The history of the island

A few words about Brač

It would seem that the history of the sunny Dalmatian island will be less attractive than its beaches, restaurants and the current atmosphere, but nothing could be more wrong. The island has witnessed many changes in government and influences, and has been a battlefield for many wars.

Human communities on the island still existed in the Palaeolithic – as evidenced by archaeological research from the Kopačina cave between Supetar and Donji Humec. Later, during the Bronze and Iron Age, the island was inhabited by the Illyrians who lived mainly in the interior of the island, and many ruins have survived. The most famous ones are Rat near Ložišća, Velo Gračišće in Selca and Koštilo near Bol.

In 9 AD the area was invaded by the Romans. After a long battle with Delmatima, the Romans managed to defeat the local population. As a result, the province of Dalmatia was founded, the capital of which was Salona, ​​which is today’s city of Solin. Probably due to the small distance of the island from Salona, ​​no major city was founded on Brač, however evidence of Roman presence exists throughout the island, including villae rusticae, water tanks, baths, animal troughs, wine and oil presses, sarcophagi, the remains of the marina – Bol, Splitska, Lovrecina Bay).

However, masonry was of the greatest importance for the island. The rich layers of limestone favored the development of this craft, as evidenced by the monuments in various cities, also outside the island (Salona, ​​Aspalathos). The most important quarries from that period are Plate, Stražišće and Rasohe, located between the towns of Splitska and Skrip. One of the most famous architectural works made of this building material is Diocletian’s Palace in Split. The stone from the aforementioned quarries was transported to the port in Splitska and then to the construction site. At the same time, agriculture, oil and wine production developed on the island.

After the Avars and Slavs destroyed the city of Salona, ​​the island of Brač became a refuge for deserters. Soon after, the Slavs began to settle on the island. Legends say that refugees from the city founded the settlement of Škrip, however the town is older. During this period, Brač was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire.

In the 12th century, Croatia and Dalmatian cities were incorporated into Hungary, but Brač retained its political independence for a long time. From 1268 to 1357, the inhabitants of the island of Brač recognized the rule of Venice and then the Hungarian-Croatian authorities, retaining their separate self-government and old privileges.

A separate administrative board has developed on the island with its own structure, services and regulations. The voit was elected from among the island nobility. The official language on the island was Latin, while the everyday language was Croatian. The script was the Croatian Cyrillic, which was written “Povaljska listina” (1184), the oldest and most important medieval document of the island of Brač.

In 1420, the reign of the Venetian authorities in all of Dalmatia, with the exception of the Dubrovnik republic, began. The Venetian Republic established its own management of the island.

The medieval inhabitants of the island were mainly engaged in animal husbandry, forestry, agriculture, fishing, as well as stone processing and trade. For four centuries, the island of Brač was under the rule of Venice (1420-1797).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Ottoman Empire successively conquered Bosnia, the refugees occupied the relatively safe territories of Dalmatia, which at that time came under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy. including islands, incl. To take. It was then that the process of moving people from the interior of the island to the coast began. Many new settlements were established, such as Bol, Milna, Postira, Povlja, Pučišća, Splitska, Sumartin, Supetar and Sutivan. The monasteries of Povlja, Pučišća, Sumartin and Bol as well as the hermitage in Blaca, Dračeva luka and others were the cradle of science and culture.

The eighteenth century is a transition first from the reign of Venetian under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy in accordance with the agreement with Napoleon’s France, and then under the rule of France itself for a year. In 1807, prince-bishop Piotr I Petrović-Niegosz, with the help of the Russian fleet, regained the island. In 1815, after the fall of France, the island returned to Austro-Hungarian rule by a decision of the Congress of Vienna. Brač became part of the Crown Countries of Saint Stephen in 1867. After the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918, the island, along with the rest of Dalmatia, became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.

In 1939 The Banovina of Croatia was established, which included Dalmatia, and with it, and Brač. After the collapse of the Yugoslav state in April 1941. the island became part of the Independent State of Croatia.

1941 was also the occupation of the island by the Italian army. National Liberation commissions were organized in the small towns to fight the occupant. The high effectiveness of these activities led to the arrests and executions of the island’s population, including the inhabitants of Selca, Novo Selo, Gornji Humac, Pražnica, Pučišća, Dracevica, and Bol. The town of Selca was completely burnt down.

After the capitulation of Italy, in the fall of 1943, the local population disarmed the Italian army and freed the island for several months until Ustaša’s arrival. In January 1944, as a consequence of a landing action from Vis to Brač, 1,800 soldiers were taken over by Nazi Germany. In June 1944, the landing of the Allied troops from the island of Vis to Brač began. By July 18, 1944, the entire island was recaptured and liberated from German rule.

In the summer of 1991, Croatia was attacked by the Yugoslav troops. The inhabitants of the island organized defense units and defended themselves against the attacks of ships which on October 14 and 15, 1991 shelled the western part of the island (around the town of Milna, part of the canal between the island and Split, and Split). One young island defender was killed. The defenders of Brač shot down 2 planes of the Yugoslav army. After the war, the island was incorporated into the Split-Dalmatian County (Croatian equivalent of the Polish province). Brač is currently administratively divided into the city municipality of Supetar and the municipalities of Milna, Sutivan, Nerezišća, Postira, Bol, Pučišća and Selca.