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Did you know? In 1582 the Muslim corsairs took hundreds of prisoners in Quartu and in the neighboring villages.

Sardinia for more than a thousand years was the target of conquest first of the Saracens, then of the Muslim Barbary pirates and then of the Arabs. On several occasions they tried to conquer the island (the most violent assault was that of Mujahib, better known as Museto, or Musetto), placed in a strategically important point. Over the centuries, thousands of people, in several coastal locations but also inland, were taken prisoner and enslaved, while many others were killed. In 1582 there was one of the most serious assaults. Here’s what happened.

The terrible attack on Quartu dates back to 1582, when more than two hundred people were captured, while the other inhabitants fled to the nearby villages (Settimo, Sestu, Sinnai and Maracalagonis); in the districts of Cagliari: in Stampace, Marina and Villanova and in the Sarrabus. The episode appears among other things in the petition of its mayor to the General Courts of 1583-86. With this petition, the mayor asked that a subsidy be given to “surround the village with walls”. As is clear from the Acts of Parliament, he was told that the municipality “would provide for his safety by forming a reduced act to be able to take refuge and defend himself in the event of aggression”.

In the same year the villages closest to Quartu, Pauli (Monserrato), Pirri and Quartucciu were also sacked.

The Barbareschi were the Muslim corsairs who, starting from the sixteenth century, supported by the Turks, settled along the coasts of northern Africa taking possession of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, where they overthrew the ancient dynasties and gave birth to real city-states , formally dependent on the Ottoman Empire, but in reality autonomous and exclusively dedicated to war. As Francesco Casula reports, the Barbareschi were also Turks from the islands of the eastern Mediterranean; moriscos from Spain and animated by a profound spirit of revenge; Christian slaves, captured and Islamized, who over time had conquered leading positions in the community. The main activity of these corsairs was the assault and capture of Christian ships and the expeditions along the coasts of the Christian states to capture slaves to be sold in the markets of the Barbary cities or for which to obtain substantial ransoms. Numerous raids were carried out by these corsairs along the coasts of Sardinia.

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Sardinia was certainly not rich at the time but the Arabs still managed to make some spoils, plundering what little the inhabitants had managed to put aside, also in terms of crops and food. The attacks went on repeatedly from 700 to 1800, and then definitively ceased in full Piedmontese age.

During the Spanish domination, to face the repeated assaults of the Saracen pirates, the control system of the island’s coastal towers was strengthened (around a hundred remain throughout Sardinia). But the assaults continued until 1816.

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