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Geography and Landscape

Geography

Corsica (French: Corse), is an island of France and is located in the Mediterranean Sea with Ajaccio as its capital. Corsica is also called “Ile de Beauté”, island of beauty.

Corsica Satellietfoto Photo:Publiek domein

The island is located near Tuscany, 83 km from the Italian coast and 170 km south of the French Riviera. The Italian island of Sardinia is only twelve kilometers south of Corsica. The Strait of Bonifacio (Bouches de Bonifacio) separates the two islands. To the north of Corsica is the Ligurian Sea, to the east is the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the west is the Mediterranean Sea. Geologists agree that the Corso-Sardinian micro-continent was torn away from the French Provence about 30 million years ago.

Corsica Landscape near PianaPhoto:Bj.schoenmakers Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The total area of the island is 8680 km2. It is the fourth island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. The distance from north to south is a maximum of 183 kilometers and from west to east a maximum of 85 kilometers. The territory of Corsica covers 1.6% of the total French territory. The Cap Corse peninsula in the north is approximately 40 kilometers long.

Monte Cinto Corsica Photo:Herzi Pinki Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Landscape

Corsica is extremely mountainous and interspersed with deep valleys. The average height is 568 meters. The highest mountain is Monte Cinto (2706 meters). Other high mountains are Monte Ritondu (2622 meters), Paglia Orba (2525 meters), and Monte Pedru (2393 meters).

Climate and Weather

Corsia has a typical Mediterranean climate with dry, warm summers and humid winters with an average temperature of 12°C. In the mountains it is much cooler and the higher you go the colder it gets. Snow can be found above 1,600 meters from October to June. The sea temperature is sometimes above 25°C from June to September. Corsica has an average of 2700 hours of sunshine per year. Between June and September, the average daytime temperature is above 25°C. In July and August the temperature can reach above 35°C.

Ajaccio on the west coast has an average of 12 days a year temperatures above 30 °C. Corte in Central Corsica and located between the mountains has temperatures above 30°C on average for 32 days. October to December are the wettest months with severe storms and sometimes floods. In the east there is more rainfall than in the west, but in July there is practically nowhere rain. In the mountains there are harsh winters and some peaks are covered with snow all year round. Corte has about 30 freezing days a year, Ajaccio about eleven a year and Bastia in the northwest only about three a year. It is remarkable that the climate in the north is slightly warmer than in the south.

Climate diagram BastiaPhoto:Hedwig in Washington CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

There are different winds in Corsica (see image), each with its own name.

Corsica has many special wind conditionsPhoto:Public domain

Plants and Animals

Plants

Corsica is the greenest island in comparison to the other Mediterranean islands. The differences in height and the resulting differences in temperature are among other things to blame for this. More than 2,800 species of trees, plants and flowers have been identified. Approx. 120 species and subspecies are nowhere else in the world.

Maquis and garrigue in CorsicaPhoto:Sten Porse Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The rich Corsican flora is divided into three zones. The lower and higher Mediterranean zone up to a height of about 1000 meters is, among others, the realm of the maquis, the cork oak, olive tree and especially the sweet chestnut tree. The maquis is an area of mixed, very dense vegetation. The low maquis to about 500 meters is not so dense, but the high maquis is almost impenetrable with trees such as the holm oak, thorny trees and shrubs that can grow up to six meters. Furthermore, there are also strawberry trees, cistus, heather, myrtle and mastic tree. More than 20% of the surface of Corsica is still covered by maquis.

Pine forests lie between 1000 and 1800 meters. In the alpine zone above 1800 meters the vegetation becomes lower and sparse with grasses and small mountain plants such as alder. Lemons, kiwis and avocados grow on the eastern lowlands.

Notable trees are:

The Barbary fig tree is native to Central America. It is a member of the cactus family. It resembles a cactus with needles that are about 20-40 cm long and is covered with yellow flowers and fruits.

