Monte Carlo is the main residential and resort area of the Principality of Monaco, a sovereign city state ruled for centuries by the Grimaldi family. Monaco is situated on the French Riviera, about 13km northeast of Nice, and about 16 km from the Italian border.
Monte Carlo is one of the four traditional quartiers (districts) of the Principality, the other three districts being Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville (Le Rocher), and La Condamine. Since the middle of the 19th century, Monte Carlo has been a magnet for the rich and famous, and a popular tourist resort; attractions include the Casino and the Monte Carlo Opera House (also known as Salle Garnier), which are housed in the same building. Monaco-Ville boasts Monaco Cathedral and the Prince's Palace. Monaco is also the home of the Monte Carlo Rally, which began in 1911, and the Monaco Grand Prix, which began in 1929. Most of the Grand Prix circuit is located within Monte Carlo.
Cornwall is a culturally distinct region of England, with its own traditional language, flag and Celtic identity. It is the southwest-most English county, forming the tip of the peninsula that stretches out below Wales. Bounded to the east by the county of Devon, its most westerly point is Land's End. Its only city is Truro.
The landscape of Cornwall was dramatically reshaped by the tin and china clay mining industries, which have left excavations and spoil heaps that can be seen from miles around. Fishing and agriculture were also important to the traditional Cornish economy.
Because of its extensive coastlines and mild climate, Cornwall is a popular tourist destination. Resorts include Newquay and St Ives on the northern coast, and Penzance and Falmouth on the southern coast. Cornwall is also known for its moorland, such as Bodmin Moor.
Cornish (Kernowec) belongs to the same linguistic group as Welsh and Breton. During the 20th century various attempts were made to revive the language, and although it has never regained its role as a true community language, it is spoken fluently today by about 300 people.
Rebecca is most probably set at some point in the period 1929-1935.
The most notable event of the early 1930s was the global economic slump known as the Great Depression, which began in America with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and rapidly spread to other areas of the world. In Britain, unemployment became a serious problem, particularly in the industrial regions of the north of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, where some areas experienced unemployment levels of 70%. Rebecca does not touch at all on this issue (indeed, it is notable for its lack of reference to events in the wider world beyond Manderley), depicting almost exclusively the privileged and leisured existence of an upper-class élite.
Many of the most momentous events of the 1930s (such as the abdication of Edward VIII in Britain in 1936, the Spanish Civil War which began in the same year, and the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939) lie in the future. In many ways, therefore, the early part of the 1930s may be viewed as the 'calm before the storm'. Some interesting and significant events from this period of British history are now relatively forgotten; one such is the formation in 1932 of the Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit, which campaigned for sweeping reforms to the monetary system.