Wow I had no idea Genoa's position was so terrible, no wonder the Senate kept trying to take Corsica as long as it did, shooting some rebels must seem like a far simpler issue them facing her actual problems.
Wow I had no idea Genoa's position was so terrible, no wonder the Senate kept trying to take Corsica as long as it did, shooting some rebels must seem like a far simpler issue them facing her actual problems.

Genoa was struggling through a period of crisis. The Republic had faced another era of decline centuries before in the 1400s: its navy had been defeated by the Venetians (Chioggia in 1380), Italy was in political turmoil, and Genoa's colonies in the east were steadily shut down by the growth of Ottoman power. Its recovery from this low point was due to its role as the financier of the rising Spanish Empire, and for a while Genoa prospered again. This reliance on Spain, however, proved to be a double-edge sword, for when Spain stumbled so too did Genoa. Spain's decline, along with the rising power of the northern maritime powers (Britain and Holland) in the 17th century, led to Genoa's decline as well. The military and political weakness of the city seriously affected its prosperity - in the 1710s, for instance, the Republic succeeded in signing new and favorable concessions with the Ottomans, but was apparently unable to do much with them because of opposition from greater powers, including France, who did not want to see the Genoese get a larger slice of the Levantine trade.

The 1730s and 40s were something of a low point. The Corsican rebellion and the WoAS ruined the already precarious finances of the state and revealed how militarily impotent and politically dependent the Republic had become. Astonishingly, the Republic managed to keep Finale at the end of the WoAS - which had been their reason for entering the war in the first place - but the cost had been devastation, bankruptcy, and serious losses to the merchant fleet at the hands of enemy privateers and the cruisers of the British Mediterranean squadron.

Genoa did take steps to adapt to changing circumstances. The city was declared a free port in order to bring in new trade, and Genoese merchants transitioned to smaller craft which made more economic sense in the new commercial environment and could service shallower ports in the western Mediterranean. The times of greatness were obviously over; rather than being a first-rate commercial power, Genoa was now rivals with the likes of Livorno, Ancona, and Civitavecchia. Nevertheless, the strategy did eventually pay dividends. After 1748, the state's finances were gradually on the mend, and customs revenue continually increased. Bourbon Spain made modestly successful efforts at reform during this period, which benefited the Genoese as well. Spanish demand even helped Genoese manufacturing bounce back in some sectors - the Spanish Empire was a major buyer of Genoese paper, as well as merchant/cargo ships built by Genoese shipwrights. The years from the mid-1770s to the start of the French Revolutionary Wars were boom years for Genoa, which experienced swift economic growth. (It may not be a coincidence that this period of prosperity began shortly after the cession of Corsica to France.)

If your only experience with Genoese history is through this thread, it’s admittedly difficult to sympathize with them because of the brutality and ineptitude of their administration of Corsica, which I have not attempted to exaggerate. The Genoese administration of the island was really as cruel, venal, and incompetent as it sounds. French and Austrian officials repeatedly warned the Genoese that their tactics would only cause more rebellion, and the Genoese repeatedly ignored their good advice. Still, this is not a case of a rich country taking advantage of a poor country just because it could. Genoa was a weak, beleaguered state with a struggling economy, a sclerotic political system, and threatening neighbors, which was trying desperately to recover from a serious decline and doing its utmost to hold on to the last vestige of its once great maritime empire.* Not every government makes good decisions under such conditions.

*Technically Genoa still had one other overseas possession at this time, the island of Tabarka just off the coast of Tunisia, but this was lost to the Bey of Tunis in 1741. After the sale of Corsica, the only piece of the overseas empire left was the Tuscan island of Capraia, which had been administratively part of Genoese Corsica and was briefly occupied by Paoli’s troops but was not part of the French cession.
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You mentioned Capraia made me wonder, will Theodore seek to expand to other islands like it and Elba or will he be content with just Corsica? I assume Corsica can't actually hold them, but I suppose I'm asking how ambitious Theodore was to expand Corsica just as he was too keep it.

I must, say I would love to see an epilogue of how Corsica fairs as part of a greater Italy or even on its own into the 21st century if it becomes possible.
Capraia is the most obvious target for "expansion." Its people spoke a Corsican dialect very similar to that spoken on Capo Corso, Capraia was administratively part of Genoese Corsica, and the island had formerly been held as a fief by a Genoese family whose primary estates were on Capo Corso. The people of Capraia never joined the rebellion, but Paoli considered Capraia to be Corsican territory and invaded the island in 1767. Capraia is not extremely valuable (or populous - today it has fewer than 500 people, although in the mid-19th century there were close to 900 inhabitants), but it's in an area of rich anchovy fishing and is probably worth taking for that reason alone.

