Filippo Antonio Pasquale de' Paoli FRS (Italian: [fiˈlippo anˈtɔːnjo paˈskwaːle de ˈpaːoli] ; French: Pascal Paoli; 6 April 1725 – 5 February 1807) 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.
Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.
Corsica 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.
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.
The Corsican Republic was a representative democracy asserting that the elected Diet of Corsican representatives had no master. Paoli held his office by election and not by appointment. It made him commander-in-chief of the armed forces as well as chief magistrate. Paoli's government claimed the same jurisdiction as the Republic of Genoa. In terms of de facto exercise of power, the Genoese held the coastal cities, which they could defend from their citadels, but the Corsican republic controlled the rest of the island from Corte, its capital.
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.
Representative democracy is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. Nearly all modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, France is a unitary state, and the United States is a federal republic.
A commander-in-chief, sometimes also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.
Following the French conquest of Corsica in 1768, Paoli oversaw the Corsican resistance. Following the defeat of Corsican forces at the Battle of Ponte Novu he was forced into exile in Britain where he was a celebrated figure. He returned after the French Revolution which he was initially supportive of. He later broke with the revolutionaries and helped to create the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom which lasted between 1794 and 1796. After the island was re-occupied by France he again went into exile in Britain where he died in 1807.
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.
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.
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.
Paoli was born in the hamlet of Stretta, Morosaglia commune, part of the ancient parish of Rostino, Haute-Corse, Corsica. He was the second son of the physician and patriot Giacinto Paoli, who was to become one of three "Generals of the People" in the Corsican nationalist movement that rebelled against rule by the Republic of Genoa, which at that time they regarded as corrupt and tyrannical. Prior to that century Corsicans more or less accepted Genoan rule. By 1729, the year of first rebellion, the Genovese were regarded as failing in their task of government. The major problems were the high murder rate because of the custom of vendetta, the raiding of coastal villages by the Barbary pirates, oppressive taxes and economic depression.
Morosaglia is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica. Since 2015, it is the seat of the canton of Golo-Morosaglia.
Haute-Corse is a former department of France, consisting of the northern part of the island of Corsica. It and the other Corsican department, Corse-du-Sud, merged on 1 January 2018 with the single collectivity of Corsica, with territorial elections coinciding with the dissolution of the separate councils. The people living in the former department are called "Northerners" (Supranacci).
A feud, referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, beef, clan war, gang war, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight, often between social groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted, or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment trigger the initial retribution, which causes the other party to feel equally aggrieved and vengeful. The dispute is subsequently fuelled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence. This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it extremely difficult to end the feud peacefully. Feuds frequently involve the original parties' family members or associates, can last for generations, and may result in extreme acts of violence. They can be interpreted as an extreme outgrowth of social relations based in family honor.
In the rebellion of 1729 over a new tax, the Genovese withdrew into their citadels and sent for foreign interventions, first from Austria and then from France. Defeated by professional troops the Corsicans ceded violence but kept their organisation. After surrendering to the French in 1739 Giacinto Paoli went into exile in Naples with his then 14-year-old son, Pasquale. An older brother, Clemente, remained at home as a liaison to the revolutionary diet, or assembly of the people.
Naples is a major city in southern Italy. It is the capital of the Campania region, and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. The city is called Napoli in Italian, and Napule in Neapolitan. The name comes from Ancient Greek Νεάπολις, meaning "new city", via the Latin Neapolis.
Corsica was subsequently distracted by the War of the Austrian Succession during which troops of a number of countries temporarily occupied the cities of Corsica. In Naples Giacinto perceiving that he had a talented son spared no effort or expense in his education, which was primarily classical. The enlightenment of which Pasquale was to become a part was neo-classical in its art, architecture and sentiments. Paoli is said once to have heard an old man on the road reciting Vergil, walked up behind him, clapped him on the back, and resumed reciting at the point where the other had left off.In 1741 Pasquale joined the Corsican regiment of the royal Neapolitan army and served in Calabria under his father.
