Monday, 12 November 2012

Corsica - île de beauté

According to Martine, Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most beautiful islands in the world – and she should know, she lives there.

 Postcard - 188

Although the island is separated from the European continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to Italy than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France.

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, it enjoys some greater powers than other French régions. 

 Postcard - 251

Mountains represent two thirds of the island and form a single chain, 183 kilometres long and 83 kilometres wide. 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).

The French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio.  The northern town of Calvi is believed to be the birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

This statue in Corte is of Pasquale Paoli (1725 –1807), a Corsican patriot and leader who designed and wrote the constitution of the state.  The photo looks to have been taken on some sort of children's outing (note the supervising adult in the background)!

 Postcard - 226

The Corsican  Republic was a 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 1768 the French conquered Corsica and Paoli oversaw the Corsican resistance before being  forced into exile in Britain where he was a celebrated figure. He returned 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 wonderful Martine has also kindly sent me map cards of some of the regions of mainland France and I shall aim to blog those (eventually – blogging cards is a slow business).

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