In 1997, the Principality of Monaco celebrated the 700 year reign of the Grimaldi dynasty. It all began on January 8, 1297 when the Guelf François Grimaldi dressed as a Franciscan monk, seized the fortress protecting the famous rock of Monaco and the port of Hercules.
Surmounting the trials and tribulations of history and throughout the dark periods of foreign domination, the Principality has managed to affirm its identity and preserve its independence throughout the centuries due to the wise guidance of its Princes.
The Grimaldi dynasty has bequeathed Lords and then Princes to the Principality, illustrious in their many domains, who wrote the most enticing pages in the history of Monaco. To cite but a few: Rainier I, General Admiral of France; Honore II, the first Prince of Monaco at the origins of the most important treaties with France; Louis I, Ambassador to the Holy See under Louis XIV; Antoine I, grand patron of the arts; Charles III, founder of Monte-Carlo; Albert I, renowned as the father of oceanography; Louis II, the soldier Prince.