Corsica (/ˈkɔːrsɪkə/; French: Corse [kɔʁs]; Corsican and Italian: Corsica [ˈkɔrsika]) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to France. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the Italian island of Sardinia. Mountains make up two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain.
Corsica is one of the 18 regions of France, though it is also designated as a territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale) by law. As a territorial collectivity, Corsica enjoys a greater degree of autonomy than other French regions; for example, the Corsican Assembly is able to exercise limited executive powers.
The island formed a single department until it was split in 1975 into two departments: Haute-Corse (Upper Corsica) and Corse-du-Sud (Southern Corsica), with its regional capital in Ajaccio, the prefecture city of Corse-du-Sud. Bastia, the prefecture city of Haute-Corse, is the second-largest settlement in Corsica.
After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was briefly an independent Corsican Republic from 1755 until it was conquered by France in 1769. Due to Corsica's historical ties with the Italian peninsula, the island retains to this day many elements of the culture of Italy. The native Corsican language, whose northern variant is closely related to the Italian language, is recognised as a regional language by the French government. This Mediterranean island was ruled by various nations over the course of history but had several brief periods of independence.
Napoleon was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. His ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is today used as a museum.
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