Elba would actually be an interesting pickup for the Kingdom for economic reasons. Revolutionary France commissioned a report on uses for Corsican forestry, which argued that while Corsican timber could be used for shipbuilding this was not immediately practical because of the lack of native infrastructure and skilled labor. The best use for Corsican timber, claimed the report, was forging Elban iron. Elba has rich iron mines but little timber, which meant that its ore was typically forged elsewhere, either in Genoa or the Maremma (coastal Tuscany). A Corsican-Elban union would create the conditions for a major iron industry, but there are serious political obstacles to such an establishment. Most of Elba was owned by the Princes of Piombino, who were imperial princes but also subjects of Naples, which around this time commissioned a study "proving" Neapolitan sovereignty over Piombino. To wrest Elba (which was heavily fortified) away from its rightful owners and their Neapolitan masters is a pretty tall order for little Corsica.

One final area of interest is the Maddalena Archipelago:


Although geographically closer to Sardinia than Corsica, the Maddalena islands were actually a Genoese possession at this time. They were normally uninhabited, but some Corsican shepherds from the vicinity of Bonifacio would travel to the islands on a seasonal basis to take advantage of the pristine grazing. To my knowledge there was no revolutionary activity there, although interestingly "Colonel Frederick," the man who posed as Theodore's son, claimed the title of "Prince of Caprera," one of the islands of this archipelago (not to be confused with Capraia, see above). Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia had his eye on the islands, and immediately following the cession of Corsica to France he unilaterally seized them from the Genoese and settled them with Sardinian colonists. The major economic attraction of the islands is that they have excellent granite quarries which were used architecturally as far back as Roman times. Corsican ownership of the Maddalenas is certainly possible, although perhaps not wise, as they might end up being a sore spot between Corsica and the Kingdom of Sardinia.

Other expansion is unlikely, and not just because Corsica is a small and weak state. The experience of the Corsicans with rule from overseas was one of neglect and exploitation, which is why the 1736 constitution specifically banned the king from residing elsewhere. Theodore's supporters were thus against personal unions on principle, as they feared if they shared a king with any other country, that king would naturally devote his attention to that country rather than poor and isolated Corsica. Elba is small enough that it probably wouldn't pose too much of a problem - in Napoleon's time on Elba the population was only about 12,000, a tenth of Corsica's mid-18th century population - but anything much larger than that would likely cause friction.

As far as Theodore's actual ambitions, I have no idea - he never got far enough in his project to look beyond Corsica. I'm not aware of any historical interest by Theodore in Capraia, Elba, or anywhere else.
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@Carp We were discussing possible marriage options for Theodore/his heirs earlier in the thread. Could he possibly gain some useful territory that way?

Sure, in the same way that any other royal/noble family of the era might. The question is who would agree to a match. Theodore himself has been so thoroughly slandered by the Genoese on the continent that many probably think him an absolute rogue (and, to be fair, he sort of is). One of Theodore's "nephews" might be more palatable, but the Neuhoff family is still a very minor baronial house of no consequence prior to Theodore's coronation, and a marital alliance with the Corsican royal family probably isn't all that politically useful. Additionally, if you want a major inheritance from a marriage you also have to be lucky enough for the family you're marrying into to die out, leaving you with an heiress, and that's not guaranteed to happen.

Take Piombino, for example. The princely house of Piombino (and thus Elba) was the Boncompagni-Ludovisi. They have a few marriageable daughters around this time, but their social circles were in Naples and Rome; they generally married to grow their fortune and expand their influence in the Neapolitan and Roman courts, and marrying a daughter to the Neuhoffs doesn't seem likely to advance either of those goals. Furthermore, the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family still exists - they lost their principality to conquest and treaty (it was given to Tuscany by the Congress of Vienna), but anyone hoping for an inheritance by extinction would still be waiting today.

There actually was a noblewoman whom Theodore was rumored to have proposed marriage to in the 1740s, and she may feature in this timeline as well, but I'm going to keep her identity a secret for now.
Sure, in the same way that any other royal/noble family of the era might. The question is who would agree to a match. Theodore himself has been so thoroughly slandered by the Genoese on the continent that many probably think him an absolute rogue (and, to be fair, he sort of is). One of Theodore's "nephews" might be more palatable, but the Neuhoff family is still a very minor baronial house of no consequence prior to Theodore's coronation, and a marital alliance with the Corsican royal family probably isn't all that politically useful. Additionally, if you want a major inheritance from a marriage you also have to be lucky enough for the family you're marrying into to die out, leaving you with an heiress, and that's not guaranteed to happen.

