Nation profile


General information
343,700 inhabitants (INSEE 2020)
8.860 km2
Territorial Collectivity (Executive Council and Assembly)
Major cities
Aiacciu, Portivecchju, Bastia, Corti
State administration
French Republic
Territorial languages
Corsican, Ligurian
Official languages
Major religion
Christianity (Catholicism)
National day
8 December


Corsica is a western Mediterranean island, currently one of the 13 metropolitan regions of the French Republic. The country differs from the rest of France because of its insularity, its particular language and culture, and, politically, because of the existence of a national movement of its own that demands self-government for Corsica.


A Genoese possession since the Middle Ages, Corsica pursued its independence from 1754 under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli, who proclaimed a modern, sovereign state under the principle of separation of powers. France assisted Genoa against Paoli’s revolt and annexed the island in 1769. In a second attempt coordinated with the United Kingdom, Paoli promoted the establishment of an Anglo-Corsican kingdom between 1794 and 1796. It did not succeed, and the island was again annexed by France.

Over the 19th and 20th centuries, French power in Corsica was consolidated. Several powerful local families, by means of the clan structure, became intermediaries between the French administration and Corsican citizens, which gave them a remarkable power.

In the second half of the 20th century Corsica underwent a remarkable tourist development that attracted new residents to the island, which were joined by 20,000 Algerian Pied-Noirs in 1962. These events had their consequences in the increase of urbanization of Corsica, environmental degradation, decline of the Corsican language and rise in prices. Against that backdrop, several Corsican national parties and grassroots organizations were established in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the pro-independence armed group FLNC.

In 1982 the French National Assembly approved a Corsican Statute which created a Corsican Assembly, albeit with no law-making powers. In 1988, in an act of great symbolic importance, the Corsican Assembly approved a deliberation in which it affirmed the existence “of the Corsican people”. Assembly powers were expanded in 1991 and again in 2002 (Matignon Process), again without legislative power.

In 2015, for the first time in history, a Corsican political alliance (Pè a Corsica, made up by pro-autonomy and pro-independence parties) won the election to the Corsican Assembly, and again in 2017. In 2021, Femu a Corsica won the third consecutive Assembly election for Corsican nationalism.


Corsican is the island’s own language, spoken throughout its territory by 87,000 to 130,000 people (sociolinguistic survey, 2013). It enjoys official recognition from the Corsican Assembly, but it is not an official language, a status reserved to French.

The subject of Corsican is taught in virtually all primary public schools in Corsica, albeit only 25% to 35% of pupils learn (in) Corsican more than 3 hours per week (data here and here). Learning of Corsican in secondary schools reaches 15% to 85% of pupils, depending on the grade (the more advanced, the lesser share).

In the southern point of Corsica, a minority of the 3,000 inhabitants of Bunifaziu (Bonifacio) keep alive the use of Bunifazzin, a local variety of Ligurian. Until the second half of the 20th century, Greek remained in use in Carghjese, on the western coast.

Politics and administration

Until the end of 2017 Corsica had three main administrative bodies, namely the Territorial Collectivity —which includes the Assembly (deliberative, without legislative power) and the Executive Council (government)— and the two departments of Haute Corse and Corse-du-Sud, created in 1976.

From 2018 onwards, the powers of those three bodies have been merged into a new, single body, the Collectivity of Corsica.

Corsican nationalism had long been divided into a wide array of parties. However, since 2009, several convergence processes have taken place, giving rise to four main poles: Femu a Corsica, PNC, Corsica Libera and Rinnovu Naziunale.

Femu a Corsica (centre and centre-left) is a pro-autonomy party founded in 2017 as the merger of the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC), Inseme and Chjama Naziunale. The PNC moved away from that process of confluence in 2018.

The Party of the Corsican Nation (centre-left) was established in 2002. It is a member of the European Free Alliance and of the Federation Regions and Peoples with Solidarity.

Corsica Libera (left) is the main pro-independence organization. It was founded in 2009, as the merger of several previous parties.

To the left of Corsica Libera falls pro-independence Rinnovu Naziunale (which uses the electoral label Core in Fronte), which advocates a referendum on self-determination in 2032.

Talks between the French State and Corsica on the possibility of granting a statute of autonomy to the island are currently ongoing.

President: Gilles Simeoni, Femu a Corsica (since 2015)
Political system: Territorial collectivity within the unitary French state
Distribution of seats in Parliament (2021 election). 63 members:
Femu a a Corsica (pro-autonomy, centre-left and centre) - 32
Un soffiu novu (alliance of Les Républicains, CCB and UDI, centre-right, unionism) - 17
Party of the Corsican Nation (pro-autonomy, centre-left and Corsica Libera (pro-independence, left-wing) alliance - 8
Core in Fronte (pro-independence, left-wing) - 6
Electoral system: proportional with majority bonus
Government: Femu a Corsica


Official site of the Territorial Collectivity of Corsica
Language and culture
Alta Frequenza
Corse Net Infos
A Corsica TV
Vià Télé Paese

(Last updated March 2023.)