For other uses see Sardinia (disambiguation).
Sardinia (; Italian: Sardegna; Sardinian: Sardigna or Sardinnya) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily). The area of Sardinia is 240900NaN0. The island is surrounded (clockwise from north) by the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Tunisia and the Balearic Islands. Sardinia is a constitutional part of Italy, with a special statute of regional autonomy under the Italian Constitution.
Around the beginning of the nuragic age circa 1500 BC the island was first called in Greek, Hyknusa (Latinized Ichnusa) by the Mycenaeans, probably meaning island (nusa) of the Hyksos, the people who had just been expelled by Ahmose I of Egypt circa 1540 BC. Sandalyon was another Greek name, probably due to its shape, resembling a footprint. Its present name is Sardinia, after the Shardana (whose invasion of Egypt was defeated by Ramesses III circa 1180 BC).
See main article: History of Sardinia.
Even though it was already populated in prehistoric times (the first human settlements date back to 6.000 - 5.000 B.C.), in Sardinia there is no evidence pointing towards the development of a pre-historic societal unity. The evidence from human settlements is therefore scanty and extremely fragmentary in essence. It suggests the existence of a significant number of little villages in the whole island. Villages, the epitome of a social order, were inhabited by people organized in communities and tribal groups of modest entity. The age of the nuragic civilization was a period of independence. The Nuraghe with its peculiar architectural structure is the most representative sign of that past. A typical character of Sardinian archaeology is the disposition of the monuments and architectural works, spread all over the countryside, making up a harmonious whole with the natural environment.The Nuraghi as well as other evidences of the past, such as Domus de Janas, holy wells and temples, the giants tombs, the big stones fixed in the ground (betili or menhir of the megalithic architecture) make of Sardinia a kind of "open-air museum".These signs are very frequent. On the whole island there are, in fact, about 7.OOO Nuraghi and hundreds of archaeological monuments.
Sardinia is one of the most ancient lands in Europe, visited way back the Palaeolithic period though inhabited permanently by man only much later, in the Neolithic age, around 6000 B.C.
The first men to settle in Gallura and Northern Sardinia probably came from the Italian mainland and, in particular, from Etruria. Those who populated the central region of the island around the salt lakes of Cabras and S. Giusta, arrived it seems from the Iberian Peninsula by way of the Balearic Islands. Those who founded their settlements around the gulf of Cagliari were never was one single peopling but really several peoples.
As time passed, the Sardinian peoples Subscript textbecame united in language and customs yet remained divided politically into various smaller tribal states. Sometimes they banded together, while at others they were at war with one another. Tribes lived in villages made up of round thatched stone huts, similar to the present day pinnate of shepherds. Approximately 1800 BC it is known that Sardinia was influenced by other advanced Mediterranean centers, notably Cydonia, situated on Crete; fine ceramic products from Cydonia have been recovered at Sardinia.
From about 1500 B.C. onwards the villages were built at the foot of a mighty truncated cone fortress (often reinforced and enlarged with embattled towers) called nuraghe.
The boundaries of tribal territories were guarded by smaller lookout nuraghi erected on strategic hills commanding a view of the enemy. Today some 7000 nuraghi dot the Sardinian landscape.
Around 1000 BC. the Phoenicians began to land on the shores of Sardinia with increasing frequency. Setting sail from Lebanon, on their trade routes as far as field as Britain they needed safe anchorages for the night or to weather a storm.
With the local chieftain's consent the more common ports of call were those later named as: Caralis, Nora, Bithia, Sulcis, Tharros, Bosa, Turris and Olbia. They soon became important markets and after a time real towns inhabited by Phoenician families who traded on the open sea and with the Nuragic Sardinians inland.
In 509 BC, in view of the Phoenician expansion inland becoming ever more menacing and penetrating, the native Sardinians attacked the coastal cities held by the enemy who, in order to defend themselves, called upon Carthage for help.
For 271 years, the splendid Carthaginian or Punic civilization flourished alongside the fascinating local Nuragic culture.
In 238 B.C. the Carthaginians, defeated by the Romans in the first Punic War, surrendered Sardinia, which became a province of Rome. The Romans enlarged and embellished the coastal cities and with their armies even penetrated the Barbagia region, thereby bringing down the Nuragic civilization. The Roman domination in Sardinia lasted 694 years and was often opposed by the Sardinians from the mountains who, nevertheless, adopted the Latin language and civilization.
