Napoleon, meanwhile, had risen to power and defeated Venice thus laying French claim to the island which they immediately occupied.
The Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797 , at Napoleon's insistence, allocated the islands to France, which formed them into the three provinces of Ithaca, Corfu, and the Aegean Sea.
Napoleon was very fond of the island and introduced many improvements: a printing house was founded and newspapers and magazines in Greek and French appeared. The French also made improvements to the educational system and built the island's first public library.
The Ionian School, in which the most literate people of the time taught, was founded in 1808. After a period of decline, it was founded again in 1824 by the philhellene Frederic Guilford, and it contributed to the re-establishment of the Greek language.
Two years later the combined Russio-Turkish fleet temporally wrested control of the island from the French. In 1799 the Russian fleet seized the Ionian Isles, and they were constituted a small state tributary to Turkey, but in 1802 the Treaty of Amiens declared them free under the protectorate of Russia.
In 1807 the Peace of Tilsit gave Corfu back to France, and General Berthier was installed as their governor.
After reasserting French control Napoleon personally directed the reinforcement of the towns defenses. These defenses were deemed so formidable that the British declined to attack them at the refusal of their French garrison to hand them over after the battle of Waterloo.
See our Greece hotels for a complete look at accommodations available on this island.
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