Collectivity of Corsica
Location of Corsica within France
and largest city
|Government||Single territorial collectivity of France|
• President of the Executive Council
|Gilles Simeoni (Pè a Corsica)|
• President of the Corsican Assembly
|Jean-Guy Talamoni (Pè a Corsica)|
|Single territorial collectivity|
• NOTRe law
|7 August 2015|
|1 January 2018|
|8,680 km2 (3,350 sq mi)|
• 2017 census
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Euro (€) (EUR)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
• Summer (DST)
Corsica ( // ; French: Corse [kɔʁs] ; Corsica in Corsican and Italian, pronounced [ˈkorsiga] and [ˈkɔrsika] respectively) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island.
Corsican is an Italo-Dalmatian lect of the Romance family spoken in Corsica (France). Corsican is closely related to Tuscan and therefore to the Florentine-based Italian. Some southern Corsican varieties are also spoken, and to some extent written, on the island of Sardinia (Italy).
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. According to some unofficial sources, Italian is listed as a protected language in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Romania; nevertherless this mention is purely formal and lacking any real effect on the linguistic politics of both nations. Italian is not spoken, at any level, neither in Bosnia nor in Romania and there are not communities of speakers. Italian is not even mentioned in any official paper of these countries Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
While being part of Metropolitan France, Corsica is also designated as a territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale) by law. As a territorial collectivity, Corsica enjoys a greater degree of autonomy than other French regions; for example, the Corsican Assembly is able to exercise limited executive powers. The island formed a single department until it was split in 1975 into two historical departments: Haute-Corse (Upper Corsica) and Corse-du-Sud (Southern Corsica), with its regional capital in Ajaccio, the prefecture city of Corse-du-Sud. Bastia, the prefecture city of Haute-Corse, is the second largest settlement in Corsica. The two departments, and the region of Corsica, merged again into a single territorial collectivity in 2018.
Metropolitan France is the part of France in Europe. It comprises mainland France and Corsica, as well as other islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel and the Mediterranean Sea.
A territorial collectivity is a chartered subdivision of France, with recognized governing authority. It is the generic name for any subdivision with an elective form of local government and local regulatory authority. The nature of a French territorial collectivity is set forth in Article 72 of the French constitution of 1958, which provides for local autonomy within limits prescribed by law.
The Corsican Assembly is the unicameral legislative body of the territorial collectivity of Corsica. It has its seat at the Grand Hôtel d'Ajaccio et Continental, in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. After the 2017 territorial elections, the assembly will be expanded from 51 to 63 seats, with the executive council expanding from 9 to 11 members.
After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was briefly an Italian-speaking independent republic from 1755, until it was officially ceded by the Republic of Genoa to Louis XV as part of a pledge for debts and conquered in 1769. Napoleon Bonaparte was born the same year in Ajaccio, and his ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is today a significant visitor attraction and museum. Due to Corsica's historical ties with the Italian peninsula, the island retains to this day many Italian cultural elements: the native tongue is recognized as a regional language by the French government.
The Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, incorporating Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean.
In November 1755, Pasquale Paoli proclaimed Corsica a sovereign nation, the Corsican Republic, independent from the Republic of Genoa. He created the Corsican Constitution, which was the first constitution written in Italian under Enlightenment principles, including the first implementation of female suffrage, later revoked by the French when they took over the island in 1769. The republic created an administration and justice system, and founded an army.
Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the young king took sole control of the kingdom.
The origin of the name Corsica is subject to much debate and remains a mystery. To the Ancient Greeks it was known as Kalliste, Corsis, Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné. Of these Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné derive from the most ancient Greek name of the island, "Σειρηνούσσαι" ("Seirinoussai", meaning of the Sirens), the very same Sirens mentioned in Homer's Odyssey.
Corsica has been occupied continuously since the Mesolithic era. It acquired an indigenous population that was influential in the Mediterranean during its long prehistory.
In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for outside northern Europe, and for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus. The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans roughly 15,000 to 5,000 BP; in Southwest Asia roughly 20,000 to 8,000 BP. The term is less used of areas further east, and not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa.
