History of Corsica

That the history of Corsica has been influenced by its strategic position at the heart of the western Mediterranean and its maritime routes, only 12 kilometres (7 mi) from Sardinia, 50 kilometres (30 mi) from the Isle of Elba, 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the coast of Tuscany and 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the French port of Nice, was first proposed by the 19th-century German theorist, Friedrich Ratzel. To him is often attributed the description "mountain in the sea". Regardless of whether he used that particular phrase the idea is expressed in his magnum opus, Anthropogeographie, which calls Corsica

Ein abgeschlossenes und eigenartiges Land, das Insel und Gebirg zugleich ....

An isolated and singular land, both island and mountain ....

and especially in his monograph on Corsica, La Corse, also published in 1899.

The Anthropogeographie presents an overall view of Ratzel's method of analysis but the 25-page monograph is perhaps the most relevant, applying the method in detail to Corsica. The "sea" part of the proverb refers to the easy accessibility by great powers to Corsica across the narrow waters from neighboring lands. Once they arrive the "mountain" provides a wall of defense against which invaders can make no easy headway. A central spine running north–south right along its length, which makes travel from (and communication between) one side to the other difficult, isolates Corsicans even from themselves. This spine and strategic position go some way to explaining the island's unique history.

At 8,778 square kilometres (3,389 sq mi), it is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. Ratzel portrays a society never able either to be conquered or to rule itself but in the perpetual struggle for freedom and sovereignty producing "numberless champions". On this last point Ratzel admits to an unbridled admiration for his friend and associate Ferdinand Gregorovius, an advocate of Corsican culture, and joins him in portraying Pasquale Paoli and Napoleon Bonaparte, as larger than life.

In 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in his opus, The Social Contract, that Corsica would one day astonish Europe. This was written some seven years before Napoleon was born.

This page was last edited on 10 April 2018, at 23:25.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Corsica under CC BY-SA license.

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