(1900 Times Atlas of the World)
1401 The Venetians acquire the island from the King of Naples
1797 Assigned to France by the Treaty of Campoformido.
1798-1815 After several political changes, Paxi becomes part of a British protectorate.
The Twenty-first of July (1675) we went on board (at Corfu), and set sail for Zant; but the Wind being contrary, and having but little Sea-room between the Island and the Continent, our Boats were so short, that we made little, or no way, until the Third day. The Wind then tacking about to the North, we soon got out, and doubled the Southern Cape of the Island; beyond which there are some Flats, and Rocks by it above water; called Paxo, and Antipaxo, by the Venetians.
A journey into Greece by George Wheler, Esq., in company of Dr. Spon of Lyons - 1682
Porto S. Nicolò (Gaios): the channel between the islet of the fortress (left) and the village (right)
Paxi is a small island which is thought to have followed the same historical development as nearby Corfu: usually it was considered as one of the smaller islands around Corfu, but in 1800 it was regarded as a component of the Eptanese (Seven Islands) Republic which included also Santa Maura, Cefalonia, Itaca, Zante and Cerigo. S. Nicolò (Gaios), the main village of the island is located on its eastern coast and an islet shelters its harbour from winds and rough sea. S. Nicolò is a recurring name of harbours on Venetian islands, e.g. at Tinos, because St. Nicholas is the patron saint of seamen.
A brisk scirocco
sprang up, and forced the current to change its direction. This
brought us so quickly forward that we soon left Santa Maura far
behind us. (..) Our favourable scirocco blew still; it was night, and we had
arrived opposite Anti-paxu. We were all asleep except old
Dimetri, who, like Palinurus (Aeneas' pilot), sate by the helm. All at once
the bark ran upon one of the many sand-banks between Antipaxu and Paxu. We all instantly awoke: and a terrible noise
ensued. Dimetri was accused of having been asleep, which
might have been very possible. He, on the other hand, maintained that the bank must have been lately formed, since,
during a twenty-five years navigation upon these seas, he had
never known it. (..) Anti-paxu is now more cultivated than it used to be. The
Paxiots, who only come here for the purpose of cultivation and
reaping, grow figs, oil, wine, and almonds on the island, which
only contains three huts for the keepers. We saw the small harbour of Paxu, with its rocky island in
the middle of the entrance, but we did not land.
Christian Muller - Journey through Greece and the Ionian Islands: in June, July, and August, 1821
The top of the islet housed a small fortress, which is now surrounded by high stone pines.
(left) A cannon on the southern side of the channel; (right) a pizzeria dedicated to the pirates
on the island the few remains of the fort built by the Neapolitans when they were in possession of Corfu. A light-house is
built here, the only one in the southern Ionian islands. (..) We saw Parga lying on its pointed rocks, and saw the flash
and smoke of its cannon. Muller
The small fortress could not protect the inhabitants from a well organized invasion; its objective was to deter Ottoman corsairs from raiding the village: Hayruddin Barbarossa (Red Beard) (1465-1546) was the most famous of these corsairs: the red bearded pirate portrayed on the poster of a pizzeria is most likely a reference to him.
In the streets of Porto S. Nicolò (Gaios)
The small island of Paxu supports a very laborious race of
people. The cultivation of the olive, which produces better oil
than that of Corfu, and that of almonds, are the principal
branches of industry of the island. Muller
Porto S. Nicolò retains a distinct Venetian atmosphere (for more of this atmosphere see some corners of the old town of Corfu).
The northern cove (Lakka): in the distance: Corfu
It looks green and cultivated,
which has a very pleasing effect upon the eye, on arriving from the naked rocks of the more southern islands. The coast of
Paxu also offers great inducement for fishing. Muller
Paxo has another very protected natural harbour at its northern end.
The image in the background of this page shows a bell tower in Porto S. Nicolò.
Move to the Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses in Greece
List of the fortresses
|Geographic area||Location||Ionian Islands||Corfù (Kerkyra) Paxo (Paxi) Santa Maura (Lefkadas) Cefalonia (Kephallonia) Asso (Assos) Itaca (Ithaki) Zante (Zachintos) Cerigo (Kythera)||Greek Mainland||Butrinto (Butrint) Parga Preveza and Azio (Aktion) Vonizza (Vonitsa) Lepanto (Nafpaktos) Atene (Athens)||Peloponnese (Morea)||Castel di Morea (Rio), Castel di Rumelia (Antirio) and Patrasso (Patra) Castel Tornese (Hlemoutsi) and Glarenza Navarino (Pilo) and Calamata Modon (Methoni) Corone (Koroni) Braccio di Maina, Zarnata, Passavà and Chielefà Mistrà Corinto (Korinthos) Argo (Argos) Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) Malvasia (Monemvassia)||Aegean Islands||Negroponte (Chalcis) Castelrosso (Karistos) Oreo Lemno (Limnos) Schiatto (Skiathos) Scopello (Skopelos) Alonisso Schiro (Skyros) Andro (Andros) Tino (Tinos) Micono (Mykonos) Siro (Syros) Egina (Aegina) Spezzia (Spetse) Paris (Paros) Antiparis (Andiparos) Nasso (Naxos) Serifo (Serifos) Sifno (Syphnos) Milo (Milos) Argentiera (Kimolos) Santorino (Thira) Folegandro (Folegandros) Stampalia (Astipalea)||Crete||Grambusa (Granvousa) Castello (Kasteli/Kissamos) La Canea (Xania) Souda Candia (Iraklion) Rettimo (Rethymno) Spinalonga and Castel Mirabello Castles on the southern coast Sittia and Paleocastro|
You may refresh your knowledge of the history of Venice in the Levant by reading an abstract from
the History of Venice by Thomas Salmon, published in 1754. The Italian text is accompanied by an English summary.