Directory talk:Korcula History 2

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The Roman population on Korcula island where Dalmatian Latins - Known Data

During and post Roman Empire the population on Korcula island where Dalmatian Latins who spoke Romance Dalmatian (developed from Vulgar Latin). They were there for centuries.

In effect now a forgotten people.

  • Then Narrentanos Sclavos arrived on the island in the late ninth century who where related to the Croats (they spoke old Croatian Chakavian).
  • In 1262 the Venetians did mention the Slavs and Latins on the island of Korcula which means they lived side by side.

Latin was the written language of States and Roman Catholic Churches. Later we have Venetian Italian. It has been written many, many times that they, the Croatians, settled on Korcula and assimilated the remains of the Romans and quickly and firmly spread the Croatian language. This interpretation of history in modern times is a heavily politically driven and defined within a political context and agenda. Perspectives of the Pan-Slavism and Nationalistic movements.

The Statute of Korcula was drafted in 1214 (Liber Legum Statutorum Curzola 1214), and most likely the first one was written by the Korcula Latins.

Islands Diminishing Population During its Long history Brings More New Peoples

Konstantin Porfirogenet, the Xth century Byzantine emperor, whilst consolidating his empire, writes:

"Four islands lie nearby: Mljet, Korcula, Hvar, Brac, very beautiful and fertile with many deserted towns and meadows; the inhabitants live from cattle raising ... They have in their power these islands: Korcula or Krkar, on which there is a town."

Islands diminishing population during its long history might have been an issue since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. It becomes more clearer with the the arrival of the Republic of Venice. Wars and many plagues where part of the island's history. More migrations from the east from 15th century onwards started to happen. Eastern Croatians - Hercegovci and Montenegrins. There presence influenced the local Croatian language with Croato-Serbian elements.

Based on recent DNA studies migration also came from the west; Istria and Veneto areas. From the eastern mediterranean and further people came to the Republic of Venice from the Greek colonies, Armenians, Middle East etc.

The island was from 1420 to 1797 part of the Republic of Venice and her Slavic and Latin peoples become servants to the Republic.

The communities of the island, no matter of their origins, had to a certain extant incorporate Mediterranean Latin cultural. It can be also said they develop their own unique Mediterranean Latin cultural.

This uniques slowly started to disappear with the collapsed of the Republic of Venice in 1797.

Overtime History Has Shown Slavs Became More Numerous

Overtime history has shown that the Slavs became more numerous. It is not clear how historical this happened chronologically. They incorporated Romance Dalmatian into their local language. At first there must have been a divide, Korcula town and surrounding area must have been Latins and their nobility and they owned most of the land. Further west were the peasants (mainly Slavs) who worked the land. Blato (Blatta) and similar villages would have came into existence.

Over time the Venetian Italian language became the lingua franca off Dalmatia including Korcula. This became part the islands local language and it started the disappearance of Romance Dalmatian. The Romance Dalmatian was already in decline due to the firm establishment of old Croatian.

Due to the islands diminishing population part of the Slavic population themselves later became lower class nobility and with that their descendants where getting a good Catholic education. Further down the track within the Republic of Venice rule they become wealthier (merchants and captains) and establish themselves as land owning upper class. There must have been mixed marriages. Mixed communities (who were also into trades) later evolving in and around Korcula town. As records show citizens of the island Korcula by the 16th century had mainly Slavic origins but culturally where very Romance Dalmatian.

It has to be asked in 1797 how the communities of the island felt about their mixed Slavic and Latin heritage? Did they know about Croatia? Where they aware and did they identify with the previously mentioned? How did they feel about the language spoken (or languages)? Did they know about their connection with the Narentines (Neretvani), a nation of Slavic pirates who also traded Slaves?

History today is heavily seen through the perspectives of the Pan-Slavism and the Croatian Nationalistic movements and is not giving a true picture of the past.

Nationalistic Movements - 19th Century

Nationalistic movements of 19th century is a perspective that's needs to be explored. With the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath of that historical period, certain European nationhoods where being created that didn't exist before. Founding of the nation-states of Italy and then Germany, city-states, principalities and kingdoms ceasing to exist (or cease to be independent) , all had an affect on the lands that are now part of modern Croatia.

  • Industrial Revolution had an impact on creating modern nationhoods.

Pan-Slavism and Croatian Nationalistic movements, Industrial Revolution and Empire building is the historic drive of the 19th century. If you want to build a modern 19th century nation you need a least a mini-empire, for example a southern Slavic Empire.The great southern Slavic Empire could have the Russian Empire as an ally. This state would need a literary standard, standardise language of its slavic peoples, a history that unites them all etc.

Very Little Existing Primary Historical Sources

It is difficult to determine the exact history from 476 - 999 (even from 1000 -1250) because the sources are very scarce. People can easily spin any historic theme. Korcula is in the sphere of many interests; Byzantine Empire, Republic of Venice, Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), the Narentines, Regnum Chroatorum (Kingdom of Croatia), Chelmo (Zahumlje), Serbian Empire and all are not far from each other.

To this editor's knowledge there are no existing primary historical sources actually describing Croatian Slavs invading and settling the island of Korcula in the middle ages. It was the Republic of Venice who first mentions Slavic peoples and Korcula. In the 9th century Narantani (Slavic pirates), who are referred to today mainly as Neretva pirates (Neretvani), were starting to disrupt Venice's trade with the east (Levant). The Venetians discovered that they had strategically secured some of the islands in southern Dalmatia. Amongst these was the island of Korcula.

It is not known what happened to the Korcula Latins during the period of occupation of the Narantani (Slavic pirates). In 999 - 1000 the the Republic of Venice took control of the island with military means. Yet we have in 1262 the Venetians mentioning the Slavs and Latins on the island of Korcula which means they lived as a community (side by side).

The original: Κόρκυρα, Kórkyra [1]

(Lat. Corcyra; the island of Corfu).

  • Romans called it in Latin: Corcyra Nigra meaning Black Corcyra.
  • Italian (Venetian): Curzola

Greek-Corcyra Melaina. The original Greek island name is Kórkyra. In English it's called Cofu.

  • Early Croatian: Krkar
  • Antun (Antonio) Rosanovic from Korcula wrote in 1571:

"I firmly believe that from ancient times this was called Corcyra Melena or Nigra (Black Corcyra) probably because it is located similarly to the Greek island of Corfu, both of these island are stretched in East-West direction and have similar names. Or it is possibly because it appears so dark from the sea, where the forests give it black-green appearance. In this sense, there was some poetry written and it goes as follows; I call myself Corcyra , but earlier they called me black, both of these I like. On the Adriatic, opposite the shores of Gargano you will not find an island as dark, covered with pine forests. This is because I call myself “black” and I believe that name Corcyra came from that." Here we hear a new voice that a circle wall was built around the city, and that these walls are called little heart."