Corsica

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Corse" redirects here. For other uses, see Corse (disambiguation) and Corsica (disambiguation).
Corsica
Corse (French)
Corsica (Corsican)
Region of France
Flag of Corsica
Flag
Coat of arms of Corsica
Coat of arms
Corse in France.svg
Country  France
Prefecture Ajaccio
Departments
Government
 • President Paul Giacobbi (PRG)
Area
 • Total 8,680 km2 (3,350 sq mi)
Population (Jan. 2013)[1]
 • Total 322,120
 • Density 37/km2 (96/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-H
GDP (2012)[2] Ranked 24th
Total €8.17 billion (US$10.5 bn)
Per capita €25,523 (US$32,827)
NUTS Region FR8
Website www.corse.fr

Corsica (/ˈkɔrsɪkə/; French: Corse [kɔʁs]; Corsican and Italian: Corsica) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to France. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the Italian island of Sardinia. Mountains make up two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain.

Corsica is one of the 27 régions of France, although it is designated as a territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale) by law. As a territorial collectivity, Corsica enjoys some greater powers than other French régions but is referred to as a région in common speech and is almost always listed among them. Although the island is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to the Italian mainland than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France.

The island formed a single departments until it was split in 1975 into two 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.

After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was briefly an independent Corsican Republic from 1755 until its conquest by France in 1769. Due to Corsica's historical ties with the Italian peninsula, the island retains to this day many elements of Italian culture. The native Corsican language, whose main variant is closely related with the Tuscan language, is recognised as a regional language by the French government.

The French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. His ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, is today used as a museum.

History[edit]

Prehistory and Ancient age[edit]

The medieval influence of Pisa in Corsica can be seen in the Romanesque-Pisan style of the Church of Aregno

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. The latter Greek names are based on the Phoenician word for 'peninsula' (kir).

Corsica has been occupied continuously since the Mesolithic era. It acquired an indigenous population that was influential in the Mediterranean during its long prehistory.

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 260 BC became a province of the Roman Republic.[3] 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.[3] Moreover, it was known for its cheap wines, exported to Rome, and was used as place of relegation, one of the most famous exiles being the Roman philosopher Seneca.[4] Administratively, the island was divided in pagi, which in the Middle Ages became the pievi, the basic administrative units of the island until 1768.[3] During the diffusion of Christianity, 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 by Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305) in Roman Italy.

Middle Ages and Modern Age[edit]

In the 5th century, the Western half of the Roman Empire collapsed, and the island was invaded by the Vandals and the Ostrogoths.[3] Briefly recovered by the Byzantines, became soon part of the Kingdom of the Lombards: this made it dependent from the March of Tuscany, which used it as outpost against the Saracens.[5] Pepin the Short, king of the Franks and Charlemagne's father, expelled these and the Lombards and nominally granted Corsica to Pope Stephen II.[5] In the first quarter of the 11th century, Pisa and Genoa together freed the island from the Arab danger.[5] After that, the island came under the influence of the republic of Pisa.[5] To this period belong the many polychrome churches which adorn the island, and in that time Corsica experienced a massive immigration from Tuscany, which gave to the island its present toponimy and rendered the language spoken in the northern two-thirds of the island very close to the Tuscan Language.[5] 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.[5]

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:[5] this was contested at the beginning by the King of Aragon, who in 1296 had received from the Pope the investiture over Sardinia and Corsica.[6] 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.[6] 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.[7] In the 16th century, the island entered in the fight between Spain and France for the supremacy in Italy.[7] 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.[8] Unlucky protagonist of this episode was Sampiero di Bastelica, who will later come to be considered a hero of the island. Reinstated their power, the Genoese did not allow the Corsican nobility to share with them the government of the island, and oppressed the inhabitants with a heavy tax burden: on the other side, they introduced on large scale the chestnut tree, 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.[9] The period of peace lasted until 1729, when the refusal to pay the taxes by a peasant sparked the general insurrection of the island against Genoa.[10]

Struggle for independence and French annexation[edit]

Seafront boulevard in Ajaccio, the island's capital and Napoleon I's birthplace

In 1729 the Corsican Revolution for independence began, first led by Luigi Giafferi e Giacinto Paoli, later by the son of the latter, Pasquale. 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 40 years of fight, 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, and in 1768 with the treaty of Versailles the 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 then returned to French rule.