Sweet chestnut CorsicaPhoto:Darkone Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic no changes made

The sweet chestnut tree (see photo) is without doubt the most famous tree in Corsica. Introduced by the Genoese, the tree spread rapidly across the island. Chestnuts are used in a variety of local dishes.

The cork oak can reach a height of 15-20 meters. Every ten years the bark is removed from the tree and corks are made from it. Cork oaks are mainly found in the southern part of the island.

The holm oak can reach a height of about 15 meters. Due to the many forest fires, the holm oak often occurs as a kind of shrub.

The olive tree that is still used for olive oil and agaves grows along the coast. Along rivers and roads we find the eucalyptus tree. Most of the forests in Corsica consist of the Laricio or Corsican pine. These pine trees can grow up to 50 meters high. Some trees are over 800 years old. Corsica is a paradise for flower lovers. Special varieties are the yellow broom, the rock rose and on slopes the crested hyacinth and the "Illyrian" lily, which only occurs in Corsica and Sardinia. Many types of edible mushrooms grow in Corsica (including porcini mushrooms, stone fungi, yolk fungi) but also twelve poisonous species.

Forest fires are the order of the day in summer. Three quarters of all forest fires in France occur in Corsica! On average, about 10,000 ha of forest burns down every year, often when the mistral is blowing.

Animals

Bearded Vulture CorsicaPhoto:Richard Bartz Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic no changes made

Hundreds of species of animals live in Corsica, including many bird species. Most of the animals you see while in Corsica are domesticated animals such as pigs, cows, goats, sheep and donkeys. Yet the island has some special inhabitants. Trout and eel live in the mountain streams and the Corsican black salamander and the Corsican euprocte, a type of newt without vertebrae and lungs, live on the banks of the lakes and on the river banks. There are no dangerous snakes in Corsica, but there are poisonous spiders. Small black rats are most common in the small islands around Corsica. Corsica is very rich in insects including 40 species of native damselflies and 53 species of native spiders.

The Audouin's seagull no longer occurs on the European continent, but it is still found on islands such as Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. The bearded vulture or "altore" has a wingspan of about three meters. One of the rare native birds is the Corsican nuthatch, which was not discovered until the late 19th century.

Corsican NuthatchPhoto:Public domain

Linnets, thrushes, whinchat, robins, blackbirds, Sardinian warblers, bearded grass sparrows and goldcrests can be found in the maquis. Hermann's tortoise is one of the rarest reptiles in France, but still quite common in Corsica. The animal mainly lives in the maquis and can live to be 60-80 years old. The osprey is a beautiful but rare bird of prey, of which about 20 pairs breed in Corsica. In 1973 there were only three. The crested cormorant likes to nest in colonies on the rocky coast and on the islands around Corsica. Wild boars live mainly in the maquis and in the forests. These omnivores are mainly hunted in winter. Furthermore, there are thirty bat species living on Corsica, including the large free-tail bat.

European mouflon in CorsicaPhoto:Rufus46 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The European mouflon has been living in Corsica for eight thousand years, but is threatened with extinction. In summer, the 500 surviving specimens live at high altitude in the mountains and in winter they come down to forage for food. About 150 fish species live in the waters around Corsica. About 50 species are caught and traded, including wolffish, sardine, sunfish, scorpionfish and sea bream. Protected species are swordfish, porpoise, grouper, moray eel and spurdog. The Corsican spiny lobster is famous, which is one of the tastiest in the Mediterranean.

Corsican spiny lobsterPhoto:Georges Jansoone (JoJan) Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

History

Oldest History

Some 6,500 years ago, in the pre-Neolithic period, people already lived in Corsica. Evidence of this is provided by the skeleton of the “Lady of Bonifacio” dated to 6570 BC and found in 1975. They were cave dwellers who lived off hunting and fishing and probably came from Tuscany on the Italian mainland and from Sardinia, the Italian island south of Corsica. Corsica belonged to Liguria around that time.

