While there is some good proof that the first inhabitant of Korčula were in fact Stone Age people, we will skip “a few years” and go to the times of ancient Greece who’s people founded the first settlement on the island. Because of its dense pine wood the Greeks named their first settlement on the island “Korkyra Melania” (Black Korčula).
From these old days only one important document remains – a stone tablet called “the psephism from Lumbarda”. Written in ancient Greek this is the oldest written document in Croatia’s history and you see it for yourself if you visit Korčula town’s museum.
After the Greeks, Korčula came under the rule of Romans and later the Venetian Empire! Venetians arrived in Korčula in the 10th century and their rule continued during the next 800 years. During this time, in the year 1252 the legendary world traveler Marco Polo was allegedly born on the island! While there is no definitive proof of this, there is some historical evidence (although very vague) that supports this claim.
The Venetian influence is clearly seen by Korčula’s architecture style, people’s lifestyle and culture in various ways and forms.
After the fall of the Venetian state in 1797, Korčula became a part of the Austrian empire and later came under the rule of France and Britain.
During World War II, the island fell to the Italians once more (in 1941), before the Germans occupied it in December of 1943. The town of Korčula was severely bombed by the Allies. The bombings destroyed most of the town’s buildings of significance.
The development of the tourism industry in the 20th century turned this island of shipyards and fishermen into a Mediterranean oasis of hotels, marinas and restaurants. Today, this small island near Dubrovnik is becoming a very desirable tourist destination for visitors from all corners of the world.