Puglia - History & Geography by Gianni Gagnier
Capital City: Bari
Population : 4,000,000
Territory : 19,000 sq km
The region of Puglia is a long narrow strip situated to the lower south east of Italy the heel of Italy’s boot shape configuration. The Puglia region is mostly flat plains. The only mountainous region is the Gargano promontory which does not exceed 1,150m.
The region was settled by Italic tribes and by Greek colonists before it was conquered by Rome in the 4th century B.C. The Romans cultivated the land, built roads and established new settlements.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Apulia was occupied by the Goths, Lombard’s and the Byzantines at different times. In the 11th century the Normans conquered it and Robert Guiscard set up the duchy of Apulia in 1059. After the Norman conquest of Sicily in the late 11th century, Palermo replaced Melfi as the center of Norman power. Apulia became then a mere province, first of the kingdom of Sicily, then of the kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies.
The Turks and the Venetians later occupied the coastline until 1861, when the region joined the unified Kingdom of Italy. Social and agrarian reforms happened between the 19th century and the mid-to-late 20th century.
Industry has expanded rapidly in the 20th century with farming as the main activity. Products include olives, grapes, cereals, almonds, figs, tobacco and livestock, including sheep, pigs, cattle and goats. Manufacturing includes refined petroleum, chemicals, cement, iron, steel, processed food, plastics and wine.