Pasquale PaoliDuring his Generalship (1755-1569), Pasquale Paoli, put in place a true Corsican State, this put an end to the engaged Revolution against Genoa in 1729. In a Europe of Absolutist Power, he created a stable State, founded on freedom and civic equality (la res publica) ruled by a Constitution, making/rendering the first self-sovereign people (“ The Corsican people were masters of their own fate”).

Balagne will play a very important role in the nation, firstly by its agricultural wealth produced by an industrious population. In order to mitigate the Genoese control of fortified ports such as Bastia, Ajaccio and Calvi, General Paoli convinced his government to create the port of Ile Rousse in 1765. This new city will be fortified, and will support the economic & commercial development of this new State.

From a doctrinal point of view, the role of Balagne was essential/of the utmost importance. The three priests (Erasme Orticoni from Santa Reparata, Gregorio Salvini from Nessa, and Bonfigliuolo Guelfucci from Belgodere) played a vital role in the creation of the founding texts of Paoli’s Corsica.
Whereby Salvini wrote the first edition (1758) of the Giustificazione della rivoluzione di Corsica, which contained the main political principles that Pasquale Paoli used to justify to the European courts about the legitimate uprising against Genoa (considered as the “bad prince”).

It was a great success in Europe.
Another man from Balagne, Domenico Arrighi, from Speloncato, eminent legislator, wrote articles on the Constitution and was a member of the government (Consiglio di Statu ou Cunsiglio Supremu) ; he rose to President of the Assembly, “la generale consulta” in May 1767.
All of his economical and political views were reinforced by Paoli’s vital family roots in Balagne.
He and Antonino often spent time with his nephew Leonetti at the Palazzo Fabiani in Monticello, after his return in 1790.

Well after his death, Balagne remained strongly connected to Paoli. (Before his ashes were returned to Corsica in 1889, they were laid to rest in Westminster Abbey in London). When his ashes returned to Corsica in 1889, after being buried in Great Britain, by son parent Titto Franceschini-Pietri from Corbara, they arrived in Ile Rousse and were welcomed by an enormous crowd before returning to his place of birth.

Jean-Dominique Poli, MCF (R) University of Corsica

Sources : Marie-Thérèse Avon-Soletti, Louis Belgodère, Letizia Castellani, Antoine-Marie Graziani, Evelyne Luciani, Jean-Pierre Poli, Dominique Taddei, Michel Vergé-Franceschi, Antoine Franzini