- Giudice de Cinarca (Sinucello della
Born in Olmeto in 1221, Sinucello della Rocca more known under the name
of Giudice de Cinarca is the most representative figure of the powerful
lordships who, in the 13th century shared out Corsica, some were supporters
of Corsica, others of Pisa.
Descended from the family of the local squires of Cinarca who was in
control, in the south, of almost half of the isle, Sinucello who was
a young enlisted man in the army of the Republic of Pisa, received,
at 24 years old, the title of "Giudice" (Judge, or supreme
magistrate) and also the mission of subject the rest of the country.
Redoubtable adversary of the camp that he didn't choose, Giudice succeded
very fast in advancing in his conquest of the isle.
Nevertheless, in 1258, he joined Genoa
and swore loyalty to it, to, few years later, in 1280, at the
occasion of a disagreement, declare himself vasal of Pisa.
Then after having recognized the supremacy of Genoa over Pisa in 1289,
he turned against it in 1290.
He became very fast master of the country and wanted to govern in peace
and justice, knowing thus with the population which was exhausted by
the incessant struggles, a certain success whereas his fickleness, his
successes, and his strong personnality made of him a "man you've
got to rid of" for his peers.
Then, this lord, without doubt warrior haunted by power, who successively
made alliances with the two Republics in contention according to his
grudges, finally was the victim of Pisa and Genoa.
Pisa actually abandoned it all the more easily that one of the
clauses of a truce signed between the genoese and the people of
Pisa in 1299, stipulated its banishment - so his energy is redoubtable.
It is by the treason of one of his natural sons that Giudice de
Cinarca is captured by the genoese on the beach of Propriano,
took away to Genoa where he was jailed and died in 1306 according
Like many figures of History, Giudice de Cinarca has today joined the
legend in which everyone will find, according to his sensitivity, the
heroic patriotism, or mad ambition.
- Sampiero Corso
This man was born at the foot of the Renosu mount, while in Florence the
monk Savonarole was perishing in the flames.
Very young, he got himself taken under the orders of the last great florentine
condottieri : Giovanni de Medeci. This great captain thought that to be
a soldier was the essential complement of the fine art.
Man of erudition, he fought with a courage which impressed his mercenaries.
He recognized in the young Corsican an equal and rewarded him as such.
Giovanni de Medeci put himself at the service of France in 1522, taking
with him Sampiero.[...] Sampiero struggled on the sides of Bayard and
covered himself with glory so as to deserve the title of colonel of
the corsican infantry at the service of France. So he returned to his
isle to marry to Vanina d'Ornano, heir of one of the most renowned corsican
families. He was fifty years old and his young woman was thirty five
The Genoese hardly beared the prestige
of the old soldier and made him jail. Released thanks to the intervention
of the french king Henri II, Sampiero came back to see raze the
house that he had built in Bastelica. It was a fatal insult.
Later, when Pasquale Paolidecrees his justice,
he ordered to raze the houses which belonged to those who indulged in
For, the who who loses his house, loses his roots..
Sampiero vowed to Genoa one of these enmities which burn a heart at
every second of the life. To lead the war against the republic of Liguria,
he allied himself to Charles Quint, his old adversary.
Then, at the service of the french-turk alliance, he participated to
the landing in Bastia. The Turks gave up Corsica in 1553 and Sampiero
remained alone face to the Genoese, led by Andrea Doria.
The last mentionned drew up in lines twelve thousands men.
The 18th of September 1554, the Corsican of Sampiero hacked them to
pieces at the pass of Tenda.
The 15th of September of 1557, in Viscuvatu [Vescovato], Corsica was
enroled into the crown of France.
The great powers have often reason of which the reason of the small
nations are unaware.
Two years later, the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis returned Corsica to
the Genoese. [...]
Named ambassador extraordinary in Turkey by the king of France, Sampiero
Corso leaved his wife and children in his house of Marseilles. The young
woman fretted and let herself manipulate by the private tutor of her
children, the priest, Michel-Ange Ombrone, genoese spy.
Vanina sold the goods of Sampiero and sailed for the capital of Liguria.
Her husband knew it and made intercept the ship.
Then he judged his wife and sentenced her to death..
She accepted the sentence, only imploring him to strangle her with his
own hand, rather than delivering her up to the lace of the executioner.
That is what did Sampiero.
This murder much scandalized, for the deceased belonged to a noble
family. The queen of France made know that she would not receive this
The matter inspired Shakespeare who transposed Sampiero into the character
The old lion did not give up his struggle for the liberation of Corsica.
