Description: Asinara (Italian for "Donkey-inhabited" but its name comes from Latin "Sinuaria" and means sinus-shaped island) is an Italian island of 51 km▓ in area, with approximately 700 inhabitants. The island is located just off the northwestern tip of Sardinia, and is mountainous in geography with steep, rocky coasts. Due to a lack of much fresh water, trees are sparse, and a low scrub vegetation predominates. The island has recently been converted to a wildlife and marine preserve, and is part of the national parks system of Italy. It is home to some unusual animals, including a population of wild albino donkeys from which the island takes its name.
Ownership of Asinara was historically contested between Pisa, the Republic of Genoa, and the kingdom of Aragon. In 1721, it became property of the Savoy Kingdom of Sardinia. In more recent times, the island has been used as a quarantine and prison location; it was used as a prisoner of war camp during World War I, and a place of detention for members of Ethiopia's Imperial family and nobility during the Italian occupation of that country between 1936 and 1941. A high security prison housing mafia members and terrorists operated there until 1997.