Corsica's History

Corsica's long and exciting past stretches back to Cavemen, but the island's written history begins with early Greek settlement. The Etruscans followed who were replaced by the Romans. The collapse of Rome brought chaos and the occasional invasion until Pisa and Genoa entered a contest for the island with Genoa triumphing in 1347. Their rule ended when the Corsican Republic was proclaimed in 1755 based on enlightenment principles. Genoa sold its rights over Corsica to France who invaded in 1769 and incorporated it into their Kingdom. On Corsica, the French Revolution's popularity expired along with Louis XVI's life so in 1794 they broke away with British support to form the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom which ended in 1796 when Republican forces returned. Napoleon was born in Ajaccio and in 1799 he rose to France's centre stage. Corsica has remained an integral part of France ever since, largely escaping the troubles of WWII.

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Corsica is the least economically developed region of France. Although tourism is important it is not commercially saturated as it is in other Mediterranean islands. Its magnificently rugged coastline, sandy beaches and hilly interior are a major drawcard as is the island's cuisine, a culinary fusion of Italian and French cooking. Coastal towns specialize in fish while inland specialties include rabbit, boar and trout. French is spoken with the native Corsu language now first tongue for only 10% of the population. Some islanders have called for greater autonomy but this was rejected in a 2003 referendum.

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