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Corsican independence movement

Justin Corfield

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Southern Europe » Italy

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799, 1800-1899

Key-Topics autonomy, inequality, nationalism, regionalism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00409.x


Throughout the history of Corsica there have been a number of attempts to turn the island into an independent country. In ancient times it was settled by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Etruscans before being conquered by the Romans in 160 bce . The collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century witnessed Corsica attacked by the Goths and Vandals, and later the Arabs. Gradually, the rise in power of northern Italian city-states led to Pisa and then Genoa exerting sway over Corsica. In 1133 Corsica was divided between the two states, but from 1284 until 1768 Genoa ruled the island. During this period there were constant attempts to create an independent Corsica. One of these was led by Sampiero Corso, “the Fiery” (1498–1567), who had served in the French army and tried to get French support for his plans for the island of his birth. Without help from any other powers, in 1564 he and some supporters landed on the island and attacked the Genoese. They waged a guerrilla war, but three years later Corso was assassinated. In 1730 a sustained attempt to create an independent Corsica began when some Corsicans refused to pay taxes to the Genoese. This led to what became known as the Corsican Revolution. When Corsican guerrillas defeated the Genoese at the Battle of Calenzana in 1732, the Corsican nationalists realized that victory was possible. Three years later, in the inland ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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