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Italians in France

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Title: Italians in France  
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Subject: Corsican mafia, Julia Channel, Italian diaspora by country, Italian diaspora, History of the Italians in Mississippi
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Italians in France

Italian French
Italo Francese

Total population
up to 5,000,000
~9% of France's population going back three generations
Regions with significant populations
 France, especially Southeastern France (Corsica and Nice are Italian ethnic population).
French, Italian, Italian dialects.
Roman Catholicism

Italian migration into what is today France has been going on, in different migrating cycles, for centuries, beginning in prehistoric times right to the modern age.[1][2] In addition, Corsica passed from the Republic of Genoa to France in 1770, and the area around Nice and Savoy from the Kingdom of Sardinia to France in 1860. According to Robin Cohen, "about 5 million French nationals are of Italian origin if their parentage is retraced over three generations.".[1] According to official data of the "Register of Italians living abroad" for the 2007, instead of Italian citizens residing in France were 348,722.[3] There are 370,000 according the "Italians in the World 2010" Migrants Foundation.[4]

History of Italians in France

Middle Ages and Renaissance

There has always been large migration, since ancient times, between what is today Italy and France. This is especially true of the regions of northwestern Italy and southern France. As Italian wealth and influence grew during the Middle Ages, many Florentine, Genoese, Neapolitan, Piedmontese and Venetian traders, bankers and artisans settled, usually through family branches, throughout France. Regions of significant Italian diaspora sprang up as far north as Paris and Flanders.

This Italian migration continued through the Renaissance, as previous generations became assimilated. Italian artists, writers and architects were called upon by the French monarchy and aristocrats, leading to a significant interchange of culture.

Since the 16th century, Florence and its citizens have long enjoyed a very close relationship with France.[5] In 1533, at the age of fourteen, Catherine de' Medici married Henry, the second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France. Under the gallicised version of her name, Catherine de Médici, she became Queen consort of France when Henry ascended to the throne in 1547. Later on, after Henry died, she became regent on behalf of her ten-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III.

Other notable examples of Italians that played a major role in the history of France include Cardinal Mazarin, born in the Kingdom of Naples was a cardinal, diplomat and politician, who served as the chief minister of France from 1642 until his death in 1661. Mazarin succeeded his mentor, Cardinal Richelieu, and extended France's political ambitions not only within Italy but towards England as well.

Enrico Tonti, born near Gaeta, Italy (1649/50 - 1704) was an Italian-born soldier, explorer, and fur trader in the service of France. He was the son of Lorenzo de Tonti, a financier and former governor of Gaeta. Enrico was second in command of the La Salle expedition on his descent of the Mississippi River. Tonti's letters and journals are valuable source materials on these explorations.[6]

Enrico's brother, Pierre Alphonse de Tonty, or Alphonse de Tonty, Baron de Paludy (ca. 1659 – 10 November 1727)[1] was an officer who served under the French explorer Cadillac and helped establish the first European settlement at Detroit, Michigan, Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit on the Detroit River in 1701. Several months later, both Cadillac and Tonty brought their wives to the fort, making them the first European women to travel into the interior of North America. He was the son of Lorenzo de Tonti who was a financier and former governor of Gaeta. Lorenzo de Tonti was the inventor of the form of life insurance known as the tontine. Henri de Tonti, involved in LaSalle's exploration of the Mississippi River and the establishment of the first settlement in Arkansas, was his older brother.[7]

Modern Period

It should be noted that Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor and general, was ethnically Italian of Corsican origin, whose family was of Genoese and Tuscan ancestry.[8]

Initially, Italian immigration to modern France (late 18th to the early 20th century) came predominantly from northern Italy (Piedmont, Veneto), then from central Italy (Marche, Umbria), mostly to the bordering southeastern region of Provence.[1] It wasn't until after World War II that large numbers of immigrants from southern Italy immigrated to France, usually settling in industrialised areas of France, such as Lorraine, Paris and Lyon.[1]

Autochthonous populations

In both the County of Nice, parts of Savoy, "Italian" can refer to autochthonous speakers of Italian dialects (Ligurian and Piedmontese languages), natives in the region since before annexation to France, and also to descendants of Italians that migrated to the areas when they were part of Italian states. The number of inhabitants with Italian ancestry is generally undeterminable, and the use of French language is now ubiquitous. In addition, Corsica was a part of the Republic of Genoa until 1770 and until recently, most Corsicans spoke the Corsican language, considered by most linguists to be a dialect of Italian, related to Tuscan.

Notable Italian French People

Édith Piaf, world famous French singer

See also


  1. ^ a b c d  
  2. ^ (French) Histoire de l'Italie à Paris. Retrieved on 2011-07-04.
  3. ^ Dati AIRE del 2007 su italiani residenti in Europa
  4. ^ "Gli italiani continuano a emigrare, un milione in fuga negli ultimi 4 anni", La Repubblica, 2 dicembre 2010
  5. ^ Project MUSE – Renaissance Quarterly – Savonarola in Francia: Circolazione di un'eredità politico-religiosa nell'Europa del Cinquecento (review). Retrieved on 2011-07-04.
  6. ^ Henri de Tonti
  7. ^ Alphonse de Tonti
  8. ^ |title=Napoleon I (emperor of France) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia | |date= |accessdate=2010-09-02
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