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Name of the stateless nation: Corsica

State or states this nation belongs to: French Republic

Corsica map

1. Physical and human environment


8,680 km2

Altimetric zones (% of total surface)
Lower than 200 m
201-600 m
601-1,000 m
1,001-2,000 m
Higher than 2,000 m

Biogeographical regions (% of total surface)
Mediterranean 100% (1)

Land use (% of total surface) (2)
Inner waters and wetlands
Forests and open spaces 83.32%
Agricultural land 13.15%
Urban and artificial areas 3.51%




Historically a crossroads of maritime routes in Western Mediterranean, Corsica was successively occupied by Romans, Vandals, Byzantines and a handful of medieval powers, most notably the Genoese. During the 14th century, Sambucucciu d'Alandu revolts against feudalism and for a system of land collective ownership; Corsican nationalism will later consider him as one of the patrioti corsi.

Even if it was briefly held by France during the 16th century, Corsica remained as a de facto colony under the control of the Genoese Republic until 1755, when exiled Pasquale Paoli entered the island and was proclaimed the leader of the Corsican Republic, which declared independence from Genoa. From then onwards, Paoli is deemed as the Babbu di a Patria ('Father of the Motherland'). He established an Enlightenment-inspired Corsican state which would not last long: in 1764, Genoa sold the island to the French crown. Corsicans prepared to defend the island, but the French troops defeated them in 1769. In 1793, Paoli again declared independence and placed the island under the protection of the King of England. In 1796, the French reclaimed power over the island.

France immediately starts a policy aimed at fully assimilating Corsica and its population. However, this did not prevent the continuity of a specific Corsican social institution, that of the clan. But the island witnessed deep social changes, one of them massive emigration of Corsicans and the arrival of people from mainland France, who specially settled all along the coast during the 20th century.

Even if there had been some limited resistance against French occupation during the 19th century, Corsican nationalism did not start to emerge in its modern form until the 20th century. The first pro-autonomy parties were created in the 1920s, but it was not until the 1960s that a renewed Corsican movement emerged. Civil society and students' associations and new political parties where established at that time. In the 1970s, several armed groups launched an armed struggle for Corsican independence, the main of them being the FLNC.

It was not until the 1980s that France agreed to pass specific laws for Corsica granting a very limited degree of autonomy, albeit with no law-making powers. The main Corsican political parties have since then being asking for a devolved assembly with powers to pass its own laws. Pro-independence parties support the move as an intermediate step towards full sovereignty.

1: European Environmental Agency.

2: Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (2011).



2 Government

Capital city

Name of President / Prime Minister / Other
Gilles Simeoni (President of Executive Council)

Political status as part of the State  
 Territorial collectivity of the French Republic

Competences attributed / recognized by the State (1)
Full powers over school mapping, university buildings, sport and popular education promotion, cultural action, tourism, management of state-owned forests, management of main airports and ports, management of water resources, definition of assistance to businesses.
Shared powers over historical and archaeological heritage, environment and agriculture and fishing

Political institutions
Corsican political institutions are placed under the umbrella of the Territorial Collectivity of Corsica, and they include:
Corsican Assembly (unicameral, 51 members), with regulatory powers (not legislative)
Executive Council of Corsica
Economic, Social and Cultural Council of Corsica

External representation
Indirect representation through the representatives of the French Association of Regions in the French delegation in the Committee of Regions of the European Union (2). Member of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (3)

Territorial and local organization (counties, provinces, districts, municipal bodies, etc.)
Corsica is divided into 2 departments, which are responsible for the provision of a range of public services.

Main Political Parties
Political parties having (or having had in the past) representatives at the national level

Partitu di a Nazione Corsa (PNC, Party of the Corsican Nation). Pro-autonomy
A Chjama Naziunale (The National Flame). Pro-autonomy
(PNC and A Chjama form a coalition called Femu a Corsica.)
Corsica Libera
(Free Corsica). Pro-independence, left

Nationalist organizations of civil society
Cunsulta di i Studienti Corsi (CSC, Corsican Students' Council). Established in 1974 in Nice, this is the oldest students' Corsican union.
Sindicatu di i Travagliadori Corsi (STC, Corsican Workers Union). Established in 1984, it is a trade union stemming from Corsican nationalism.
Ghjuventù Paolina (Paoline Youth). Established in 1992 in the University of Corsica, it is a students' union which demands official status for the Corsican language.
Ghjuventù Indipendentista (Pro-independence Youth). Established in the University of Corsica in 1999, it is a students' and youths' movement pursuing full independence for Corsica. It merged with the CSC in 2009 in the newly established Cunsulta di a Ghjuventù Corsa (CGC, Corsican Youth Council), but some disenchanted members re-established the Ghjuventù Indipendentista in 2012.


