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Monaco has always been at the crossroads of history beginning with the Ligurians, an ancient people who first settled Monaco, who were concerned with the strategic location of the Rock of Monaco. Evidence of the Ligurian occupation of Monaco was found in a cave in the Saint Martin’s Gardens.

Founded by the Phocaeans of Massalia during the 6th century, the colony of Monoikos became an important port of the Mediterranean coast. Monoikos, from Greek roughly translates to "single house," enforcing the ideas of sovereignty, self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

Julius Caesar visited Monoecus after the Gallic Wars on his way to campaign in Greece.

After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476, Monaco was ravaged by Saracens and barbarian tribes. After the Saracens were expelled in 975, the depopulated area was reclaimed by the Ligurians.

In 1215, construction began on a fortress atop the Rock of Monaco by a detachment of Genoese Ghibellines. With the intention of turning the Rock of Monaco into a military stronghold, the Ghibellines created a settlement around the base of the Rock to support the garrison. To draw in residents from Genoa and other surrounding cities, the Ghibellines offered land grants and tax exemptions to newcomers.

Despite a lack of resources, the people of Monaco lived rather well, enjoying extensive maritime commerce and profiting from the taxes imposed on ships on their way to Italy.

In 1793, French Revolutionary forces captured Monaco, further exacerbating the situation of the royal family. The vast art collections and all of the possessions of the royal family were sold at auctions. The Palace was converted into a hospital and then into a home for the poor. The Prince's family was imprisoned, freed, and then several members of his family had to enter the French army in desperation. After Napoleon abdicated the throne in 1814, Monaco was returned to its previous state under the new rule of Honor IV.

However, the Principality was re-established as a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Monaco remained a protectorate until 1860 when, by the Treaty of Turin at the time of Italy’s unification, Monaco was ceded to France. With unrest in Menton and Roquebrune, the Prince gave up his claim to the two towns (which made up 95% of the Principality at the time) in return for four million francs. Both the transfer of these two cities and Monaco's sovereignty were recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.

In spite of the four million franc indemnity, Monaco's reduced size and loss of the income it would have gained from Roquebrune and Menton prevented the Principality from escaping its difficult financial predicament.

In 1856, Charles III of Monaco (Honore IV grandson) granted a concession to Napoleon Langlois and Albert Aubert to establish a sea-bathing facility for the treatment of various diseases, and to build a German-style casino in Monaco. The initial casino was opened in La Condamine in 1862, but was not a success; its present location in the area called "Les Spelugues" (The Caves) of Monte Carlo, came only after several relocations in the years that followed. The success of the casino grew slowly, largely due to the area's inaccessibility from much of Europe.

The Societ des Bains de Mer (SBM) opened the famous Monte Carlo Casino in 1863. With an ideal location, Monaco provided an enchanting setting for hotels, the theater, and a casino. Even though it was difficult at the time to reach the Principality, the Casino proved to be a tremendous boon to their economy.

The Hotel de Paris was established in 1864 by Charles III of Monaco adjacent to the casino in the heart of Monte Carlo. It belongs to the Societ des bains de mer de Monaco, and is the first elite palace in Monaco. The hotel has 106 rooms divided into four groups based on type of view, decoration and luxury. The Exclusive City View offers 20 rooms, the Superior Courtyard has 29 large rooms, the Exclusive Sea View 59 and the Exclusive Casino has six.

Economic development was further spurred in 1868 with a railway link to France, resulting in remarkable numbers of visitors to the Principality.

January 30, 1891, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Monaco Police Commissioner Takes His Own Life.

New York, Jan. 29. Advices from Monaco state that M. de Gourlet, for many years Police Commissioner of the place, has committed suicide. He was the repository of more terrible secrets concerning life at the gay little capital than any other person. As Commissioner of Police he was accustomed to keep an exact statistical record of death at Monaco, and it was his duty to place bank-notes in the pockets of those who had taken their lives, in order to prevent people from saying that despair and poverty had driven them to suicide.

