|The history of Monaco as a state is also the history of the Grimaldi family, which has reigned over the Mediterranean territory for over 700 years. Indeed a 1918 treaty with France states that, in the event the Grimaldis should die out, the country would revert to French sovereignty.
Building work on the original royal stronghold began early in the 13th century under a Genovese dynasty known as the Ligurians. On January 8, 1297, however, one Francois Grimaldi wrested control of the property from its inhabitants, signalling the beginning of the Grimaldi rule. The principality's archives reveal Francois sneaked into the citadel dressed as a Franciscan monk, and to this day the family's coat of arms bears the image of two armed friars.
Through the centuries both the French and the Spanish have cast a covetous eye over Monaco. In 1524 it came under the protectorate of a Spaniard, remaining under de facto Spanish rule for nearly 120 years. The garrisons finally left in 1641 when the Treaty of Péronne, recognised Monaco's sovereign rights.
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