After a brief occupation by the Carthaginians, colonization by the ancient Greeks, and an only slightly longer occupation by the Etruscans, it was incorporated by the Roman Republic at the end of the First Punic War and, with Sardinia, in 238 BC became a province of the Roman Republic.The Romans, who built a colony in Aléria, considered Corsica as one of the most backward regions of the Roman world. The island produced sheep, honey, resin and wax, and exported many slaves, not well considered because of their fierce and rebellious character. Moreover, it was known for its cheap wines, exported to Rome, and was used as a place of relegation, one of the most famous exiles being the Roman philosopher Seneca. Administratively, the island was divided in pagi , which in the Middle Ages became the pievi , the basic administrative units of the island until 1768. During the diffusion of Christianity, which arrived quite early from Rome and the Tuscan harbors, Corsica was home to many martyrs and saints: among them, the most important are Saint Devota and Saint Julia, both patrons of the island. Corsica was integrated into Roman Italy by Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305).
Carthage was a Phoenician state that included, during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, its wider sphere of influence known as the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of Northwest Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia and the islands of the western Mediterranean Sea.
The Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul have a significant history of settlement, trade, cultural influence, and armed conflict in the Celtic territory of Gaul, starting from the 6th century BC during the Greek Archaic period. Following the founding of the major trading post of Massalia in 600 BC by the Phocaeans at present day Marseille, Massalians had a complex history of interaction with peoples of the region.
The Etruscan civilization is the modern name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, south of the Arno river, western Umbria, northern and central Lazio, with offshoots also to the north in the Po Valley, in the current Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy and southern Veneto, and to the south, in some areas of Campania. As distinguished by its unique language, this civilization endured from before the time of the earliest Etruscan inscriptions until its assimilation into the Roman Republic, beginning in the late 4th century BC with the Roman–Etruscan Wars.
In the 5th century, the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed, and the island was invaded by the Vandals and the Ostrogoths.Briefly recovered by the Byzantines, it soon became part of the Kingdom of the Lombards. This made it a dependency of the March of Tuscany, which used it as an outpost against the Saracens. Pepin the Short, king of the Franks and Charlemagne's father, expelled the Lombards and nominally granted Corsica to Pope Stephen II. In the first quarter of the 11th century, Pisa and Genoa together freed the island from the threat of Arab invasion. After that, the island came under the influence of the republic of Pisa. To this period belong the many polychrome churches which adorn the island, and Corsica also experienced a massive immigration from Tuscany, which gave to the island its present toponymy and rendered the language spoken in the northern two-thirds of the island very close to the Tuscan dialect. Due to that, then began also the traditional division of Corsica in two parts, along the main chain of mountains roughly going from Calvi to Porto-Vecchio: the eastern Banda di dentro, or Cismonte, more populated, evolved and open to the commerce with Italy, and the western Banda di fuori, or Pomonte, almost deserted, wild and remote.
The crushing defeat experienced by Pisa in 1284 in the Battle of Meloria against Genoa had among its consequences the end of the Pisan rule and the beginning of the Genoese influence in Corsica:this was contested initially by the King of Aragon, who in 1296 had received from the Pope the investiture over Sardinia and Corsica. A popular revolution against this and the feudal lords, led by Sambucuccio d'Alando, got the aid of Genoa. After that, the Cismonte was ruled as a league of comuni and churches, after the Italian experience. The following 150 years were a period of conflict, when the Genoese rule was contested by Aragon, the local lords, the comuni and the Pope: finally, in 1450 Genoa ceded the administration of the island to its main bank, the Bank of Saint George, which brought peace.
In the 16th century, the island entered into the fight between Spain and France for the supremacy in Italy.In 1553, a Franco-Ottoman fleet occupied Corsica, but the reaction of Spain and Genoa, led by Andrea Doria, reestablished the Genoese supremacy on the island, confirmed by the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis. The unlucky protagonist of this episode was Sampiero di Bastelica, who would later come to be considered a hero of the island. Their power reinstated, the Genoese did not allow the Corsican nobility to share in the government of the island, and oppressed the inhabitants with a heavy tax burden: on the other hand, they introduced the chestnut tree on a large scale, improving the diet of the population, and built a chain of towers along the coast to defend Corsica from the attacks of the Barbary pirates from North Africa. The period of peace lasted until 1729, when the refusal to pay taxes by a peasant sparked the general insurrection of the island against Genoa.
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In 1729 the Corsican Revolution for independence from Genoa began, first led by Luiggi Giafferi and Giacinto Paoli, and later by Paoli's son, Pasquale Paoli. After 26 years of struggle against the Republic of Genoa (plus an ephemeral attempt to proclaim in 1736 an independent Kingdom of Corsica under the German adventurer Theodor von Neuhoff), the independent Corsican Republic was proclaimed in 1755 under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli and remained sovereign until 1769, when the island was conquered by France. The first Corsican Constitution was written in Italian (the language of culture in Corsica until the middle of the 19th century) by Paoli.