In 534 the Vandals were defeated at Tricamari - a place some 30 km from Carthage - by the troops of the Eastern Emperor Justinian and Sardinia thus became Byzantine. The island was divided into districts called merèie, governed by a judge residing in Caralis (Cagliari) and garrisoned by an army stationed in Forum Traiani (nowadays Fordongeanus) under the command of a dux. Along with the Byzantines and the Eastern monastivism of the followers of St. Basil, Christianity spread throughout the island, except in the Barbagia regions. Here, towards the end of the sixth century, a short-lived independent domain re-established itself, with Sardinian-heathen lay and religious traditions, one of its kings being Ospitone.
From 640 to 732 the Arabs occupied North Africa, Spain and part of France. In 827 they began their occupation of Sicily. Sardinia remained isolated and was forced to defend herself; thus, the judge provincial assumed overall command with civil and military powers.
The continual raids and attacks by the Islamised Berbers on the Sardinian shores began in 710 and grew ever more ruinous with time. Their inhabitants abandoned one by the coastal towns and cities. The judge provincial, in order to afford a better defence of the island, assigned his civil and military powers to his four lieutenants in the merrier of Cagliari, Torres or Logudoro, Arborea and Gallura. Around 900, the lieutenants gained their independence, in turn becoming judices (in Sardinian judikes means king) of their own logo or state.
Each one of these four Sardinian states called judicative constituted a sovereign kingdom, not patrimonial but independent since it was not the property of the monarch. But they were at the same time democratic since all the most important issues of national interest were not for the king (or giudice) himself to decide but were a matter for the representatives of the people gathered in assembly called corona de logu. Each kingdom manned its own fortified boundaries to protect its own political and trading affairs, its own parliament, own laws (cartas de logu), own national languages, own chancelleries, own state emblems and symbols, etc.
The kingdom or "giudicato" of Cagliari was politically pro-Genoese. It was brought to an end in 1258 when its capital, S. Igia, was stormed and destroyed by an alliance of Sardinian-Pisan forces. The territory then became a colony of Pisa.
The kingdom of Torres, too, was pro-Genoese a came to an end in 1259, on the death of the "giudicessa" Adelasia. The territory was divided up between the Dorian family of Genoa and the Bas-Serra family of Arborea, while the city of Sassari became an autonomous city-republic.
In 1297 Pope Boniface VIII established a hypothetical "regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae" in order to settle diplomatically the War of the Vespers, which broke out in 1282 between the Angevins and Aragon's over the possession of Sicily. The Pope enfeoffed it to the Catalan Jaume II the Just, king of the Crown of Aragon (a confederation made up of the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, plus the peasants of Catalonia), promising him support should he wish to conquer Pisan Sardinia in exchange for Sicily.
In 1323 Jaume II of Aragon formed an alliance with the kings of Arborea and, following a military campaign which lasted a year or so, occupied the Pisa territories of Cagliari and Gallura along with the city of Sassari, naming them "kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica".
In 1353, for reasons of state survival, war broke out between the kingdom of Arborea and the kingdom of "Sardinia and Corsica", part of the Crown of Aragon.
In 1354 the Aragon's seized Alghero and reshaped it into an entirely Catalan city, which still today displays its Catalan origins (non Iberian, since the Catalan origins are not found in the Iberian Peninsula, but in Occitania).
In 1353 Pere IV of Aragon, called "the Cerimonious", granted legislative autonomy (a parliament) to the kingdom of "Sardinia and Corsica" which was followed in due course by self-government (Viceroy) and judicial independence (Royal Hearing).
From 1365 to 1409 the kings or "giudici" of Arborea Mariano IV, Ugone III, Mariano V (assisted by his mother Eleonora d' Arborea, the famous giudicessa regent) and Guglielmo III (French grandson of Eleonora) succeeded in occupying very nearly all Sardinia except Castle of Cagliari (today Cagliari and Alghero).
In 1409 Marti, the younger, king of Sicily ad heir to Aragon, defeated the judicable Sardinians at Sanluri and conquered once and for all the entire land. Shortly afterwards he died in Cagliari of malaria and was buried in the Cathedral of Cagliari (Catalan: Catedral de Càller) where his tomb remains today, without issue, and consequently the Crown of Aragon passed into the hands of the Castilian House of Trastamara - and in particular Ferdinand I of Antequera and his descendants --with the Compromise of Caspe in 1412.
In 1479, as a result of the personal union of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel of Castile (the so-called "Catholic king and queen"), married ten years earlier, a dynastically unified Spain was formed. Even the "kingdom of Sardinia" (which in the new title was separated from Corsica since that island never was conquered) became Spanish; with the state symbol that of the Four Moors. Following the failure of the military ventures against the Mulsumen of Tunis (1535) and Algiers (1541) Charles I of Spain (better known as Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire), in order to defend his Mediterranean territories from the pirate raids by the Africa Berbers, fortified the Sardinian shores with a system of coastal lookout towers.