Corsica in the 19th century[edit]

Despite being the birthplace of the Emperor, who had supported Paoli in his youth, the island was neglected by Napoleon's government.[11] 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.[12] In this period was born the myth, created by writers like Mérimée and Gregorovius, of Corsica as an archadian society, inhabited by 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 study to Pisa, official acts were redacted in Italian and most of the 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 the 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.

Modern Corsica[edit]

1919 map showing Corsica (purple) as part of a greater Italy

Corsica paid a high tribute to the French victory in the first World war: the agriculture was disrupted by the years-long absence of almost the totality of the young workers, and the percentage of dead or wounded Corsicans in the conflict was double in comparison with those coming from metropolitan France. Moreover, the protectionist policies of the French government started in the 1880s and never stopped had ruined the Corsican export of wine and olive oil, and forced many young Corsican to emigrate to mainland France or to the Americas. As reaction to these conditions, a nationalist movement was born in the 1920s around the newspaper A Muvra, having as objective the autonomy of the island from France. In the 1930s, many exponents of this movement became irredentist, seeing as only solution to the problems of the island the annexation to fascist Italy, which under Mussolini had became one of the main goals of Italy's imperialist policy.

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 the Nazis. 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 French island in a bloodless action called "Operation Corse."[13]

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 from Algeria ("pieds-noirs") in the eastern plains, and continuing chemical pollution (Fanghi Rossi) from mainland Italy increased tensions between the autochthonous inhabitants and the French government. Tensions escalated until an armed police assault of a pieds-noirs owned wine cellar in Aleria occupied by Corsican nationalists on 23 August 1975. This marked the beginning of the armed nationalist struggle against the French government. Ever since, Corsican nationalism has been a feature of the island's politics, with calls for greater autonomy and protection for Corsican culture and the Corsican language. Periodic flare-ups of raids and killings culminated in the assassination of 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.

Geography[edit]

The Bay of Calvi: Corsica is the most mountainous Mediterranean island.

Corsica was formed approximately 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 island in the Mediterranean, a "mountain in the sea".[14]

It is also the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus.

It is 183 kilometres (114 mi) long at longest, 83 kilometres (52 mi) wide at widest, has 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) of coastline, more than 200 beaches, and is very mountainous, with Monte Cinto as the highest peak at 2,706 metres (8,878 ft) and 20 other summits of more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Mountains comprise two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain. Forests make up 20% of the island.

Approximately 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.[15] Corsica contains the GR20, one of Europe's most notable hiking trails.

The island is 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Tuscany in Italy and 170 kilometres (110 mi) from the Côte d'Azur in France. It is separated from Sardinia to the south by the Strait of Bonifacio, a minimum of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) wide.[15]

Major communities[edit]

In 2005 the population of Corsica was settled in approximately 360 communities.[16]

Climate[edit]

Under Köppen climate classification: hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa).

Climate data for Ajaccio, central-western part of island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.3
(55.9)
13.7
(56.7)
15.0
(59)
17.4
(63.3)
20.9
(69.6)
24.5
(76.1)
27.6
(81.7)
27.7
(81.9)
25.4
(77.7)
22.0
(71.6)
17.5
(63.5)
14.4
(57.9)
19.95
(67.91)
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.6
(47.5)
9.0
(48.2)
10.1
(50.2)
12.3
(54.1)
15.7
(60.3)
19.1
(66.4)
21.9
(71.4)
22.1
(71.8)
19.9
(67.8)
16.7
(62.1)
12.6
(54.7)
9.6
(49.3)
14.80
(58.64)
Average low °C (°F) 3.9
(39)
4.3
(39.7)
5.3
(41.5)
7.3
(45.1)
10.6
(51.1)
13.8
(56.8)
16.2
(61.2)
16.5
(61.7)
14.4
(57.9)
11.4
(52.5)
7.7
(45.9)
4.8
(40.6)
9.68
(49.42)
Precipitation mm (inches) 73.8
(2.906)
69.7
(2.744)
58.1
(2.287)
52.0
(2.047)
40.2
(1.583)
19.0
(0.748)
11.0
(0.433)
19.9
(0.783)
43.6
(1.717)
87.0
(3.425)
95.9
(3.776)
75.5
(2.972)
645.7
(25.421)
Avg. 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[17]
Climate data for Bastia, north-eastern part of island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.6
(56.5)
13.8
(56.8)
15.6
(60.1)
17.8
(64)
22.0
(71.6)
25.8
(78.4)
29.1
(84.4)
29.3
(84.7)
25.8
(78.4)
21.9
(71.4)
17.4
(63.3)
14.5
(58.1)
20.55
(68.97)
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.1
(48.4)
9.4
(48.9)
10.8
(51.4)
12.9
(55.2)
16.3
(61.3)
20.0
(68)
23.2
(73.8)
23.3
(73.9)
20.6
(69.1)
17.1
(62.8)
12.9
(55.2)
10.1
(50.2)
15.48
(59.85)
Average low °C (°F) 5.1
(41.2)
4.9
(40.8)
6.7
(44.1)
8.8
(47.8)
12.4
(54.3)
16.0
(60.8)
19.0
(66.2)
19.4
(66.9)
16.5
(61.7)
13.3
(55.9)
9.2
(48.6)
6.3
(43.3)
11.47
(52.63)
Precipitation mm (inches) 67
(2.64)
57
(2.24)
60
(2.36)
76
(2.99)
50
(1.97)
41
(1.61)
13
(0.51)
21
(0.83)
81
(3.19)
127
(5)
114
(4.49)
93
(3.66)
800
(31.49)
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

