The world-famous Monaco Grand Prix recently concluded its 2016 run, putting the international spotlight once again on the very tiny, very wealthy nation of Monaco.
So just how tiny and wealthy is Monaco? Sapna Parikh counts the ways in this Seeker Daily report.
Monaco really is one of the most genuinely strange nation-states on the planet. Less than one square mile in total area, it's the second smallest sovereign country after Vatican City. It's also the world's most densely populated independent state, with a population of just over 38,000 people living on what amounts to about 500 acres of real estate.
The citizens of Monaco may be packed in tight, but at least they have their money to keep them happy. As one of the marquee luxury destinations in all the world, Monaco attracts a lot of rich people. It also helps that there is no tradition of income tax in the country. Monaco has the world's highest per capita GDP at $160,000 per person. (By comparison, the U.S. per capita GDP is $53,000.) In fact, one out of every three Monaco citizens is a millionaire.
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Monaco is bordered on three sides by France ($42,000 GDP) and, in many ways, is a kind of satellite state of the French republic. The Franco-Monegasque Treaty established Monaco as an independent country in 1861, but in 1918 the treaty was amended with certain provisions. Among them was a directive designating France as the military protector of the small monarchy.
And yes, Monaco is indeed a monarchy, one of only three European nations to maintain the ancient tradition. The Prince of Monaco, His Serene Highness Albert II, is the country's head of state, but as a practical matter he splits power with a 24-member parliament.
Despite Monaco's glitz and glamour, the country actually wields very little power on the international stage. It's heavily reliant on France in terms of infrastructure and military affairs. Still, Monaco became a full member of the United Nations in 1993, and is able to directly appeal to the intergovernmental body. Also, Monaco has the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy good doctors.
-- Glenn McDonald
Office of the Historian: A Guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Monaco
International Business Times: One in Three People in Monaco Is a Millionaire
Monaco Monte-Carlo: Security in Monaco
Gouvernment Princier: Sovereign Powers