The Corsican Republic was unable to eject the Genoese from the major coastal fortresses (Calvi and Bonifacio). After the Corsican conquest of Capraia, a small island of the Tuscan Archipelago, in 1767, the Republic of Genoa, exhausted by forty years of fighting, decided to sell the island to France which, after its defeat in the Seven Years' War, was trying to reinforce its position in the Mediterranean. In 1768, with the Treaty of Versailles, the Genoese republic ceded all its rights on the island. After an initial successful resistance culminating with the victory at Borgo, the Corsican republic was crushed by a large French army led by the Count of Vaux at the Battle of Ponte Novu. This marked the end of Corsican sovereignty. Despite triggering the Corsican Crisis in Britain, whose government gave secret aid, no foreign military support came for the Corsicans. However, nationalist feelings still ran high. Despite the conquest, Corsica was not incorporated into the French state until 1789.
Following the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, Pasquale Paoli was able to return to Corsica from exile in Britain. In 1794, he invited British forces under Lord Hood to intervene to free Corsica from French rule. Anglo-Corsican forces drove the French from the island and established an Anglo-Corsican Kingdom. Following Spain's entry into the war, the British decided to withdraw from Corsica in 1796. Corsica returned to French rule.
Despite being the birthplace of the Emperor, who had supported Paoli in his youth, the island was neglected by Napoleon's government.In 1814, near the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Corsica was briefly occupied again by British troops. The Treaty of Bastia gave the British crown sovereignty over the island, but it was later repudiated by Lord Castlereagh who insisted that the island should be returned to a restored French monarchy.
After the restoration, the island was further neglected by the French state. Despite the presence of a middle class in Bastia and Ajaccio, Corsica remained an otherwise primitive place, whose economy consisted mainly of a subsistence agriculture, and whose population constituted a pastoral society, dominated by clans and the rules of vendetta. The code of vendetta required Corsicans to seek deadly revenge for offences against their family's honor. Between 1821 and 1852, no fewer than 4,300 murders were perpetrated in Corsica.In this period a myth proved of interest as an historical fact by virtue of its being introduced by Herodotus and furthered by writers like Mérimée and Gregorovius, of Corsica as having been populated by Arcadians (Oenotrians and citizens of Phocaea), fierce and loyal people. During the first half of the century, the people of Corsica belonged still to the Italian cultural world: the bourgeoisie sent children to Pisa to study, official acts were enacted in Italian and most books were printed in Italian. Moreover, many islanders sympathised with the national struggle which was taking place in nearby Italy in those years: several political refugees from the peninsula, like Niccolò Tommaseo, spent years in the island, while some Corsicans, like Count Leonetto Cipriani, took active part in the fights for Italian independence.
Despite all that, during those years the Corsicans began to feel a stronger and stronger attraction to France. The reasons for that are manifold: the knowledge of the French language, which thanks to the mandatory primary school started to penetrate among the local youth, the high prestige of French culture, the awareness of being part of a big, powerful state, the possibility of well-paid jobs as civil servants, both in the island, in the mainland and in the colonies, the prospect of serving the French army during the wars for the conquest of the colonial empire, the introduction of steamboats, which reduced the travel time between mainland France from the island drastically, and — last but not least — Napoleon himself, whose existence alone constituted an indissoluble link between France and Corsica. Thanks to all these factors by around 1870 Corsica had landed in the French cultural world.
From the 19th century into the mid-20th century, Corsicans also grew closer to the French nation through participation in the French Empire. Compared to much of Metropolitan France, Corsica was poor and many Corsicans emigrated. While Corsicans emigrated globally, especially to many South American countries, many chose to move within the French Empire which acted as a conduit for emigration and eventual return, as many young Corsican men could find better job opportunities in the far corners of the Empire where many other French hesitated to go. In many parts of the Empire, Corsicans were strongly represented, such as in Saigon where in 1926 12% of European were from Corsica.Across the French Empire, many Corsicans retained a sense of community by establishing organizations where they would meet regularly, keep one another informed of developments in Corsica, and come to one anothers’ aid in times of need.
Corsica paid a high price for the French victory in the First World War: agriculture was disrupted by the years-long absence of almost all of the young workers, and the percentage of dead or wounded Corsicans in the conflict was double that of those from continental France. Moreover, the protectionist policies of the French government, started in the 1880s, had caused a significant strain on the Corsican export of wine and olive oil, and forced many young locals to emigrate both to mainland France and the Americas. As a reaction to these conditions, a nationalist movement was born in the 1920s around the newspaper A Muvra, proposing the island's autonomy; in the 1930s, however, the nationalist movement's key figures turned to Italian irredentism, seeing the annexation of the island to fascist Italy as the most desirable course of action. Under Benito Mussolini, the annexation of Corsica had become one of the main goals of Italy's domestic policy of expansion.
