Alghero is located in north-western Sardinia, in the province of Sassari. Counting about 40,000 inhabitants, Alghero can be considered as a Catalan city as almost 40% of its population speaks a Catalan dialect. The name “Alghero” stems from the abundance of seaweed (alghe) in its surrounding waters. It used to be known as Algarium in the Middle Ages and Al Alguer and Barcelloneta under Spanish rule.
Alghero was founded around the X Century when the Genoese, supported
by the Pisans, fought the Arabs off and obtained land grants from the
Judges of Logudoro, one of the groups of judges that governed Sardinia
during the Middle Ages. The Genoese House of Doria conquered the city
at the beginning of the XII Century and governed it until 1353 when
the Catalan fleet defeated Genoa's ships near Porto Conte on the outskirts
of Alghero. The population of Alghero rose against the garrison's commanding
officer, killing him. The Spanish responded by sending 12,000 men and
100 galleys to hold back the revolt. A treaty was signed and the original
inhabitants were expelled from their homes and allowed the town to
be settled by Catalan families. When Charles V decided to use the city
as an operations base against Saracen pirates, he visited Alghero and
was so warmly received by its people that he proclaimed them “todos
a mark of distinction still held in regard today by the Algherese.
In 1713, when Alghero came under Austrian rule with the Treaty of Utrecht,
Spain tried once again to conquer the city but was compelled by the
Treaty of London to yield Sardinia to the House of Savoy.