Take Piombino, for example. The princely house of Piombino (and thus Elba) was the Boncompagni-Ludovisi. They have a few marriageable daughters around this time, but their social circles were in Naples and Rome; they generally married to grow their fortune and expand their influence in the Neapolitan and Roman courts, and marrying a daughter to the Neuhoffs doesn't seem likely to advance either of those goals. Furthermore, the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family still exists - they lost their principality to conquest and treaty (it was given to Tuscany by the Congress of Vienna), but anyone hoping for an inheritance by extinction would still be waiting today.

There actually was a noblewoman whom Theodore was rumored to have proposed marriage to in the 1740s, and she may feature in this timeline as well, but I'm going to keep her identity a secret for now.

It'st true that he's been slandered a lot but then again, my impression has been that Theodore is also quite popular across Europe. For a minor princely family, wouldn't having a connection by marriage with a King be a significant perk?
It'st true that he's been slandered a lot but then again, my impression has been that Theodore is also quite popular across Europe. For a minor princely family, wouldn't having a connection by marriage with a King be a significant perk?

Popularity is not quite the same thing as aristocratic marriageability. It's true that Theodore was a romantic and heroic figure to some; his adventurers (or, more often, rumors about his adventures) helped sell newspapers and books in Holland, Britain, and Germany. They named a brand of gin for him in England, a comic opera about his life premiered in Vienna, Voltaire made him a character in Candide, and Horace Walpole wrote his famous epitaph and paid for a plaque to engrave it on. Yet when Theodore was in London in 1742, King George II refused to meet him, because he'd heard that Theodore was a scoundrel and thought having him at court, even for a private audience, would be discreditable. Popularity with the plebs and the intelligentsia does not necessarily come with dignity or status.

There are undoubtedly minor noble families, particularly in Germany, that might be interested, but as Theodore's own family history demonstrates aristocratic marriages even at the lowest levels were usually for some political or material advantage, and I'm not sure the mere feather in one's cap of having marital links with Europe's least valuable royal crown is that great of an advantage. Furthermore, your original question was about using marriage to acquire "useful territory," and some disjointed possessions of a minor principality in the HRE probably aren't very useful to the Corsican crown.

Admittedly, I don't know a huge amount about 18th century aristocratic politics, and I'm certainly willing to take suggestions as to possible marriages for Theodore and/or his "nephews." At the moment, however, that speculation might be a bit premature. I doubt that anyone would consider a match while the rebellion is still ongoing and the Kingdom of Corsica remains unrecognized, which means we probably have nearly a decade to go before anyone seriously considers the matter.
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The Resistance
The Resistance


Vescovato, Theodore's second capital

Lieutenant-General Marquis Luca d'Ornano had faced a frustrating campaign season. Charged with the conduct of the war in the southwestern quarter of the country, his logistical situation had always been difficult; most of the cargo from the syndicate fleet had remained in the north, where the threat seemed most pressing and the land was most valuable. Theodore had continually promised d'Ornano muskets, powder, and money, all of which he badly needed, but he repeatedly failed to deliver owing to organizational challenges, the influence of Captain-General Marquis Simone Fabiani, and the desperate struggle against the French in the Diqua. Although d'Ornano had more men than his French opponents in Ajaccio, the French commander Louis-François Crozat, Marquis du Châtel had taken advantage of d'Ornano's shortage of arms and want of initiative to proceed much further than his original objective. The plan of Lieutenant-General Louis de Frétat, Marquis de Boissieux had only required Châtel to occupy d'Ornano's forces and prevent them from being deployed in the north, but Châtel had actively taken the offensive, pushing inland from Ajaccio and capturing Cinarca.

With the collapsing rebel position in the north, pressure from Châtel's disciplined and well-armed troops, and his apparent lack of support from Theodore, d'Ornano's devotion to the cause began to wane. At some point in June he opened a line of communication to Châtel and inquired about possible terms. Châtel extended Boissieux's longstanding offer—if his men were to lay down their arms, they would be spared, and d'Ornano himself would be permitted honorable exile. D'Ornano was of distinguished Corsican nobility and not especially keen to abandon the country; in Corsica he was an influential figure, but with a relatively modest fortune by the standards of continental nobility his "honorable exile" seemed likely to be obscure and uncomfortable. Furthermore, he was uncertain that he could actually force the bands of rebels under his command to disarm, and was reluctant to disband his own personal followers. Dissatisfied with the French offer, he decided to try negotiating, although Châtel warned him of the June 15th deadline which Boissieux had set.