After the collapse of France to the German Wehrmacht in 1940, Corsica came under the rule of the Vichy French regime, which was collaborating with Nazi Germany.In November 1942 the island, following the Anglo-American landings in North Africa was occupied by Italian and German forces. After the Italian armistice in September 1943, Italian and Free French Forces pushed the Germans out of the island, making Corsica the first French Department to be freed. Subsequently, the US military established 17 airfields, nicknamed "USS Corsica", which served as bases for attacks on targets in German-occupied Italy.
During the May 1958 crisis, French paratroopers landed on Corsica on 24 May, garrisoning the island in a bloodless action called Opération Corse.
Between the late fifties and the seventies, the project of building a nuclear polygon in the mines of Argentella, the immigration of 18,000 former settlers of the newly independent Algeria ("Pieds-Noirs") in the eastern plains, and continuing chemical pollution (Fanghi Rossi) from mainland Italy increased tensions between the local inhabitants and the French government. Tensions escalated until they eventually erupted in the occasion of an armed police assault on a pieds-noirs-owned wine cellar in Aleria, occupied by Corsican nationalists on 23 August 1975: Corsican nationalism has been a feature of the island's politics ever since, with several groups and nationalist parties active calling for the protection of the Corsican cultural heritage and greater autonomy, or even the restoration of the island's full independence. Some radical nationalists, organizing themselves in a group known as FLNC, carried out a violent conflict, which included a number of bombings and assassinations targeting buildings and officials of the French government, both from the mainland and Corsica itself. Periodic flare-ups of raids and killings culminated in the assassination of the Prefect Claude Érignac in 1998.
In 2013, Corsica hosted the first three stages of the 100th Tour de France, which passed through the island for the first time in the event's 110-year history.
Corsica was formed about 250 million years ago with the uplift of a granite backbone on the western side. About 50 million years ago sedimentary rock was pressed against this granite, forming the schists of the eastern side. It is the most mountainous[ clarification needed ] island in the Mediterranean, a "mountain in the sea".
It is also the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus.
It is 183 km (114 mi) long at longest, 83 km (52 mi) wide at widest, has 1,000 km (620 mi) of coastline, more than 200 beaches, and is very mountainous, with Monte Cinto as the highest peak at 2,706 m (8,878 ft) and around 120 other summits of more than 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Mountains comprise two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain. Forests make up 20% of the island.
About 3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi) of the total surface area of 8,680 km2 (3,350 sq mi) is dedicated to nature reserves (Parc naturel régional de Corse), mainly in the interior. Corsica contains the GR20, one of Europe's most notable hiking trails.
The island is 90 km (56 mi) from Tuscany in Italy and 170 km (110 mi) from the Côte d'Azur in France. It is separated from Sardinia to the south by the Strait of Bonifacio, which is a minimum of 11 km (6.8 mi) wide.
In 2005 the population of Corsica was settled in approximately 360 communities.
Under the Köppen climate classification scheme, coastal regions are characterized by a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa). Further inland, a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb) is more common. At the highest elevation locations, small areas with a subarctic climate (Dsc, Dfc) and the rare cold-summer Mediterranean climate (Csc) can be found.
The station of Sari-Solenzara records the highest year-round temperatures of Metropolitan France with an annual average of 16.41 °C over the 1981–2010 period. Sunshine hours are not available over this period but is 2715 h over 2008–2016.
