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Since the very early days Corsica has been invaded and attacked by many people as the Carthaginians, Etruscans, Romans, Vandals and Saracens due to its strategic position.

  • Corsica
  • Languages:
    • Corsican
    • French
  • 302.000 inhabitants
  • 3,350 sq miles

Since the very early days Corsica has been invaded and attacked by many people as the Carthaginians, Etruscans, Romans, Vandals and Saracens due to its strategic position.

From the eighth century it will become a papacy, but in the twelfth century it will pass to the hands of the Republic of Genoa.

The eighteenth century marked a turning point in the history of Corsica. After centuries of Genoese rule, a rebellion due to economic problems in the island will gradually turn into a revolution that will bring independence to Corsica in 1755. The father of the country Pascal Paoli, will establish in a Europe ruled by monarchs and empires a democratic republic with separation of powers and the rights to vote for women. Representatives would be elected by universal suffrage, Corsica coined its own currency, the University of Corti will be established and an official newspaper is launched. For the first time in Europe a modern democracy is established. Several historians point to the democratic constitution of Pascal Paoli as the inspiration for the United States. In fact, Paoli was well known and celebrated across the Atlantic and some cities still bear his name.

Following the agreements by which the Genoese lots all rights over Corsica the French royal navy arrives to conquer the island. The defeat of the Battle of Ponte Novu mark the end of independence.

After the French Revolution of 1789 Pascal Paoli and the Corsicans adhere to the ideas of freedom that they had promoted and implemented. Paoli is greeted triumphantly by the French Constituent Assembly in 1790 and was appointed chief of the National Guard in Corsica and president of the General Council of Corsica. In 1793, during the period of terror, he breaks with the French Revolution and an Anglo -Corsican Kingdom is established that historians will call “the second independence”. This new Kingdom will be defeated and Pascal will go on exile to London in 1796 while the French troops will again occupy Corsica.
In the early twentieth century Corsica had about 300,000 inhabitants. During World War II the French government decided to apply the same special laws to Corsica than to the rest of the colonies. 12,000 Corsicans will die on the war, the highest proportional dead rate from all the territories under French administration.

During World War II Corsica is occupied by the Italian fascists. Mussolini considered Corsica as an” unredeemed ” land and wanted to unite it to Italy. The Corsican resistance was organized and despite the presence of the Nazi troops Corsica became the first department to be liberated in September 1943. By the end of the war society and economy were destroyed with no young people left to cultivate the fields and take care of livestock.

A true rural exodus takes place, the Corsicans who for thousands of years had been eminently pastoral and agricultural living in the mountains are now crammed into cities. It is a cultural shock. The Corsicans will be forced to speak French. Until 1870 the French administration was addressing the Corsicans in Italian to be understood but from that year on Corsicans are required to communicate with the administration in French.

Corsicans will start teaching French to their children and the use of the Corsican language will became synonymous with infamy. Slogans likes “forbidden to spit on the floor and speak Corsican. “will be shown on display at schools.

But in the 60s popular discontent will grow. A massive mobilization prevents the removal of the rail line and the establishment of a center for underground nuclear tests. The Corsicans will begin using explosives to be heard and a small group starts asking for independence.
In the 70s, the demand for independence will grow, and in 1976 the Corsican National Liberation Front ( FLNC) will be created, a political and military struggle that continues to this day will begging that year.

In these 40 years the FLNC has conducted an armed struggle against the French state mainly through attacks with explosives against administrative buildings, banks, police stations and tourist seconds residences built in protected places. Through this struggle the Corsican coast has been protected. The FLNC has also fought in other various fronts, defense of the Corsican language, institutional development, employment priority for residents on the island, against colonization and against drug trafficking.

Due to political pressure by the FLNC the French state has resolved numerous different status for Corsica but has never taken the step of giving a legislative autonomy. Many of the FLNC’s historical claims are now shared and defended by most parties and citizens of the island.

Corsica is a land with a strong cultural identity, a people that has lived on the island at least 10,500 years and has the pass of Etruscans, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Pisans, Genoese through their lands. A land of ancestral rites and pagan traditions that persist despite its strong Catholicism.

It is a society organized in clans with a long history of “bandits of honor” that respond to an entrenched culture of the “vendetta” law.

The Corsican language has undergone a steady decline since the French occupation. Today 50% of the population would be able to speak with some fluency in Corsican.

In 2013 the Assembly declared Corsican as an official language but this status is still pending of ratification by the French Assembly.