Ecology[edit]

Corsica
Native name: Corsica
Nickname: L’Île de Beauté
The Isle of Beauty
Corse region relief location map.jpg
Topography of Corsica
Corsica is located in France
Corsica
Corsica (France)
Geography
Location Mediterranean Sea
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
Country
France
Région Corsica
Largest city Ajaccio (pop. 63,723)
Demographics
Population 322,120 (as of January 2013)
Density 37 /km2 (96 /sq mi)

Zones by altitude[edit]

The island is divided into three major ecological zones by altitude.[18] Below 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.

There is considerable birdlife in Corsica. 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.[19]

From 600 to 1,800 metres (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 metres (3,000 ft), with only shepherds and hikers at 600 to 900 metres (2,000 to 3,000 ft).

From 1,800 to 2,700 metres (5,900 to 8,900 ft) is a high alpine zone. Vegetation is sparse. This zone is uninhabited.

Zones by region[edit]

Parc Naturel Régional de Corse[edit]

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 mouflon (Ovis aries 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.

Extinct animals[edit]

Corsica, like all the other Mediterranean islands, was home to indigenous animals of the Pleistocene, some endemic to it and some 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.[20]

The totally extinct species are Cynotherium sardous, Megaloceros cazioti, Asoriculus corsicanus, Talpa tyrrhenica, Prolagus sardus, Tyrrhenicola henseli, Rhagamys orthodon, Bubo insularis and Athene angelis. Birds were especially hard-hit. Some that were eradicated from the vicinity are Haliaeetos albicilla and Aquila heliaca.

Demographics[edit]

See also: Corsican people

Corsica has a population of 322,120 inhabitants (Jan. 2013 estimate).[1]

At the 2011 census, 56.3% of the inhabitants of Corsica were natives of Corsica, 28.6% were natives of Continental France, 0.3% were natives of Overseas France, and 14.8% were natives of foreign countries.[21]

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, who made up 22.7% of all immigrants in Corsica at the 2011 census, and Italians, who made up 13.7% of all immigrants in Corsica at the 2011 census).[22]

Immigration[edit]

Place of birth of residents of Corsica
(at the 1982, 1990, 1999, and 2011 censuses)
Census Born in Corsica Born in
Continental France
Born in
Overseas France
Born in foreign
countries with French
citizenship at birth¹
Immigrants²
2011 56.3% 28.6% 0.3% 5.0% 9.8%
from the Maghreb3 from Southern Europe4 from the rest of the world
4.3% 3.8% 1.7%
1999 59.5% 24.8% 0.3% 5.5% 10.0%
from the Maghreb3 from Southern Europe4 from the rest of the world
5.3% 3.3% 1.4%
1990 62.0% 21.3% 0.2% 6.0% 10.5%
1982 61.6% 20.4% 0.2% 6.0% 11.8%
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 didn't 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.
3Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria
4Portugal, Italy, Spain
Source: INSEE[21][22][23]

Culture[edit]

Languages[edit]

Chart of the dialects of the Corsican language, which also extends into northern Sardinia.