In 1564, he landed in the gulf of the Valincu at the head of twenty-five
gascon mercenaries. He put his foot on the sacred land and uttered these
« I have not come here for my particular interests but to liberate my
Corsican kept a stinging memory of the french treason and they join
not much themselves to the old colonal. Nevertheless, with two hundreds
experienced men, he beat the Genoese.
Then , the villages of Corsica sent him reinforcements. The revolution
ablazed the territory, from the mountains to the plains. There was only
the Cape to resist to this wave of liberation which submerged the isle.
The family of Ornano offered two thousands golden ducats to the one
who would bring back the head of the colonal, whereas Genoa was promising
four thousands. In Livia, a gathering of the corsican Nation had just
taken the oath of loyalty to him. Sampiero was a sprightly sixty-nine-year-old
and lead the fight.
The war ravaged the isle and the atrocities answered the massacres.
The Genoese decided to use the brothers of Ornano to kill the old lion.
Not far from Prunelli, the plain which leads to the sea, discovers
itself. Far off the gulf of Ajacciu stands out.
There Sampiero Corso fell the 17th of January 1567, hence of the island
- Pascal Paoli
Youngest son of Hyacinthe Paoli - ancient general of the Nation, chief
of the twice of the four insurrections which have marked the Corsican
Revolution - Pascal Paoli was born in the Stretta, a hamlet of Morosaglia,
the 6th of April 1725.
Exiled in Naples in 1739, Hyacinthe took off with him his son Pascal
who got there a sound education and an intellectual training, drawing,
it seems, as well from the sources of the classical culture as in the
modern theories, notably those of the french philosophers. His culture
of hoariest man actually allowed him to speak and read english and french
almost fluently, he very soon interested himself in the foreign doctrines
while showing a partiality for politics, under his most perceptive and
This tendency like his attachment to Corsica that he had leaved at
fourteen made him, whereas he was a regular soldier in Italy, very aware
of his isle's businesses about which he was informed by his brother
Clement and a few friends.
It is them who, at the death of the General Gaffori named Supreme Chief
of Corsican, murdered whereas his revolutionnary government control
a big part of the isle, urged Pascal Paoli to join his country to apply
for the supreme office.
Without doubt already mature for a such decision, aged of thirty
years, the young officer landed on the ground of his native country
in April 1755 where he was elected the 13th of July 1755 - against
his adversary Marius Matra - General-in-Chief (Capu Generale)
by the Consul of Saint Antoine of the Casabianca who invested
him of the mission of a decisive war against Genoa.
He has governed Corsica for 14 years.
To differently impose himself from his election which had not been
unanimous and because such was his ideal, Pascal Paoli endeavored to
realize better than his predecessors the moral and political unity of
After having defeated an insurrection fomented by Matra, and, in various
places of the isle, strong resistances made of friendship which were
genoese or french or simply made of hostility to a man coming from the
outside, fervent partisan of a democraty whose meaning had not been
straightaway got by everybody; Pascal Paoli finally succeded in taking
the head of his country.
Settling the capital in Corte
he made vote there a Constitution asserting the sovereignty of
the Corsican Nation and also the separation of powers, made strike
a coin, gave the law regular courts, created an army and tried
hard to give the country a small fleet.
As regards economy, he encouraged the development of farming
, made dry the marshes and stimulated the trade but the blockade
of the seaside towns from which he couldn't chase the genoese
away, prevented the development of it. In order to create new
exchanges and counterbalance the power of Calvi,
genoese fortified town, he founded Ile
Desirous of helping the corsican nation to assert itself, he set up
the primary school and founded an University in Corte.
Nevertheless, Genoa, which, in 1764 was still present but had no ressources
left in the main coastal towns that it had founded, facing the impossibility
of negotiating with Pascal Paoli, asked France for help. This one tried
to negotiate with the Babbu (father) of the young nation but got from
him only the reassertion of his will of independence and in the worst
case, aware of the necessity of a foreign policy, the acceptance of
The negotiations between the Republic of Genoa and France of Louis
XV came the 15 of May 1768 to the Traity of Versailles.
Thus, whether it has been sold or given in token of a debt, the young
corsican nation saw itself treated as an object and during the Consulting
of the 22th of May 1768, it pronounced itself in favor of the mind resistance.
Pascal Paoli fought for one year against his new adversary, one of
the most powerful rullers of Europe, but he is beaten during the battle
of Ponte Nuovo the 8th of May 1769.
After a few attempts of resistance, Pascal Paoli is forced to exhile
himself and boarded the 13th of June on an english ship.
Invited by the king, England welcomed him with all the honors due to
the one that we considere in Europe as a real statesman accompagnied
with the stuff of which heroes are made.
