History of Sardinia


The history of Sardinia is exciting. And many remains are left. You can find and see them everywhere. The mountains of Monte Arci with their deposits of obsidian, cities of the Phoenicians or 5,000-year-old rock tombs - it is still there. The history of Sardinia is easy to understand. The many historic buildings, sites and museums allow a time travel that goes back up to 6,000 years.


Early history, nuragic culture, Phoenicians and Punics or Carthaginians

Early history: Born from obsidian

The history of Sardinia goes back a long way. Up to 150,000 years old human remains were found. Bones clearly prove the settlement of the island as early as 9,000 BC. The inhabitants found favorable conditions: The obsidian from the mountain range of Monte Arci offered the opportunity to manufacture excellent tools. The rare rock glass with sharp edges was used to scrape rock tombs out of the rock. The processed rock was easy to handle compared to the obsidian. In addition, the obsidian served as a flintstone and was thus an important part of life and history. Even today there is the obsidian in this mountain range.

Neolithic phase and nuragic culture

Since around the year 6,000 BC, the image on the island has been shaped by different cultures; In this context, one speaks of the neolithic phase. Outstanding is the nuraghe culture, which prevailed around 1,600 BC. Their traces are still very present: All over Sardinia there are nuraghi - tower-like buildings made by this culture. The name "Nuraghe" was coined by the romans at a much later date, which found the striking buildings in Sardinia.

Historic monumets of Neolithic cultures can be found in numerous giants' graves, rock tombs (Domus de Janas), holy wells, menhirs (unworked, elongated and erect stones) or in stone circles. At that time livestock farming and agriculture came to Sardinia, which is being documented by various finds such as mortars, grinders, statues or remains of pets.

Trade, or at least the transport of raw materials must also have taken place very early, because the used Obsidian of Monte Arci was also found in other places around the Mediterranean. If you want to know more about historic sites: Historic and archaeological sites. They exist in large numbers on Sardinia - some of them in very good condition.

Phoenicians and Punics or Carthaginians in Sardinia

The Phoenicians were a people who lived along the North African coast in today's Syria, Tunisia and Lebanon. There they used to have a significant supremacy. The Phoenicians were sailors, merchants and also excellent craftsmen. One of their most important cities was Carthage, located on the Tunisian coast. Carthage is only about 100 kilometers away from Sardinia. Not surprisingly, then, that the Phoenicians also came to Sardinia. The Phoenician period lasted from the 9th century until about 550 BC. Trade flourished at that time, and the Phoenicians founded Nora and Tharros, as well as other places. But Nora and Tharros are the best preserved ancient cities on Sardinia.

After thaa, the Punic phase came, which then ended in the 3rd century BC. Whether there were fights against the Nuraghe culture at the time of the Phoenicians or Punier is unclear. During the punic phase the Greeks tried to conquer Sardinia - they failed and were beaten in 540 BC (Battle of Alalia). The Nuraghi culture merged with the Punic culture, but still in the inland the nuraghi culture lived on and did not mix up with Punic culture. The punic center Carthage has been destroyed in the year 146 BC. The punic culture lived on for another few hundred years in Sardinia.

In 238 BC the Romans took over. That happened as a result of uprisings in North Africa, which also led to mutinies stationed in Sardinia troops. After the romans the Vandals come from the year 455 to 534, followed by Byzantines. The Byzantine rule ended in over in 832, after constant raids and occupations by Arabs had gone ahead.

Recent history of Sardinia

Italians, Spaniards, Aragonese, Austrians - Restless times

After Roman rule was over, Sardinia was isolated. Under the rule of four lords with four independent states (Giudicati), Sardinia succeeded to resist the Arab encroachments - until the year 1015. Then Mujahid of Dénia conquered large parts of the coast. The Italian coastal towns felt threatened by the military presence of the Arabs in Sardina. The naval powers of Pisa and Genoa therefore displaced mujahid from the island again. This had its price: Sardinia became a fief of Pisa, the north was dominated by Genoa.

After that a moving history with all sorts of different occupying forces on the island came. Among other things, the native population was expelled from Alghero and replaced by Catalan settlers. Catalan is still spoken there today and the architecture is reminiscent of Spain. Even the Habsburgs (from Switzerland and Austria) were once rulers, in the Sardinian language therefore still exist concepts that are reminiscent of the German language.

Sardinia today

Sardinia became autonomous only in 1946. However, armed rebellions fighting for a fully independent state existed until 1982. Even today Sardinians consider themselves an independent ethnic group, the Italian government is not too popular on the island. The history of Sardinia and the original Nuraghe culture as well as numerous other existing buildings illustrate this independence of a tribe, which had nothing in common with Italy until the year 1015 and also in the following centuries never remained Italian, but belonged to different countries.

The flag of Sardinia, which shows four black people or Arabs (the flag is also called "Quattro Mori" - four Moors), is the symbol of the completely autonomous period of the island with the four Guidicati who knew how to defend Sardinia. Although the flag was definitely introduced much later - by the Aragonese (another occupation force) - the symbolism is hard to miss and firmly anchored in the minds of the Sardinian population.

Navigation: Discover Sardinia

Good to know: Information about Sardinia
Food and drinks: Cuisine
Transportation: Arrival and accomodation
Places and more: Where to on Sardinia?

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Where to spend your holiday? Holiday regions and the most important spots on Sardinia: Places of interest. Or maybe you are interested in Museums that also include excavations or archaelogical museums.