Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and a unique French territorial collectivity with its capital Ajaccio. The region includes two departments, five arrondissements, 52 cantons and 360 municipalities.
The territory of the region coincides almost entirely with the island of the same name, fourth by extension in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus).
This island is separated from Sardinia by the short stretch of the Bocche di Bonifacio, it emerges from the Mediterranean as a large mountain range full of forests, marking the border between its western part, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ligurian Sea. Although politically part of France since 1769, the island is part of the Italian geographical region and has historical ties with Italy also in the linguistic and cultural fields.
The word “Corsica” derives from the Latin “Corsica” or “Cyrnica”, which in turn derives from the name of the ancient population of the island, the “Corsi” or “Cyrnii”. However, the origin of the term “Corsi” is still a matter of scholarly debate.
One theory holds that the name “Corsi” comes from a Celtic word meaning “brave” or “valiant”. This theory is based on the similarities between the name “Corsi” and the Celtic term “cors” or “cor”, which means “valiant”. According to this theory, the Corsicans would have been a Celtic tribe settled on the island.
Another theory suggests that the name “Corsi” derives from a term of Etruscan or pre-Indo-European origin. However, this theory is less widespread and less supported.
In any case, the island of Corsica has been inhabited since ancient times by different populations, including the Phoenicians, the Etruscans, the Greeks and finally the Romans. Over the centuries, the island has been subjected to cultural and linguistic influences from these different civilizations, thus contributing to its rich history and diverse linguistic influences.
Geographic Features –
The main geographical features of Corsica are listed below:
Size: Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, with a total area of about 8,680 square kilometers. Its shape resembles that of a parallelogram and measures approximately 183 kilometers in length and 83 kilometers in width.
Mountains: The dominant element of Corsica is its central mountain range, called Monti della Corsica or Catena Centrale. This mountain range is characterized by sharp peaks and ridges, and is famous for its majestic peaks. The highest peak is Monte Cinto, which reaches a height of 2,706 meters above sea level.
Coasts: Corsica is surrounded by rugged and rocky coasts that alternate with sandy bays and beaches. The west coast is wilder and rougher, while the east coast is characterized by wider inlets and gulfs. Overall, the island has a coastline of around 1,000 kilometers long.
Rivers: Corsica has numerous rivers flowing through its mountainous terrain. The most important rivers include the Golo, the Tavignano, the Liamone and the Vecchio. These rivers are generally fast-flowing with fresh, clear waters, and are often surrounded by picturesque landscapes.
Natural Parks: Corsica is home to several natural parks, which preserve its unique flora and fauna. The Regional Natural Park of Corsica is the largest park on the island and covers a large mountainous and coastal area. Other parks include the Regional Natural Park of Southern Corsica and the Bonifacio Natural Park.
Climate: Corsica has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, due to its mountainous terrain, the island can experience significant variations in temperature and climatic conditions between different areas. Coastal regions are generally more temperate than mountainous inland areas.
These are just some of the main geographical features of Corsica. The island offers outstanding natural beauty, with breathtaking landscapes ranging from towering mountains to enchanting coastlines, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Historical Notes –
Below are some historical notes on Corsica divided by era:
– Prehistory: Corsica was already inhabited in the Stone Age, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological sites found on the island. During the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, Corsica was inhabited by peoples of Mediterranean origin.
– Phoenicians and Greeks: In the first millennium BC, Corsica was colonized by the Phoenicians, followed by the Greeks. The latter founded colonies along the coast, including Alalia (today’s Aléria), which became an important commercial center.
– Romans: In 259 BC, the Romans defeated the Carthaginian fleet off Alalia, ending the Phoenician and Greek presence on the island. Corsica became a Roman province and was incorporated into the Roman Empire.
– Middle Ages: After the fall of the Roman Empire, Corsica was invaded by various peoples, including Vandals, Byzantines, Goths and Lombards. In 774 AD, the island was conquered by the Saracens, who kept it under their control for several centuries.
– Pisani and Genoese: In the 12th century, Corsica was invaded by the Pisani, an Italian maritime republic. However, in 1284, the Republic of Genoa took control of the island and dominated it for almost five centuries. During this period, the Corsicans fought for independence from Genoese domination.
– Pasquale Paoli: In the 18th century, Corsican leader Pasquale Paoli led a revolt against Genoa and proclaimed Corsican independence in 1755. The Corsican Republic was established and lasted until 1769, when the island was conquered by France.
– France: In 1768, France invaded Corsica and annexed it the following year. During the time of the French Revolution, Corsica became a French department in 1790. Napoleon Bonaparte, a native of Corsica, came to power in France and became the Emperor of the French in the 19th century.
– Modernity: After the fall of Napoleon, Corsica remained an integral part of France. During the 20th century, the island was involved in some Corsican independence movements, which demanded greater autonomy or total independence from France. However, these movements failed to gain independence.
– Today, Corsica is a French region with a special status and enjoys a certain administrative autonomy. The island is famous for its natural beauty, beaches and mountains, and is a popular tourist destination.
The ecosystem of Corsica, also known as Corsica, is characterized by its biological and landscape diversity. Corsica is a Mediterranean island located southeast of France and west of Italy. Its geographical position and its mountainous relief influence the variety of ecosystems present on the island.
In terms of vegetation, Corsica boasts a wide range of ecosystems, ranging from dense forests to maquis and maquis. In the mountainous areas there are coniferous forests, such as the black pine and the Scots pine. These forests are important for the conservation of biodiversity and provide habitats for different species of flora and fauna.
