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Napoleon and Corsica


Corsica. Allegory of Corsica (Musée de la Corse, Corte)

Corsica. Allegory of Corsica (Musée de la Corse, Corte)

"On Corsica I was given life, and with that life I was also given a fierce love for this my ill-starred homeland and fierce desire for her independance. I too shall one day be a 'Paoli'."

Such were the young Napoloen Bonaparte's words, and they appear to sum up the child's personality during his formative years spent on French territory. A loner and undisciplined in his work, Napoleon was to become passionately interested in his native land, almost hero-worshipping Pascal Paoli, the embodiement of Corsican resistance. Indeed even on St Helena, the dethroned Emperor's thoughts still turned to his early years. And if childhood is the keystone of a person's identity, Napoleon's is even more interesting in that it takes us to the origins of a legend. This itinerary follows the traces of the Bonaparte family in Corsica. It will take us deep into the early childhood of Napoleon in Ajaccio and give a portrayal of the cult figure of Paoli. In doing so it will help us understand the young man's political commitment in favour of Corsican independence and his later siding with France.

Different routes around Ajaccio and Corte are suggested as well as 'Escapades' to Bastia, Calvi and Bonifacio. When the place visited has a hypertext link, the link takes you to a detailed file in the Guide. Two interactive maps are available above: one shows Corsica and places of Napoleonic interest on the island, the other is a detailed map of the centre of Ajaccio. They will help you to follow this itinerary more easily, as will all the other practical information.
Karine Huguenaud tr. P.H. (November 1998)



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