Situated on the Mediterranean Sea, on the skirts of the Turbie and the Tête de Chien mountains, is surrounded on all sides by the French department of the Maritime Alps, and has an area of 5337 acres. On account of its beautiful climate, it is one of the most popular winter resorts in Europe. Its principal resources are the fishery of the gulf, the cultivation of fruit trees (olive, orange, lemon), and the Casino of Monte Carlo, established in 1856, whose revenues are sufficient to free the inhabitants of the principality from the burden of taxation. The capital consists of three large boroughs: the old Monaco, which is built on a promontory that extends 875 yards into the sea and encloses the harbour; the other two are Condamine and Monte Carlo. From ancient times until the nineteenth century the port of Monaco was among the most important of the French Mediterranean coast, but now it has lost all commercial significance. Among the notable constructions of the principality are the ancient fortifications, the old ducal palace which contains beautiful frescoes by Annibale Carracci, Orazio Ferrari, and Carlone, the cathedral, built (1884-87) in the Byzantine style, by Prince Albert III, the Casino of Monte Carlo, and the monumental fountain of the public square. Monaco dates from the time of the Phoenicians, who, on the promontory upon which the old town is built, erected a temple to the god Melkarth, called Monoicos, solitary, that is, not connected with the cult of Ashtoreth; whence the town derived its name, which is Moneque, in Provencal. In the early Middle Ages the neighbouring lords often contended with each other for the possession of this important port, which later was occupied by the Saracens ; it was taken from them in the tenth century by Count Grimaldi, in whose family the principality remains to this day. Formerly, it comprised Mentone and Roquebrune. The Grimaldis often had to defend themselves against Spanish or Genoese fleets; the most famous blockade of the town was that of 1506, which failed. In 1619 Prince Honoratus II, with the assistance of the French, drove the Spaniards from Monaco, and since that time the principality has been under the protection of France. During the Revolution, Monaco was annexed to France, but the principality was re-established in 1814. A revolution broke out in 1848 against the misgovernment of Prince Honoratus V, who lost Mentone and Roquebrune, these cities declaring themselves free republics, and (1860) voting for their annexation to France.
Monaco belonged to the Diocese of Nice , but, in 1868, it became an abbey nullius , and at the instance of Prince Charles III, Leo XIII raised it to a diocese, immediately dependent upon the Holy See, making the abbot, Mgr. Bonaventure Theuret, its first bishop.
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