The island is also home to several natural parks, such as the Corsica Regional Natural Park, which covers a large part of the island and protects its natural and cultural heritage. These parks are conservation areas where the conservation of native fauna and flora is promoted.
As for the fauna, Corsica is home to several species, some of which are endemic to the island. Emblematic animals include the Corsican mouflon, a species of wild sheep, and the Bonelli’s eagle, an endangered bird of prey. Other mammals such as wild boars, foxes, roe deer and wild cats can also be found.
In marine environments, the waters surrounding the island offer a habitat rich in biodiversity. Posidonia meadows are important for the health of marine ecosystems and are found in different areas of the Corsican coast. Furthermore, coral reefs and associated marine species are of great importance for the conservation of marine biodiversity in the region.
However, Corsica’s ecosystem also faces challenges, such as habitat loss due to urbanisation, ecosystem fragmentation, the introduction of invasive species and climate change. These factors can negatively impact biodiversity and require appropriate conservation and management efforts to protect the island’s ecosystem.
In summary, Corsica’s ecosystem is rich and diverse, with a wide variety of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The island is home to a large number of endemic and emblematic species, making it an important location for the conservation of biodiversity in the Mediterranean.
Corsica is famous for its rich flora, which has a great variety of species, many of which are endemic to the island. Its geographical location, between the European continent and Africa, and the varied altitude, ranging from sea level to the highest mountains, create a unique ecological diversity.
The forests occupy a large part of the Corsican territory and are mainly characterized by broad-leaved species such as holm oak (Quercus ilex), chestnut (Castanea sativa), downy oak (Quercus pubescens), Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) and beech (Fagus sylvatica ). Some maritime pine forests (Pinus pinaster) are present along the coast.
Mediterranean maquis, formed mainly of evergreen shrubs and drought-resistant plants, are widespread. Among the most common species are the buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus), mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), myrtle (Myrtus communis), helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) and cistus (Cistus spp. ).
The high mountain areas are home to alpine and subalpine flora, with species adapted to low temperatures and extreme climatic conditions. Many endemic plants are found here, such as the Corsican lily (Lilium corsicum), the Corsican edelweiss (Leontopodium corsicum) and the Corsican buttercup (Ranunculus corsicus).
Corsica is also known for its wild orchids, with more than 50 species found on the island. Among the most common orchids are the bee orchid (Ophrys apifera), the butterfly orchid (Anacamptis papilionacea), and the Marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata).
The conservation of Corsican flora is of great importance and many areas of the island are protected as nature reserves. For example, the Corsica Regional Natural Park protects a wide range of habitats and species, contributing to the preservation of the island’s rich biodiversity.
It is important to note that the list of species and habitats mentioned above is not exhaustive and that the flora of Corsica is very large and varied.
Corsica, an island located in the western Mediterranean Sea, is home to a unique and interesting variety of fauna. Its isolated location and the diversity of its habitats have contributed to the presence of numerous endemic species. Here are some of the most significant species present in the fauna of Corsica:
– Corsican mouflon (Ovis aries musimon): This subspecies of the mouflon, a species of wild sheep, is endemic to Corsica and Sardinia. It is a majestic looking animal, with large curved horns in both males and females.
– Corsican wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica): This wildcat, also known as the Corsican “ghjattu fox”, is a subspecies endemic to Corsica. It is larger than house cats and has speckled fur.
– Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni): This species of terrestrial tortoise is also present in southern Corsica. It is an endangered and protected species, with a high carapace and mainly terrestrial habits.
– Sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla): This large sea eagle can be found in northern Corsica and its coasts. It is a bird of prey that feeds mainly on fish.
– Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus): This fast and agile bird of prey can be seen on the cliffs and mountains of Corsica. It is known for its rapid dives when hunting for prey.
– Corsican newt (Euproctus montanus): This species of newt is endemic to Corsica. It is a brownish amphibian with a long tail and lives in mountain streams.
– Bedriaga lizard (Archaeolacerta bedriagae): This lizard is an endemic species of Corsica and Sardinia. It has a bright green color with blue streaks.
– In addition to these species, Corsica is also home to a variety of migratory birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and a rich marine fauna in its coastal waters. The island is considered an area of great ecological value and is part of the Corsica Regional Natural Park, which helps protect its precious fauna and flora.
Environmental Protection Actions –
Corsica is a place of great natural beauty and ecological diversity. There are several conservation actions that have been implemented on the island to preserve and protect its unique environment. Here are some examples:
– Natural parks: Corsica is home to several natural parks covering vast land and sea areas. The Regional Natural Park of Corsica is the largest park on the island and is committed to protecting biological diversity and promoting sustainable development.
– Conservation of biodiversity: Measures have been taken to protect Corsica’s unique flora and fauna. There are conservation programs focused on rare and endangered species, such as the sea eagle, wild cat and red coral.
– Management of water resources: Corsica has adopted water management policies to ensure sustainable use of water. There are regulations for the protection of springs and rivers, as well as measures to prevent water pollution.
– Renewable Energy: The island is actively promoting the use of renewable energy to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources. There are projects underway to develop solar, wind and hydroelectric energy.
– Waste management: Waste management policies have been adopted in order to reduce the environmental impact. There are recycling and composting schemes, as well as campaigns to raise awareness among residents and tourists about the importance of waste reduction.
– Protection of the coasts and seabeds: Corsica has taken measures to protect its coasts and seabeds, which are rich in biodiversity. There are marine protection zones and regulations to restrict access to certain sensitive areas.
– These are just a few examples of the environmental protection actions that have been undertaken in Corsica. The island remains committed to protecting its natural environment and promoting sustainable development.