Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Napoleon and Pascal Paoli

Most people know about Napoleon Bonaparte's Corsican origins, but visitors to the island soon realise that the former emperor is out-gunned in affection and street-name count by Pascal Paoli.

Pascal (or Pasquale) Paoli was the first and only head of state in Corsica, thanks to the Government he founded in 1755. Unfortunately, the Government only lasted 14 years - until 1769, when he was defeated by a French army following the surrender of the island by the Genoese to France. He was forced to flee to England. He returned to Corsica from exile in 1790 at the invitation of Louis XVI. The post-revolutionary French Government, however, didn't much like his views on Corsican independence, and after a brief, awkward, period of British rule in the island, Paoli was forced to return to England where he died shortly afterwards.

Paoli is remebered on the island mainly for starting the University in Corte, stopping vendettas and introducing education into the villages. He is also credited with inspiring the first draft of the American Constitution. As a fierce nationalist, one wonders what he would have made of America's adventures in Iraq. Find out more about Paoli at http://www.sitec.fr/storiacorsa/

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