Menhirs at Filitosa South CorsicaPhoto:Jean-Pol GRANDMONT CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the New Stone Age (Neolithic period 6000-1800 BC) the Corsicans learned to grow cereals and sheep and goats are kept. From that time on, stone weapons and utensils were also used. The first houses were built in the late Neolithic period (3300-1800 BC) with the help of the many large stones lying on the island. Characteristic of this period are the so-called “alignements”, rows of large stones or menhirs (also called dolmens) placed upwards to human figures. Menhirs were also placed with graves in tribute to the deceased.

In the Bronze Age from 1800-700 BC. small fortified villages were already being built by tribes formed at that time. During that period, the well-armed Torreans also arrived in Corsica, forcing the Corsicans to flee to Northern Corsica. Unlike the Corsicans, the Torreans had bronze daggers and swords at their disposal. They also built temples in the shape of towers. From 600 BC. the name Corsica occurs, among others among the Phoenicians who maintained a barter trade with the Corsicans. Approx. 550 BC. the Focaiers, chased from Greece by the Persians, landed on the east coast of Corsica. They were merchants who did much business with Sicily, Spain, France and Italy, and they founded the settlement of Alalia, where Aléria is now located.

Italian peninsula ca.400 BC.Photo:Richardprins CCNaamsvermelding-Gelijk delen 3.0 Unported no changes made

Corsica is occupied by ... almost everyone

These Focaiers were chased away by the Carthaginians and the Etruscans. Because Carthage and Rome came to blows, the Roman general Scipio was ordered to drive the Corsicans out of Alalia and destroy the city. This succeeded without much effort and from 221 BC. Corsica became a province of the Roman Empire. All this time the Corsicans were forced to withdraw inland and now and then handed out a few pinpricks against the various invaders. They also managed to build some inland cities.

Christianity was introduced in the Roman period, but its spread was difficult due to the violent opposition of the Romans. In 410 Rome was conquered by the Goths and Corsica was liberated from the Roman yoke. That freedom did not last long, however, because Corsica was subsequently occupied by Vandals, Goths, Longobards, Byzantines and Greeks. The Greeks stayed the longest and among them the Corsicans had a very difficult time, partly because of the high taxes that they had to pay to the Greeks. Greek rule lasted about two centuries. In 713, the Greeks were chased away by the Saracens who would only engage in looting the island. In 807 Corsica was occupied by the Moors, who turned the population even more on the thumbs. Many Corsicans therefore fled to the French mainland. Attempts by other countries to expel the Moors (Muslims!) Have failed for the time being.

In 833, however, the Tuscan Count Bonifacio managed to build a fortress on the southernmost tip of Corsica. Yet it would take more than 150 years before the Moors would be chased away by Italians. In return for services rendered, a number of Italian soldiers and fleeing nobles were assigned a castle and a piece of land. But these so-called “barons” also oppressed the Corsican population and fought many wars among themselves. The Corsicans no longer took it and, under the leadership of Sambucuccio de Alando, they succeeded in sidelining the Italian barons for a while. An alliance was established, the Terra del Commune, in which each Corsican province could delegate one or two mayors. Unfortunately, after Sambucuccio's death, the barons regained power.

Pisans and Genoese

In 1077, Pope Gregory VII was given the right to Corsica by the French king. However, this pope gave the island as a fief to the cardinal of Pisa, Italy, at that time Genoa's largest trade competitor. This finally worked out well for the Corsicans because cities were rebuilt, roads and bridges were built and of course many churches were built. Many watchtowers were built along the coast to be able to spot enemies in time.

Bonifacio Corsica Photo:GHIRARDI Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In 1217, the Genoese conquered the strategically located Bonifacio and founded a Genoese trading colony there. With the help of the Corsican freedom fighter Sinucello de Cinarca, the Genoese were defeated, but in 1221 Sinucello's army was defeated and the Corsicans finally renounced their right to Corsica. The Pope gave Corsica, along with Sardinia, to the King of Aragon in Spain. However, they also failed to chase away the Genoese. Now, however, the population revolted again under the leadership of Arrigo della Rocca. After a failed attempt, he defeated the Genoese in 1392, was soon defeated by the same Genoese, but then conquered all Corsica again with the exception of the strongholds of Bonifacio and Calvi.