The kingdom of Sardinia remained Aragonese, the Spanish, for approximately four hundred years, from 1323 to 1713, assimilating a number of the Spanish traditions, customs, linguistic expressions and lifestyles, nowadays vividly portrayed in the folklore parades of S. Efisio in Cagliari (May 1st)by the Cavalcade on Sassari (last but one Sunday in May) and by the Redeemer in Nuoro (August 28th).
In 1718, with the Treaty of London, the kingdom of Sardinia was handed over to the Dukes of Savoy, princes of Piedmont, who rendered it perfect from imperfect attributing it the summa potestas that is the authority to stipulate international treaties. The kingdom was then italianised.
The 28 of april 1794 in Cagliari during a uprising were killed two piedmont officials. That was the start of a revolt (called Anti-Feudal Motions or Moti rivoluzionari sardi) all over the island that culminated in the expulsion of the tyrants. The 28 of december 1795 in Sassari the insurgents, occurred mainly from the region of Logudoro to demonstrate against feudalism, occupied the city. The 13 of february 1796, in order to suppress a riot, the viceroy Filippo Vivalda gave to the sardinian magistrate Giovanni Maria Angioy the role of Alternos, that meant a substitute of the viceroy himself. So Angioy moved from Cagliari to Sassari and during is in journey almost all the villages started the uprising, asking for the end of feudalism and for the indipendence of Sardinia's people.
In 1847 the Sardinians spontaneously renounced their state autonomy ad formed a "fusion" with Piedmont in order to have a single parliament, a single magistracy and a single government in Turin.
In 1848 the Wars of Independence broke out for the Unification of Italy and were led by the kings of Sardinia for thirteen years.
In 1861 the kingdom of Sardinia was transformed into the Italian state founded.
During the first world war the sardinian soldiers of the Brigata Sassari distinguished themselves, with several being decorated with gold medals and other honours. It was the first and only italian military unit constituted exclusively from sardinian soldiers.
The writer Grazia Deledda won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926.
During the fascist period, and implementation of the policy of autarky, several swamps were reclaimed around the island and agrarian communities founded. The main communities were in the area of Oristano, where the village of Mussolinia (now called Arborea) was located, and in the area adjacent the city of Alghero, within the region of Nurra, Fertilia was founded. Also established during that time was the city of Carbonia, which became the main centre of mining activity. Works to dry the numerous waste lands and the reprise of mining activities favoured the arrival of settlers and immigrants, from Veneto, and after after the World War II Istrians and Dalmatians, from Yugoslavia.
The repression by the fascist regime of its opponents within the region was ruthless. Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of Italian Communist Party, was arrested and died in prison. Michele Schirru was executed after a failed assassination plot against Benito Mussolini.
In 1946 by popular referendum Italy became a Republic with Sardinia administered, since 1948, by special Statute.
By 1951, malaria was successfully eliminated with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, which facilitated the commencement of the Sardinian tourist boom, mainly focused on beach holidays and elite tourism. Today about ten million people visit the island every year.
With the increase in tourism, coal decreased in importance. However, shortly after the second World War a ponderous industrialization effort was commenced, the so-called "Piani di Rinascita" (Rebirth Plans), with the initiation of major infrastructure projects on the island. This included the realization of new dams and roads, reforestation, agricultural zones on reclaimed marsh land, and large industrial complexes (primarily oil refineries and related petrochemical operations). These efforts to create jobs have largely failed due to the high costs of transportation that could not compensate the cheap labor.
In the 1960s and 1970s the first great Sardinian migration began with the end of the "Piani di Rinascita" thousands of ex-farmers became specialised workers, they preferred move towards the most industrialised northern Italian regions, and European countries, and the international oil crisis caused the termination of employment for thousands of workers employed in the petrochemical industries.
The economic crisis, unemployment, the forced militarization of the island territory (in Sardinia are still located the 70% of Italian military bases) aggravated phenomena such as the banditism, with kidnappings, and political subversion, with the born of several independentist and communist groups, the most famous were Barbagia Rossa, and the Sardinian Fighting Movement, that claimed thousands terrorist attempts, between the 1970s and the early 1980s, insomuch as Sardinia was nicknamend the Cuba of Mediterranean.
Today Sardinia is a phasing-in EU region, featured by a diversified economy, mainly focused on tourism and the tertiary, the economic efforts of last twenty years have reduced the handicap of insularity, for example with low cost air companies and information and informatic technologies, thanks to the CRS4 (Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia), which developed the first Italian website, and invented the webmail, in 1995, that brought to the birth of several telecommunication companies and internet service providers based on the island, as Video On Line, in 1993, Tiscali, in 1998 and Andala UMTS, in 1999.