D'Ornano does seem to have come to some preliminary agreement with Châtel more congenial to d'Ornano's desires, but its implementation was delayed while Châtel communicated with Boissieux and d'Ornano discretely tested the waters among his officers as to a truce and disarmament. The Corsican victory at San Pellegrino, however, gave him pause, for there were competing rumors as to what exactly had happened. Initially there were widespread claims that the French had been completely wiped out. By the time the matter had been clarified, the deadline had expired, although since d'Ornano and Châtel had already come to an understanding this was probably not a significant obstacle to an accord. Had d'Ornano subsequently agreed to capitulate, it seems unlikely that Châtel or Boissieux would have turned him down, deadline notwithstanding.

As these rumors were still circulating, Colonel Antonio Colonna-Bozzi had arrived in the south. A nephew of Chancellor Sebastiano Costa, Colonna was a young but already seasoned soldier who had served as a captain in the Genoese army before defecting to the rebel cause. He had been present at Theodore's council of war following the Battle of San Pellegrino in which the king had decided to evacuate the Nebbio without a fight. Colonna had argued the opposite, but once the matter was decided he had accepted the king's orders to travel south. Colonna, like Costa, was a native of the Dila, and Costa had suggested him to the king as a good candidate to travel south and determine the truth about d'Ornano's alleged treachery.

Colonna found the resistance in the Dila in a dismal state. D'Ornano, occupied with his negotiations with Châtel, had allowed the military situation to degrade quite seriously. Discipline was lax, many men had gone home while the rest sat idle, and no defenses had been prepared against the French, who had been steadily encroaching inward while Châtel parlayed with his Corsican counterpart. Colonna made his findings known to d'Ornano. The general treated Colonna with respect—they were fellow southern noblemen, and in fact cousins by marriage—but he shrugged off Colonna's specific issues by complaining that any sort of campaigning or defense was impossible without munitions and supplies. Clearly that complaint was not wholly baseless, as Colonna himself was soon writing to Count Gianpietro Gaffori, Theodore's secretary of state, begging for more arms and ammunition, but a shortage of arms did not stop Colonna from taking action.

As a mere colonel, Colonna could not simply commandeer the general's forces. He was, however, on his home turf. After his fruitless meeting with the general, he traveled to his family's hometown of Zigliara and raised a company of local volunteers and militiamen to supplement the small force he had brought over the mountains. On the 25th of June, this party ambushed a Franco-Genoese detachment at Cavara, killing twenty men and seizing several dozen muskets.

Colonna's raid put d'Ornano into a bind. Châtel would presumably be upset, as there seems to have been an implicit cease-fire in effect while d'Ornano explored his diplomatic options. If he disavowed Colonna's actions, however, it would call into question how real d'Ornano's power really was, and if his control over the militants appeared to be slipping it would erode his leverage. Nor could d'Ornano take too much public umbrage with Colonna, for he was still ostensibly on the royalist side, and appearing conciliatory while Colonna was fighting—and, so far, winning—would undermine his credibility with his own men. D'Ornano's solution was to try and bluff Châtel, insinuating that the raid had been made with his knowledge and informing him that he was dissatisfied with the negotiations and the encroachments of the French. If the French wished to conciliate him and disarm his men, they would have to waste no more time and accept his demands in full. Châtel dismissed this as so much bluster, no doubt feeling confident as a result of news from the north that the Nebbio was swiftly falling to the French advance.

Colonna, meanwhile, continued his campaign. Although his force numbered no more than 300 men, they were a picked corps of crack northern militia, detached regulars, and the loyal friends and kinsmen of his hometown, and they made themselves a serious nuisance to the French. Shielded by d'Ornano's inactivity, Châtel had overextended himself, spreading his three battalions (and some Genoese auxiliaries) over an ever-increasing swath of mountainous terrain. Colonna's company moved effortlessly between French outposts, seizing villages and then vanishing when the French arrived to recapture them, and laying ambushes for reinforcing columns and small patrols. His success put pressure on d'Ornano, whose somnolence invited unfavorable comparisons with Colonna and who bristled at accusations of timidity and cowardice. Once it became clear that Châtel had called his bluff and refused his demands, d'Ornano grudgingly resumed the war.