|Climate data for Ajaccio, central-western part of island|
|Average high °C (°F)||13.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||8.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||3.9|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||73.8|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||8.9||8.7||8.3||7.2||5.7||2.8||1.3||2.4||4.3||7.3||8.6||9.1||74.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||133.3||145.0||189.1||225.0||282.1||321.0||365.8||331.7||264.0||210.8||150.0||127.1||2,744.9|
|Source: Hong Kong Observatory|
|Climate data for Sari-Solenzara, south-eastern part of island|
|Average high °C (°F)||13.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.7|
|Average low °C (°F)||5.8|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||71.1|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||6.2||6.1||6.5||7.5||4.9||3.0||1.5||2.2||4.8||7.1||8.1||8.7||66.6|
|Source: Météo France|
|Climate data for Bastia, north-eastern part of island|
|Average high °C (°F)||13.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||5.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||67|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||134||158||192||214||268||296||345||304||232||176||133||128||2,580|
|Source: Quid 2004, page 618 and Météo-France, data for 1981–2010|
| Native name: |
Nickname: L’Île de Beauté
The Isle of Beauty
Topography of Corsica
|Area||8,680 km2 (3,350 sq mi)|
|Length||184 km (114.3 mi)|
|Width||83 km (51.6 mi)|
|Coastline||1,000 km (600 mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,706 m (8,878 ft)|
|Highest point||Monte Cinto|
|Largest settlement||Ajaccio (pop. 63,723)|
|Population||322,120 (January 2013)|
|Pop. density||37 /km2 (96 /sq mi)|
The island is divided into three major ecological zones by altitude. 600 metres (2,000 ft) is the coastal zone, which features a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The natural vegetation is Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrubs. The coastal lowlands are part of the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion, in which forests and woodlands of evergreen sclerophyll oaks predominate, chiefly holm oak (Quercus ilex) and cork oak (Quercus suber). Much of the coastal lowlands have been cleared for agriculture, grazing and logging, which have reduced the forests considerably.Below
There is considerable birdlife in Corsica. One famous example is the bearded vulture. In some cases Corsica is a delimited part of the species range. For example, the subspecies of hooded crow, Corvus cornix ssp cornix occurs in Corsica, but no further south.
From 600 to 1,800 m (2,000 to 5,900 ft) is a temperate montane zone. The mountains are cooler and wetter, and home to the Corsican montane broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion, which supports diverse forests of oak, pine, and broadleaf deciduous trees, with vegetation more typical of northern Europe. The population lives predominantly below 900 m (3,000 ft), with only shepherds and hikers at 600 to 900 m (2,000 to 3,000 ft).
From 1,800 to 2,700 m (5,900 to 8,900 ft) is a high alpine zone. Vegetation is sparse. This zone is uninhabited.
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The island has a natural park (Parc Naturel Régional de Corse, Parcu di Corsica), which protects rare animal and plant species. The Park was created in 1972 and includes the Golfe de Porto, the Scandola Nature Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and some of the highest mountains on the island. Scandola cannot be reached on foot, but people can gain access by boat from the village of Galéria and Porto (Ota). Two endangered subspecies of hoofed mammals, the European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon) and Corsican red deer (Cervus elaphus corsicanus) inhabit the park. The Corsican red deer was re-introduced after it was extinct due to over hunting. This Corsican subspecies was the same that survived on Sardinia, so it's endemic. There are other species endemic to Corsica especially in the upper mountain ranges, i.e. Corsican nuthatch, Corsican fire salamander and Corsican brook salamander and many plant subspecies.
Corsica, like all the other Mediterranean islands, was home to indigenous animals of the Pleistocene, some endemic to it and some coming to it and Sardinia (as Sardinia was joined to Corsica for much of the Pleistocene). After the proliferation of humans in the Mesolithic, these began to disappear, partly from extinction of the species, and partly from eradication only in Corsica. However, it is now known that many species managed to survive the Mesolithic, and many were still present well into recorded history.
The globally extinct species are the Sardinian dhole, Megaloceros cazioti , Corsican giant shrew, Tyrrhenian mole, Sardinian pika, Corsican-Sardinian vole, Corsican-Sardinian wood mouse, Bubo insularis and Athene angelis . Birds were especially hard-hit. Some that were eradicated from the vicinity are Haliaeetus albicilla and Aquila heliaca .
Corsica has a population of 322,120 inhabitants (January 2013 estimate).
At the 2011 census, 56.3% of the inhabitants of Corsica had been born in Corsica, 28.6% were born in Continental France, 0.3% were from Overseas France, and 14.8% were natives of foreign countries.
The majority of the foreign immigrants in Corsica come from the Maghreb (particularly Moroccans, who made up 33.5% of all immigrants in Corsica at the 2011 census), and from Southern Europe (particularly Portuguese, 22.7% of immigrants on the island), and Italians (13.7%).
|Census||Born in Corsica||Born in|
|Born in foreign|
countries with French
citizenship at birth¹
|from the Maghreb3||from Southern Europe4||from the rest of the world|
|from the Maghreb3||from Southern Europe4||from the rest of the world|
|¹Essentially Pieds-Noirs who resettled in Corsica after the independence of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, many of whom had Corsican ancestry.|
2An immigrant is by French definition a person born in a foreign country and who did not have French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still listed as an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.
