The history of Corsica is very rich. Often invaded but never submissive, the island of beauty has so much to tell...
Occupations, invasions, fights, revolutions… Corsica has experienced many torments.
In order to better understand its history, we propose a short trip into the past according to the most important periods!
1) The construction of megaliths
The island of beauty is the curiosity of archaeologists. Corsica has many sites that hold treasures from antiquity. In particular the Filitosa site which is the pride of the inhabitants!
These monuments built between 4000 and 2000 BC were large stones erected to celebrate the deceased. There are also 80 menhir statues that were representations of enemies who died in battle. Proof of the existence of a civilization that had its own way of life and funeral techniques….
2) Corsica in the Middle Ages
During this period Corsica suffered many invasions and attacks. Indeed, from the 5th century until the 11th century, the Vandals and Moors and Ostrogothic pirates looted the reserves of Corsican villages and captured women and men to make them slaves.
Legends tell that the Corsicans decapitated their enemies and wore their heads on spikes, hence the origin of the famous Corsican flag and its Moorish head.
3) The Pisan occupation
From 1077, the island of beauty passed into the hands of the Pisans. From this period followed the construction of many convents and churches in Corsica.
The territory is divided into 90 parishes called “pieve”, each led by a priest.
4) The Genoese occupation
The Genoese, jealous of the Pisans, gradually began to conquer Corsica and then succeeded in doing so entirely from 1284 onwards.
Five centuries of Genoese occupation followed, during which the famous Corsican Genoese towers appeared. During this period, the cities of Bastia, Porto-Vecchio, Calvi, Ajaccio and Saint Florent were also created.
5) The Sampiero Corso revolution
Under the Genoese occupation, many tensions appeared against the Republic of Genoa. Supported by the King of France – Henry II, Sampiero Corso, a colonel in the French army, decided with his troops to invade Corsica in order to dethrone the Genoese.
Sampiero Corso managed to take Ajaccio, Corte, Bastia and Calvi but was stopped in his tracks because of the Cateau-Cambresis treaty which gave Corsica back to the Genoese…
6) The declaration of independence of Corsica
As early as 1755, Pascal Paoli, one of the emblematic figures of Corsican history, tried to take Corsica back from the hands of the Genoese. Elected “general of the Nation” he offered Corsica 14 years of independence and founded a republican constitution.
Still present on the island, the exhausted and ruined Genoese ceded Corsica to France in 1768 with the Treaty of Versailles.
To preserve everything he had built, Pascal Paoli began a war against the French army with the famous battle of “Ponte Novu” in 1769, which was won by the armies of the King of France, Louis XV. After this terrible defeat, Pascal Paoli was forced to go into exile in England, thus marking the end of the “Corsican War”.
7) The birth of Napoleon
Napoleon, the most famous historical figure, was born in Ajaccio on August 15, 1769. His parents, who were very committed to Paoli’s independence, passed on these values to their son.
Napoleon devoted an idealism to Pascal Paoli during a large part of his childhood and then after his military training in Brienne, he changed his position and supported the rallying of Corsica to France.
He later became Emperor of France under the title of Napoleon I, while remaining very proud of his native island.
8) Corsica during the Second World War
During the Second World War, Corsica was invaded by German and Italian troops, thus breaking the Franco-German armistice signed by Marshal Pétain in 1940.
The Corsicans faught and built a movement dedicated to the antifascist struggle.
In October 1943, the island of beauty was the first territory to be liberated.
That’s it, it’s the end of this little trip into the past of Corsica! Now you know all about the great periods of Corsican history!
- Environment : Corsica
Why it’s nice !
- Moments of life
- A rich and ancient history