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Wednesday
Dec212011

Monaco: All that glitters

On the sun-kissed southern coast of France sits the world’s second smallest country, Monaco. (The Vatican is the smallest, by the way). The Principality of Monaco, to use its official name, covers just 0.76 square miles, but within its small pocket-handkerchief sized boundaries, it has money and glamour and a reputation that totally outstrips its size.

A policy of reclaiming land from the sea means the country is very slowly growing in size, but it still remains the world's smallest French-speaking country. For the record, Monaco is also the world’s most densely populated sovereign country.  It has been ruled by one family, the Grimaldis, since 1297, when, according to legend, François Grimaldi captured the fortress on the strategic Rock on Monaco, dressed as a Franciscan monk.

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