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The monumental building of Cagliari’s National Archive was opened in 1927 and represented one of the first examples of modern archival constructions of that period.
However, the Archive origins are very old: it was founded in 1332 by Alfonso il Benigno, king of Aragon, nine years after their island conquest. Being located in the historic area of Castello, inside Palazzo Reggio, it was used as the general archive of the Reign.
Therefore, its history is strictly bounded to the political events which led the city to be the capital of the Reign of Sardinia for many centuries, even during the Aragonese, Spanish, Austrian and Piedmontese dominations.
The documents preserved in the archives indicate the peculiarity of Sardinian history as the island had its own political administrative and judiciary institutions until the so-called perfect unification with Piedmont in 1847. Up to this period, the archival and cartographic documentation of Cagliari and of the island’s fortifications is quite valuable. After the Italian Unification, the archive was progressively increased with files from the peripheral offices of the State.
The archive also contains copious notarial documentation, a collection of parchments and important private documents.
From the archives of the Aragonese and Spanish period, the Antico Archivio Regio, the Regio Demanio and the Reale Udienza are recommended, respectively on the royal archive, property and audience. From the Sabaudian administration, the Regia Segreteria di Stato e di Guerra, the Intendenza Generale and the Atti governativi e amministrativi are worth seeing, dealing with the state and war secretariat, the general commissariat, administrative and governmental acts.
Evidence of the post-unitary and contemporary periods are: the Prefettura di Cagliari, the Alto Commissariato e Consulta regionale della Sardegna, the Partito Nazionale Fascista, the Comitati di liberazione nazionale and the Manifattura Tabacchi (Cagliari’s Prefecture, Sardinia’s High Police Commission and Council, the National Fascist Party, the National Liberation Committee, and the Tobacco Factory). Quite interesting are also the cartographic (Real Corpo di Stato Maggiore Generale, Ufficio Tecnico Erariale di Cagliari), the judiciary (Tribunale di Cagliari e Corte d’Appello) and the health (Ospedale Sant’Antonio Abate e San Gioannni di Dio) archives.
Cagliari’s National Archive has a reading room hall, a valuable library and additional services.