1: Conseil Territorial de la Corse (2010).
2: Committee of Regions – European Union (2010).
3: Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (2011).


3. Population (1)

Total population 309,693

Density  36 inh/km2

Age structure
0-19  20.8%
20-59  52.5%
60-74  16.7%           
55-64  10.91%
over 75 10%

Urban population
In the capital city 21.16%
In other major cities
Bastìa 13.88%
Portivechju  3.56%

Annual growth  1.6‰

Net migration rate 

Life expectancy
Men: 79.1 years
Women: 84.3 years

1: Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (2011).


4. Languages

Spoken languages

Language areas (whether vernacular or not)
Corsican and French, spoken throughout the island.
Ligurian, spoken in the southern town of Bunifaziu.

Number and percentage of speakers of each vernacular language over the total population
Corsican: 70,000 usual speakers out of 170,000 usual and non usual speakers (1)
Ligurian: less than 100 speakers

Official languages and languages recognized by the authorities
in the territory of the nation


Vernacular languages of the nation which are official in or recognized by the state
Corsican enjoys limited official recognition

National vernacular languages official or recognized outside the state (by other states and/or by international organizations)
Corsican, under its own name, has no official recognition outside the French Republic. Nevertheless, the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Italian Republic) officially recognizes “Gallurese dialect” in its 1997 Language Law. Gallurese is sometimes considered by linguists to be a dialect of Corsican, although its classification is controversial.(2)

Use of vernacular languages
In public administration

French remains by far the main language of public administration in Corsica. Nevertheless, the Corsican Territorial Collectivity is developing a linguistic policy aimed at promoting the use of Corsican within the public administration. As of December 2013, almost 50 Corsican municipalities have adhered to the Charter of the Corsican Language, by which they commit themselves to foster the use of Corsican within local public bodies and in the relation with citizens upon request.

In justice

In school
Some 3,000 pupils receive bilingual teaching (Corsican-French) in 46 schools.
92.64% of pupils in primary education and 41.58% in secondary education study Corsican (3).

In place names (toponymy)
In some municipalities and regions, but toponimy still remains officially in French

In cultural production (books, movies)

In the media and the internet

Speakers of other languages
No data available


1: Rapport du Comité consultatif pour la promotion des langues régionales et de la pluralité linguistique interne (2013).
2: Regione Autonoma de Sardigna.
3: Conseil Teritorial de la Corse (2012=.
4: L'amenagement linguistique dans le monde (Université Laval, Quebec) (2014).


5. Transport infrastructure

There are 4 airports in Corsica (Aiacciu, Bastìa, Calvi and Fìgari). All four are open to international traffic (1).

576 km of national roads, 4,461 km of departmental roads and 3,098 of voies communales (local roads)

Dual carriageways (2)
0 km

Toll motorways
0 km
Conventional rail (2)
231 km

High speed railways
0 km

Waterways (3)
0 km

Trading ports (more than 1 million tons per year)
Corsica has a total of 2 trading ports (Bastìa and Aiacciu) that have a volume of more than 1 million tones per year (2).


1: Union des aéroports français (2014).
2: Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (2013).
3 : Voies navigables de France (2013).


6. Education and culture

7. Armed and police forces in its territory (Number of troops and police officers)

8. Economy

9. National symbols



   The Moor's Head (Testa Mora)


Coat of arms



National anthem

Diu Vi Salvi Regina

Diu Vi salvi Regina
È madre universale
Per cui favor si sale
Al paradisu.
Voi siete gioa è risu
Di tutti i scunsulati
Di tutti i tribulatti
Unica speme.
À voi sospira è geme
Il nostru afflitu core
In un mar' di dolore
È d'amarezza.
Maria, mar' di dolcezza
I vostri ochji pietosi
Materni ed amorosi
À noi volgete.
Noi miseri accogliete
Nel vostru santu velu
Il vostru figliu in celu
À noi mostrate.
Gradite ed ascultate
Ô vergine Maria
Dolce è clemente è pia
Gli affleti nostri accogliete.
Voi da i nemici nostri
À noi date vitoria
E poi l'eterna gloria
In paradisu.

MP3: - .UtT9_Sgb2Tg


National Day

8 December


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Centre Maurits Coppieters