Korcula has a similar history with other parts of the Dalmatian archipelago. The first known inhabitants of Korcula were Illyrian tribes who occupied a large area of Dalmatia. They lived from farming and fishing. It is still possible to see on the Island their stone burial mounds, roughly shaped as a blunt cone.
The golden period for Korcula was between the 13th and 15th centuries, since it was then that the old town's present form was acquired through the construction of important buildings. Most of these can still be seen today.
Yet Korcula’s existence was to be far from serene. With an existence on the fringes of the Venetian state’s territory, Korcula lived with an omnipresent danger of the Ottoman advance on it's doorsteps. Korcula was to witness and heroically partake in various battles with the seemingly invincible Ottoman Empire. One of the most famous battles was in 1571, against the Ottoman naval leader Uluz Alija, who attempted to plunder Korcula.
Despite being abandonned to an apparently inevitable fate by the Venetian garrison, local men and women, both from the town and the surrounding villages, were mobilised in defence of this strategic town. Through valiant fighting, though also a fortunate storm, the Korculans managed to defend the town and repel the invaders, preserving their livelihood and Korcula itself.
With the recession and decline in the Mediterranean trade, though also by the discovery of America, Korcula, with many other parts of the Adriatic began to suffer economic and cultural decline, as well as political chicanery.p align="justify">The ripples from revolutionary France were to have a significant effect on Korcula. As the city states crumbled in front of the Napleonic armies, Venice was to lose its dominace over the Adriatic with the Peace Treaty of Campoformio in 1797. After the fall of the Venetian state in 1797, Korcula became part of the Austrian empire.The Austrian hegemony was to last for over a century.
Upon the fall of Austrian empire at the end of the First World War, Korcula became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes under the Versailles Agreement.
Later, upon the declaration of King Alexander’s dictatorship, the country was renamed Yugoslavia. Henceforth, Korcula was to share Yugoslavia’s turbulent history, staying a part of it until 1991, when Croatia become an independent state.
Generally throughout the 20th century, Korcula started developing its tourist industry. The first travellers arrived in the 1920's, although it wasn't until 1960's that mass tourism started to expand, permanently changing the face of a shipyards and stone masonery town, to one of hotels, marinas and restaurants.(Vicko Marelic)
History related books and links:
People in the old times - photo gallery of images of people during Korcula's history
History of Dubrovnik - an overview article about Dubrovnik's history
Croatia : A History by Ivo Goldstein - Written by a Professor of History at Zagreb University. An unbiased account of history of Croatia since the Croats in that area settled up to the present day. Review says the book "...presents a welcome and scholarly history providing an invaluable, authoritative view of Croatian culture and national character, both in its own terms and in relation to it's immediate neighbours.
Book on Korcula - Marco Polo's Isle by Michael Donley - The Croatian Adriatic – the New Riviera. Surprisingly, this nickname is a good hundred years old; yet once again the area has become a popular destination. However, apart from guides and books of a political or academic nature, nothing has appeared in English for 25 years. Marco Polo’s Isle is thus a timely publication. In it the author offers an in-depth view of one particular island, but at the same time captures the spirit of Dalmatia as a whole. read more...