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History


The course of the island's history runs in parallel with that of Corfu, alongside whom Paxi fought against pirates and Turkish attacks and began to develop after the conquest of the Ionian Islands by the Venetians in 1386.

 

In 1453 the castle of Agios Nikolaos was built. Although today it is abandoned, it still stands as a proud guardian of the island, filling the visitor with awe and impressing in its simplicity and in the imposing lines of the battlements and canons. Around the same time, a second castle, that of Dialetos was built in Lakka in an area known as Bambaka, above the famous sandy beach of Charami, which no longer stands today due to negligence. Thereafter with the security of the island ensured, attention was turned towards planting olive groves over the entire island. This marvel, that no one today notices, was created through a lot of sweat and toil. The island became one massive olive grove and the little land retained around the 250,000 olive trees surrounded by dry stone walls, thousands of metres of dry stone walls. An immense stone monument and a unique heritage. The 152 abandoned primitive olive presses remind the visitor of the pinnacle that the island reached and the labour of man.

 

In 1797, after 411 years in the possession of the Venetians, control of Paxi passed to the French Republic, which kept the islands for approximately 2 years. In 1799, after a 3 month siege, Corfu was occupied by combined Russian and Turkish forces following which the Ionian Islands Constitution of 1800 was written and the Septinsular Republic declared, which naturally included Paxi, under the suzerainty of Turkey and under the protection of Russia. This first Greek state was however, short-lived, lasting only 7 years. Under the secret articles of the Treaty of Tilsit signed on 8 July 1807, the Ionian Islands were ceded to the French Empire who kept the islands until 1814. During this time, the British blockaded the islands causing a massive shortage of food which lead the Paxiots to revolt against the French in 1810 where the governor, Count Dimakis Makris and Laskaris Grammatikos were killed and a number of others injured. The French, however, suppressed the uprising in a few days and severly punished the leaders. Seven of them were shot in Corfu Castle in 1811, many were imprisoned and others forced to flee the island. There still remained the hope that the British would occupy the island within a short period of time. This came about in 1814 when a British force under the command of Richard Church and Major Theodoros Kolokotronis occupied captured the fortress and neutralised the guards without firing a shot. In 1817 a new constitution was signed and the United States of the Ionian Islands proclaimed as a British protectorate governed by a British high commissioner who wielded supreme authority over the islands. Union with Greece eventually took place in 1864.

[From the out of print book “Paxi, History, Folklore, Tradition” by Giannis Doikas].

 

 



Paxos Tourist Guide 2015
     
 
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Φωτογραφικό υλικό: Σπύρος Κολοβός & Δημήτριος Κίντζιος