This history was repeated several more times until the resistance of the Corsicans was finally broken by the Genoese in 1515. In 1547, however, another attempt was made to liberate Corsica from the Genoese. This time it was King Henry II, together with the Turkish fleet and the Corsican Sampiero Corso, who made an attempt. In 1553 Corsica, except for Calvi, was taken by the French, but in 1559 Corsica was again assigned to the Genoese during the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. Sampiero now made one last all-or-nothing attempt with a small but strong army. At first, Sampierro and his men rained down one after the other victory, but Sampierro was ambushed and killed. The Corsicans' resistance was now broken and there was nothing left but to sign the peace treaty with the Genoese. The Genoese now built even stronger and higher towers (12-17 meters high) along the coast. Some of them are still on Cap Corse, among others.

Around 1730 it became restless on the island, partly due to the tax increases that the Genoese continued to implement. When some Corsican soldiers were also beheaded, the population demanded revenge. However, the Genoese received help from Charles VI who sent a large army of German mercenaries. In 1732 an armistice was decided.

On March 12, 1736, the German Theodor von Neuhoff happened to arrive in Corsica on an English ship full of cannons, rifles, ammunition and a lot of money. In exchange for the kingship of Corsica, the Corsicans received the weaponry. A few months later, von Neuhoff left again to raise money to pay for his court. In 1743 he returned to Corsica but was declared persona non grata and was therefore not allowed to enter Corsica. One of the three leaders who took over Von Neuhoff's duties during his absence was Giampietro Gaffori. He also became the new leader when it became apparent that von Neuhoff would not return. He sought help from the English and together they managed to conquer Bastia and Corti. On August 10, 1746, Gaffori proclaimed independence and in 1751 a peace treaty was signed with Genoa. Gaffori was proclaimed Governor General of Corsica but was murdered by the Genoese in 1753.

Pascal Paoli and Napoleon Bonaparte

Pascal Paoli Corsica Photo:Estebanlenormand in the public domain

Pascal Paoli became the new leader of the Corsican resistance in 1755 and he would eventually become the Father of the Fatherland. He was a trained man with new ideas and carried them out. For example, he ensured democratic reforms as the right to vote for everyone over the age of 25. A general assembly was also called, he banned the “vendetta” (the blood feud), founded folk schools and in 1765 even the university of Corte. He also thought it necessary to have his own fleet.

In 1768 Corsica was sold to France by the Genoese for 200,000 pounds. The resistance was furious about this horse-trading and it was Carlo Bonaparte, the father of Napoleon Bonaparte, who declared war on France. The Battle of Borgo was won by the Corsicans, but on May 8, 1769, the Corsican army was destroyed by the army of Louis XV. On June 12, 1769, Corsica was declared French territory. Spurred on by the French Revolution, Paoli traveled to Paris to advocate the freedom of Corsica. This mission was successful, only the Corsican people were strongly divided and a civil war was imminent. Paoli immediately declared Corsica's independence but again asked the English for help. Peace was restored with a united effort and the old constitution was re-adopted, although the actual power was in the hands of the English King George III. This George III appointed Gilbert Elliott viceroy of Corsica, but the English withdrew from Corsica after a year.

Meanwhile, a certain Napoleon Bonaparte fought in the Corsican army. After a failed attempt to capture the citadel of Ajaccio from the English, he fled to the mainland and was considered a traitor by most Corsicans. When he arrived in France he quickly caused a furore in the army and that eventually led to the emperor. During his campaign in Italy in 1799, he ended the English rule of Corsica and occupied the island. In 1811 he named his birthplace Ajaccio the capital of Corsica. The island soon became French, although Paris completely ignored the new acquisition. This only changed during the reign of Napoleon III, about the mid-19th century. He founded hospitals, built roads and railways, and many Corsicans were appointed to public positions.