Corsica is one of the few French regions in which its own minority language has a better prospect of survival compared to the others: in fact, alongside French (Français), the most widely spoken language is Corsican (Corsu), which is closely related to medieval Tuscan (Toscano). However, since the annexation of the island by France in the 18th century, Corsican has been under heavy pressure from French, and today it is estimated that only 10% of Corsica's population speak the language natively, with only 50% having some sort of proficiency in it.[24]

The language is divided into two main varieties: Cismuntanu and Ultramuntanu, spoken respectively northeast and southwest of the Girolata - Porto Vecchio line. This division was due to the massive immigration from Tuscany which took place in Corsica during the lower Middle Ages: due to that, the Cismuntanu became very similar to the Tuscan dialects, making part of the Italo-Dalmatian language group, while the Ultramuntanu could keep its original characteristics which make of it a Southern Romance language belonging to the Sardinian (Sardu) family.[25][26] Therefore, due to the differences between the main dialectal varieties, many linguists classify Corsican as an Italo-Dalmatian language,[27] while others consider it a Southern Romance one.[28][29][30]

It should also be noted that fewer and fewer people speak a Ligurian dialect, known as bunifazzinu,[31] in what has long been a language island, Bonifacio. In Cargèse, a village established by Greek immigrants in the 17the century, Greek (Ελληνικά) was the traditional language:[32] whereas it has long disappeared from spoken conversation, ancient Greek is still the liturgical language and the village has many Greek Orthodox parishes.

Cuisine[edit]

Main article: Cuisine of Corsica

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-when fresh-is used as ingredient in many dishes, from first courses (sturzapreti) to cakes (fiadone). Other cheeses, like casgiu merzu, 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.

Art[edit]

Corsica has produced a number of known artists: Alizee, A Filetta (polyphonic chant group), Canta U Populu Corsu (band), Laetitia Casta (model/actress), Baptiste Giabiconi (model/singer), Julien de Casabianca (cineast), Jérôme Ferrari (writer), Patrick Fiori (singer), Petru Guelfucci (singer), I Muvrini (band), Jenifer (singer), François Lanzi (painter), Ange Leccia (visual art), Henri Padovani (musician, original guitarist from the Police), Thierry de Peretti (cineast), Marie-Claude Pietragalla (dancer), Jean-Paul Poletti (singer), Robin Renucci (comedian), Tino Rossi (singer), César Vezzani (opera singer).

Administration[edit]

Map of Corsica

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 which had existed before. 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.

Economy[edit]

Corsica's coastline is a major driver for tourism – coastline by the town of Propriano

Corsica is the least economically developed region in Metropolitan France.[33] 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.[34] Chestnut bread keeps fresh for as long as two weeks.[35] 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.[36]

Transport[edit]

Railway[edit]

Corsica 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.[37]

There is a third line along the east coast that is not in use due to heavy damage during World War II. There has been talk of restoration, but no progress has occurred.

Politics[edit]

There are several nationalist movements on the island calling for some degree of Corsican autonomy from France or even full independence. Generally speaking, autonomist 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 of greater autonomy, but polls show that a large majority of Corsicans are opposed to full independence.[38][39]

In 1972, the Italian company Montedison dumped toxic waste off the Corsican coast, creating what looked like red mud in waters around the island with the poisoning of the sea, 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 since it did not complain to Italy to make this situation change. To stop the poisoning, one ship carrying toxic waste from Italy was bombed.[40]

Corsican nationalists have used means such as the removal of French names on road signs.

Organisations started to seek money, acting like 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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