While we have journals from several French officers involved in the Corsican campaign, the Marquis du Châtel is the only general officer who has left us a first-hand account. His description of the kind of warfare waged in the Dila is an excellent illustration of Corsican guerrilla tactics and the difficulty the French officers faced when dealing with such enemies:

"Description de la guerre en Corse" said:
The measures they have taken are to fortify themselves in all the posts that we might wish to occupy; to inundate the frontiers by their multitude; and to present us everywhere with threats to make us believe that they want to constantly attack us... They force us to make frequent detachments and keep us in a continual and painful movement because of the harshness of the marches in a country so difficult... We do not know who to trust; we find ourselves surrounded by suspicious persons, whose protestations of union and friendship are so many falsehoods, all the counsels of which are betrayals and warnings of snares made to rush you into some rash and fatal enterprise.

On the 12th of July, royalist militiamen trapped a French garrison at Cavru and then ambushed a Franco-Genoese relief column, inflicting heavy casualties and killing a French major. After this encounter, Châtel attempted to consolidate his position, drawing back to a perimeter which roughly speaking enclosed the pieves of Ajaccio, Cinarca, and Mezzana. Even then, however, the French were unable to stop rebel infiltration. Unlike in the loyalist Nebbio, much of this region of the Dila outside of Ajaccio proper was generally sympathetic to the rebels. As the month went on, the rebels were bolstered further by a steady stream of munitions from the north. The royalist withdrawal from the northeast had resulted in a large amount of firearms, powder, and shot being moved to the royalists' new provisional capital of Corti, allowing Count Gaffori to finally fulfill d'Ornano's longstanding requests for aid.

Colonna was not the only guerrilla commander to achieve success during the summer. Theodore's cousin, Lieutenant-General Johann Friedrich Caspar von Neuhoff zu Rauschenburg, had been badly trounced in open battle in the Balagna but had since rebuilt his forces in the interior. Together with his Westphalian kinsman and fellow general Matthias von Drost and the Niolesi colonel Felice Cervoni, Rauschenburg launched a series of raids into occupied Balagna. With the relocation of Rousset and Boissieux to the northeast, the Balagna region was held only by the two under-strength battalions of Brigadier Jean de Saignard, Sieur de Sasselange and several Genoese infantry companies of mediocre quality.[1] With a few hundred mountaineers and the help of sympathetic locals, Rauschenburg and his fellow captains endeavored to disrupt the occupation by any means, including acts of vengeance against collaborators, the assassination of Genoese officials, the destruction of supplies and produce that might be of military use to the French, and the occasional skirmish with French and Genoese garrison forces. The occupiers remained too strong for the "maquisards" to take any major settlements, but as in the Dila they proved capable of infiltrating the under-manned Balagnese frontier and causing substantial damage.

Rauschenburg's raids were of particular concern to Commisioner-General Giovanni-Battista de Mari. Desperate to defray the heavy costs of the French expeditionary force, the Genoese Senate had placed the highest emphasis on returning the provinces of Balagna and the Nebbio to full productivity and re-establishing the colonial administration to resume the collection of taxes. From the point of view of the Genoese government, Boissieux's conflict in the Castagniccia—always a restive and economically marginal region—was far less important than the restoration of order in the Balagna. The senate had made its priorities abundantly clear to Mari, but the Republic's forces proved inept at stopping the royalist raids. The best they could do was to step up their reprisals against those suspected of helping Rauschenburg, but that only further disrupted and impoverished a province which the Republic needed to rebuild. Mari demanded more men from Boissieux, but the general angrily refused him; he was incensed that after more than a year of complaints about French inactivity, the commissioner was now insisting that he divert troops from the main theater of battle (as Boissieux saw it) in order to garrison farming villages which, believed Boissieux, the Genoese should have been fully capable of protecting against mere bandits.

Despite these difficulties elsewhere, Boissieux's plan continued its seemingly inexorable progress. The second attempt to take Borgo had gone more smoothly than the first, thanks to a larger force accompanied by artillery and the Rattsky hussars. The next objective of Maréchal de Camp Jean-Charles de Gaultier de Girenton, Seigneur de Rousset was the royalist capital of Vescovato less than five miles south of Borgo. Despite some resistance, Rousset's division captured the village a few days later without much trouble. As an act of retribution, the family home of Lieutenant-General Andrea Ceccaldi was looted and burned to the ground. The tower of San Pellegrino, which Theodore and Ceccaldi had bravely defended against Brigadier Jean-Baptiste François, Marquis de Villemur, was captured on August 4th after just a few hours of bombardment by French land and naval artillery. Although portions of the eastern coast remained in rebel hands, the fall of Vescovato and San Pellegrino closed the main arteries of supply and communication from the east into the interior through the valleys of the Golo and Fiumalto. The noose around the rebels' neck which Boissieux had envisioned was nearly complete.

