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Lastovo and surrounding islands The island of Lastovo belongs to the central Dalmatian archipelago. Thirteen kilometers south of Korčula, the island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the Adriatic Sea. Other islands in this group include Vis, Brač, Hvar, Korčula and Mljet. The dimensions of the island are approximately 9.8 km (6.1 mi) long by up to 5.8 km (3.6 mi) wide. The Lastovo archipelago contains a total of 46 islands, including the larger islands Sušac, Prežba, Mrčara and an island group called Lastovnjaci on the eastern side. Prežba is connected to the main island by a bridge at the village of Pasadur ("passage" in the local dialect). The island has a daily hydrofoil service and ferry ("trajekt") service linking it to the mainland at Split and stopping along the way at Korčula and Hvar. Lučica The town of Lastovo is spread over the steep banks of a natural amphitheatre overlooking a fertile field, facing away from the sea. This is unusual compared to other Adriatic islands, which are normally harbour side. Other settlements on the island include the villages of Ubli (also known as Sveti Petar), Lučica, Zaklopatica, Skrivena Luka, and Pasadur. Despite major fires in 1971, 1998 and 2003,about 60% of Lastovo is covered with forest, mostly Holm Oaks and Aleppo Pines and Mediterranean underbrush.There are rich communities of falcon and hawk nests. These used to be exploited by the Dubrovnik Republic for falconry and traded to other kingdoms, especially to Kingdom of Naples in the Middle Ages. The underwater life is the richest in the entire Adriatic, featuring lobsters, crayfish, octopus and many high prized fish such as John Dory and Groupers. There are no venomous snakes on the island.

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Lastovo possesses all the basic characteristics of the Mediterranean climate, dominated by mild, moist winters and warm, long, and dry summers. The island receives around 2,700 sun hours per year, ranking it among one of the sunniest in the Adriatic and pleasant for tourists. This produces a water temperature around 27 °C (81 °F) in summer.[citation needed] Annual rainfall is 622 millimetres (24.5 in).[9] Since there are no permanent surface water streams, residents rely on bores, dams and wells.

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Prehistory and antiquity

The island was first mentioned by 6th century lexicographer Stephen from Byzantium who called it Ladesta and Ladeston. His source was Theopompus, a 4th century BC Greek historian. The names of numerous other Illyric settlements along the coast had the same suffix -est which indicates its Illyric origins. When the Romans conquered Dalmatia they gave the island the Latin name Augusta Insula meaning "emperors island". During the Middle Ages, Lastovo (Lágosta), given its name to the carob or locust bean, which flourishes all over the island, or it is the tree that has christened the island, and weather Lastovo is locust, or locust has become Lastovo, there is the farther question whether the eponymous "locust" is the carob tree or the lobster, with which the crayfish (French: langouste, Italian: aligusta, arigusta) is a characterist a product of the island as the carob bean. It may not generally known that the English words "lobster" and "Locust" are both derived from the same source, namely, the Latin LOCUSTA, and it is remarkable circumstance than Lágosta should embody in its names, its two principal but so divergent product, the name would be transcribed as Augusta, Lagusta or Lagosta. The Slavic suffix -ovo combined with the Roman form of Lasta gives the islands present name of Lastovo. The first traces of human presence on the island were found in the Rača cave where continuous evidence of habitation reaches as far as the late Neolithic Age. In prehistoric times the island was inhabited by the Illyrians. However finds of Greek ceramics show that the island was on one of the Greek trade routes on the Adriatic and probably a part of the state of Issa. When the Romans conquered the province of Dalmatia they too settled Lastovo. The Romans named the island Augusta Insula. The Romans left very clear traces of their long rule on the island, the so called "villae rusticae" (residential farming units) or the water catchment areas known as the "lokve" are amongst other monuments that remain. The Romans established a settlement on location of today's village Ubli that flourished during first centuries AD, only to become completely desolate in later centuries.

Middle Ages

With the arrival of the Slavs to Adriatic in the 7th century, Croats eventually settled most of Dalmatia which included Lastovo. Around 950, the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos mentions Lastovo in his De Administrando Imperio by its Slavic name Lastobon. In 998 the Venetian Doge Pietro Orseolo II took massive operations against Croatian and Neretvian pirates along the Adriatic and its islands, which culminated with the destruction of the town of Lastovo. After this Lastovci decided to build a city on the internal hill away from the coast which made the city more defendable. During the next two centuries inhabitants dedicated themselves more to agriculture and neglected their earlier naval tradition. Scarcity of accurate historical documents and an almost complete silence covering the events on the island in the early Middle Ages are trustworthy signs of a great autonomy of Lastovo in that period. Lastovo may have at times come briefly under various rulers from the 7th–13th centuries, whether Byzantine, Dukljan or Neretvian, however, it is accepted that Lastovo generally recognised the Croatian kings as its nominal and natural rulers. In 1185 the Hvar diocese is formed of which Lastovo is mentioned as having been part. A church synod held in Split that same year decreed that the diocese of Hvar should fall under the authority of the Archbishop of Split.