The War of the Austrian Succession involved most of the powers of Europe over the issue of Archduchess Maria Theresa's succession to the Habsburg Monarchy. The war included peripheral events such as King George's War in British America, the War of Jenkins' Ear, the First Carnatic War in India, the Jacobite rising of 1745 in Scotland, and the First and Second Silesian Wars.
Calabria, known in antiquity as Bruttium, is a region in Southern Italy.
Corsican exiles in Italy were seeking assistance for the revolution, including a skilled general. In 1736 the exiles of Genoa had discovered Theodor von Neuhoff, a soldier of fortune whom they were willing to make king, but he was unsuccessful and in 1754 languished in debtors' prison in London. The young Pasquale became of interest when in opposition to a plan to ask the Knights of Malta to assume command he devised a plan for a native Corsican government. In that year Giacinto decided that Pasquale was ready to supplant Theodore and wrote to Vincente recommending that a general election be held. The subsequent popular election called by Vincente at Caccia made Pasquale General-in-Chief of Corsica, commander of all resistance.
Corsica at that time was still under the influence of feuding clans, as a result of which only the highland clans had voted in the election. The lowlanders now held an election of their own and elected Mario Matra as commander, who promptly attacked the supporters of Paoli. Moreover, Matra called on the Genovese for assistance, dragging Paoli into a conflict with them. Matra was killed shortly in battle and his support among the Corsicans collapsed.
Paoli's next task was to confine the Genovese to their citadels. His second was to design a constitution which when ratified by the population in 1755 set up a new republic, a representative democracy. Its first election made Paoli president, supplanting his former position.
In November 1755, the people of Corsica ratified a constitution that proclaimed Corsica a sovereign nation, independent from the Republic of Genoa. This was the first constitution written under Enlightenment principles. The new president and author of the constitution occupied himself with building a modern state; for example, he founded a university at Corte.
Seeing that they had in effect lost control of Corsica, Genoa responded by selling Corsica to the French by secret treaty in 1764 and allowing Genovese troops to be replaced quietly by French ones. When all was ready in 1768 the French made a public announcement of the union of Corsica with France and proceeded to the reconquest.Paoli fought a guerilla war from the mountains but in 1769 he was defeated in the Battle of Ponte Novu by vastly superior forces and took refuge in England. Corsica officially became a French province in 1770.
In London, Paoli attracted the attention of the Johnsonian circle almost immediately for which his expansive personality made him a natural fit. By the time Paoli entered the scene it had in part taken the form of The Club of mainly successful men of a liberal frame of mind. Such behaviour as Paoli showing his bullet-ridden coat to all visitors and then demanding a gratuity for the observation were amusing to the group, which had begun when its members were starting their careers and according to its chronicler James Boswell were themselves needy.
Paoli's memoirs were recorded by Boswell in his book, An Account of Corsica .
After a series of interviews with King George III, Paoli was given a pension by the crown with the understanding that if he ever returned to Corsica in a position of authority he would support British interests against the French. This was not, however, a cynical arrangement. Paoli became sincerely pro-British and had a genuine affection for his new friends, including the king, a predisposition that in the French Revolution led him into the royalist camp. The arrangement also was not a treaty of any sort, as at the time neither Paoli nor George III would have any idea of future circumstances.
By the time of the French revolution the name of Paoli had become something of an idol of liberty and democracy. In 1790 the revolutionary National Assembly in Paris passed a decree incorporating Corsica into France, essentially duplicating the work of 1780 but under a new authority. It granted amnesty to exiles, on which Paoli embarked immediately for Corsica. He arrived in time for the election of departmental officers at Orezza, ran for President, and was elected unanimously.Napoleon Bonaparte, organiser of the elections and active Jacobin, did not run at this time, but he was as much an admirer of Paoli as anyone.
Napoleon, on leave from his artillery regiment, returned to the regiment at Auxonne, where he was working on a history of Corsica. Writing to Paoli he asked his opinion on some of it and for historical documents. The differences between the two men became apparent. Paoli thought the history amateurish and too impassioned and refused the documents; Napoleon at this point had no idea of Paoli's regal connections in Britain or moderate, even sympathetic, sentiments about royalty.