Situation in Corsica in early August 1739
Green: Royalist controlled
Red: Genoese controlled
Blue: French or joint Franco-Genoese occupation
White: Unknown, neutral, or uninhabited

[1] A company of the royal artillery was also under Sasselange's command, but this unit seems to have been stationed permanently in Calvi.
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Hard times... How long are the Syndacate's arms going to last?

I should think at least the rest of the year. It's really quite a lot of ammunition, and the Corsicans do have some of their own village gunsmiths to make repairs to arms as needed.

Might a strong push into Balagna from the mountains be possible?

Possible, were it not for the fact that the vast majority of the royalist forces in the Diqua are in the Castagniccia to defend against Rousset and his six brigades (plus artillery, hussars, and the miquelets). Despite being a "lieutenant-general," Rauschenburg has only a few hundred men, all of whom are militia and irregulars. Theodore can't pull men away from the Castagniccia without leaving the district vulnerable, and it's doubtful whether the rebellion could survive the Castagniccia's loss.

Of course, Boissieux doesn't really want to invade the Castagniccia anyway, but the Corsicans aren't privy to Plan Boissieux like we are. They know only that the French have recently captured Borgo and Vescovato, and now have an ideal base from which to invade the interior and the men with which to do it.
Seems like the best hope for the Royalists is to continue existing until the French withdraw, and hope that the Genoese administration devolving into essentially the same vendettas and wholesale theft of the so-called 'bandits and malcontents' make the anti-rebel regions (for at this point would they really be pro-Genoa?) give up in disgust and not resist a future occupation from the highland kingdom. With their prior successes under their belt, and the outrages produced by both the Senate's and Theodore's propaganda, and hopefully hanging on as a military force against the French to rapidly be transformed into a national myth about how badass Corsicans are, and with a true Continental war threatening the Ligurian's home and offering the German much better pay for a place without malaria, it seems like the Genoese would almost defeat themselves before the first shot is fired.
The big if being if Theodore has a field army after the French are done with him to take advantage of it.
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The Royalists could really use a reversal outside the main theater of conflict, recent containment of Chatel not withstanding
Bio: Luca d'Ornano
Bio: Luca d'Ornano


Arms of the d'Ornano family, attested from the 17th century
The illustrious house of d'Ornano was among the most venerable and influential of the noble families of Corsica. They are believed to have descended from the Counts of Cinarca, who played a key role in the island's early medieval history. Their name is linked by marriage with many other great families of Corsican history, but no ancestor is as famous as Sampiero Corso, the revered Corsican national hero.

Sampiero was a 16th century Corsican condottiere who enjoyed a successful career in the service of the Valois kings of France. At the time, France was locked in a deadly rivalry with the Spanish Habsburgs and the Republic of Genoa was a Spanish ally. In 1553, Sampiero led an invasion of Genoese Corsica on the orders of the French king Henri II. His invasion met with considerable success, but broader political considerations compelled Henri to strike a truce with Genoa in 1556. The island remained divided between the French and Genoese until the conclusion of the war in 1559, at which point the entire island was returned to Genoa. The enmity between Sampiero and the Republic, however, had not ended.

Sampiero had married the noble lady Vannina d'Ornano in 1545—he was 49 years old, she 15—and gained much status from the match, as Sampeiro's father was merely a commoner. While Sampiero was abroad in Constantinople, however, serving as a French envoy, Vannina was induced to betray him by a Genoese spy who had entered her confidence as a tutor for their children. Her exact reasons are unclear, but the d'Ornano family were partisans of Genoa, and it has also been proposed that she acted to protect her family in Corsica from retribution on account of their association by marriage to Sampiero. Whatever the reason, she liquidated all his property in his absence, selling his mansion in Marseilles and all his worldly possessions, and fled to Genoa. When Sampiero heard of this, he returned from abroad and strangled her to death with his own hands. The story is generally believed to have been an inspiration for Shakespeare's famous play Othello. Enraged, the d'Ornano family put an enormous price on his head, and in 1567 he was betrayed by his follower Vittolo (whose name subsequently became synonymous with treachery) to a group of assassins, including several of Vannina's cousins, who murdered Sampiero and cut off his head.

