Sampiero Corso 1498-1567
Sampiero Corso, or Sampieru
Corsu, if you are Corsican and can't resist putting an "u" at the end of a
masculine word, was born in Bastelica, which is
located just south of Ajaccio,
And here you can find the beautiful
island of Corsica on a map
of Europe (look for the box "Gg").
Location of Corsica,
Therefore, the young Sampiero, or San Piero, or San Pero, was also
known as Sampiero de Bastelica, or Sampiero Basterga, or similar
spelling and combinations, depending on whoever wrote the name.
Sampiero Corso was a military man. He
worked for Giovanni Medici, aka Giovanni des Bandes Noires,
and for the Cardinal de Bellay, who was the ambassador of Francis I at
In the eyes of his compatriots, Sampiero Corso was the ticket to
peace and prosperity on Corsica.
WHO WAS IN CHARGE AT THE
As king of France ruled:
Louis XII (1498-1515)
Francis I (1515-1547)
Henry II (1547-1559)
Francis II (1559-1560)
Charles IX (1560-1574)
Charles V was Holy Roman emperor (1519-1556).
France and the Holy Roman Empire were at
war with each other from 1521-1544.
Admiral Andrea Doria, sinister reputation
but good with kids, was
spreading respect while sailing up and down the Mediterranean, first for
the French team and then on Charles' payroll.
SAMPIERO CORSO - BRIEF
1536 at Marseille and the
1542 at Cuneo
1543 at Perpignan, where he
saved the life of the dauphin Henri, the future Henri II, who
gave him in return his necklace and medal
1543 at Landrecies
1544 at Cérisols
1544 at Vitry-le-François. Sampiero
Corso becomes officially Colonel de l'infanterie corse au
service de la France.
1545 Colonel Sampiero Corso takes leave,
goes back to Corsica where he marries Vanina d'Ornano, also
spelled Vannina d'Ornano (double n), the only
daughter of Francesco d'Ornano. Old nobility. Good move. Or
so he thought. Turned out the lady had to be strangled later on.
1554, February - Bastia and Saint
Florent fall back to the French after a hard siege. Approx. 10,000
Genoese are dead. Merciless guerrilla warfare between the
French and the Genoese.
1554, September 18 - Battle of Col di
Tenda (Col de Tenda)
1556, February - Truce of Vaucelles. By
Medicis, Sampiero was allowed to return to his isle. He
arrives September 1555, ready to rumble. The Corsicans demand union
with the French crown.
1557, September at Vescovato -
Incorporation of Corsica with the French crown. Speech of Orsini,
"Your French king will protect you blah blah..."
1559, April 3 -
Treaty of Cateau
Cambresis (Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis) between France and Genoa. Among other territories, Henri
II accepts the loss of Corsica. Long faces on the island.
By the end of the summer of '59 the
French were gone and the Genoese were back with a fury and, to shake
things up, they had the Corsicans pay double taxes. It was said
that the Genoese were treating the Corsicans worse than the Turks
their slaves, which was apparently a new all-time low.
de Casabianca and Marc D'ambiegna were elected to plead
the Corsican cause to the French head of state but their appeal was without success.
In fact, the French crown received
innumerable grievances from Corsicans. In retrospective, the
Corsicans judged the brief French presence to have been rather
humane and particularly sensitive and respectful of the Corsican
Meanwhile in France in July 1559...
Francis II followed his father
Henry II to the throne because Henry ran into a lance during
Sampiero's wife Vanina, when about 35
years old and for reasons not entirely transparent, prepared to
defect to the Genoese. Sampiero learned about it, tracked the dame
down and killed her plus two servants who were involved in
Sampiero threw a grand funeral for
Vanina and that was that. It would seem not much distracted by this
incident, Sampiero soon resumed his preparations to free Corsica
from Genoese rule.
And a Corsican Vendetta knife looks like
On June 12, 1564, Sampiero and a small
expedition land at the Golf du Valinco. They set up headquarters at
the Chateau d'Istria and rally their fellow citizens. Sampiero
condemns in particular the "treason of Henry II".
The rebels win some battles, especially
the Battle of Vescovato.
On January 17, 1567, Sampiero runs into
an ambush and ends up dead.
The Corsican War was fought
1553-1569. It can be divided into two chapters:
the war from 1553-1559
the war from 1564-1569
This era leaves the Corsicans completely exhausted and the following
150 years, the period from 1569 until 1729, are also described as
the Iron Century in the history of Corsica.