Located in the western Mediterranean
, just to the north of Sardinia
, Corsica is 160 km (99 miles) southeast of Nice, France
, and 82 km (51 miles) west of Tuscany, Italy
A region of France
, Corsica was ruled over the centuries by the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Goths and Saracens.
In 1347, the Genoese took possession of the island, and controlled it for nearly 400 years. A revolution for independence began in 1729, and after a 26-year struggle the Corsican Republic was formed in 1755.
Corsica remained sovereign under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli until 1769, at which point the island was conquered by France
Paoli returned to Corsica from his exile in Britain
following the French
Revolution, and attempted to intervene and free the island from France
help. After Spain
entered into the war, however, Britain
withdrew from Corsica, and the island was returned back to France
During World War II, after the collapse of France
to the German
Wehrmacht, Corsica fell under the rule of a French regime collaborating with the Nazis. In addition, the United States
established 17 airfields on the island, to use in attacking Italy
After its liberation from the Third Reich, Corsica began functioning as an allied air base.
In recent years, numerous movements for independence or greater autonomy have been launched, and in 2001 the French
government granted limited autonomy to the island.
Famous for its independent spirit, rugged beauty, olive oil, wine and citrus fruit, Corsica was the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. Its major industry is tourism, with many visitors arriving by ferry.