Corsica has been continuously occupied since the Mesolithic. It acquired an indigenous population that was influential in the Mediterranean area during its long prehistory.
After a brief colonization by the ancient Greeks and an only slightly longer occupation by the Etruscans it was preempted by the Roman Republic and became with Sardinia a province of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the empire it was invaded by number of short-lived powers before being rescued by the March of Tuscany. As a medieval state speaking a Romance language it became an object of contention between the Republic of Pisa and the Republic of Genoa. The Genoese again took possession of the island in 1347, and governed it until 1729 - interrupted only by a brief intervention of the French in 1553.
In 1729 the Corsican Revolution for independence began. After 26 years of struggle the independent Corsican Republic was formed in 1755 under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli and remained sovereign until 1768. The first Corsican Constitution was written in Italian (the language of culture in Corsica until the end of 19th century) by Paoli. He proclaimed that Italian was the official language of Corsica.
The Corsican Republic was unable to eject the Genoese from the major coastal cities. In 1764 Corsica was secretly purchased by France from the Republic of Genoa. After an announcement and brief civil war in 1768-69, Corsica was incorporated into France in 1770, marking the end of Corsican sovereignity. However, national feelings still run high.