Sardinia is a generally mountainous island with a few coastal plains. The island's mountains are divided into three ranges; the highest peaks are in the middle section of the island. Punta La Marmora in the Gennargentu mountain range, at 6016feet, is the highest point in Sardinia. Sardinia has few major rivers; the largest river on the island is the Tirso, which has a length of 94miles and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The island has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry, windy summers and very mild winters. The climate in the mountains tends to be wetter and cooler than the lower coastal plains; and winter snowfalls are not uncommon in the higher peaks. Sardinia also has more mountains than flat, low land.
Until 2006, Sardinia had been divided into four provinces:
Now Sardinia is divided into eight provinces, following the creation of four more provinces just recently by the Sardinian regional government, becoming operative with the provinces' elections for the Presidents and the Councils held in 2006. The four additional provinces are as follows:
See main article: Politics of Sardinia.
Sardinia is one of two Italian regions whose inhabitants have been recognised as a "popolo" (i.e. a distinct people) by a local statute (which is adopted with a constitutional law). The other region is Veneto (but this was not through a constitutional law).
See main article: Music of Sardinia. Sardinia is home to one of the oldest forms of vocal polyphony, generally known as cantu a tenore; several big names of music have found it irresistible, including Frank Zappa, Ornette Coleman and Peter Gabriel. The last travelled to the town of Bitti in the central mountainous region, and recorded the now world-famous Tenores di Bitti CD on his Real World label. The guttural sounds produced in this form make a remarkable sound, similar to Tuvan throat singing. Another polyphonic style of singing, more like the Corsican Paghjella and liturgic in nature, is also found in Sardinia and is known as cantu a cuncordu. Another unique instrument is the launeddas. Three reed-canes (2 of them glued together with beeswax) producing distinctive harmonies, which have their roots many thousands of years ago, as demonstrated by the bronzette from Ittiri, of a man playing the 3 reed canes, dated to 2000 BC. Beyond this, the tradition of cantu a chiterra (guitar songs) has its origins in town squares, when artists would compete against one another. Sardinian culture is alive and well, and young people are actively involved in their own music and dancing. Sardinia has produced a number of notable musicians, such as Paolo Fresu and singer Elena Ledda. In 2004, legendary BBC presenter Andy Kershaw (presented Live Aid in 1985), travelled to the island with Sardinian music specialist Pablo Farba, and interviewed many artists. His programme can be heard on BBC Radio 3
See main article: Sardinian language. The most spoken language in Sardinia is, undoubtedly, Italian, but Sardinian is widely spoken too in the inner areas. Sardinian is a Romance language of Latin origin, influenced by Catalan and Spanish, but with an obscure Pre-Roman element, including Phoenician, Etruscan, and Near Eastern languages like Byzantine Greek. While it has been significantly supplanted by Italian for official purposes, Sardinian is still widely spoken in most rural parts and, stemming from a long history of oral tradition, is used culturally for folk songs and poetry. As a literary language, it is gaining clout, despite heated debate about the lack of standard orthography and controversial proposed solutions to this problem. Recently, the regional administration has approved the use of Limba Sarda Comuna http://www.regione.sardegna.it/documenti/1_72_20060418160308.pdf in official documents. However, the two most widely spoken forms of the Sardinian languages are Campidanese, from the flatlands (Campidano) that cover most of the south (from Cagliari to Oristano), and Logudorese (Logudoro), from the central region, extending almost to Sassari.
Cagliari is also home to Cagliari Calcio F.C. that was founded in 1920 and plays in the Serie A, the Italian top division. It won the Italian Championship after the 1969/70 season, therefore becoming the first club in Southern Italy to reach such a result. Home matches are played at the "Stadio Sant' Elia", named after the area where it is located, with a capacity of 23,486. It was built in 1970 and refurbished before the Italia '90 football World Championships.
Sardinia also boasts a fine darts tradition, with many believing that the popular game in fact originated somewhere in the Sassari region of the country towards the end of the 15th century. In those days, the darts themselves were carved from Beech (Fagus) wood and the flights were feathers drawn from the indigenous Pollo Sultano, a bird famed for its spectacular violet-blue plumage. The early 21st century has seen one darts player in particular proudly continuing his nation's rich sporting heritage. Brett "The Sardinian" Welch, at 21-years-old, presents the island's greatest hope of one day becoming a world champion. With a current average of 101.4, and weighing in at 20 stones