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(särdĭn`ēə), Ital. Sardegna, region (1991 pop. 1,648,248), 9,302 sq mi (24,092 sq km), W Italy, mostly on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, which is separated in the north from Corsica by the Strait of Bonifacio. The region also includes Asinara, Caprera, San Pietro, and La Maddalena islands. CagliariCagliari
, city (1991 pop. 204,237), capital of Sardinia and of Cagliari prov., S Sardinia, Italy, on the Gulf of Cagliari (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea) and at the mouth of the Mannu River. It is the largest city in Sardinia and is a modern port and an industrial center.
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 is the capital of Sardinia, which is divided into the provinces of Cagliari, Nuoro, Sassari, and Oristano (named for their capitals). The highest point of the mostly mountainous island is Mt. Gennargentu (6,016 ft/1,834 m). The main agricultural area is the large Campidano Plain, located in the southwest and watered by the Manno and Tirso rivers. Natural pastures cover more than half the area of Sardinia; sheep and goats are widely raised. Wheat, barley, grapes, olives, cork, and tobacco are produced. Sardinia is endowed with minerals, including zinc, lead, antimony, lignite, copper, and salt. Fishing for tuna, lobster, and sardines is important. Sardinia is a troubled economic region with a low per capita income and high unemployment. There is still little industry, although hydroelectric plants, all-weather roads, and reclamation projects have been completed since 1945. Manufactures include non-ferrous metals, refined petroleum, processed food, wine, textiles, and leather and wood products. Tourism is also an important industry. An early center of trade, Sardinia was mentioned in Egyptian sources in the 13th cent. B.C., and many traces of its prehistoric inhabitants remain. Phoenicians (c.800 B.C.) and Carthaginians (c.500 B.C.) settled there before Rome conquered (238 B.C.) the island. Sardinia was a source of grain and salt for the Romans, who governed the island harshly. After the fall of Rome, Sardinia passed to the Vandals (mid-5th cent. A.D.) and then to the Byzantines (early 6th cent.). The Byzantines neglected Sardinia, and the popes gained considerable power there; they claimed suzerainty over it and helped repel Arab attacks (8th–11th cent.). Later, Pisa and Genoa often fought (11th–14th cent.) for supremacy over the island, but neither held sway for long. Pisa had much influence on the art and architecture of Sardinia. In 1297, Pope Boniface VIII bestowed the island on the house of Aragón, from which it passed (late 15th cent.) to Spain. By the Peace of Utrecht (1713) Spain ceded it to Austria, but in 1717 Cardinal AlberoniAlberoni, Giulio
, 1664–1752, Italian statesman in Spanish service, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Appointed (1713) representative of the duke of Parma at the court of Philip V of Spain, Alberoni gained influence and ultimately became de facto prime minister.
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 sent a Spanish force to occupy the island. The settlement of 1720 awarded Sardinia to Victor Amadeus IIVictor Amadeus II
, 1666–1732, duke of Savoy (1675–1713), king of Sicily (1713–20), king of Sardinia (1720–30). Succeeding his father, Charles Emmanuel II, as duke of Savoy, he overthrew the regency of his mother in 1683.
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 of Savoy (who styled himself king of Sardinia) in exchange for Sicily, which was given to Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. The kings of Sardinia usually resided at Turin. They tried to establish some order out of chaos on Sardinia with judicial, agrarian, and ecclesiastic reforms. Feudal privileges caused much unrest until they were abolished in 1835. Administrative autonomy was ended in 1847; however, the region received some autonomy under the Italian constitution of 1947. There are universities at Cagliari and Sassari.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Sardegna), an island in the Mediterranean Sea, west of the Apennine Peninsula. Part of Italy, Sardinia is separated from the island of Corsica by the Strait of Bonifacio. Area, approximately 24,000 sq km.

The island has strong contours, with steep shores in the east and predominantly low ones in the west. Its relief is dominated by mountains of granite and schist. Mount La Marmora in the Gennargentu Massif, rising to 1,834 m, is the highest peak. In the west and northwest are lava and tuff plateaus. In the southwest is the isolated Iglesiente Massif.

The climate is subtropical and Mediterranean. Temperatures average 7°-10°C in January and 24°-26°C in July. The annual precipitation ranges from 600 mm on the plains to 1,000 mm in the mountains, with the greatest rainfall occurring in winter. Summers are dry. Sardinia’s rivers, of which the Tirso and the Flumendosa are the most important, are short and full of rapids. The high-water period occurs in winter; in summer the rivers become shallow. River water is used extensively for irrigation. The evergreen and deciduous forests (oak, chestnut, and alder) that once covered much of Sardinia have been largely cut down and now occupy only 4 percent of its territory, chiefly the more humid northern slopes. Shrub formations predominate—maquis in the north and gangue in the south.


Mori, A. Sardegna. Turin, 1966.




(Sardegna), an administrative region in Italy, including the island of Sardinia and the neighboring small islands. The region is divided into the administrative provinces of Cagliari, Nuoro, Sassari, and Oristano. Area, 24,100 sq km. Population, 1,473,800 (1971). Cagliari is the largest city.

Economically one of the country’s most backward regions, Sardinia is losing part of its work force to northern Italy. Agriculture and mining are the chief branches of the economy. Since the 1960’s manufacturing has developed rapidly. Of the gainfully employed population, 24.1 percent is employed in agriculture, 29.4 percent in industry, and 41.2 percent in transportation, services, and various other economic activities. In 1973, 6.3 percent of the work force was unemployed.

Of the region’s 1.7 million hectares of farmland, 74.2 percent is occupied by pastures and meadows, 19.4 percent by tilled fields, and 6.2 percent by orchards and vineyards (as of 1973). Forests, chiefly of cork oak and pine, cover 13.3 percent of the region’s total area. The chief crops are cereals (wheat, oats, barley), legumes, and potatoes. Vegetables, grapes, plums, and citrus fruits are also raised. Some 162,000 tons of artichokes were harvested in 1973. Livestock, mainly sheep, products account for more than half of the region’s agricultural output. (In 1973, Sardinia had 2.6 million head of sheep, or one-third of Italy’s total number.) Fishing, chiefly for sardines and tuna, is important along the coast.

The region supplies four-fifths of Italy’s lead and zinc, half of its coal (mostly low-grade), and more than half of its fluorspar. The northwestern part of Sardinia has deposits of bauxites. Processing industries include the smelting of lead and zinc and the production of aluminum and alumina (at Portovesme). There are petroleum refineries at Sarroch and Porto Torres and petrochemical complexes near Cagliari and at Porto Torres. Among other industries are food processing, textile and leather production, woodworking, and electrical engineering. Sardinia also has a ship-repair industry. The production of hand-woven carpets is a traditional craft. Most of the 3.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity produced by the region were generated by steam power plants.

Historical survey. In the seventh century B.C., Phoenicians and Greeks established colonies on Sardinia. The island was subjugated by Carthage in 535 B.C. and by Rome in 238 B.C. There were numerous uprisings against Roman domination in the third and second centuries B.C., the largest one occurring in 178 B.C. In the fifth century A.D. the island was conquered by the Vandals, in the sixth and seventh centuries by the Byzantines and Goths, and in the eighth century by the Arabs. In the 11th century the Arabs were expelled from Sardinia by the combined forces of the republics of Pisa and Genoa, which later struggled for domination over the island.

The house of Aragon gained control of Sardinia in 1326. Spanish dominion lasted until 1708 when, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the island passed to Austria. The transfer was confirmed in 1714 by the Treaty of Rastatt. In 1720, by the Treaty of London, the island was ceded to the house of Savoy and became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. Attempts by the French Army to conquer the island in 1793 were thwarted by the inhabitants. While Italy was under Napoleonic rule (1799–1814) and Piedmont was part of France, the Savoyard kings lived on the island. Sardinians were active in the struggle for the reunification of Italy, and the island became part of the unified Italian state that was created in 1861. After World War II democratic forces gained strength in Sardinia. In the municipal elections of 1974, the left-wing parties received about one-fourth of the votes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the second-largest island in the Mediterranean: forms, with offshore islands, an administrative region of Italy; ceded to Savoy by Austria in 1720 in exchange for Sicily and formed the Kingdom of Sardinia with Piedmont; became part of Italy in 1861. Capital: Cagliari. Pop.: 1 637 639 (2003 est.). Area: 24 089 sq. km (9301 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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