The origin of the name Corsica is subject to much debate and remains a mystery. To the Ancient Greeks it was known as Kalliste, Corsis, Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné. The last three variations derive from the most ancient Greek name of the island, “Σειρηνούσσαι” (“Seirinoussai”, meaning of the Sirens) — the very same Sirens mentioned in Homer‘s Odyssey.Corsica has been occupied continuously since the Mesolithic era. Its population was influential in the Mediterranean during its long prehistory.
After a brief occupation by the Carthaginians, colonization by the ancient Greeks, and an only slightly longer occupation by the Etruscans, it was incorporated by the Roman Republic at the end of the First Punic War and, with Sardinia, in 238 BC became a province of the Roman Republic. The Romans, who built a colony in Aléria, considered Corsica as one of the most backward regions of the Roman world. The island produced sheep, honey, resin and wax, and exported many slaves, not well considered because of their fierce and rebellious character. Moreover, it was known for its cheap wines, exported to Rome, and was used as a place of relegation, one of the most famous exiles being the Roman philosopher Seneca.
Administratively, the island was divided in pagi, which in the Middle Ages became the pievi, the basic administrative units of the island until 1768. During the diffusion of Christianity, which arrived quite early from Rome and the Tuscan harbors, Corsica was home to many martyrs and saints: among them, the most important are Saint Devota and Saint Julia, both patrons of the island. Corsica was integrated into Roman Italy by Emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305).
Corsica is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea and a French territorial collectivity. It is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, with a surface area of 8,680 km² and a population of 325,000 residents. The island is mainly composed of forests (46% of the island) and counts several landscapes and local or endemic specificities. Corsica has experienced the strongest regional growth in France for 20 years (+2.3% average annual GDP growth). The economy’s island heavily depends on tourism but is trying to diversify itself (renewable energies, education and sciences, digital startups).
In terms of climate, hot and dry summers are followed by cold winters. Annual precipitation varies from 600 mm on the coast to 2,000 mm in the mountainous regions. Rainfall is concentrated in the spring and autumn, occasionally bringing heavy and destructive flooding (Kołodziejski, 2013).
As a semi-autonomous region of France (Collectivité Territoriale Corse – CTC), Corsica possesses a unique governance structure. A directly elected council, the General Assembly, in turns elects a separate council with executive powers, which is in charge of managing the region. The economic, social and cultural council (Comité Economique Social et Culturel – CESC) has consultative status. Compared to other French regions, the regional government has additional competences in the domains of culture, education, environment, spatial planning, tourism, transport, vocational training and energy. There are seven public establishments tasked with implementing regional policies. These regionally specific frameworks complement state-level policies (Regional Innovation Monitor, 2018).
Corsica has been a French territory since 1768, when ceded by Genoa. In the 1800s, technical progress as well as economic development helped temper some of the island’s internal divisions and banditry. In the early XXth century, traditional activities (olive oil production, oak cork, chesnut production) began to suffer from competition with other Mediterranean islands and the economic fabric began to wear thin. During the latter half of the XXth century, relations with the mainland became strained with the rise of independentist sentiments and assassinations campaigns. Nowadays, Corsica’s economy is based on the tertiary sector- closely tied in with tourism. Industrial activities account for only 6% of added value, while the construction sector represents 11%. In terms of infrastructure, Corsica boasts four international airports and seven major ports, as well as 232 km of railroads connecting the cities of Bastia, Ajaccio and Calvi (Kołodziejski, 2013).
- Population (2019): 336 459 (Eurostat)
- GDP (2018): € 9 642 million, equivalent to 0.40% of total French GDP.
- Unemployment: 9.4% in 2018, compared to 9.1% national average).
- Employment in services: 80% of jobs.
Tourism is the most important sector in Corsica. In 2015, 10,6% of the Island’s employment and 11% of the GDP were generated by tourist’s spending’s. In addition, the population increases sharply in the summer: 430,000 non-residents in the high season...View More
The following partners are involved in the study of Corsica: RAMBOLL The following local stakeholders have declared their interest in participating in the local study of Corsica in the frame of the Soclimpact project. STATION DE RECHERCHES SOUS-MARINES ET...View More
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