3 Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria
4 Portugal, Italy, Spain
As in the rest of France, French is Corsica's official language and is now spoken throughout the island. Italian was the official language of Corsica under the plurisecular Pisan and Genoese rule, and was retained as the island's administrative language until 1859. Corsican (corsu), an Italo-Dalmatian minority language that is closely related to Tuscan (toscano), has a better prospect of survival than most other French regional languages: Corsican is in fact, after French, the most widely spoken language on the island. However, Corsican lacks official status, and today it is estimated that only 10% of Corsica's population speak the language natively, with 50% having some sort of proficiency in it.
The language is divided into the two main varieties of corsu supranacciu ("Northern Corsican") and corsu suttanacciu ("Southern Corsican"), spoken respectively northeast and southwest of the Girolata - Porto Vecchio line. This division was primarily due to the massive immigration from Tuscany which took place in Corsica during the lower Middle Ages: as a result, the supranacciu or cismontano became very similar to the Western Tuscan dialects, while the suttanacciu or oltramontano could keep more original characteristics which make this group of dialects relatively similar to a Southern Romance language like Sardinian (sardu).Therefore, due to the differences between the main dialectal varieties, most linguists classify Corsican as an Italo-Dalmatian language, while some others place it in the Southern Romance family, together with Sardinian.
It should also be noted that fewer and fewer people speak a dialect of Ligurian, known as bunifazzinu,in what has long been a language island, Bonifacio, and in Ajaccio, the aghjaccinu dialect. In Cargèse, a village established by Greek immigrants in the 17th century, Greek (ελληνικά) was the traditional language: whereas it has long disappeared from spoken conversation, ancient Greek is still the liturgical language and the village has many Greek Orthodox parishes.
From the mountains to the plains and sea, many ingredients play a role. Game such as wild boar (Cingale, Singhjari) is popular. There also is seafood and river fish such as trout. Delicacies such as figatellu (also named as ficateddu), made with liver, coppa, ham (prizuttu), lonzu are made from Corsican pork (porcu nustrale). Characteristic among the cheeses is brocciu (similar to ricotta), which is used as a fresh ingredient in many dishes, from first courses ( sturzapreti ) to cakes ( fiadone ). Other cheeses, like casgiu merzu ("rotten cheese", the Corsican counterpart of the Sardinian casu marzu ), casgiu veghju are made from goat or sheep milk. Chestnuts are the main ingredient in the making of pulenta castagnina and cakes ( falculelle ). A variety of alcohol also exists ranging from aquavita (brandy), red and white Corsican wines (Vinu Corsu), muscat wine (plain or sparkling), and the famous "Cap Corse" apéritif produced by Mattei. The herbs which are part of Maquis (Corsican : machja) and the chestnuts and oak nuts of the Corsican forests are eaten by local animals, resulting in the noticeable taste in the food there.
Corsica has produced a number of known artists:
AC Ajaccio and SC Bastia are the two main football teams, which have played the Ligue 1 frequently since the 1960s and contest the Corsica derby. Since 2015, Gazélec Ajaccio, the city's second team, has begun playing in the Ligue 1. The Tour de Corse is a rally held since 1956, which was a round of the World Rally Championship from 1973 to 2008 and later the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and European Rally Championship. The Tour de Corse returned as a World Rally Championship round in 2015.
Before 1975, Corsica was a départment of the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. In 1975 two new départements, Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud, were created by splitting the hitherto united departement of Corsica.
On 2 March 1982, a law was passed that gave Corsica the status of territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale), abolishing the Corsican Regional Council. Unlike the regional councils, the Corsican Assembly has executive powers over the island.
In 1992, three institutions were formed in the territorial collectivity of Corsica:
A local referendum held in 2003, aimed at abolishing the two départements to leave a territorial collectivity with extended powers, was voted down by a narrow margin. However, the issue of Corsican autonomy and greater powers for the Corsican Assembly continues to hold sway over Corsican politics.
Tourism plays a big part in the Corsican economy. The island's climate, mountains, and coastlines make it popular among tourists. The island has not had the same level of intensive development as other parts of the Mediterranean and is thus mainly unspoiled. Tourism is particularly concentrated in the area around Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio in the south of the island and Calvi in the northwest.
In 1584 the Genoese governor ordered all farmers and landowners to plant four trees yearly; a chestnut, olive, fig, and mulberry tree. Many communities owe their origin and former richness to the ensuing chestnut woods.Chestnut bread keeps fresh for as long as two weeks. Corsica produces gourmet cheese, wine, sausages, and honey for sale in mainland France and for export. Corsican honey, of which there are six official varieties, is certified as to its origin (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) by the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine – INAO).