In a referendum on 6 July 2003, a narrow majority of Corsican voters opposed a project from 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.[44]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b INSEE. "Estimation de population au 1er janvier, par région, sexe et grande classe d'âge – Année 2013" (in French). Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  2. ^ INSEE. "Produits intérieurs bruts régionaux et valeurs ajoutées régionales de 1990 à 2012". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d Bertarelli (1929), p.41
  4. ^ Pais, Ettore (1999). Storia della Sardegna e della Corsica durante il periodo romano (in Italian). Nuoro: Ilisso. pp. 76–77. ISBN 88-85098-92-4. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Bertarelli (1929), p.42
  6. ^ a b Bertarelli (1929), p.43
  7. ^ a b Bertarelli (1929), p.45
  8. ^ Bertarelli (1929), p.46
  9. ^ "Ancient Corsica beckons with deserted beaches and historic structures". The Baltimore Sun. 1 March 1992
  10. ^ Bertarelli (1929), p.48
  11. ^ Howard, John E., Letters and Documents of Napoleon: Vol. 1 Rise to Power. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961.
  12. ^ "Wanderings in Corsica: its history and its heroes". Ferdinand Gregorovius (1855). p.196.
  13. ^ "Jacques Massu obituary". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  14. ^ Mouillot, F. (2008). "Corsica". Mediterranean Island Landscapes: Natural and Cultural Approaches. Springer. pp. 223–225. 
  15. ^ a b Price, Gillian. Walking on Corsica: Long-Distance and Short Walks. Cicerone Press Limited. p. 9. ISBN 1-85284-387-X. 
  16. ^ Keyser, William (2005). "Corsican Villages and Towns" (PDF). Corsica Isula. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  17. ^ "Climatological Information for Ajaccio, France" – Hong Kong Observatory
  18. ^ Gregory, Desmond (1985). The ungovernable rock: a history of the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom and its role in Britain's Mediterranean strategy during the Revolutionary War, 1793–1797. London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-8386-3225-4. 
  19. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Hooded Crow: Corvus cornix, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed, N. Stromberg
  20. ^ MacPhee, R.D.E.; Hans-Dieter Sues (1999). Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences. Springer. p. 179. ISBN 0-306-46092-0. 
  21. ^ a b INSEE. "Fichier Données harmonisées des recensements de la population de 1968 à 2011" (in French). Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  22. ^ a b INSEE. "IMG1B – Les immigrés par sexe, âge et pays de naissance" (in French). Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  23. ^ INSEE. "D_FD_IMG2 – Base France par départements – Lieux de naissance à l'étranger selon la nationalité" (in French). Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  24. ^ "Euromosaic-Index1". Uoc.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-27. 
  25. ^ Bertoni, Giulio (1916). Italia dialettale (in Italian). Milano: Hoepli. 
  26. ^ Devoto, Giacomo (1974). Il linguaggio d'Italia (in Italian). Milano: Rizzoli. 
  27. ^ Harris, Martin; Vincent, Nigel (1997). Romance Languages. London: Routlegde. ISBN 0-415-16417-6. 
  28. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Glottolog 2.2".  |chapter= ignored (help)
  29. ^ "Ethnologue: Languages of the World". Retrieved 15 July 2014.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  30. ^ "Ethnologue: Languages of the World". Retrieved 15 July 2014.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  31. ^ Enciclopedia Treccani - Dialetti liguri
  32. ^ How Greek were the Greeks of Corsica? - Nick Nicholas
  33. ^ "GDP per inhabitant in 2006 ranged from 25% of the EU27 average in Nord-Est in Romania to 336% in Inner London". Eurostat. 
  34. ^ The Chestnut Tree in terracorsa.
  35. ^ The Grocer's Encyclopedia – Encyclopedia of Foods and Beverages. By Artemas Ward. New York. 1911.
  36. ^ [1]
  37. ^ For a detailed description of the railroad system see Simms, Wilfrid S., "The Railways of Corsica" (1997)(ISBN 0952888122).
  38. ^ "89 % des corses opposés à l’indépendance de l’île" [89% Corsicans are opposed to Corsican independence], Nouvel Observateur (in French) 
  39. ^ Enquête: la Corse vue par les Corses - Rue89, Le nouvel observateur
  40. ^ Blackwood, Robert J. (2008). The State, the Activists and the Islanders: Language Policy on Corsica. Springer. p. 164. ISBN 140208384X. 
  41. ^ "France Moves to Crush Corsican Separatists". The New York Times. 15 January 1997. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  42. ^ "Corsican". UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. UNESCO. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  43. ^ "French Cabinet Split Over Corsican Autonomy". The New York Times. 30 August 2000. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  44. ^ "A worrying result". The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bertarelli, Luigi Vittorio (1929). Corsica. Guida d'Italia (in Italian). Rome: CTI. 
  • Loughlin, John. 1989. "Regionalism and Ethnic Nationalism in France: A Case-study of Corsica". Thesis. San Domenico, Italy: European University Institute.
  • Loughlin, John, and Claude Olivesi (eds.). 1999. Autonomies insulaires: vers une politique de différence pour la Corse. Ajaccio: Editions Albiana. ISBN 2-905124-47-4
  • Saul, John Ralston. 1992. Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West. New York: Free Press; Maxwell Macmillan International. ISBN 0-02-927725-6

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°9′N 9°5′E / 42.150°N 9.083°E / 42.150; 9.083