The family which had bayed for Sampiero's blood, however, would come to revere him. Sampiero's son Alfonso adopted his mother's noble surname of d'Ornano, an obvious choice given the family's status relative to that of the common-born Sampiero, and pursued a military career of his own. He achieved high recognition and was made a Marshal of France; his son, Giovanni Battista, would also have that honor. Luca d'Ornano proudly counted himself among Alfonso's direct descendants, and thus of the bloodline of Sampiero himself.

The d'Ornano family were usually supporters of Genoa during the Early Modern period, and it is not altogether clear why Luca d'Ornano became an early participant in the rebellion. The native nobility of Corsica had certainly been oppressed by the Genoese, who did all within their power to impoverish and marginalize them so that they would not be able to raise the island against Genoese rule, yet relatively few among the aristocracy joined the uprising in its early years. What is striking about Luca was not merely his enthusiasm for the cause, but his age—while the leadership of the rebellion was dominated by seasoned men well into middle age, Luca d'Ornano was only 28 years old when he gained his first major victory at the Battle of Ulmetu in 1732, leading 1,500 Corsicans against an Austro-Genoese force and liberating the town. He is said to have previously possessed a colonel's commission in the Genoese army, but his prior military experience seems to have been limited. When elected as a general of the nation alongside Luigi Giafferi, Giacinto Paoli, and Andrea Ceccaldi in 1735, he was only 31, less than half Giafferi's age.

While a stalwart adherent of the national cause, Luca d'Ornano also kept the northern-dominated government at arm's length and rigorously preserved his autonomy in the south. The assassination of Giovanni Lusinchi in 1734 left d'Ornano as the most prominent rebel leader in the Dila, a role which he embraced wholeheartedly. With one notable exception in the person of Sebastiano Costa, most of the rebel leaders (and all his fellow "generals") were northerners with little influence on the other side of the mountains. They could only suggest that d'Ornano follow their general instructions, and he readily refused when his opinions on strategy differed with their own. To further underscore his autonomy, d'Ornano on occasion even summoned his own consulta in the south, to which he subjected the decisions of the "main" consulta in the north to be ratified or rejected. In principle, he was merely defending the rights of his fellow southerners who were underrepresented in the northern assemblies, but in practice these southern councils seem to have been little more than a rubber stamp on d'Ornano's own authority.

Just as d'Ornano sought to preserve his independence in domestic and military affairs, he also charted an independent foreign policy. In 1735 he is known to have been an adherent of the "French faction" of Jacques Campredon, France's minister in Genoa, and he exchanged correspondence with the Genoese commissioner of the Dila Ottavio Grimaldi. Some have accused him of treachery, but prior to 1736 the idea that Corsica would or ought to be independent was uncommon and very controversial among the rebels themselves. Most assumed that the end goal of the rebellion was either to prompt an annexation by a foreign king or to force the Genoese to cave to the rebels' demands. Particularly in 1735, when the rebellion seemed to be nearing a terminal collapse, it was not altogether unreasonable that d'Ornano would explore his options and try to avoid staking his future and that of his southern fiefdom on the fate of the northern government.

By late 1735, a serious breach seemed to be opening between d'Ornano and Costa's commonwealth, which had just been proclaimed in the north. As a means to placate d'Ornano and bind him to the new government, he was elected general in absentia by a consulta in Zicavo, but he refused to follow the commands of the new government and may never have actually recognized the authority of Costa's commonwealth. Perhaps he believed the commonwealth was destined to fail.

Theodore's arrival changed everything. The king's election and coronation had taken place without d'Ornano, and it seemed possible that the breach might continue. Costa, who was the new king's Grand Chancellor and chief advisor, was still on poor terms with d'Ornano. A few days after the coronation, however, d'Ornano arrived in the north and met the king face to face. Theodore made an excellent impression upon him, and Luca swore his allegiance to the new king. D'Ornano was made a marquis, which surely gratified the prideful young general, and Theodore confirmed him in his position of general in the south (alongside Michele Durazzo, who was also granted the rank of lieutenant-general but was a less influential man who "only" received the noble title of count). Had the meeting between Theodore and Luca not gone as well, Theodore's kingdom would very likely have been still-born.

As a military leader, d'Ornano's record was mixed. He gained initial victories over the Genoese following Theodore's arrival, but his management of the siege of Ajaccio was inept and failed to achieve much even after extraordinary effort was devoted to bringing artillery from over the mountains. Although a dedicated patriot, he was a prideful man who was irked by the greater attention and resources which Theodore devoted to the cause in the north. He was criticized and suspected of treachery for his flirtations with the French in 1739, but the general strongly objected to accusations that he sought to betray the national cause. From his perspective, 1739 seemed like another 1735—the northern government looked as if it were on the verge of falling, and he was not about to be undone by their failures. D'Ornano spoke contemptuously of the Genoese but admired the French; undoubtedly he hoped that, if the rebellion were to collapse, some accommodation with France (or even a French annexation) might be accomplished, and he had every intention of being a key figure in those negotiations if they were to take place.

