Treaty of Versailles (1768)

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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.

Corsica had been ruled by Genoa since 1284. In the 18th century Corsicans started to seek their independence. A German adventurer, Theodore von Neuhof, briefly became King of Corsica in 1736, supported by the Dutch Republic and Great Britain, which already possessed Minorca and Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1755 a full-fledged Corsican Republic was founded under Pasquale Paoli, and in 1764 Genoa asked France to send troops. France occupied the Corsican harbours and fortresses in order to control the rebellious population, but also to prevent the island falling into British hands.

In the Treaty of Versailles Genoa had no option but to put Corsica in pledge to France, to repay her debts. There was no chance that Genoa, which was in decline, could ever repay her debts otherwise, nor was Genoa capable of suppressing the Corsican struggle for independence.

In September 1768 France began its conquest of Corsica. France gained full military control of the island following the Battle of Ponte Novu in 1769, and until the French Revolution, the island was considered the personal possession of the King.