The History of Sardinia in short

Sardinia history is often stuck in common places regarding the supposed economic and social closure which has marked the island structure since the remotest ages. To see how this stereotyped image has been flawed, it is necessary to go back in time, to the pre nuragic age.

At that time already, the Sardinian civilization was extraordinarily rich: the culture of the Ozieri, which is considered as the first important Sardinian culture, saw its birth between 3800 and 2900 b.c., and was the result of the positive encounter, either cultural and commercial, between the pre nuragic Sardinians and the Greek Neolithic civilizations, which are supposed to have introduced in the island the typical craftsmanship of the Cyclades and Crete.

The Greek popultaions also gave a new rush to trades and the social and cultural organization on the island. The so called domus de janas (fairy houses) date back to this period. These constructions actually consisted of tombs digged in the rock, inside of which numerous statues representing Mother Earth have been found, as well as many sepulchers, symbols of a religious spirit still bound to nature. A further common point between the Tyrrhenian and Aegean world. Sant’Andrea Priu, near Bonorva and the Nuraghi Valley is the most important complex of its kind, but there are many others spread around the island.

The new culture was probably organized in communities, dedicated to agriculture and inclined to a pacific coexistence, as the total absence of fortifications or weapons in the tombs can prove. Nothing to do with the conflictual nature of the successive nuragic tribes, who left many signs of their wary habits. But even the nuragic civilization, although concentrated on tribal fights, was not only based on war.

On the contrary, the pastoral society was prosperous and open to commerce with the Balearic Islands, Greece and the Middle East, experiencing a real golden age. It was the foreign occupation that put an end to this favorable period: the isolationism and the confinement in the inland were a consequence of the Phoenician’s invasions, and most of all, the Punic’s invasions, which penetrated the island forcing the Sardinians to go away from the dangerous coast, and find refuge in the most impervious and unreachable zones. By this moment, the ancient pre nuragic and nuragic civilizations will be forever replaced by a long series of populations which landed on the island: the Cartagens, the Romans, the Byzantines… The only exception to this string of occupations is represented by a short period of peace and liberty which followed the fall of the Byzantine institutions and the Saracens’ incursions. In this period, the Sardinians enjoyed a renovation of their government, with the creation of a unique political institution: the Giudicati. But apart from this short parenthesis, the occupations continued with the Pisans, the Genoese and four centuries of Aragonese domination, until the coming of the Savoy family.

What really strikes about the history of Sardinia is the fact that the autochthon population has always maintained a “proud spirit of resistance”, and all these waves of occupation have suffocated the peculiarity of the character only in part, while the pastoral world, so rooted in the people’s conscience, has preserved the ancient traditions nearly untouched. Well.. at least until the beginning of the 20th century, when a new string of conquerors has pacifically taken possess of the island, forcing this ancient world to review its status of island, and to reappropriate of its watery element. We are talking about tourists.

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