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Originally from the nearby Genoa region of Italy (hence the Monégasque language’s similarity with the Genoese dialect), the Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco for most of the period since 1297, except for its occupation during the French Revolution, and loss of territories in 1848. Its independence was again recognised by France in 1860. Five years later, a monetary agreement with France and the opening of the Monte Carlo casino revived the country’s fortunes. Today there are just 7800 Monégasque citizens, by either parentage or marriage, out of the total population; they live an idyllic tax-free life of cradle-to-grave security. Alas, all other residents and businesses pay tax.