Corsica's main exports are granite and marble, tannic acid, cork, cheese, wine, citrus fruit, olive oil and cigarettes.
Corsica has four international airports:
All airports are served by regional French airline Air Corsica, as well as Air France which mainly offers connections to Paris-Orly. Budget carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair offer seasonal connections to different cities in Europe.
The island has 232 kilometres (144 miles) of metre gauge railway. The main line runs between Bastia and Ajaccio and there is a branch line from Ponte Leccia to Calvi. Chemins de Fer de la Corse (CFC) is the name of the regional rail network serving the French island of Corsica. For a list of stations, see Railway stations in Corsica. The railroad retains the air of a friendly local railroad and is an excellent way to get around the island, for both the inhabitants and tourists.
There is a third line along the east coast that is not in use due to heavy damage during World War II. John Smith and his consortium announced their intention to invest and redevelop in 2018. There has been talk of restoration, but no progress has occurred.
Corsica is well connected to the European mainland (Italy and France) by various car ferry lines. The island's busiest seaport is Bastia, which saw more than 2.5 million passengers in 2012.The second busiest seaport is Ajaccio, followed by L'Île-Rousse and Calvi. Propriano and Porto Vecchio in the south also have smaller ferry docks and are seasonally served from France (Marseille), while Bonifacio's harbour is only frequented by smaller car ferries from the neighbouring island of Sardinia.
The ferry companies serving Corsica are Corsica Ferries - Sardinia Ferries (from Savona, Livorno and Piombino in Italy; Toulon and Nice in France), SNCM (from Marseille, Toulon and Nice in France), CMN - La Méridionale (from Marseille in France) and Moby Lines (from Livorno and Genoa in Italy).
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There are several groups and two nationalist parties (the autonomist Femu a Corsica and the separatist Corsica Libera) active on the island calling for some degree of Corsican autonomy from France or even full independence. Generally speaking, regionalist proposals focus on the promotion of the Corsican language, more power for local governments, and some exemptions from national taxes in addition to those already applying to Corsica.
The French government is opposed to full independence but has at times shown support for some level of autonomy. There is support on the island for proposals for greater autonomy, but polls show that a large majority of Corsicans are opposed to full independence.
In 1972, the Italian company Montedison dumped toxic waste, which appeared to be red mud, off the Corsican coast, the most visible effects being cetaceans found dead on the shores. At that time the Corsican people felt that the French government did not support them. To stop the poisoning, one ship carrying toxic waste from Italy was bombed.
Nationalist organisations started to seek money, using tactics similar to those of the Mafia, to fund violence. Some groups that claim to support Corsican independence, such as the National Liberation Front of Corsica, have carried out a violent campaign since the 1970s that includes bombings and assassinations, usually targeting buildings and officials representing the French government or Corsicans themselves for political reasons.A war between two rival independence groups led to several deaths in the 1990s. The peaceful occupation of a pied-noir vineyard in Aléria in 1975 marked a turning point when the French government responded with overwhelming force, generating sympathy for the independence groups among the Corsican population.
In 2000, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin agreed to grant increased autonomy to Corsica. The proposed autonomy for Corsica would have included greater protection for the Corsican language (Corsu), the island's traditional language, whose practice and teaching, like other regional or minority languages in France, had been discouraged in the past. According to the UNESCO classification, the Corsican language is currently in danger of becoming extinct.However, plans for increased autonomy were opposed by the Gaullist opposition in the French National Assembly, who feared that they would lead to calls for autonomy from other régions (such as Brittany, Alsace, or Provence), eventually threatening France's unity as a country.
In a referendum on 6 July 2003, a narrow majority of Corsican voters opposed a proposal by the government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin and then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy that would have suppressed the two départements of the island and granted greater autonomy to the territorial collectivity of Corsica.
On 13 December 2015, the regionalist coalition Pè a Corsica (English: For Corsica), supported by both Femu a Corsica and Corsica Libera and led by Gilles Siméoni, won the territorial elections with a percentage of 36.9%.
On 17 December 2015, Jean Guy Talamoni was elected President of the Assembly of Corsica and Gilles Simeoni was elected Executive President of the Council of the Region. In addition, legislation granting Corsica a greater degree of autonomy was passed.
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Ajaccio is a French commune, prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud, and head office of the Collectivité territoriale de Corse. It is also the largest settlement on the island. Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 210 nautical miles (390 km) southeast of Marseille.