Paoli split from the French Revolution over the issue of the execution of the king and threw in his lot with the royalist party. He did not make these views generally known, but when the revolutionary government ordered him to take Sardinia he put his nephew in charge of the expedition with secret orders to lose the conflict. In that case he was acting as a British agent, as the British had an interest in Sardinia they could not pursue if the French occupied it.
He had however also sent Napoleon Bonaparte as a colonel in command of two companies of Corsican guard (unofficially reinforced by 6000 revolutionaries from Marseille), which participated in the assault on La Maddalena Island in February 1793. It failed because the commander, Pietro Paolo Colonna-Cesari, failed to take appropriate military action, because the island had been reinforced just prior to the attack, and because the defenders seemed to know exactly where and when the revolutionaries were going to strike.
Napoleon perceived the situation during the first confrontation with his commander and assumed de facto command but the attack failed and he barely escaped. Enraged, after having been a strong supporter and admirer of Paoli, he and the entire Bonaparte family denounced Paoli as a traitor before the French National Convention. Arrest warrants were issued and sent to Corsica along with a force intended to take the citadels from the royalists[ citation needed ][which? clarification needed ], who had supplanted the Genovese after the sale of Corsica. Combining together the Paolists and royalists defeated the Bonapartes and drove them from the island.
Paoli then summoned a consulta (assembly) at Corte in 1793, with himself as president and formally seceded from France. He requested the protection of the British government, then at war with revolutionary France. In 1794 British sent a fleet under Admiral Samuel Hood. This fleet had just been ejected from the French port of Toulon by a revolutionary army following the plan of Napoleon Bonaparte, for which he was promoted to Brigadier General. The royalists at Toulon also had requested British protection. Napoleon was now dispatched to deal with Italy as commander of the French forces there.
For a short time, Corsica was a protectorate of King George III, chiefly by the exertions of Hood's fleet (e.g. in the Siege of Calvi), and Paoli's co-operation. This period has become known as the "Anglo-Corsican Kingdom" because George III was accepted as sovereign head of state, but this was not an incorporation of Corsica into the British Empire. The relationship between Paoli's government and the British was never clearly defined, resulting in numerous questions of authority. At last the crown invited Paoli to resign and return to exile in Britain with a pension, which, having no other options now, he did. Not long after, the French reconquered the island and all questions of Corsican sovereignty came to an end until the 20th century.
Paoli set sail for England in October 1795, where he lived out his final years. Pascale Paoli died on 5 February 1807 and was buried in Old St. Pancras Churchyard in London. His name is listed on the 1879 Burdett-Coutts Memorial amongst the important graves lost.
A bust was placed in Westminster Abbey. In 1889 his bones were brought to Corsica in a British frigate and interred at the family home under a memorial in the Italian language.
Pasquale never married and as far as is known had no heirs. Information about his intimate life is mainly lacking; however, it is believed he had an affair with Maria Cosway. However, Robert Harvey claims he was homosexual, when discussing how Carlo Buonaparte became Paoli's personal secretary.
Insofar as Italian irredentism was a political or historical movement, Pasquale Paoli lived long before its time and did not have anything to do with the movement that ended with the occupation of Corsica by Italian fascist troops in late 1942, during World War II.
There is no question, however, that Paoli was sympathetic to Italian culture and regarded his own native language as an Italian dialect (Corsican is an Italic language closely related to Tuscan, Sicilian and, to some extent, Sardinian language). He was considered by Niccolò Tommaseo, who collected his Lettere (Letters), as one of the precursors of the Italian irredentism. The "Babbu di a Patria" (Father of the fatherland), as was nicknamed Pasquale Paoli by the Corsican Italians, wrote in his Lettersthe following appeal in 1768 against the French invaders:
We are Corsicans by birth and sentiment, but first of all we feel Italian by language, origins, customs, traditions; and Italians are all brothers and united in the face of history and in the face of God ... As Corsicans we wish to be neither slaves nor "rebels" and as Italians we have the right to deal as equals with the other Italian brothers ... Either we shall be free or we shall be nothing... Either we shall win or we shall die (against the French), weapons in hand ... The war against France is right and holy as the name of God is holy and right, and here on our mountains will appear for Italy the sun of liberty....
