Caesar Berthier, First Imperial Governor of the Ionian Islands

Thomas Zacharis, Greece


The actions of Cesar Berthier (half-brother of Napoleon’s Commander) as the first Governor-General of the Ionian Islands are not widely known among historians. This article considers his role in history as significant for two reasons:

Firstly, on the personal orders of the General, and against Napoleon’s initial wishes, the Ionian Islands became an equal part of the French Empire.

Secondly, the General’s temporary promise to grant the town of Parga in Epirus to Ali Pasha allowed time for the French to set up an administration on the islands, enabling the islands and their garrisons to restock from the shores opposite.

In the end the General would fall victim to Napoleon’s imperious personality, being replaced by Donzelot.