The ruling family of Monaco, the house of Grimaldi, traces its ancestry to Otto Canella (c.1070–1143), who was consul of Genoa in 1133. The family name, Grimaldi, was adapted from the Christian name of Canella's youngest son, Grimaldo. The Genoese built a fort on the site of present-day Monaco in 1215, and the Grimaldi family secured control late in the 13th century. The principality was founded in 1338 by Charles I, during whose reign Menton and Roquebrune were acquired. Claudine became sovereign upon the death of her father, Catalan, in 1457. She ceded her rights to her husband and cousin, Lambert, during whose reign, in 1489, the duke of Savoy recognized the independence of Monaco. The first Monégasque coins were minted in the 16th century. Full recognition of the princely title was obtained by Honoré II in 1641.
The last male in the Grimaldi line, Antoine I, died in 1731. His daughter Louise-Hippolyte in 1715 had married Jacques-François-Léonor de Goyon-Matignon, Count of Thorigny, who adopted the name Grimaldi and assumed the Monégasque throne. France annexed the principality in 1793, but independence was reestablished in 1814. The following year, the Treaty of Stupinigi placed Monaco under the protection of the neighboring kingdom of Sardinia. In 1848, the towns of Roquebrune and Menton, which constituted the eastern extremity of Monaco, successfully rebelled and established themselves as a republic. In 1861, a year after the Sardinian cession of Savoy and Nice to France, Roquebrune and Menton also became part of that nation.
The economic development of Monaco proceeded rapidly with the opening of the railroad in 1868 and of the gambling casino. Since that time, the principality has become world famous as a tourist and recreation center. Gambling, operated by Société des Bains de Mer, a state controlled group, recorded a 30% increase in gambling receipts in 1998. Real estate and retail sales have also registered strong growth in recent years. Monaco has no unemployment and provides jobs for 25,000 Italian and French commuters. More than half of government revenues, however, come from value-added tax. The rate levied by France is also in effect in Monaco. France has the highest VAT in the European Union and has come under pressure to adjust its rate downward in conformity with the rest of the EU. Light industry and banking have also become important. Monaco joined the United Nations on 28 May 1993.