1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ajaccio

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AJACCIO, the capital of Corsica, on the west coast of the island, 210 m. S.E. of Marseilles. Pop. (1906) 19,021. Ajaccio occupies a sheltered position at the foot of wooded hills on the northern shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio. The harbour, lying to the east of the town, is protected on the south by a peninsula which carries the citadel and terminates in the Citadel jetty; to the south-west of this peninsula lies the Place Bonaparte, a quarter frequented chiefly by winter visitors attracted by the mild climate of the town. Apart from one or two fine thorough-fares converging to the Place Bonaparte, the streets are mean and narrow and the town has a deserted appearance. The house in which Napoleon I, was born in 1769 is preserved, and his associations with the town are everywhere emphasized by street-names and statues. The other buildings, including the cathedral of the 16th century, are of little interest. The town is the seat of a bishopric dating at least from the 7th century and of a prefect. It has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, training colleges, a communal college, a museum and a library; the three latter are established in the Palais Fesch, founded by Cardinal Fesch, who was born at Ajaccio in 1763. Ajaccio has small manufactures of cigars and macaroni and similar products, and carries on shipbuilding, sardine-fishing and coral-fishing.

Its exports include timber, citrons, skins, chestnuts and gallic acid. The port is accessible by the largest ships, but its accommodation is indifferent. In 1904 there entered 603 vessels with a tonnage of 202,980, and cleared 608 vessels with a tonnage of 202,502. The present town of Ajaccio lies about two miles to the south of its original site, from which it was transferred by the Genoese in 1492. Occupied from 1553 to 1559 by the French, it again fell to the Genoese after the treaty of Cateau Cambresis in the latter year. The town finally passed to the French in 1768. Since 1810 it has been capital of the department of Corsica.