The spirit of reason and progress which guided Albert I’s work throughout his scientific career also influenced him in the realisation of State affairs.
The “learned” or “navigator” prince never stopped “retreating from the fierce army of ignorance”. As part of this effort, he undertook many anthropological expeditions and 28 oceanographical campaigns, created the initial structures of the Oceanographic Museum of Paris (coupled with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco) as well as the Institut de paléontologie humaine in Paris and the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology in Monaco. On the one hand, this work made it possible to spread knowledge using publications and public speeches and on the other hand, thanks to the museums, to put scientific discoveries within the reach of the public and the museum’s laboratories within the reach of researchers.
As concerns politics, the sovereign remained attached to his prerogatives and to a kind of transparent despotism. Nevertheless, in 1911, he granted a constitution to Monaco then provided the Principality with modern facilities such as a hospital, an extensive port area, a municipal library, a public secondary school etc. A committed Dreyfus supporter, he was also a militant pacifist and encouraged the use of arbitration to settle conflicts. Albert I permitted the French Red Cross to use the Hospital of Monaco and the Marchais castle, which belonged to him. These acts are very revealing of the idea that Albert I had of his role as sovereign. Injured people were cared for in Monte-Carlo hotels, which were turned into hospitals.
1848 - 1922
Monaco - Saint Martin Cave
Ventimiglia - Balzi Rossi Caves
Monaco - Observatory Cave