Corsica, (French: Corse), a French island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Nice, France, and 50 miles (80 km) west of the coast of Italy. The Strait of Bonifacio separates Corsica from the island of Sardinia. Corsica has an area of 3,367 square miles (8,720 km2), a little larger than that of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean.
The weather is mild along the coast, with cool, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. The interior, which is largely mountainous, has colder weather. Agricultural products include olives, grapes, and vegetables. Sheep and goats are raised. Small fishing fleets supply lobster and tuna. Ajaccio, the capital, and Bastia are the largest cities and Corsica's major ports.
The first settlements on the island were made by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Etruscans. The Romans conquered Corsica in the third century B.C. and governed it until 469 A.D. The island then passed successively under Vandal, Byzantine, Gothic, Lombard, and Carolingian control. France bought Corsica from Genoa in 1768. Napoleon I was born in Ajaccio.
Britain occupied Corsica in 1794–96 and 1814–15. The Congress of Vienna restored it to France, of which it became a department. Italy held Corsica during World War II. Separatist sentiment arose during the 1970's and some separatists began a terrorist campaign. In 1982 the French government passed legislation granting Corsica limited autonomy, and terrorist attacks subsided. During the mid-1990's, however, terrorist attacks resumed.