"Corsica and Pascal Paoli, Pascal Paoli and Corsica, both names will forever live as one. His world fame will inspire respect and admiration, and as long as free men exist on earth, his name will be linked to that of peoples’ magnanimous benefactors."
Francescu Ottaviani Renucci – Storia della Corsica 1834
The birth of Pascal Paoli (1725-1807) coincides with the beginning of the Corsican Revolution in reaction to the Genoese occupation. In 1755, he was elected General of the Corsican nation and provided Corsica with a Constitution and institutions. The Treaty of Versailles dated May 15th, 1768 between France and Genoa sets the transfer of sovereignty over Corsica. Paoli immediately declared war on the Kingdom of France.
At the time, a genuine Paoli myth emerged, developed by the men of the Enlightenment, mainly Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire and James Boswell. Following the defeat of the Corsican troops in 1769, Paoli went into exile in London where he was welcomed as a hero.
Twenty years later, he came back to France where he was greeted by the Constituent Assembly, honoured by Lafayette, Mirabeau, Robespierre, and lauded by the people. When he returned to Corsica, he faced new turbulence involving France and England. Once again, he was forced into exile and died in London where he was buried in WESTMINSTER crypt among the English Princes. Above his tomb is a bust with the following inscription: “In memory of Pascal Paoli, one of the most prominent and distinguished men of his time”. His ashes were brought back to Corsica in 1989.
Man of The Enlightenment, Pascal Paoli is a source of reference for all and fully embodies the values of free and equal men.
The claim for a University was expressed as from the beginning of the Corsican Revolution, in 1731. The University of Corsica finally opened its doors in 1765 in Corte. Rousseau and Voltaire spent time in it and historians called it a “University of the Enlightenment”. A Chair of Ethics, which did not exist in any other Italian University, intended to research the science of good and evil, along with moral theology, but only through Enlightenment. When it closed in 1768, it concluded the defeat of the young Corsican nation by the King of France troops.
In 1981, under the impetus of a wide popular mobilisation, it reopened its doors. Over the years and thanks to the unfailing motivation of all the members of the University, it managed to overcome a myriad of difficulties, enabling it to keep moving forward.
The modern history of the University of Corsica is characterised by this not yet completed expansion. It was also a bet and is today a unanimously recognised success. The University of Corsica is also the place where values of humanism and tolerance are reaffirmed in a Corsican society seeking serenity.
"All of Europe is Corsican"
"Toute l'Europe est Corse."