The 28th of April is “Sa Die de sa Sardigna“, ‘Sardinia’s Day‘. The day has been chosen to commemorate the events of the 28th of April of 1794, day in which the Sardinian people rose up against the Piedmontese administration of the island.
The reasons for the uprising were both political and economical. First of all was Sardinia’s involvement in Piedmont’s war engaged against revolutionary France. In 1793, the French fleet made an attempt to conquer the island landing at Carloforte. But the Sardinian population held out, defending their own country and the Savoy Kingdom.
For its resistance and loyalty, Sardinia expected a reward from the Savoy crown. In particular, it asked for some military and civil offices and for more autonomy in its local government.
The King’s peremptory refusal to grant the island any of these wishes eventually spurred the rebellion, with the arrest of two notable figures of the so-called “Patriotic Party” (the lawyers from Cagliari Vincenzo Cabras and Efisio Pintor) being the final spark of unrest amongst the populace. On 28 April 1794, known as sa die de s’aciappa (standing for “the day of the pursuit and capture”), people in Cagliari started chasing any Piedmontese functionaries they could find; since many of them started to wear the local robes in order to blend into the crowd, any people suspected to be from the Italian mainland would be asked by the populace to “say chickpea” (nara cixiri) in Sardinian: failure in pronouncing the word correctly would give their origin away. By May, all the 514 Savoyard officers were put on a boat and sent back to the Mainland. Encouraged by
what happened in Cagliari, the revolt spread throughout the island in the countryside as well and people in Alghero and Sassari did the same.
The uprising was then led for another two years by the Republican Giovanni Maria Angioy, then a judge of the Royal Hearing (Reale Udienza), but it was later repressed by the loyalist forces that became bolstered by the peace treaty between France and Piedmont in 1796. The revolutionary experiment was thus brought to an end and Sardinia remained under Savoy rule.
Su patriottu Sardu a sos feudatarios (The Sardinian Patriots hymn to the feudatories) is the national anthem of Sardinia. It was written during the days of the uprising by Francesco Ignazio Mannu and it contains a harsh attack against lords and barons.
Procurade e moderare, —- (Endeavour to moderate,)
Barones, sa tirannia, —- (Oh barons! your tyranny,)
Chi si no, pro vida mia, —- (For if not, upon my life,)
Torrades a pe’ in terra! —- (You will be humbled to the ground.)
Declarada est già sa gherra —- (War is even now declared)
Contra de sa prepotenzia, —- (Against oppressive power,)
E cominzat sa passienzia —- (And patience in the people)
ln su pobulu a mancare —- (Is beginning to give way.)