Milestones in the history of the Greek village Cargese
1673: Eight hundred residents of Itilos decided to leave their motherland. Negotiations started between Parthenios Kalkadis, the Bishop of Itilos, and the Genoa administration. According to the final decision the Greeks were given the area of Paomia, 50 km from Aιaccio in exchange of very low payment and under the condition of full recognition of the power of the Papa of Rome.
1675:After the committee headed by the Stefanopoulos approved the conditions of negotiations on the 25-th of September a contract was signed with Daniel, a captain of the French ship «Sotiras». He pledged to transfer 800 emigrants in 10 days either to Leghorn or to Genoa where they had to stay for some time. A trip cost 5 reals (1 real = 25 cents) per person. On the 3-d of October the Itilians boarded the ship and the next day on the 4-th of October the «Sotiras» started the voyage. But she reached the terminal only on the 1-st of January 1676. Out of 800 people 120 died during the trip!
1676: On the 13-th of February the Genoa administration questioned Bishop Parthenios trying to understand the reason of their emigration. Before the departure for Corsica the Italians changed the Greek endings of their names into the Italian ones. The ending «akis» was replaced by «acci». For example, Papadakis became Papadacci. On the 14-th of March 3 Genoan ships moored near the place opposite Paomia. The place was called Scala Greca or the Port of Monks because monks were the first ones to step on the Corsican land. Thus the Maniots settled in Paomia. In a year the Greeks founded several small villages which they called: Pancone, Corona, Rondolino, Salici & Monte Bosso.
1678: The construction of the main church named the Assumption was finished in Rondolino. Due to the diligence of the Maniots very soon Paomia turned into one of the richest and best agriculturally developed areas of Corsica. For the first time in 50 years Greeks were on good and peaceful terms with the local population.
1729: Corsicans raised arms against Genoa. Greeks treated Genoas as their benefactors and refused to support Corsicans. As a result the Corsicans began to destroy and plunder the property of the Maniots. The next year real military battles took place and the Greeks showed heroic resistance and won. Nevertheless since the Greeks had no support or assistance they decided to sail to Aiaccio leaving behind 90 men to guard Paomia. But the conditions were so hard that these people were forced to retreat to the Ominia tower at the very edge of the Cape. They had no food and weapons and secretly during the night left the tower and started for Aiaccio, which they reached at the end of April 1731.
1731-1774: For 44 years Greeks stayed in Aiaccio (the capital of Corsica).
1768: On the 1st of June the flag of the French king replaced that of Genoa. The Greeks arranged one regiment and joined the army headed by count Marbeuf, the first French ruler of Corsica.
1774: As a compensation for the lost area of Paomia and with the assistance of count Marbeuf the Greeks were given the Cargese region. With the support of the count the Greek representative George Stefanopoulos, or Captain George, signed the agreement. Furthermore, count Marbeauf assissted in building 120 uniform houses located some 250 m from the sea shore. Later count Marbeauf got the title of the marquis of Cargese.
1793: The French Revolution spread all over the island. Marbeauf's fortress in Cargese was destroyed by the Jacobins from Vico but the village, as a whole didn't suffer much. The men with their wives and children were allowed to move to Aiaccio where they stayed for more than a year. Then they got a permission to return to Cargese but only 2/3 of them (about 800 people) used this permission while the rest decided to stay in Aiaccio.
1804: The population of Cargese was 1000 people out of which 350 were local Corsicans. The compound population guaranteed peace in the area.
1814: The local people of Vico (Vicoleze) intensified their threads. On the order of King Charles X they were told to return part of the confiscated Greek property.
1830: Mixed weddings between the Greeks and the Corsicans as well as a joint participation in some events stopped the hostilities between two groups of population.
1852: The construction of a large Maniot church of St.Spiridonas was launched in Cargese. The church was finished in 20 years and was sanctified in 1872.
The milestones of the history of the Greeks on Corsica are certainly not enough to have a complete picture of their life on the island. You'll find some supplementary material in this issue which will help you to imagine and understand better what was done by those 700-800 people who once came to this place and decided to stay on Corsica!
Magazine «Adouloti Mani» (Indocile Maniots), Summer of 1997, an article on the Maniots of Corsica.