("Siamo còrsi per nascita e sentimento ma prima di tutto ci sentiamo italiani per lingua, origini, costumi, tradizioni e gli italiani sono tutti fratelli e solidali di fronte alla storia e di fronte a Dio… Come còrsi non-vogliamo essere né schiavi né "ribelli" e come italiani abbiamo il diritto di trattare da pari con gli altri fratelli d'Italia… O saremo liberi o non-saremo niente… O vinceremo con l'onore o soccomberemo (contro i francesi) con le armi in mano... La guerra con la Francia è giusta e santa come santo e giusto è il nome di Dio, e qui sui nostri monti spunterà per l'Italia il sole della libertà…")
Pasquale Paoli wanted the Italian language to be the official language of his Corsican Republic. His Corsican Constitution of 1755 was in Italian and the short-lived university he founded in the city of Corte in 1765 used Italian.
The American Sons of Liberty movement were inspired by Paoli. Ebenezer McIntosh, a leader of the Sons of Liberty, named his son Paschal Paoli McIntosh in honour of him. In 1768, the editor of the New York Journal described Paoli as "the greatest man on earth". Several places in the United States are named after him. These include:
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.
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.
Lucien Bonaparte, Prince Français, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano, the third surviving son of Carlo Bonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino, was a French statesman, who served as the final President of the Council of Five Hundred at the end of the French Revolution.
Count Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo was a Corsican politician who became a Russian diplomat.
Nob. Carlo Maria Buonaparte or Carlo Maria di Buonaparte was an Italian lawyer and diplomat who is best known as the father of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Antoine Christophe Saliceti was a French politician and diplomat of the Revolution and First Empire.
The Corsicans are a Romance ethnic group. They are native to Corsica, a Mediterranean island and a territorial collectivity of France.
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.
Maison Bonaparte is the ancestral home of the Bonaparte family. It is located on the Rue Saint-Charles in Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica. The house was almost continuously owned by members of the family from 1682 to 1923.
The Anglo-Corsican Kingdom was a client state of the Kingdom of Great Britain that existed on the island of Corsica between 1794 and 1796, during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Tower of Nonza is a Genoese tower located in the commune of Nonza (Haute-Corse) on the coast of the Corsica. The tower sits at an elevation of 155 metres (509 ft) in the village of Nonza on the west coast of Capicorsu.
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.
Jacques Pierre Abbatucci was a Corsican who became an officer in the army of Genoese Corsica, ancien regime France and the First French Republic.
The Siege of San Fiorenzo was a British military operation, supported by Corsican partisans early in the French Revolutionary Wars against the French-held town of San Fiorenzo on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. The Corsican people had risen up against the French Republican garrison in 1793 after an attempt to arrest the Corsican leader Pasquale Paoli during the Reign of Terror. The French had then been driven into three fortified towns on the northern coast; San Fiorenzo, Calvi, and Bastia and Paoli appealed to the British Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet, commanded by Lord Hood, for assistance against the French garrison.
An Account of Corsica is the earliest piece of writing related to the Grand Tour literature that was written by the Scottish author James Boswell. Its first and second editions were published in 1768, with a third edition within twelve months. The full title given to the journal is An account of Corsica, the journal of a tour to that island and memoirs of Pascal Paoli.
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.
The Expédition de Sardaigne was a short military campaign fought in 1793 in the Mediterranean Sea in the first year of the War of the First Coalition, during the French Revolutionary Wars. The operation was the first offensive by the new French Republic in the Mediterranean during the conflict, and was directed at the island of Sardinia, part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. Sardinia was neutral at the time, but immediately joined the anti-French coalition. The operation was a total failure, with attacks directed at Cagliari in the south and La Maddalena in the north both ending in defeat.
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