Republic of Ragusa

Lastovo commune's official seal known as the Pečat within the Republic of Dubrovnik Later in the 13th century the people of Lastovo voluntarily joined the Republic of Ragusa in 1252 after the republic promised that it would honour Lastovo's internal autonomy . This agreement was codified in the Ragusa Statute written in 1272. In 1310 Lastovo got its first written legislation, the Statute of Lastovo, which had all the characteristics of law. The supreme authority on the island had a council consisting of 20 members who held office for life. In 1486 authorities of the Council were passed in Parliament of the Republic and the island lost much of its autonomy. Continuous limitation of the island's autonomy and higher taxes led to a short lived rebellion in 1602. On the appeal of islanders, Venice occupied the island the following year and held it until 1606, when it was returned to Ragusa. The next attempt at rebellion was in 1652, which resulted in the loss of the island's autonomy. During the Ottoman conquests, Lastovo was very often a target of pirates from Ulcinj, leading to the introduction of mandatory guard service. Guard service was abolished in the 18th century when pirates from Ulcinj became merchant sailors. The last reported outbreak of vampirism in Croatia was 'recorded' on Lastovo. The trial in Ragusa in 1737 took testimony from visitors to the island during an outbreak of severe diarrhoea which killed many locals. The islanders blamed this epidemic on vampires. This case included from Lastovo the defendants who formed a band or group of vigilante style vampire hunters. Such cases were reported throughout all of Croatia and indeed Europe in the Middle Ages.

19th century

In 1806 the French took control of the Republic of Ragusa. When they abolished the Republic in 1808, Lastovo became part of the French Empire. The French built a fortification on Glavica hill and mobilised islanders against the British. Between 18 January and 3 February 1813, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Apollo and troops captured Lastovo and Korčula. The British held the island until 1815 when the Congress of Vienna awarded the island to the Habsburg Empire. After 1815, Lastovo was part of Dubrovnik county in the Austrian province of Dalmatia. Until 1829, it had its own court, but later the island fell under the jurisdiction of the court in Korčula. In the 1840s, the municipality fell into a deep economic crisis that resulted in its selling most of its forests to foreigners.

20th century

This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this section if you can. The talk page may contain suggestions. (May 2008) This article's citation style may be unclear. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking. (September 2009) During World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Army established a military garrison on Glavica consisted mostly of Hungarian troops. The authorities ordered blackouts and forbade the ringing of church bells during the war. At the end of 1917 four French planes bombed Lastovo. Some French troops landed on the island to reconnoiter it. Italian forces soon followed and clashed with the garrison. Some members of the Austro-Hungarian garrison escaped. The Italians took those they caught to Italy as prisoners of war. A French plane dropping leaflets on the island on 4 November brought the news that the war was finally over. On 11 November 1918 Italian troops took possession of the island based on the 1915 Secret Treaty of London, which allocated much of Dalmatia to Italy upon Italy entering the war on the side of the Triple Alliance. The Italians based their claim upon the presence of ethnic Italians in all parts of maritime Dalmatia. However, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who was a supporter of the nationality principle, blocked the allocation. As a consequence, under the Rapallo agreement of 1920, Italy only got Zara (today Zadar), due to its Italian majority, and Lagosta. Apparently Italy got Lagosta for strategic reasons. Although the Italian population was in the minority, it was smaller than other Dalmatian places such as Vis (Lissa). After the advent of Fascism in Italy (1922), the Italians followed a policy of Italianization in all its possessions. The Italians closed the Croatian schools and press, and Italian became the only official language. At the same time, living standards improved. Many public works were started, and the island reached its peak population of approximately 2,000. This growth resulted in part from the immigration from other Dalmatian towns, of ethnic Italians who wished to live under Italian rule.

Town of Lastovo

In 1941 the Axis Powers attacked Yugoslavia, which collapsed in few days. Italy annexed part of Dalmatia; the remainder became part of the new Independent State of Croatia. A cruel (ethnic and political) civil war combined with a war of resistance against the Axis Powers to devastate the former Yugoslavia. On September 8, 1943, after the declaration of the Armistice with Italy, the Italian Army collapsed and Josip Broz Tito's Partisans took over the island, incorporating it into Yugoslavia. The partisans executed Martin Tomasin, a friend of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, whom he had appointed governor. Lastovo became a part of the People's Republic of Croatia in 1945—one of the six Republics of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia and into the Socialist Republic of Croatia — one of the republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1953.[7] At this time all the Italian residents left the island. After World War II, Lastovo experienced the same fate as the neighbouring island Vis. The island became a military region barred to foreign nationals. The barring of foreign nationals led to economic stagnation and the depopulation of the island. In 1988 the ban was lifted and foreign tourists were again allowed to visit the island. Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, but the Yugoslav People's Army only left its bases on Lastovo, one of its last footholds in Croatia, in July 1992. The war in Croatia ended in 1995. Lastovo was fortunate to have escaped much of the devastation that swept across the rest of Croatia and Bosnia. Still, due to war and economic crisis in the country, Lastovo experienced a further population decline from 1205 people in 1991 to 835 people in 2001.

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A Lastovo vineyard Like many of the Mediterranean islands, the Lastovo economy is centred around agriculture and tourism. The 2003 Agricultural Census reported that the municipality had 57 ha (140 acres) of land used for agriculture. Of this 25 ha (62 acres) were vineyards and over 9000 olive trees grew in Lastovo. Following decades of isolation from foreigners, due to the Yugoslav National Army activities and the Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995), the island has become attractive to tourists partly because it has remained largely undeveloped; even supplying the island with fresh water has been difficult.

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Population According to the 2001 census, the municipality of Lastovo has a population of 835 people with 451 people in the town of Lastovo. The 835 Lastovci formed in 291 private households with an average of 2.7 people per household, lower than the 3.0 person per household national average. The average age of the people of the Lastovo municipality was 40 years old, slightly older than the national average of 39 years old. About 91% of the people of the Lastovo municipality are Roman Catholics and 93% are Croats. The highest level of education for 44% of the municipality was secondary school, for 13% it was college or university.

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