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Regione Autonoma della Sardegna
Regione Autonoma de sa Sardigna
 Sos Battor Moros – The Four Moors
Capital Cagliari
President Renato Soru
(The Union)
Provinces Cagliari
Medio Campidano1
Municipalities 377
Area 24,090 km²
 - Ranked 3rd (8.0 %)
Population (2003 est.)
 - Total

 - Ranked
 - Density

11th (2.9 %)
Map highlighting the location of Sardegna in Italy

Sardinia (Sardigna, Sardinna or Sardinnia in the Sardinian language, Sardegna in Italian, Sardenya in Catalan), is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (Sicily is the largest), between Italy, Spain and Tunisia, south of Corsica. It forms part of Italy.

At the beginning of the nuragic age circa 1500 BC it was first called "Hyknusa" (latinized Ichnusa ) by the Greeks probably meaning island (nusa) of the Hyksos, the people who had just been expelled by Amasis I of Egypt circa 1540 BC and were by now looking for a new home . "Sandalyon" was her second name probably due to its shape, recalling a footprint. Last and present name has been Sardinia, for the Shardana , (who also had been expelled in Egypt by Ramses III circa 1180 BC )



Sardinia has an area of 24,090 km2 and a population of 1.65 million. Sardinia is an autonomous region of Italy. The regional capital is Cagliari. The region is divided into four provinces: Cagliari, Sassari, Nuoro and Oristano; another four provinces (Olbia-Tempio, Ogliastra, Carbonia-Iglesias and Medio Campidano) have been proposed to enter effect in 2005.

See also: Sardinian towns

Sardinia is one of two Italian regions whose inhabitants have been recognised as a "popolo" (i.e. a distinct people) by the Italian Parliament. The other region is Veneto.


The island contains numerous extraordinary tourist areas, including the Costa Smeralda and Gennargentu. The island is particularly famous for its beaches, but is also rich in other interesting places. why not also see: Tourist destinations of Sardinia


The climate is mainly Mediterranean, with a warm spring and fall, hot summer, and mild winter. Sardinia is suffering from a multi-year drought, thought by some to be due to global warming.


The most spoken languages in Sardinia are Italian and Sardinian, a Romance language with obscure roots in Phoenician, Etruscan language, and Near Eastern languages. While it has been significantly supplanted by Italian for official purposes, Sardinian is still widely spoken in rural areas.

In the northern regions of Gallura and Sassari, the language spoken is not Sardinian but a variety of Corsican (as in Corsica). In the island of San Pietro, the dialect spoken is Ligurian, from Genoa. In the city of Alghero in the north, a mediaeval dialect of Catalan is still spoken (the name of the city in Catalan is L'Alguer) as the island was a Catalan colony in the past.

Business and commerce

Sardinia's currency (as a part of Italy) is now the Euro, but in some rural areas Sardinians still unofficially refer to su Francu (or loc. "su Pidzu"); 1 francu = 1,000 former Italian lire. "Unu Francu", referring to the now long-gone French franc, is a term used by older natives to mean some small amount, much as in English "It's not worth a farthing".

Several gold and silver mines operate on the island.

The Sardinian economy is today focused on tourism(peaking with the Costa Smeralda), industry, commerce, services and information technology; an increasing income is coming from its famous wines and gastronomy.


Trains on Sardinia connect the whole island but are rather slow. Some run on narrow gauge track. Many tourists catch the "trenino verde" which runs through the wildest parts of the island. It is slow but it allows the traveller to have scenic views impossible to see from the main road. The train connects Cagliari to Arbatax in the south and Sassari to Palau in the north. It's highly recommended to make the trip from Macomer to Bosa Marina, where the train winds its way through the typical Sardinian landscape to reach the sea near the coastal town of Bosa situated in the west of the island.


Sardinia is a precious natural resource, containing thousands of rare or uncommon animals and plant species such as the Mediterranean Monk Seal and the boar. It lacks many species instead, like the viper and the marmot, which are found everywhere else on the continent.


See also: History of Sardinia

Sardinia's history is very ancient. In 1979 human remains were found that were dated to 150,000 BC.

In Prehistory Sardinia's inhabitants developed a trade in obsidian, a stone used for the production of the first rough tools, and this activity brought Sardinians into contact with most of the Mediterranean people. Desiccated grapes, recently found in several locations, were DNA tested and proved to be the oldest grapes in the world, dating back to the Pyramids' and Mesopotamian’s era. The Cannonau wine is made with these grapes and may qualify as the mother of all the European wines.

