordering on three sides.  With a population just over 36,300 in an area of 1.98 km² (0.76 square mile) it is the world's most densely populated country.  Since the country is so small there really isn't a capital city.

Monaco has a constitutional monarchy with Prince Albert II as the head of state.  Although an independent country, France is responsible for defense.

There is no income tax and low business taxes so the country is a tax haven.  It has the world's lowest poverty rate and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita.  So there is a lot of money here.  The unemployment rate is 0% with 48,000 people working daily in France and nearby Italy.

Tourism is the main industry.  Many cruise ships make stops here and lots of people dream of striking it rich at the famous Monte Carlo casino.

Even though Monaco is not a member of the EU, the national currency is still the Euro.  The country is a de facto member of the Schengen zone.  Monaco joined the United Nations in 1993.

In 1956, Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III.  I think most Americans know Monaco simply because of Princess Grace.

Here's a Rick Steves video I found on YouTube to give more information about the country.
©Rick Steves

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