August 3, 1898, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California


Empress Elizabeth of Austria.
Empress Elizabeth of Austria
Wife of Emperor Franz Joseph
Franz Xaver Winterhalter

The Prince of Monaco has at length attained one of the ambitions of his life, namely, a matrimonial alliance between his family and one of the sovereign houses of Europe. For a marriage has just been negotiated between his only son and heir, Prince Louis, now 28 years of age, and Duchess Sophia of Bavaria, second daughter of Duke Charles Theodore of Bavaria, who is a brother of the Empress of Austria, as well of the ex-Queen of Naples, and so celebrated throughout the civilized world as an oculist.

Only those who are aware of the altogether anomalous position which the reigning family of Monaco has until now enjoyed among the sovereign houses of Europe can realize what an alliance of this kind means to the former. Not alone have the rulers of the old world scouted the idea of any matrimonial alliance with the Monacos, but have displayed a very marked reluctance to admit them to their courts. In fact, the Emperor of Russia regards the Prince and Princess of Monaco with such undisguised contempt that when some time ago they announced their intention of visiting St. Petersburg he caused them to be informed in the most curt manner that as he did not propose to receive them it was unnecessary that they should take the trouble to come so far, and that he had therefore forbidden his ambassadors to give that visa to their passports, without which they would not be permitted to cross the Russian frontier.

The present wife of the Prince of Monaco is a daughter of the Hebrew banker, Michael Heine, of Paris and New Orleans. His first wife was a sister of the late Duke of Hamilton, his mother belonged to the Belgian noble family of De Merode, while his grandmother was the daughter of a Parisian pork butcher, whom his grandfather had married while earning his livelihood as a tenth-rate actor at the Ambigua Theatre, at Paris, before the death of a distant cousin brought him to the pinchbeck throne of Monaco.

July 11, 1899, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California


The Prince Declares That Anna Gould's Husband Is a Bogus Count.

Paris Exhibition. 1889.
Pavilions of Nicaragua & Monaco
Paris Exhibition, 1889

NEW YORK, July 10 A Journal cable from Paris says: The Prince of Monaco has declined to fight a duel with Count Bonl de Oastellane on account of the Dreyfus case. In his reply to Castellane's challenge, the Prince of Monaco openly gives as his reason for the declination the fact that Castellane Is beneath his station. He says that he has reason to believe that Castellane has assumed the title of Count when he is not entitled to it. Monaco says that under the circumstances the challenge from Castellane is an impertinence, and is not entitled to notice.

The challenge grew out of the active sympathy for Dreyfus and Mme. Dreyfus on the part of the Prince of Monaco, which greatly incensed Castellane. After Monaco had written Mme. Dreyfus and invited her husband to visit his palace, the royalist husband of Anna Gould openly insulted the Prince.

The Siecle, one of the leading Dreyfus organs, has taken the matter up, and is conducting a severe personal campaign against the Count, whom it accuses of being a bogus count. It has announced its intention of soon publishing a biography of Jay Gould, the father of the Countess.

April 7, 1907, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Prince of Monaco's Opera Company Gives Procceds to Charity

By Associated Press.

BERLIN, April 5. The Prince of Monaco of the Monte Carlos Opera Company is occupying the Royal Opera house here, giving a series of operas, the entire proceeds or which go to charities. The prince came here with the company, which costs him personally $11,250 daily.

Society is eager to go to every performance and the house is crowded nightly with princes and princesses, nobles of high rank and influential financiers.

The boxes cost $60, and it is estimated that $62,600 will be taken in at the box office for four performances.

The prince of Monaco has become an intimate friend of Emperor William in recent years. He always visited him in June during the yachting week at Kiel.

The emperor In October, 1908, bestowed upon the prince of Monaco the great gold medal for science upon the occasion of the opening of the Ocean Geographical Institute. The prince is believed to have been a conciliatory medium between France and Germany during the Morocco controversy.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
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W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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