French conquest of Corsica

Last updated
French Conquest of Corsica
DateMay 15, 1768–May 9, 1769
Location
Result French victory. Corsica annexed.
Belligerents
Flag of Corsica.svg Corsican Republic Royal Standard of the King of France.svg  France
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Corsica.svg Pasquale Paoli Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Comte de Vaux
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Comte de Chauvelin
Strength
24,000

The French conquest of Corsica took place during 1768 and 1769 when the Corsican Republic was occupied by French forces under the command of the Comte de Vaux.

Corsican Republic unrecognized European state (1755–1769)

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.

Contents

History

France received de jure control of the island of Corsica as a pledge from the Genoese Republic via the Treaty of Versailles in 1768. Genoa still claimed ownership of the island, although since 1755, Corsicans had achieved virtual independence and had written a Corsican Constitution (in Italian). After abandoning any hope of recovering Corsica by force, the Genoese chose to sell their rights over the island to France who were keen to gain new territory to replace territory lost during the Seven Years' War.

In law and government, de jure describes practices that are legally recognised, regardless whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, de facto describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally recognised. The terms are often used to contrast different scenarios: for a colloquial example, "I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it's a de facto swimming pool". To further explain, even if the signs around the flooded parking lot say "Parking Lot" it is "in fact" a swimming pool.

Treaty of Versailles (1768) 1768 treaty between the Republic of Genoa and France

The Treaty of Versailles was concluded on May 15, 1768 at Versailles between the Republic of Genoa and France. Genoa put Corsica in pledge to France.

Independence condition of a nation, country, or state which exercises self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory

Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is the status of a dependent territory.

France's initial offensive failed after a significant defeat was suffered at the Battle of Borgo in October 1768. France dispatched large numbers of reinforcements, swelling the size of their army there to 24,000. The Corsican army suffered a major setback at the Battle of Ponte Novu and the French forces soon overran the island although Corsican forces were not completely subdued until the following year and sporadic outbreaks of rebellion continued.

The Battle of Borgo was a battle between Corsican and French forces over control of the town of Borgo on 8 October 1768.

Battle of Ponte Novu

The Battle of Ponte Novu took place on May 8 and 9 1769 between royal French forces under the Comte de Vaux, a seasoned professional soldier with an expert on mountain warfare on his staff, and the native Corsicans under Carlo Salicetti. It was the battle that effectively ended the fourteen-year-old Corsican Republic and opened the way to annexation by France the following year.

Consequences

The French invasion triggered the Corsican Crisis in British politics. Although they sent secret aid to the Corsicans, the British government chose not to act to prevent the island's occupation. The leader of the Corsican Republic, Pasquale Paoli, went into exile in Britain where he remained until the French Revolution allowed him to return to Corsica. British troops subsequently intervened in Corsica between 1794–1796, where they created the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom, and in 1814 when they agreed the Treaty of Bastia. Following the Congress of Vienna control of the islands were returned to the restored French monarchs.

The Corsican Crisis was an event in British politics during 1768–69. It was precipitated by the invasion of the island of Corsica by France. The British government under the Duke of Grafton failed to intervene, for which it was widely criticised and was one of many factors that contributed to its downfall in early 1770.

Pasquale Paoli Corsican politician

Filippo Antonio Pasquale di 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.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

The invasion and occupation had even more profound consequences for France itself. When Napoleon Bonaparte was born on Corsica in 1769, he automatically became a natural-born French citizen. Both his parents Carlo Maria Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino joined the local resistance and fought to maintain independence, even when Maria was pregnant with him. Although raised as a Corsican nationalist, Napoleon gradually turned his loyalties towards the whole of France, serving in the French Army. He went on to become ruler of mainland France, adopted the ideals of the French Revolution as his own, and triggered the Napoleonic Wars that devastated much of Europe and changed it permanently.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

To this day, some Corsican nationalists advocate the restoration of the island's republic. 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. 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.

Corsica Libera is a left-wing separatist political party active in Corsica. It was founded in Corte in February 2009 by members of three nationalist parties, Corsica Nazione, Rinnovu and the Corsican Nationalist Alliance

National Liberation Front of Corsica

The National Liberation Front of Corsica is a militant group that advocates an independent state on the island of Corsica, separate from France. The organisation is primarily present in Corsica and less so on the French mainland. A Conculta Naziunalista is often considered to be the political wing of the organisation.

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