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Rainier 1er © DR

Having reigned over the Rocher since 1297, the Grimaldi family has an extremely long, rich history.

The Grimaldis are descended from Grimaldo Canella, a twelfth-century statesman from Genoa whose first name became the family surname. Grimaldo Canella served as Consul of Genoa several times and had many descendants who distinguished themselves, particularly at sea.

Having become one of the most powerful families in Genoa, the House of Grimaldi sided with the Pope during the long conflict in medieval Italy which pitted his supporters, the Guelphs, against supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Ghibellines.

It was during this war, in 1297, when some Grimaldis found refuge in Provence and Liguria, that François, known as Malizia (the “Malicious”), managed to seize the fortress of Monaco, to which he had been admitted after seeking hospitality dressed as a Franciscan monk. 

The wars in Italy highlighted the strategic value of the Rocher, and this led to international recognition of Monegasque sovereignty in the early sixteenth century.

A century later, in 1612, Honoré II Grimaldi adopted the monarchical title of Prince of Monaco. Since that time, numerous Princes of Monaco have exemplified the rich history of the Grimaldi family.

Honoré II © DR
Jacques 1er © DR

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Antoine I was a protector and friend of the arts, particularly music. Some years later, Jacques I was a discerning collector of paintings during the Enlightenment. 

In 1793, the country’s history was temporarily interrupted by the French Revolution. Monaco lost its independence and, until the fall of the Empire, remained a small French city.

After the Restoration, Honoré V faced a difficult situation, both economically and politically. His successor, Florestan I, endured the secession of the communes of Menton and Roquebrune, which accounted for more than 80% of the Principality’s former territory. 

To mitigate this loss, his son, Charles III, had to invent a brand new economic model based on aristocratic tourism to the new district of Monte-Carlo and the casino there. 

Some decades later, Albert I, the Navigator Prince, brought significant international recognition to Monaco in the field of oceanography, thanks to his work and the positions he espoused.

Rainier III, the Builder Prince and father of the current sovereign, gave the Principality its current shape, expanding its territory by extending into the sea.

As for Albert II, Monaco’s current Sovereign Prince, he is especially renowned for making the Principality’s voice heard on the international stage, particularly on the issues of sustainable development and safeguarding the seas.

© VISUAL Press Agency
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