OTL Postscript

Historically, Luca d'Ornano was one of the last field commanders to submit to the French during the First Intervention, but once he surrendered he quickly reconciled with Maillebois and was able to maintain his position without exile. He retained his royalist sympathies, and proclaimed his loyalty to Theodore as late as 1744, but in 1745 he seems to have buried the hatchet with the Genoese and was granted a lieutenant-colonel's commission by the Republic. Some sources allege a falling out with Gaffori and Matra, who dominated the rebel government at that time, because he resented their attempts to assert their authority on his turf. Although I have not found much information on his life during Paoli's rule, he does not seem to have renewed his previous revolutionary fervor; perhaps Paoli's republican ethos and his ostensibly more "democratic" regime were not to Luca's taste. Dying in 1779, he lived long enough to see the annexation of Corsica by France, and his family was among those recognized as noble by the new regime.

The noble family of d'Ornano, now part of the French aristocracy, would remain prominent. Luca's eldest son, François Marie d'Ornano, fell afoul of the Revolution and was guillotined in 1794, but the clan's fortunes recovered through their association with Napoleon. The families of d'Ornano and Buonaparte were close neighbors and linked by marriage. Philippe Antoine d'Ornano, of a cadet line of the family, was a second cousin of Napoleon, became a commander of the imperial guard cavalry, married Napoleon's former mistress, was created "Comte d'Ornano" in 1808, and was made a Marshal of France by Napoleon III, the third member of the family to attain that dignity. Later members of the family included a number of center-right and right-wing French politicians. Presently, Mireille d'Ornano is a member of the European Parliament, formerly of the National Front (but quit the FN two months ago to join the "Patriots" party of Florian Philippot).
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as usual, a very compelling chapter. It's been a while since i've been on this TL but has the issue of Theodore's immediate successors been resolved?
I made Luca d'Ornano look rather like a spineless traitor in the last update, perhaps a bit more so than I'd meant to, and decided to post his bio to convey some depth to the man. "Talking with the enemy when things get rough" is a time-honored Corsican tradition and one ought not to be too hard on the lad.

Please note that information about a lot of these people, even the fairly major ones, is rather difficult to come by, and I don't necessarily claim 100% accuracy. The date of Luca's death, for instance, seems to be in question - 1779 appears most commonly, but at least one source claims 1752. If 1752 is correct, that would certainly explain why we don't hear much of him during Paoli's rule. Fortunately for me, that matters only for the OTL postscript; I can kill off Luca whenever I want. :evilsmile:

It's been a while since i've been on this TL but has the issue of Theodore's immediate successors been resolved?

Not yet. Theodore is still middle-aged (45 years old) and seemingly in good health, so it's not considered a pressing issue. Legally (that is, according to the 1736 constitution), since he has no children, he is permitted to name a man or woman "of his relation" as his heir, but he has not yet done this. If he were to die before naming an heir, sovereignty would devolve to the people, who presumably would have to get a consulta together and decide what to do next. That could mean anything - the election of one of Theodore's relatives, the election of someone totally different, or the abolition of the monarchy entirely.

If he were to name an heir right now, one presumes the most likely candidates would be Rauschenburg and Drost, as they are the only relations of Theodore who are actually on Corsica. Rauschenburg is more closely related to Theodore (Drost seems to have been a somewhat distant cousin, while Rauschenburg is Theodore's first cousin), and at the moment Rauschenburg is also the more prominent of the two, although Drost will be getting more attention in this narrative soon.

Theodore, of course, could still have heirs of his body; he had a daughter with his late wife, so he's obviously capable of it. A royal marriage, however, isn't really at the top of the agenda at this moment.
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This may come off as a self-evident question given all the wonderful exposition provided, but, given the organization of the army at its height (ca. Balagna) and the amount of weapons and materiel provided by the Syndicate, is it fair to assume the Royalists could/would have successfully totally driven the Genoese off the island by this point absent French intervention?
Did Theodore have this daughter after Corsica OTL, or is she somewhere ITTL?

I assume the Corsicans will want an adult monarch, but could Theodore's blood relatives like her gain a title akin to how the former imperial family of Mexico did under Maximilian?