23 May 2014

Friday Flag - Anglo-Corsican Republic

Corsica declared its independence from the Most Serene Republic of Genoa in November 1755 under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli. With the formation of the new nation came one of the first codified national constitutions in modern history. Democratic reforms spread across the island and women were even allowed to vote.

Not being able to regain control of the secessionist island, the Republic of Genoa sold Corsica to France in 1768. The French, coming off the losses of the Seven Years' War, were desperate to gain some new territories. They quickly invaded to claim the land.

The British were on friendly terms with the Corsicans. When the French began their invasion First Lord of the Admiralty, Edward Hawke, convinced the Grafton Ministry of the value of Corsica at guaranteeing British power in the Mediterranean. The British deployed their fleet and an army to aid their allies against France. The Corsican victory at the Battle of Borgo encouraged the British.

Shortly after the British intervention the French gave up their claim to Corsica. With the independence of the island guaranteed by Britain things stabilized under an Anglo-Corsican Republic. British naval bases sprung up across the island. The Corsica kept its government and diet but also recognized Corsica's fealty to the British Crown. In 1855 the new flag of Corsica was revealed. Many inhabitants did not like the Union Jack being incorporated into the flag, feeling that they traded French masters for English ones.

One man who would hold this dislike for the flag would manage to suppress these feelings in order to take advantage of the opportunities to advance his military and political careers was the son of Carlo Buonaparte. Carlo was one of the personal assistants to Pasquale Paoli. His son was named Napoleone.

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