First and Second World War

Despite this, many Corsicans moved to the French mainland in search of work and the group of Corsicans who wanted to secede from France was shrinking. It was therefore not surprising that many Corsicans fought side by side with the French in the First World War. More than 40,000 Corsicans would eventually die on the battlefields. The Second World War also affected Corsica. The Italian leader Benito Mussolini thought that Corsica belonged to Italy. The Corsicans obviously had a very different opinion about this, but the pro-German Vichy government changed tack on 11 November and ceded Corsica to the Italians. The same day Corsica was occupied by the Italians, followed a little later by the Germans.

Here and there resistance flared up against the occupiers who responded with intimidation, looting and the establishment of a concentration camp. This led to the establishment of a genuine resistance movement (maquisards) that made it increasingly difficult for Italians and Germans from within the maquis. They were helped by the Allies who smuggled many weapons and ammunition ashore. Despite fierce resistance from the Germans, they were defeated in the Golo Valley on October 4, 1943. The Italians had already surrendered a few months earlier, so that the war for Corsica was soon over.

Period of recovery, tourism and bombs

Coat of arms of CorsicaPhoto:Heralder Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

After years of repairs to houses and infrastructure, the French government decided from 1955 to modernize and expand agriculture. Despite this, many Corsicans still moved to the French mainland. In 1959, the Action Régionaliste Corse (ARC) was founded with the aim of preserving the tradition and culture of Corsica. They also strived for self-government. In 1975 the Front de Libération Nationale de Corse (FLNC), the Corsican liberation front, was founded.

From the 1960s, Corsica turned to tourism and many hotels and holiday resorts were built. In 1975 Corsica was divided into two departments. Bastia became the capital of the department of Haut-Corse and Ajaccio of the department of Corse du Sud. In 1982 Corsica got its own parliament with 61 seats and is allowed to make decisions in the fields of culture, education and the environment. However, a small minority still strives for autonomy and regularly makes this clear through bomb attacks, among other things.

The "peak" of the bombings was in the 1970s and 1980s. 111 attacks in 1973, 463 in 1980 and countless more since then. In the early 1990s, the FLNC falls apart due to personal conflicts and economic and political conflicts of interest. In 1996 a bomb exploded in the center of Bastia, injuring 12 people and dead. Fortunately, it is one of the few attacks where there are victims. In February 1998, Corsica was again startled by the assassination attempt on Prefect Érignac.

The so-called Matignon trial resulted in an agreement in the summer of 2001 between the French government and all Corsican parties. The agreement provides for a transition period of four years. After that, Corsica is given extensive autonomy with legislative powers.

Corsica was startled on October 18, 2002 by 15 explosive attacks. Banks and villas, among other things, were targeted, but there were no victims. Police suspected that separatists were carrying out the attacks.

In March 2006, right-wing politician Robert Feliciaggi was shot dead.

Two bombings were committed at the end of December 2007, and one of them, on an army barracks, injured two people.

Corsican nationalists scratch French place namesPhoto:FDominec Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

See also the history of France on Landenweb.

Population

Due to the many victims of the Second World War and large-scale emigration to the French mainland and abroad, in 2017 there are only 330,000 people in Corsica. The population living on the island is concentrated in the main cities (Ajaccio, Bastia, Bonifacio, Calvi), some smaller centers and the zones of Aléria, Marana and Balagne.

Corsicans celebrate Napoleon's birthdayPhoto:Steve Hedin Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Approx. 100,000 of them live in the capital Ajaccio and in Bastia. On average, about 37 people live in Corsica per km2. Due to the migration to the French mainland in particular, there are currently more Corsicans living abroad than in Corsica. It is estimated that between 700,000 and 800,000 Corsicans have emigrated over time, of which about 500,000 to the French mainland. A remarkable colony of Cap Corse descendants even resides in Venezuela.

