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There are several archaeological remains (Nuraghi, "Giant Tombs", sacred wells, "Fairy Tombs" and menhirs), that prove these areas were inhabited since Prehistoric times.
Punic and Phoenician settlers probably arrived here: the high cliffs around the Golf of Orosei were probably too dangerous to moor there, so they very likely chose the more suitable coastline around Tertenia and Tortolì.
The Romans then settled in this area.
In the "Giudicati" period,
Ogliastra was first part of the "giudicato"(principality) of Cagliari, and later belonged to Gallura.
There may have originally been a "giudicato" of Ogliastra, which had its capital in Orosei.
Later on, during the Aragonese and Spanish domination, the area was part of the Marquisate of Quirra.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Ogliastra became a province, its capital in Lanusei.
Ogliastra is also a diocese - it was first part of the Suelli diocese, which was founded in the XI century, then passed under Cagliari.
It was reestablished in Tortoli in the first half of the nineteenth century, and finally transferred to Lanusei in 1927.