Bastia is a French commune in the Haute-Corse department of France located in the north-east of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse. It also has the second-highest population of any commune on the island after Ajaccio and is the capital of the Bagnaja region and of the department.
Corte is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica. It is the fourth-largest commune in Corsica after Ajaccio, Bastia, and Porto-Vecchio.
Filippo Antonio Pasquale de' Paoli was a Corsican patriot, statesman and military leader who was at the forefront of resistance movements against the Genoese and later French rule in the island. He became the president of the Executive Council of the General Diet of the People of Corsica, and also designed and wrote the Constitution of the state.
Calvi is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.
The Corsicans are a Romance ethnic group. They are native to Corsica, a Mediterranean island and a territorial collectivity of France.
Lucciana is a commune of the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.
Sampiero Corso was a Corsican soldier, father of the Marshal of France Alphonse d'Ornano.
The history of Corsica in the medieval period begins with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the invasions of various Germanic peoples in the fifth century AD, and ends with the complete subjection of the island to the authority of the Bank of San Giorgio in 1511.
That the history of Corsica has been influenced by its strategic position at the heart of the western Mediterranean and its maritime routes, only 12 kilometres (7 mi) from Sardinia, 50 kilometres (30 mi) from the Isle of Elba, 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the coast of Tuscany and 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the French port of Nice, was first proposed by the 19th-century German theorist, Friedrich Ratzel. To him is often attributed the description "mountain in the sea". Regardless of whether he used that particular phrase the idea is expressed in his magnum opus, Anthropogeographie, which calls Corsica
Ein abgeschlossenes und eigenartiges Land, das Insel und Gebirg zugleich ....
An isolated and singular land, both island and mountain ....
Corsica Ferries - Sardinia Ferries is a France-Italy based ferry company that operates traffic to and from the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Elba.
Italian irredentism in Corsica was a cultural and historical movement promoted by Italians and by people from Corsica who identified themselves as part of Italy rather than France, and promoted the Italian annexation of the island.
Algajola is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.
Ponte Leccia is a French village, part of the municipality (commune) of Morosaglia, in the department of Haute-Corse, Corsica. Its name in Corsican language is U Ponte à a Leccia.
The prehistory of Corsica is analogous to the prehistories of the other islands in the Mediterranean Sea, such as Sicily, Sardinia, Malta and Cyprus, which could only be accessed by boat and featured cultures that were to some degree insular; that is, modified from the traditional Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic of European prehistoric cultures. The islands of the Aegean Sea and Crete early developed Bronze Age civilizations and are accordingly usually treated under those categories. Stone Age Crete however shares some of the features of the prehistoric Mediterranean islands.
Corsica wine is wine made on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Located 90 km west of Italy, 170 km southeast of France and 11 km north of the island of Sardinia, the island is a territorial collectivity of France, but many of the region's winemaking traditions and its grape varieties are Italian in origin. The region's viticultural history can be traced to the island's settlement by Phoceans traders in 570 BC in what is now the commune of Aléria. In the 18th century, the island came under the control of France. Following the independence of Algeria from French rule, many Algerian Pieds-Noirs immigrated to Corsica and began planting vineyards. Between 1960 and 1976 the vineyard area in Corsica increased fourfold. In 1968, Patrimonio was established as Corsica's first Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC). Today, Corsica has nine AOC regions including the island-wide designation Vin de Corse AOC. The majority of the wine exported from Corsica falls under the Vin de pays designation Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté. The three leading grape varieties of the region are Nielluccio, known as the spice wine of France, Sciacarello and Vermentino.
Corsican nationalism is a nationalist movement in Corsica, France, active since the 1960s, that advocates more autonomy for the island, if not outright independence.
The invasion of Corsica was a campaign fought in the spring and summer of 1794 by combined British military and Corsican irregular forces against a French garrison, early in the French Revolutionary Wars. The campaign centred on sieges of three principal towns in Northern Corsica; San Fiorenzo, Bastia and Calvi, which were in turn surrounded, besieged and bombarded until by August 1794 French forces had been driven from the island entirely.
Pè a Corsica is a Corsican nationalist political party in France, which calls for more autonomy for Corsica. More specifically, it is a coalition of the two Corsican nationalist parties active on the island; that is, the moderately autonomist Femu a Corsica and the strongly committed separatist Corsica Libera (which won respectively 17,62% and 7,73% of the vote in the first round of the 2015 French regional elections. The party is led by the autonomist Gilles Simeoni. The alliance was renewed for the 2017 territorial election.