Monaco: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
This page was last updated on 24 January 2020.
The Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI granted Monaco to the Genoese in 1191, and occupied it until the Grimaldi family seized it in 1297. France recognised its independence in 1489. After a period of Spanish dominance, the 1641 Treaty of Peronne gave Monaco autonomy under French protection. Excepting revolutionary, Napoleonic and Sardinian interludes this has remained the situation ever since.
The population of Monaco, approximately 39,500 (January 2021 estimate), is highly cosmopolitan. Only about 21% of the population is Monégasque. The largest ethnic minority is in fact French, with 29%; the next two highest are Italians (19%) and British (8%). There are smaller numbers of Belgians, Germans, Swiss, Americans, and more than a hundred others.
The indigenous Monégasques are largely Roman Catholic and culturally speaking consider themselves part of the French hinterland.
The official language of Monaco is French. However, the national language is Monégasque, a dialect of Genoese (itself one of the many dialects of Italian), which reflects the country’s mixed heritage. Italian and English are also spoken, among many other languages.