Actually, the revolution of the corsican led by Pascal Paoli, was said
to be titanic face to the Genoese and whereas Corsica was, until then,
a little piece of land, unknown to everybody, aroused and rounded up
since a few years the fellow feelings of the public opinion and of the
european intellectuals it created a real Paolien Myth, in the greek
sense of the term.
Besides the renown set by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, James Boswell or by
Voltaire, it is, in Europe, books, newspapers, private correspondence,
essays which abound in praises, and it is the diplomats, businessmen
or historians who show their admiration and their esteem to the one
who is described by the great Frederic as:
generous protector and defender of his homeland, this
great man whose public esteem and veneration have already nude the rime
Whereas the Bastille had just entered forever in History and 21 years
after having left his isle, Pascal Paoli saw his exhile in London take
an end with the amnesty towards the expatriated corsican suggested by
Mirabeau in 1789.
Coming through Paris in April 1790 where he was received by Louis XVI,
praised by Robespierre and acclaimed by the people, he landed on Corsica
which became a french department, knew like other provinces the increasing
fermentation of the partisans of the Revolution and of its adversaries.
Pascal Paoli is elected Commander-in-chief of the national guard and
President of the Departmental Directory.
But after a so long exhile, far from the island realities, in a period
of a chain of transformations, Pascal Paoli was not still the master
of the isle.
Whereas the divisions became more pronounced, with the support of the
Count Pozzo di Borgo, he thought it wisdom to save Corsica and permit
it a government aside to separate it from France in order to ensure
it from an other State - preferably a great sea power with institutions
more liberal than the France 's ones - a system of protectorate.
From the year 1792, distancing himself from the corsican partisans
of the Revolution, he is brought by Lucien Bonaparte as a counter-revolutionary
before the Convention and deprived of his command.
Proclaimed Generalissimo by his supporters in 1793, he succeded in
taking the control of the biggest part of the isle and wrote a bill
of indictment against the Convention, that brought him to be declared
traitor towards the Republic and to be put outlaw.
Whereas the french troops and the troops of Paoli were in confrontation,
the the Father of the Corsican Nation solicited the support from
England which, with the squadron of Nelson, broke off the resistance
in Bastia, Saint-Florent
The Formation of an english-corsican kingdom appeared the 15 of June
1794 with at its head not like he was expecting Pascal Paoli, but the
english viceroy ... Sir Gilbert Elliot.
This union lasted only two years. Troubles appeared in Castagniccia
and took a such vigor that Pascal Paoli was on the request of Elliot
recalled in London.
So, in October 1795, Pascal Paoli went on the way of exile.
His isle that he never stopped to picture free, was smoothly reoccupied
by the french troops in october 1796.
After having lived 47 years of exile, Pascal Paoli died in London the
5th of February 1807 and was burried in the cemetery of St-Pancrace.
The ashes of this exceptional personnality who has charmed so many
men touched by the spirit of the Enlightenment and has dazzled the young
Napoleon Bonaparte, rest since 1889 in Morosaglia.
- Napoléon Bonaparte
He was torn the 15th of August 1769 in a house of Malerba street,
which is now Saint Charles street, in Ajaccio
, like his twelve brothers and sisters - seven of whom survived
- that his parents Letizia and Charles Marie Bonaparte gave him
This one, who in 1768 fought on the sides of Pascal Paoli, maybe becoming
aware of the irreversible nature of a Corsica united with France, he
joined himself very fast to France and got various favors like a school
maintenance allowance which allowed the young Napoleon, to be admitted
to the military academy of Brienne.
Aged of nine years he left Ajaccio, Napoleon was already an independent
child and a strong mind. He recognized later :
" I did not fear anybody, I beat one, I had a dig
at the other. I nude myself redoubtable for everybody.".
In Brienne, while going on with his studies, he felt appear for his
isle not only a simple "love of the country" but a real patriotism
and was enthusiastic about the general Paoli - about the man, his ideal
and his action.
In 1784, he entered in the military academy of Paris from where he
left being lieutenant of artillery. At 16 years old, his ambition was
then to come back on his isle to make a career in policy and to be a
regular soldier dreaming of one day being on the top.
When in 1789, the Revolution broke out, Napoleon was in complete support
of his ideas. He took part in the political struggles which divide Corsica,
and very fast whereas he was 20 years old, his ambition worried Pascal
Paoli of whom he became soon the adversary.
In 1792, he was forced to go away from Ajaccio
when after a bloody riot degenerating into a civil war, he failed
in his attempt of seizure of the Citadel.
The following year, his family loyal to the Convention, target of a
population which held a grudge against Lucien (brother of Napoleon)
for his virulence against Paoli, had to take refuge in his house
in the country at the Milelli
before joining Napoleon. This one actually attempted, one
time again, from the tower of the Capitello, to seize the town
with the help of the fleet of the Republic but he failed again.
