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Canicattì, (Agrigento)

Canicattì (Sicilian: Caniattì) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Agrigento in the Italian region Sicily, located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) southeast of Palermo and about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Agrigento. History The archaeological remains in the city and in the neighbourhood testify the presence of a settlement before the Roman age. The name of Canicattì is of Arabic origin, stemming from Handaq-attin, meaning "clay ditch". During the conquest of Sicily by the Normans, the local Muslim lord was besieged and defeated by baron Salvatore Palmeri (1087), a follower of Roger I of Sicily: the latter, as reward, offered him a sword and the lordship over the fief. Under the Palmieri rule the Arab fortress was enlarged, becoming a true castle with a tower. The Normans were followed by the Hohenstaufen and the French Angevines, in turn ousted by the Aragonese. In 1448 the fief of Canicattì was ceded by Antonio Palmieri, who was heirless, to his nephew Andrea De Crescenzio, who obtained by king John II of Aragon the Licentia populandi, i.e. the permission to enlarge the fief's boundaries, increase its population and administer justice. Under Andrea De Crescenzio Canicattì was a rural community including some 1000/1500 inhabitants, living in the upper part of the town. Andrea De Crescenzio was succeeded by his son Giovanni, who, having no sons, left the barony to his father-in-law Francesco Calogero Bonanno, in 1507. Under the Bonannos the town experienced a considerable demographic growth, and several large edifices and fountains were erected. The Bonanno seigniory started to decline from the later 18th century. In 1819 the last Bonanno left Canicattì to baron Gabriele Chiaramonte Bordonaro. After the riots of 1848 and 1859/1861, and the unification of Italy, banks, mills and plants were built in the town, increasing its trades. For the whole 20th century the economy remained based on agriculture (mostly grapes), trades and services. In 1943 it was the seat of the Canicattì massacre, in which American troops killed several Italian civilians. See also Canicattì massacre References External links Official website History of Canicattì and photos.

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