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Monaco: 1815 to 1982

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See 1662 to 1815

After the final fall of the Empire, the second Treaty of Paris of 20th November, 1815, placed the Principality under the protection of the King of Sardinia. A treaty was signed on 8th November, 1817, with King Victor-Emmanuel I at Stupiniggi. The situation of Monaco resulting from this was much less advantageous than the alliance with the King of France. The state of the finances was more delicate, the resources of the country being very much reduced, the communes, parishes and hospitals burdened with debts.

Honoré-Gabriel, having become Prince Sovereign under the name of Honoré V, tried throughout his reign from 1819 to 1841 to remedy this state of affairs. The measures which he took, although dictated by a very strong concern for the general interest, were not always happy and often alienated the population. There were several hostile demonstrations, in particular in Menton in 1833.

1841. On the death of Honoré V, who was unmarried, power passed to his brother Florestan. This Prince, passionately interested in literature and the theater, was unprepared for the exercise of power. Luckily, his wife, Caroline Gilbert of Lametz, daughter of a family with a bourgeois background, possessed remarkable intelligence and a very developed sense of business ; she was a great help to him. The first measures taken to redress the difficult situation which the decrees of Honoré V had created had the effect of calming the people for the moment but this respite was of short duration. Florestan and Caroline, however, made every effort to re-establish prosperity.

Serious disagreements then came to a head with the commune of Menton, the inhabitants having shown their desire for independence for some time. The King of Sardinia, Charles-Albert, had given a liberal constitution to his subjects and the people of Menton demanded a similar one for the Principality. The constitution which Florestan offered them on two occasions did not meet with their approval ; after the revolution of 1848 in France, the situation grew worse. Florestan and Caroline handed over all their powers to their son Charles. But it was too late to assuage the spirits of the people. On 20th March, 1848, Menton and Roquebrune declared themselves to be free and independent townships. However, annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, in spite of the efforts of the Court of Turin, did not take place. The efforts of Florestan and, after his death in 1856, those of his son Charles III, were also unsuccessful. Troubles continued until the Treaty of Turin in 1860 which ceded to France the county of Nice and Savoy.

Shortly after the Treaty of 2nd February, 1861, Charles III gave up to France his rights over Menton and Roquebrune. This treaty which gave the Prince an indemnity of four million francs for the loss of the two towns guaranteed for him the independence of Monaco under his sole authority. For the first time in three centuries, the independence of Monaco was formally recognized and freed from any link whatever with a protecting power.

The Principality, reduced to one-twentieth of its territory, deprived of the revenue which it drew from Roquebrune and Menton, found itself in a financially unhappy situation. In order to meet the expense of administration and the cost of upkeep of the Court, it was imperative to find other sources of revenue apart from taxes whose rates could not be increased. In 1863 after several attempts to increase commercial activity, Charles III and his mother Princess Caroline had the idea of establishing a gaming house under the name of the Société des Bains de Mer. The concession was given in turn to two businessmen, neither of whom was able to manage the enterprise successfully. It was then that François Blanc, director of gaming at Homburg, who came to be called the Magician of Monte Carlo, obtained the concession for fifty years. Under his enlightened management, the business developed to an extent which was far beyond the most optimistic forecasts. Situated in an enchanting setting, the various establishments - hotels, theater and casino - of the Seabath Company attracted hosts of tourists from the very beginning, in spite of the difficulty of access to the Principality. Later, in 1868, when the railway line between Nice and Ventimiglia was completed, their number increased to remarkable figures. The economic growth of the Principality increased in a striking manner and at the same time the development of the town went ahead at an incredible pace. On the rocks of the Spelugues, the main establishment of the Seabath Company, the Casino, was quickly surrounded by luxury hotels and splendid buildings. This area changed its name in 1866 and in honor of Prince Charles assumed that of Monte Carlo.

Between 1866 and 1905 the Principality signed treaties relating to the extradition of wrong-doers with Italy, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain and Denmark as well as conventions on Legal Aid and Reciprocal Communication of Civil Status Deeds with Italy, Belgium and France. Monaco was also a signatory of several multilateral treaties such as the Paris Convention of 1883, the Berne Convention of 1886 and the Madrid Arrangement of 1891. At the same time, Monaco accredited Ministers or Chargés d'Affaires to Paris, the Vatican, Spain, Italy and Belgium. Charles III increased the number of his consular agents.

Prince Charles III, living for most of his reign in his chateau of Marchais in Champagne, did not, however, neglect the direction of public business, aided by the enlightened advice of the lawyer Eynaud. It was to this Prince and his son, Prince Albert I, that Monaco owes its striking development, its reputation and its institutions.

Albert I succeeded his father in 1889. Until then he had devoted himself entirely to scientific research which engrossed him. His discoveries in the fields of oceanography and paleontology won him a great reputation and a seat in the Academy of Sciences. It would take too long to list all his achievements ; it suffices to recall that he was the founder of the Oceanographic Institute, which consists of the famous Museum inaugurated in 1910 and the establishment created in Paris to teach this science. We are indebted to him also for the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology in Monaco and the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris. In addition, in 1903 he founded the International Institute of Peace with the task 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".

In the field of the arts, activities undertaken during his reign won the Principality a magnificent reputation ; the Opera, created in 1869, under the directorship of the eminent Raoul Gunsbourg, rapidly won international fame owing to the superior quality of its performances and its creations which were to become famous.

In 1869 Prince Albert married Marie-Victoire de Douglas-Hamilton. This union produced Prince Louis II who succeeded his father in 1922. Prince Louis II, a graduate of the Saint Cyr military college, enjoyed a career as an officer of colonial troops in Algeria. Having left the army, he returned to service life again during the 1914-1918 War and was promoted to the rank of general. The attempts of Prince Albert I to persuade the Kaiser to stop the war in 1914 unfortunately bore no fruit. On 5th January, 1911, Prince Albert I gave Monaco a Constitution.

With the consent of Prince Albert I, Prince Louis II married his daughter, Princess Charlotte, to Prince Pierre de Polignac. It was this marriage which produced in 1921 H.S.H. Princess Antoinette and in 1923 H.S.H. Prince Rainier III.

Joining the French Army as a volunteer during the Second World War, H.S.H. Prince Rainier III was mentioned in Brigade Orders with the award of the War Cross and in 1947 he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor, military division. Since his accession to the throne in 1949, the Sovereign has devoted himself to the development of the various sectors of Monegasque activity (industry, tourism, scientific research, sport and culture) as well as to the winning from the sea of land to be added to the limited surface area of the Principality. Monaco has thus become a center for business, up-to-date industry and art, leaving far behind its traditional image as a holiday resort and gambling paradise.

On 18th April, 1956, Prince Rainier III married Miss Grace Patricia Kelly, born in Philadelphia on 12th November, 1929. Three children were born of this marriage : H.S.H. Princess Caroline, born in Monaco on 23rd January, 1957, H.S.H. Prince Albert, Heir to the Throne, Marquis of Baux, born in Monaco on 14th March, 1958, and H.S.H. Princess Stephanie, born in Monaco on 1st February, 1965.

On 14th September, 1982, Princess Grace died as a result of a tragic accident of which She had been the victim the previous day.

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Published by GALE FORCE of Monaco