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History

The history of the island of Pag

An important role in the history of the Pag area was played by some pronounced features of its special environment, which shaped the relationship between the people of Pag and their living space.

The age of Antique

The strategic and traffic position of this unique island was recognized even in ancient times. The whole group of northern Adriatic islands to which Pag belongs, was called Elektrides by ancient writers. The name is most likely motivated by the amber trade whose maritime traffic route passed along the shores of Pag.


The age of the Romans

The first known inhabitants of the island were the Liburnians. Their archeological remains in the form of necropolises, fortified settlements or numerous mounds can still be found on the island today. Passing from the old to the new century, the Romans occupied the island of Pag. The first written mention of the island dates from that period. In the manuscript of the Roman geographer Pliny the Elder, from the 1st century, the island is called Cissa (Kisa), and most probably after the Illyrian settlement which was located in the area between the present-day town of Novalja and the town of Caska. Cissa was badly damaged during the great earthquake in 361, leaving only ruins of this place, and the role of the new, most important settlement was taken over by Navalia, today's Novalja. Novalja is full of Roman remains, and the most important is the Roman underground water supply system "Talijanova buža".

The role of the Pag salt

"Picking" the most important natural resource of Pag, salt, began in the early Middle Ages, in the bay Solinka, a place of exceptional natural conditions (shallow sea, many hours of sunshine and dry air). Salt and the island of Pag are strongly connected, on a symbolic level. Throughout the Middle and Early Modern Ages, salt was one of the most important and valuable products that was constantly traded along trade routes in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. Numerous writings confirm that Pag's medieval and early modern history is marked by struggles to control this resource. The urban center of the island, the town of Pag, most likely gave its name to the whole island, and is strongly associated with salt production. Namely, the city in the XV. century moved to a more favorable strategic place from which it was easier to control the production of salt - the entrance to the bay Solinka. 

 


Where did the forests of Pag disappear?

It is assumed that by the end of the Middle Ages Pag was a wooded island and that at the end of that century it became quite bare, probably by the joint action of three processes: intensive livestock, tree felling (Pag holm oak is a very grateful shipbuilding material) and strong barrels with salt. The bora, a cold and strong wind, comes from the north and northwest, over the Velebit mountain and the Velebit channel, and strikes the island of Pag along its entire length. The salt, which the relentless bora lifts from the sea and spreads all over the island, salts the plants. Precisely because of the bora and salt on the grass and herbs, the milk and meat of Pag sheep and the Pag cheese obtained from it have a unique taste and quality.

 

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