Corsica or la Corse as they say in France, is an island in the Mediterranean, under French rule. The island is divided into two departments: Haute-Corse (4666 km2) with the capital of Bastia, and Corse-du-Sud (4014 km2) with the capital of Ajaccio. There are approximately 300,000 people living in Corsica.
Corsica is virtually the southernmost of France, located southeast of famous holiday towns such as Nice and Cannes. But Corsica is actually much closer to Italy. The Bonifacio Strait that separates Corsica from Sardinia is at its narrowest less than 12 kilometers. And the Italian mainland is only 80 km away. Bonifacio Strait has several islands and islets. This means that the waters are difficult to sail in. The islands belong partly to France and partly to Italy.
There is a ferry connection across the strait from Bonifacio in Corsica to Santa Teresa Gallura in Sardinia. The center of Corsica is about the same latitude as Rome.
The island consists of rugged rock formations, mostly made up of granite of Hercynian origin. In the northeast are loose slates from the Triassic, a continuation of the Apennine system. The granite mountains are wild and separated by deep gorges and valleys, largely eroded, and in Monte Cinto they reach a height of 2706 meters. The west coast is high and has many headlands and inlets, but few natural harbors. The east coast is low and smooth with beach lakes.
Both the plant and animal life have the general characteristics of the Mediterranean countries. The uncultivated areas are covered with maquis and dense bush oak forests. The island has 40 mammal species, i.a. muflon, deer and wild boar. Birdlife is rich with many birds of prey, singers and the endemic Corsica woodpecker.
The island has traditionally had great emigration to the rest of France, and the population is characterized by a high average age. The two largest cities (1999) are Ajaccio with about 55,000 inhabitants and Bastia with about 40,000 inhabitants.
Only the coastal land is cultivated. Southern fruits, olives, wine and some wheat are produced, along the mountain slopes cork oak grows, over ca. 600 meters of chestnut and beech. In total, less than 1/4 of the area is forest, 2 percent agricultural area. Inside, sheep and goat breeding is run. Tourism is in many places the most important source of income, especially in the coastal cities, and Corsica has both air and boat connections with mainland France and with Italy. The industry is limited to modest processing of agricultural and forest products.
Bastia is located on the northeast coast and the port city is Corsica’s economic center. It is mainly the tobacco industry and the export of wine that are the industries. And of course, great tourist traffic in the summer. The city was founded in 1380 when Corsica was under Genoa. Capital of Corsica until 1811.
- Abbreviation: BIA
Get to know Corsica
Throughout history, Corsica has been a trading colony for a number of cultures. Etruscan, Greek and Carthaginian trading colonies. From the 400s BC was Corsica under Carthage, and during the First Punic War the island was conquered by Rome (238 BC). In the 11th century, Italian trading towns gained ever greater influence on the island, and in 1078 Corsica came under Pisa. In the following centuries, Genoa became supreme. For a long time the Genoese ruled there, many Italians settled in Corsica (including the Buonaparte family).
A series of unrest in the 18th century led Genoa to sell the island to France in 1768. The island was conquered by Italy during World War II, but by Italy’s capitulation in 1943 took over the Germans, who evacuated Corsica a month later. After Algeria’s independence in 1962, many Frenchmen moved from Algeria to Corsica. In the 1980s, the Front National de libération de la Corse (FNLC) organized hundreds of attacks and bombings.
In 1991, Corsica gained internal self-government, including a separate parliament and an island government. In 2000, the French government launched a new self-government plan for Corsica. As late as 2005, there has been violence and bombing in the struggle for independence. Despite this, Corsica is not generally a dangerous place for tourists. But it is important to be aware of the political tensions on this beautiful and weather-beaten island.
List of Corsica Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Corsica is BIA which stands for Corsica. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Corsica, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.