This failure marked the departure of Napoleon Bonaparte first towards
Toulon then to an other fate, reminding then of the assessment of him
made by a teacher at the academy of Brienne :
" Corsican of nation and of character, he'll go
far if the circumstances favor him. " .
This young and ambitious man who already pressed in himself a kind
of genius, left his isle but, this one without a doubt remained forever
the birthplace of his family and of his affections.
Named, at this same year 1793 Chief of the Artillery in the army in
charge of recapturing Toulon to the royalists, he covered himself with
After having known setbacks due to the political crisis of France notably
at the fall of Robespierre, Napoleon saw himself confide, in 1796, a
short time before his marriage with Josephine de Beauharnais, the command
of the troops in the campaign of Italy during which his "stuff"
of military strategist was coupled with the "stuff" of a real
chief of State.
It was actually, after having defeated Piemontese and Austrian, that
he imposed on them peace (Campo Formio 1797), that he formed what became
later the kingdom of Italy, then it was the campaign of Egypt, from
where he came back in October 1799, invested by the moderates with the
task of riding them of the Directory.
But it was not as a simple instrument of the bourgeoisie that Napoleon
Bonaparte strove in the end of 1799 : following the coup of the 9th
and 10th of November, he made himself proclaimed First Consul of the
Republic and became ruler of the country in imposing on it the Constitution
of the An VIII which granted to him executive power and initiative of
Chief of State and Army, Napoleon endowed with exceptional ability
to work, an intelligence, and with a creative imagination, reformed
in record time the administration and the law.
Once again victorous against the austrian coalition, imposing on English
peace, signing in 1801 the Concordat with Pie VII who put the Church
of France at the service of the government, Napoleon saw his power grow
from day to day and had more and more difficulty to bear the opposition.
It was thus that a royalist plot was discovered, he made himself proclaimed
in 1804 emperor of the French under the name of Napoleon 1st, then king
of Italy in 1805.
Then a real "monarchy" was created around him with court
and nobility of empire, whereas the established system went on with,
under its impulse, the reforms and modernization: education, town planning,
economy, fine art, creation of the Napoleon code, giving the society
which was born of the Revolution a juridical base...
But the Emperor is very fast absorbed in the war. Failing in face of
England (Trafalgar 1805) but succeeding in a series of campaigns against
the Austrian-Russian (Austerlitz 1805), the Prussians (Iena 1806) he
built up the great Empire after the treaty of Tilsit in 1807.
In answer to the sea blockade raised by London, Napoleon set up between
1806 and 1808 the Continental System in order to isolate England. This
blockade indeed energized the french industry and farming but hintered
the european economy and forced the Emperor to develop an expansionist
policy which, from the Papal States to Portugal and to Spain in passing
by the mastery of a new coalition of Austria (Wagram 1809) left his
In 1810, concerned with ensuring his issue, Napoleon married Marie
Louise d'Autriche who gave him a son Napoleon II, king of Rome.
In 1812, sensing hostility from the Tsar Alexandre 1st, the Great Army
of Napoleon invaded Russia.
This bloody and disastrous campaign made sound the waking up of eastern
Europe who, from coalition to occupation of France by the South and
the East, saw Paris invaded by the enemy troops the 4th of March 1814
and a few days later Napoleon forced to abdicate in favor of his son
then, the 6th of April 1814, to renounce to whole his powers.
It was from May 1814 to May 1815, during his forced stay in the Isle
of Elba, the only derisory sovereignty left by his victorous enemies,
that Napoleon saw the Austrian, Prussian, English and Russian share
out, during the Congress of Vienna, what was his Great Empire.
Escaping from the english watch, Napoleon succeeded in coming back
to France in March 1815 where supported by the liberals - enemies of
the Bourbons - he knew a second but brief reign known under the name
of the "Hundred Days" which brought France a new coalition
of Europe bringing the following day of the disaster of Waterloo the
new abdication of the Emperor the 22th of June 1815.
It was thus in putting himself in the England's hands, that this islander
with a little ordinary fate had as a jail the distant the isle of Sainte-Helene,
where before dying he often evoked with nostalgia his native island
for which he confided to have been too preoccupied with the wars and
jealousies to have the time and the means to implement the great plans
he had conceived for it.
Real intentions or belated regrets, maybe history will tell it one
day but anyway between Napoleon and Corsica the bonds are today indestructible
and those who contest the actions of the renowned man like nevertheless
the small boy of Ajaccio who isolating himself on the wooded heights
of the town, maybe already sensed a fate out of the common.