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ELEONORA OF ARBOREA

Eleonora of Arborea (1347–1404) was the Giudicessa ("Female Judge")/Ruler of the House of Arborea, whose power extended over about one third of Sardinia, from 1383 to her death. She was one of the last, most powerful and significant ruler of her times, as well as the island's most renowned heroine.

Eleonora wrote a Constitution for Arborea, the Carta de Logu (Charter of Law), a body of laws which came into force in April 1395. They were far more modern than the laws of other countries, the penalty for most crimes being a fine, and the property rights of women being preserved. These laws remained in force in Sardinia until the advent of King Charles Felix in 1827.

Eleonora was born in Catalonia; daughter of Marianus IV, the judge/ruler of the House of Arborea. Her brother became the new hereditary judge in 1376 but he was killed seven years later, so Eleanora took over as regent for her infant son. For the next four years she fought against the Crown of Aragon which claimed Sardinia, retaking from the invadors much of the island. Her dream was the unification of Sardinia.

 Eleonora was also particularly interested in ornithology: she was the first lawmaker to legislate protection to birds, in this case falcons. The Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) was named after her.