In 1886 a maximum of 276,000 people lived there, in 1955 the lowest number with 170,000. A study in 1990 found that 60% of the population was born on the island. There are now about 22,000 foreigners living in Corsica, which is about 8% of the total population. This includes about 12,000 Moroccans, 3,000 Italians, 3,000 Portuguese and 2,000 Tunisians and other groups from North Africa, the so-called “pied noirs”. After the Algerian war between Algeria and France in 1962, Corsica also received many repatriated compatriots. Since 1975, not many immigrants have come to Corsica, but the number of French people from the mainland, called “pinzutti” by the Corsicans, is increasing.

Language

Corsican dialectsPhoto:Maksim Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In Corsica the main language is of course French, although with a clear accent. The real, often somewhat older, Corsicans talk to each other in Corsican, which is a mixture of French, especially Italian and Latin. Due to the long Italian rule (Genoa and Pisa), people spoke pre-Latin in Corsica and then New Latin. That formed the basis of today's Corsican. Although the number of people speaking Corsican is declining, it is estimated that about 65% of the population still speaks the language. Since 1974 it has had the status of a regional language and is even taught at the University of Corte.

The following examples clearly show that Corsican is strongly influenced by Italian.

EnglishCorsicanItaliaanFrench
oneunuunoun
fourquattruquattroquatre
eightottuottohuit
twentyvintiventivingt
good daybunghjornubuongiornobonjour
goodbyea venicciarrivederciau revoir
thank yougraziegraziemerci
seamaremaremer

Religion

The Corsicans are generally still religious and almost all Roman Catholic. There are also small groups of Greek Orthodox and Muslims.

Church of Aregno in CorsicaPhoto:Pinpin Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Although, like the rest of France, fewer and fewer people attend church services, religious events and festivals are taken seriously, culminating in the Holy Week processions that take place in cities like Bonifacio, Sartène and Calvi in the week leading up to Easter. Assumption of Mary on August 15 is also widely celebrated and is a national holiday.

Every village has a Roman Catholic church, a patron saint and the large number of burial chapels is also striking. Generations of one family are often buried here.

Society

State structure

During the Genoese period, Corsica was made up of ten provinces. Napoleon Bonaparte turned it into one province with Ajaccio as its capital. From May 15, 1975, Corsica consists of two departments. These are Corse du Sud with Ajaccio as the capital and Haut Corse with Bastia as the capital.

Corsican government buildingPhoto:leecohen Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Both departments are administered by a prefect representing the government. Corsica has its own parliament, the Assemblée de Corse, with far-reaching decision-making powers in areas such as culture, transport, environment and education. A small part of the population still strives for an independent Corsica. Bombings are the most serious manifestations of this endeavor. The sad low point was the assassination attempt on Prefect Érignac in February 1998.

However, most Corsicans are aware that an independent status would be disastrous for the economy, as Corsica will always be highly dependent on the government in Paris for that matter. For the current political situation of France, see chapter history.

Education

School in Croce, Castagniccia in CorsicaPhoto:Pierre Bona Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Education is compulsory from the age of six to sixteen. Secondary education is divided into two cycles. The first cycle, from 11 to 15 years (collège), is a general training. The second cycle up to the age of 18 can be chosen between academic or vocational training. In 1765, Pascal Paoli opened the first university in Corte. However, this university was closed soon after the French arrived on the island.

It was not until 1981 that Corsica's university, Pascal Paoli University, was reopened, again in Corte. The university has about 3,500 students who can choose from the faculties of art, languages, technology, law and economics. There are a number of technical courses scattered across the island.

Vendetta or blood feud

Vendetta knife CorsicaPhoto:Afrank 99 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Of all Corsican traditions, the “vendetta” or blood feud is the best known. Especially in the 16th to the 18th century, during the Genoese rule, the Vendetta celebrated its heyday. The Genoese police did not intervene in quarrels between the Corsicans themselves, especially in the interior. They were therefore forced to settle conflicts themselves. Vendettas were mainly found in the south. In Cap Corse in the north of Corsica this tradition was not at all known.

