Thanks to the Monaco Grand Prix and AS Monaco, fans of Formula One racing and European club football are aware that a country named Monaco exists. However, not many people know a lot about it. For instance, do you know how small this country is? Or, can you guess what percentage of its population are millionaires? You have no idea, do you? Well, here are 10 interesting facts about Monaco that you will find hard to forget for the rest of your life.
1. Monaco has been inhabited by humans since 400,000 BC
The tiny territory of Monaco has a history dating as far back as 400,000 BC. Evidence found in a cave in St. Judist’s Gardens confirms that early humans took shelter in this land that long ago. Based on the accounts of Greek historians Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, it is believed that the country’s first permanent settlers were a bunch of mountain-dwelling emigrants from Genoa, Italy, known as the Ligures.
2. It is the world’s second-smallest country
Except the Vatican City State, there’s no country on the face of the planet that is as small as Monaco. Its total area is precisely 0.85 square miles, a fun fact about Monaco. If you’re from the United States, you should probably know that the smallest state in your country is Rhode Island. Well, this country is more than 1,400 times smaller than Rhode Islands. It’s so small that you can walk across the width of the entire country in less than an hour.
In the past, Monaco used to be even smaller. But it has been expanding land area by reclaiming land from the Mediterranean Sea. For instance, its total area in 2005 was 0.762 square mile, but land reclamation has now extended it by 20 percent.
3. The country has the world’s highest population density per square mile
The total population of Monaco is nearly 40,000, which, of course, won’t seem like much at first glance. But for a country whose total area is below one square mile, that’s a whole lot of people. In fact, there’s no other country in the world that has a higher population density than this microstate. However, there are more than two dozen cities in different parts of the world that have an area above one square mile and over 50,000 residing per square mile. So, Monaco definitely isn’t the most crowded place you’ll find.
4. The flag of Monaco is visually identical to that of Indonesia
The national flag of Monaco consists of two equal horizontal bands, with the top band being red and the bottom one being white. The flag’s design has remained unchanged since 1881, before which, it bore an older version of the country’s coat of arms.
An interesting fact about Monaco is that the national flag of Indonesia has the exact same bicolor design, which was adopted in 1945. However, the sole difference between the two flags is in the ratio of their dimensions. The Indonesian flag has a ratio of two by three, while the ratio is four by five for the flag of Monaco.
5. The country lacks any river or lake, but has the world’s shortest coastline
There are more than 40 countries in the world that don’t have a piece of land connected to a sea or an ocean. But among the ones that lie next to a sea or an ocean, none has a shorter coastline than Monaco. With France bordering three of its sides, one side is exposed to the Mediterranean Sea, forming a coastline of just 2.38 miles. Interestingly, Monaco is one of the 18 countries that don’t have a river. Also, there’s not a single lake within its territory.
6. Its natives are a minority in their own country
A fun fact about Monaco is that its native people, known as the Monégasques, represent only 21.6 percent of the total population. That makes them a minority in their own country. The French are the majority in the country, making up 28.4 percent of the population. The Italians are the third-largest community, representing 18.7 percent. Other notable minorities include Brits, Belgians, Germans, Swiss, and Americans.
7. The country has the second-highest number of policemen per capita
The police force in Monaco consists of a little more than 500 members. That obviously seems like a small number. But when you take its population into account, you’ll find that the country has one of the highest number of policemen per capita in the world. In fact, the sole country that has a greater number of cops per capita is where the Pope lives – the Vatican.
8. It has the third-smallest military in the world
Although Monaco has more than enough policemen to maintain law and order within its territory, it definitely lacks the kind of armed forces that it would need to defend itself from a foreign invasion. Its military is the third-smallest in the world, consisting of merely 255 soldiers. Only Antigua and Barbuda and Iceland have smaller militaries.
On top of that, the country doesn’t even have an air force or a navy. However, if some warmongering nation decides to invade Monaco someday, the tiny country will almost certainly find the French Armed Forces coming to its rescue.
9. Nearly 30 percent of its population are millionaires
Monaco is a country where you don’t have to pay any income taxes, and the business taxes too are incredibly low. Hence, plenty of rich and super-rich people from across the globe have immigrated to this tax haven. As a result, millionaires make up 32.1 percent of the country’s population today, a fun fact about Monaco. Needless to say, that’s way more than the percentage of millionaires that any other country has.
10. Monaco also tops the list of countries with the highest life expectancy
When someone says “life expectancy,” the first country that probably comes to your mind is Japan. However, if the CIA World Factbook is to be believed, you should think of Monaco instead. This is because the life expectancy in this Western European country is 89.4 years, whereas that in the East Asian country is 85.3 years. In all other countries, people tend to live less longer.
I hope that this article on Monaco facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!