Corsica: the birthplace of Bonaparte and cheeses
Corsica, the island of beauty, as the French call it, can rightly be brought into the pantheon of the seven wonders of the world. Stormy water streams with multicolored pebbles, paradise beaches, quiet coves, mountain lakes, blown through all the plateau winds, soft muscat wines, churches of pink and green marble. Relax on the beach, sail on the sea on a kayak or a motorcycle trip, discovering the beauty of the island, become a participant in holidays from ancient times or preserved from Napoleon’s time, discover typical local smells and tastes (local cheese brocchi, coppa ham, fig jam) ) – for this it is worth visiting Corsica.
The paradise landscape and the wealth of the island for centuries attracted conquerors. Ownership of the island disputed by the Carthaginians and Romans. In the Middle Ages, Corsica was the object of strife between the papacy, Pisa and Genoa. In 1077, the Pope entrusted the management of the island to the Pisanians, who were replaced by the Genoese in the XII century. The Genoese tried to turn Corsica into an agricultural center, but this was hampered by numerous uprisings of the local population, who wanted to maintain their independence at any cost. In 1755 a great uprising for independence was organized under the leadership of Pascal Paoli, which ended only in 1769. The Genoese, who could not cope with the rebels, sold the island to the French. Paoli, defeated, was forced to leave the island. The Enlightened ruler of the island of Marbeuf (1768-1786), in turn, tried to gain from the management of Corsica. In 1789, Corsica is proclaimed an integral part of France. The birthplace of Napoleon I, Corsica in the XIX century becomes a bastion of Bonapartism. In 1793-1796, Paoli continued the resistance supported by the British, but was again defeated, but this time by Bonaparte. The XIX and XX centuries were for Corsica a period of rollback in the economic sphere. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, radical independence movements again gained strength.
The flag of Corsica depicts the head of the Moor. Why did she become the emblem of the island of beauty? Most often, in response to this question, there is a legend that says that in the era of the Saracens, courageous warriors from Corsica usually killed their enemies, cut off their heads and set them at peaks to frighten future conquerors. The historical hypothesis, which seems more plausible, suggests that the head of the Moor appeared on the flag of the island in the 16th century, when Corsica did not have an official emblem on the geographical map of the possessions of King of Spain Philip II, because of its proximity to Sardinia flag which depicts as many as four heads of the Moor. Corsica never belonged to the Aragon home, but the Spaniards have always considered it their possession. The Corsican Moor is depicted on a flag with a white blindfold, which is a symbol of the independence of the island.
As you know, Corsica is the birthplace of the most famous person of French history – Napoleon Bonaparte, a Corsican patriot, a great commander, a famous statesman, a man of extraordinary destiny. Born in Ajaccio, the son of a small nobleman Carlo Maria Buonaparte and his wife Letitia, was born three months after the conquest of Corsica by the French. The whole youth of Napoleon was worried about the fate of his people, defeated in an unequal struggle: he read books on the history of Corsica, sketched his general historical essay, wrote an enthusiastic essay in defense of the Corsican people. Napoleon understood that a small island, lost in the Mediterranean, could not resist the powerful French kingdom, but was full of faith in the strength of a small freedom-loving people.
If you ask a question – is Corsica France? – the first answer will be yes, but in reality the answer is no. Its history and culture stand apart, from its history in four millennia only two hundred years Corsica is a French territory. From an administrative point of view, Corsica forms two departments of France – High Corsica and Bastia. In the south of the island is the capital of the department of Ajaccio, where the regional government sits. The Corsicans say: “First we are the Corsicans, then the French.” The mentality of the Corsicans is a mixture of island, Mediterranean and French, a combination of incompatible. From the first in the character of the inhabitants – restraint and pride, from the second – unpredictability and spirituality of nature, from the third – duality.
Corsican dialect – a mixture of French and Italian. The language of the islanders absorbed the Tuscan buzzwords, the influence of the Genoese dialect is not so great, although traces of the language of the former rulers of Corsica are also found. French was established on the island extremely slowly in the first fifty years following the annexation of Corsica to France. “French” has intensified since 1900, when compulsory primary education in French was introduced on the island. As a result, the Italian words began to be replaced by French, but they are still pronounced in the Italian manner.