A vendetta often arose when the family's honor was tarnished. The person who tainted the honor was murdered by the "affected" family. His family killed another member of the other family and it could go on for generations. However, there were several ways to end a vendetta. For example, some sort of peace truce or truce could be agreed between the families. The vendetta sometimes ended when there had been the same number of victims on both sides. In the period 1359 to 1729, more than 30,000 Corsicans were killed by the Vendetta. It was not until 1920 that the vendetta was banned by law.

Economy

Vineyards of CorsicaPhoto:DalGobboM Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

In the mid-1990s, approximately 20% of the labor force was unemployed. And the island's economy is still not doing very well. Corsican farmers mainly produce for their own use. The export of, among other things, cork, wine (90% red wine), cheese, tropical fruits and olive oil has increased in recent years. Agriculture is practiced up to 600 m, partly on irrigated soil. Above 1000 m, goats and sheep graze in summer, important for cheese preparation. This livestock sector is responsible for the partial disappearance of the forests and the expansion of the dense thickets (maquis). Agriculture produces approximately 2% of the gross national product (GNP). European agricultural subsidies also do not bring agriculture much further. Grain still has to be imported.

Chamber of Commerce in CorsicaPhoto:giggel Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Ajaccio and Bastia have a fairly extensive food industry, also aimed at their own market. Durable goods mainly come from the French mainland and are extra expensive because of the high transport costs. That is also the main reason that hardly any export industry has gotten off the ground. Its isolated location would drive up prices and make the products practically unsellable. The domestic market is also too small to make production profitable. Industry therefore only produces about 5% of GDP and Corsica is the least industrialized region in France. Approx. 30 companies employ more than 20 people and only one company has more than 100 employees. 10% of the labor force is employed in the construction sector. Tannery, canning industry and woodworking are the main industrial activities.

Train CorsicaPhoto:Pierre Bona Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The service sector is the most important sector for the Corsican economy, providing 80% of GDP and 70% of the available jobs. Unemployment is higher than in the rest of France, at around 10% in 2013. Special tax measures are also not yet having the desired effect.

There is little public transport in Corsica. There are few buses and the only railway line is really only of tourist value. Remote villages can therefore only be reached by car. They can drive on fairly good roads that are, however, very winding due to the rugged landscape. Distances must therefore be calculated in travel time and not in kilometers. From the French mainland you can take slow ferry boats or the fast N.G.V.'s (Navires à Grande Vitesse) to all ports of Corsica. Corsica has four airports from which one to five flights a day to the mainland depart.

Holidays and Sightseeing

A growth sector is tourism. About 1.5 million tourists come to Corsica every year, especially many Germans (approx. 12%) and Italians (approx. 23%). A lot of money is made especially in popular coastal towns such as Calvi, Bastia, Porto Vecchio and Ajaccio. The interior benefits much less from tourism. Only one in five tourists visits the interior.

Tourism CorsicaPhoto:Myrabella Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Ajaccio is the capital of the beautiful French island of Corsica. Napoleon Bonaparte plays an important role in French history and that is why there are still many references to him in Ajaccio. For example, you can visit his birth house in Ajaccio, which is on the corner of Rue Saint-Charles and Rue Letizia. Today, the house where Bonaparte later lived is an interesting museum; the Musée Napoléonien. In addition to the sights related to Napoleon, there is more to see and do in Ajaccio. For example, you can't actually skip the Fesch museum when you are in Ajaccio. After the Louvre in Paris, this museum has the largest art collection in France. The museum is also located in a beautiful building.

Ajaccio CorsicaPhoto:dmytrok Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

The port of Ajaccio is also a nice attraction. In the marina you can see the most beautiful and most expensive yachts and sail out. At the trading port you can see the fishermen set out in the morning and return in the afternoon with their catch. The sea provides a lot of entertainment in and around Ajaccio, including diving, snorkeling and sailing. There is a fun activity or sight for every type in beautiful Ajaccio.

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Sources

Corsica
Lannoo

Corsica
Lonely Planet

Corsica
Touring/Lannoo

Driessen, J.W. / Corsica
Elmar

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated October 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb