Detailed sheets

The Catalan-Aragon rule in Sardinia

The village of Sent Steva, connected with the Palace of Balbo, according to hypotheses was certainly active when Sardinia was already under the rule of Catalonia and Aragon: the centre is mentioned in a survey of rents paid by all the villages owned by the Crown of Aragon in the Island (fig. 1) at the time of its drafting, in order to understand the ability to pay of all the properties.

Fig. 1 - The expansion of the Crown of Aragon (from

The Island was given as fief to the king of Aragon, James II, by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297, as part of the "Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica" (fig. 2), but the arrival of the Iberian soldiers on Sardinian land did not take place until 1323, when Prince Alfonso and his troops landed in the Bay of Palma del Sulcis.

Fig. 2 - The enfeoffment seal dated 4th April, 1297: Pope Boniface VIII enfeoffs the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica to James II of Aragon (ASV, A. a., arm. I-XVIII, 446).

The conquest took place gradually: the following year Villa di Chiesa - the current Iglesias - and the territory of Gallura were conquered; in 1326, after several battles, they also managed to obtain Cagliari.

With the Aragonese government, Sardinia changed its administrative structure; this involved the introduction of an actual feudal system, whereby noble Catalans were rewarded with lands and which made it a part of a confederation of states which included the Reign of Aragon and the County of Barcelona, the kingdoms of Mallorca, Valencia, Naples, Sicily, the County of Provence, the duchies of Athens and Neopatras (fig. 3).

Fig. 3 - Armorial of Gelre: coats of arms of the states which formed the Crown of Aragon (during the second half of the fourteenth century), (from'Aragona#/media/File:Stemmi_degli_stati_della_Corona_d%27Aragona.jpg).

The major island centres became royal towns as they were directly submitted to the central authority, receiving the same privileges enjoyed by Barcelona. For more than a century, the Giudicato of Arborea (until 1410) and the noble families of Genoa and Pisa who had already settled before the conquest, obstructed the Iberian domination.

In 1469, King Ferdinand II of Aragon (1479-1516) married Isabella of Castile and from the union of these two kingdoms a great European state was born ten years later: the Crown of Spain. The establishment of this power brought about a series of institutional reforms in all the lands which it ruled over and therefore in Sardinia as well.


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