Torri, corsari e contrabbandieri in Calabria Ultra durante il Decennio Francese (1806-1815)

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, even if the phenomenon of running war had subsided, the watch towers still had an active role in controlling the coasts of Southern Italy. Under the French administration some of them were assigned to customs posts, others continued to report the corsair boats always ready to carry out incursive actions. Merchant ships, fishermen and peasants were still struck by the devastating Turkish-Barbarian cruises, but also by corsairs armed by the British in an eternal struggle against the French. The towers are regularly guarded by sentinels armed with non-military weapons, which are not functional to the increasingly sophisticated assaults of the Corsair marines. The people in charge of the customs had to manage a staff often absent from the guardhouse due to malarial fevers, especially during the summer when the coasts were excessively hot. The customs documentation shows the economy of a Southern Italy still rooted in the classic export products: oil, dried figs, cotton, cheese, wine and coarse wool cloths. Raw silk is absent from the market, one of the most exported products until the second half of the eighteenth century and supplanted by the olive tree.