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The Republic of Genoa, or just Genoa, is a sovereign state located in southern Europe. Genoa is a unitary state bordered by Savoy (Sardinia) to the north and west, and Parma and Modena to the east.
During the first Punic War, the ancient Ligurians were divided, some of them siding with Carthage and a minority with Rome, whose allies included the future Genoese. Under Augustus, Liguria was designated a region of Italy (Regio IX Liguria) stretching from the coast to the banks of the Po River. The great Roman roads helped strengthen territorial unity and increase communication and trade. Important towns developed on the coast, of which evidence is left in the ruins of Albenga, Ventimiglia and Luni.
After a brief occupation by the Carthaginians, colonization by the ancient Greeks, and an only slightly longer occupation by the Etruscans, Corsica was incorporated by the Roman Republic at the end of the First Punic War and, with Sardinia, in 260 BC became a province of the Roman Republic. The Romans, who built a colony in Aléria, considered Corsica as one of the most backward regions of the Roman world. Corsica was used as place of relegation, one of the most famous exiles being the Roman philosopher Seneca. Administratively, the island was divided in pagi, which in the Middle Ages became the pievi, the basic administrative units of the island until 1768. During the diffusion of Christianity, which arrived quite early from Rome and the Tuscan harbors, Corsica was home to many martyrs and saints. Corsica was integrated by Emperor Diocletian in Roman Italy.
Between the 4th and the 10th centuries Liguria was dominated by the Byzantines, the Lombards of King Rothari (about 641), and the Franks (about 774). It was also invaded by Saracen and Norman raiders. In the 10th century, once the danger of pirates decreased, the Ligurian territory was divided into three marches: Obertenga (east), Arduinica (west) and Aleramica (central). In the 11th and 12th centuries the marches were split into fees, and then with the strengthening of the bishops’ power, the feudal structure began to partially weaken. The main Ligurian towns, especially on the coast, became city-states, over which Genoa soon extended its rule.
Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was refounded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco was first ruled by a member of the House of Grimaldi in 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco while dressed as Franciscan monks. Francesco, however, was evicted only a few years afterwards by the Genovese forces, and the struggle over "the Rock" continued for another century. The Grimaldi family was Genoese and the struggle was something of a family feud. However, the Genoese became engaged in other conflicts, and in the late 1300s Genoa became involved in a conflict with the Crown of Aragon over Corsica.
In Corsica, the crushing defeat experienced by their ally Pisa in 1284 in the Battle of Meloria against Genoa had among its consequences the end of the Pisan rule and the beginning of the Genoese influence: this was contested at the beginning by the King of Aragon, who in 1296 had received from the Pope the investiture over Sardinia and Corsica. A popular revolution against this and the feudal lords, led by Sambucuccio d'Alando, got the aid of Genoa. After that, the Cismonte was ruled as a league of comuni and churches, after the Italian experience. The following 150 years were a period of conflict, when the Genoese rule was contested by Aragon, the local lords, the comuni and the Pope: finally, in 1450 Genoa ceded the administration of the island to its main bank, the Bank of Saint George, which brought peace.
The alternation of French and Milanese dominions over Liguria went on until the first half of the 16th century. The French influence ceased in 1528, when Andrea Doria allied with the powerful king of Spain and imposed an aristocratic government, which gave the republic a relative stability for about 250 years.
Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus's speculative proposal to reach the East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it an opportunity to gain the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire.
The value of trade routes through Genoa to the Near East declined during the Age of Discovery, when explorers discovered routes to Asia around the Cape of Good Hope. The international crises of the seventeenth century, which ended for Genoa with the 1684 bombardment by Louis XIV’s fleet, restored French influence over the republic. Consequently, the Ligurian territory was crossed by the Piedmontese and Austrian armies when these two states came into conflict with France. Austria occupied Genoa in 1746, but the Habsburg troops were driven away by a popular insurrection.
In the 16th century, the island entered into the fight between Spain and France for the supremacy in Italy. In 1553, a Franco-Ottoman fleet occupied Corsica, but the reaction of Spain and Genoa, led by Andrea Doria, re-established the Genoese supremacy on the island, confirmed by the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis.
In 1729 the Corsican Revolution for independence began, first led by Luigi Giafferi and Giacinto Paoli, and later by the son of the latter, Pasquale Paoli. After 26 years of struggle against the Republic of Genoa (plus an ephemeral attempt to proclaim in 1736 an independent Kingdom of Corsica under the German adventurer Theodor von Neuhoff), the independent Corsican Republic was proclaimed in 1755 under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli and remained sovereign until 1768, when Genoa granted Corsica autonomy in exchange for peace, fearing French takeover of the island.
In late 19th and early 20th century, the region’s economic growth was remarkable: steel mills and ship yards flourished along the coast from Imperia to La Spezia, while the port of Genoa became the main commercial hub for the industrializing nation.
Government and Politics
Note: The metropolitan cities of Imperia, La Spezia, and Savona do not have flags.
Genoa is a unitary state composed of five metropolitan cities, one autonomous region, and one overseas territory.
- Genoa (federal district & metropolitan city)
- Imperia (metropolitan city)
- La Spezia (metropolitan city)
- Savona (metropolitan city)
- Monaco (metropolitan city)
- Corsica Autonomous Region (Ajaccio)
- New Liguria (Porto-di-Genova) (Overseas Territory)