From Neolithic times till the Roman Empire, the Nuragic civilisation took shape on the island. Still today, more than 7,000 Nuraghe survive. It is speculated that, among others, the Shardana people landed in Sardinia coming from the eastern Mediterranean. Shardana had joined the Shekelesh and others to form the coalition of the Sea Peoples, but were defeated by Ramses III around 1180 BC in Egypt. Shardana and Shekelesh were also called by the Egyptians as the 'people from the faraway islands', implying that Shardana were already residents of Sardinia at the time of the Egyptian expedition. This assertion holds some truth, in fact most of the tombe dei giganti have a tombstone shaped like a ship vertically dug into the ground witnessing to their sea traveling activities. According to some linguistic studies, the town of Sardis in (Lydia) would have been their starting point from which they would have reached the Tyrrhenian Sea, dividing into what were to become the Sardinians and the Etruscans.

However most theories regarding the original population of Sardinia have been formulated prior to genetics research and in the traditional frame of east-west movements. Genetics has now shown that Sardinians are a pre-Indo-European population and, like Basque, different from all surrounding and much younger groups.

The density, extensiveness and sheer size of the architectural remains from the Neolithic period, points to a considerable population of the island.

Beginning around 1000 BC, Phoenician mariners established several ports of trade on the Sardinian coast. In 509 BC, war broke out between the native Nuragic people and the Phoenician settlers. The settlers called for help from Carthage, and the island became a province in the Carthaginian Empire. In 238 BC, after being defeated by the Roman Republic during the First Punic War, Carthage ceded Sardinia to Rome.

From 456 - 534, Sardinia was a part of the short-lived kingdom of the Vandals in North Africa, until reconquered by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Under the Byzantines, the imperial representative was a judge who governed from the southern city of Caralis. Byzantine rule was practically nonexistent in the mountainous Barbagia region in the eastern part of the island, and an independent kingdom persisted there from the sixth through ninth centuries.

Beginning in the eighth century, Arabs and Berbers began raiding Sardinia. Especially after the conquering of Sicily in 832, the Byzantines were unable to effectively defend their most distant province, and the provincial judge assumed independent authority. To provide for local defense, he divided the island into four Giudicati, Gallura, Logudoro, Arborea, and Caralis. By 900, these districts had become four independent constitutional monarchies. At various times, these fell under the sway of Genoa and Pisa. In 1323, the Kingdom of Aragon began a campaign to conquer Sardinia; the giudicato of Arborea successfully resisted this and for a time came to control nearly the entire island, but its last ruler Eleanor of Arborea, was eventually defeated by the Aragonese in the decisive Battle of Sanluri, June 30, 1409. The native population of the city of Alghero (S'Alighera in Sardinian, L'Alguer in Catalan) was expelled and the city repopulated by the Catalan invaders, whose descendants speak Catalan to this day. When Catalunia became part of Spain so did Sardinia.

Under Spain, Sardinians were regularly employed on the royal Spanish fleet. On October 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto, Sardinian mariners on Board the admiralship of Infante Don John of Austria, brother of Felipe II, boarded the Turkish admiralship, overpowered the crew, and cut off the head of a Turkish admiral. The sight of the admiral's head on a spear put such a fear in the heart of the Turks, that they abandoned the fight and completely surrendered to Christians. This was the first time Turks lost out to Europeans signaling a trend of military decline and defeats from which Turks never recovered.

Kingdom of Sardinia

In 1720 Sardinia became an independent kingdom under the House of Savoy, rulers of Piedmont.

In 1792, Jean-Paul Marat, son of a Sardinian father and a Swiss mother, was one of the triumvirate leading the French Revolution.

In 1860, Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Sardinia became also the first King of Italy after conquering the rest of the peninsula.


  1. The last four are new provinces since May 2005.

See also

PALANTH the International Journal of Palaeoanthropology is publishing the recent discovery of rock art on the Island of Sardinia from at least 13,000 B.C.. Stone Age people were traveling across the sea to this island thousands of years prior to Noah. Contact Nicholas Rolland, formerly University of Victoria, British Columbia Canada for more info

External links

Regions of Italy Flag of Italy
Abruzzo | Basilicata | Calabria | Campania | Emilia-Romagna | Latium | Liguria | Lombardy | Marche | Molise | Piedmont | Apulia | Tuscany | Umbria | Veneto
Friuli-Venezia Giulia | Sardinia | Sicily | Trentino-South Tyrol | Aosta Valley

Sardinia is also a place in the State of Ohio in the United States of America; see Sardinia, Ohio.

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