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Island of Korcula – history



The island was inhabited as early as the Neolithic (cave Vela Spilja near Vela Luka, cave Jakasova Spilja above the cove of Rasohatica, Zrnovo) and the Bronze Age. A Greek colony existed here in the 6th and the 5th centuries BC; at that time the island was called Korkyra Melaina (remains of Greek habitations in Lumbarda, in the vicinity of Blato and in Potirna). From 35 BC the island was part of the Roman Empire ; traces of Roman settlements have been discovered in the vicinity of Lumbarda, Vela Luka (locality Beneficij), Blago and on Pelegrin. On the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the island became part of the Ostrogoth state (AD 493) and then came under the Byzantine rule (AD 555). In the 9th century it was taken by the Nerentani/Narentini, and in AD 1000 by Venice. In 1180 the island came under the Hungarian-Croatian king (in 1214 the statute of the town and the island were passed). From 1221, during two centuries, the island had several rulers – rulers from Zahumlje, Venice (in 1298 the Genoese fleet defeated the Venetian fleet near Korcula), King Lodovic I (1358), Bosnian rulers (1390) and the Dubrovnik Republic (1413-1417). In the period 1420-1797 the island was under Venice but it retained its autonomy.

 

Due to frequent attacks of the Turkish fleet and pirate ships (all until the beginning of the 18th c.) several important points on the island were fortified (especially the town of Korcula). – After the fall of Venice there was another period of various rulers (1797-1805 Austria, 1805-1813 Fr ance, 1813-1815 Great Britain, 1815-1918 Austria). Korcula was under the Italian occupation in the period 1918-1921, and after that was annexed to Croatia. The centre of the island, the town of Korcula, with its cultural and historical heritage, its town ramparts (similar to those of Dubrovnik) ranks among the favourite tourist destinations in southern Croatia. – As for the local economy, shipbuilding (town of Korcula, Vela Luka) and stone cutting (extraction of white marble from a quarry on the eastern coast of the island) have been important branches for centuries. The island was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia until the Great Migrations. In the early 7th century, the Avar invasion is thought to have brought the Slavs into this region. As the barbarians started settling on the coast, the Italic population had to take refuge in the islands.

Along the Dalmatian coast the Slavic migrants pouring in from the interior seized control of the area where the Narenta (Neretva) River enters the Adriatic, as well as the island of Korčula (Curzola), that protect the river mouth. Christianizing of the Slavs began in the 9th century, but the Slavic inhabitants of the island (Croatians) may well have fully accepted Christianity later. Accordingly, the population of the island in the early middle ages was described as being in the same group as the Neretvians of the coastal Principality of Pagania (the land of the Pagans). However, the few sources that document the details of these early demographic changes are highly disputed. In any case, it seems that piracy on the sea emerged as the settlers of the coastal delta of the Neretva river quickly learnt maritime skills in their new environment.

On the island of Korcula you can find accommodation in hotels, apartments, holiday houses, luxury villas, rooms and camp-sites.

 

 

 


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