Kingdom of Corsica (1736)

The Kingdom of Corsica was a short-lived kingdom on the island of Corsica. It was formed after the islanders crowned the German adventurer Theodor Stephan Freiherr von Neuhoff[1] as King of Corsica.

Kingdom of Corsica
Regno di Corsica
Königreich Korsika
Motto: Prudentia et industria vincitur tyrannis;
Pro bono publico regno corsice
Anthem: Dio vi Salvi Regina
1737 map of Corsica commissioned by King Theodore
StatusUnrecognized state
CapitalCervione; Corte
Common languagesItalian
Theodore I of Corsica
March 1736
November 11
8,680 km2 (3,350 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa

Formation and downfall

At Genoa, Neuhoff made the acquaintance of some Corsican rebels and exiles, and persuaded them that he could free their country from Genoese tyranny if they made him king of the island. With the help of the Bey of Tunis, he landed in Corsica on March 12, 1736 [2] with military aid. The islanders, whose campaign had not been successful, elected and crowned him king. He assumed the title of King Theodore I, issued edicts, instituted an order of knighthood, and waged war on the Genoese, at first with some success. But in-fighting among the rebels soon led to their defeat. The Genoese put a price on his head and published an account of his colourful past, and he left Corsica on November 11, 1736,[2] ostensibly to seek foreign assistance. After sounding out the possibility of protection from Spain and Naples, he set off to Holland where he was arrested for debt in Amsterdam.

On regaining his freedom, Theodore sent his nephew to Corsica with a supply of arms; he himself returned to Corsica in 1738, 1739, and 1743, but the combined Genoese and French forces continued to occupy the island. In 1749 he arrived in England to seek support, but eventually fell into debt and was confined in a debtors' prison in London until 1755. He regained his freedom by declaring himself bankrupt, making over his kingdom of Corsica to his creditors, and subsisted on the charity of Horace Walpole and some other friends until his death in London in 1756.

See also


  1. Regarding personal names: Freiherr was a title before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Baron. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a legal class, titles preceded the full name when given (Graf Helmuth James von Moltke). Since 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), can be used, but are regarded as a dependent part of the surname, and thus come after any given names (Helmuth James Graf von Moltke). Titles and all dependent parts of surnames are ignored in alphabetical sorting. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
  2. L. H. Caird, The History of Corsica (T. Fisher Unwin, 1899) p.92-97


  • Bent, J. Theodore (1886). "King Theodore of Corsica", The English Historical Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 295–307.
  • Fitzgerald, Percy (1890). King Theodore of Corsica. London: Vizetelly.
  • Gasper, Julia (2012). Theodore von Neuhoff, King of Corsica: the Man Behind the Legend. University of Delaware Press.
  • Graziani, Antoine-Marie (2005). le Roi Théodore. Paris: Tallandier, coll. « Biographie ». 371 p., 22 cm. – ISBN 2-84734-203-6. (in French)
  • Pirie, Valerie (1939). His Majesty of Corsica: The True Story of the Adventurous Life of Theodore 1st. London: William Collins & Sons.
  • Vallance, Aylmer (1956). The Summer King: Variations by an Adventurer on an Eighteenth-Century Air. London: Thames & Hudson.

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