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Eleonora di Arborea

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THIS ARTICLE HAS TO BE JOINED WITH Eleonora d'Arborea preferably under the name "Eleanor of Arborea" and not any Italian spelling.

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Eleonora d'Arborea (or Eleanora di Arboria ?) (c 1350 - 1404) was a Sardinian giudicessa (ruler or judge) and the island's greatest heroine.

Eleanora was the daughter of Mariano IV, who had become 1346 giudice of Arborea, on the west coast of Sardinia. It has been said that their family belonged to the clan of Visconti. The father married Eleanora to Brancaleone Doria, a Sardinian nobleman, in order to strengthen local alliances. Mariano died in 1376 and was succeeded by his son Ugone (Hugh of Arborea). In March 1383 there was a republican uprising in Arborea and Ugone was murdered. Eleanora defeated the rebels and became regent to her infant son Frederick, who as next male heir became the official monarch of Arborea.

For the next four years Arborea was at war with Aragon, which lost much of its possessions to Eleanor and was trying to reclaim the island, as the Aragonese king James II had a century earlier been promised its lordship by the Pope. Arborea obtained almost all of the island during this war. After rallying Sardinian forces, Eleonora was able to negotiate a favourable treaty. Her eldest son Federigo died during this war, and was succeeded by her younger son, Mariano V. An alliance was formed with Genoa, and Arborea maintained its independence until 1410 (1409?).

Eleonora composed the Carta di Logu, a body of laws which came into force in April 1395. They were considered to be far in advance of the laws of other countries, the penalty for most crimes being a fine, and the property rights of women were preserved. These laws remained in force in Sardinia until Italian unification in 1861.

Eleonora was particularly interested in ornithology. As a friend of birds, she was the first to legislate protection to a certain species of bird (Greifvogel). Based on this, the Eleanor Falcon (Falco eleonorae) was named after her.

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