to legend, Paxos
created when Poseidon, ancient Greek god of the sea,
smashed off the tip of Corfu with his trident.
all the Eptanisa (7 Ionian islands) Paxos has the
trident as its emblem. It is said that the god Poseidon,
ruler of the seas, wishing to create a beautiful,
peaceful island far away from the other gods and men,
and intending to live there with his beloved Amfitriti,
struck the southern part of Corfu hard and Paxos was
formed. With the blow, however, he lost his trident
which the Paxiots later found and made their emblem.
Text of the book of Yianis Doikas "Paxos" English
translation by Susan Boikos
little island of Paxos was already famous since the
Phoenician years. According to one version, it got its
name from the Phoenician word Pax, meaning plate. Their
history is more or less similar to the other islands in
the Ionian Sea.
The island has pursued
a course through history which parallels that
of Corfu. At the side of the larger island it fought
against both pirate raids and Turkish attacks. Real
progress, however, only began with the occupation
by the Venetians in 1386.The Venetians imposed the cultivation of olive-trees on the two islands, a
tree which thanks to the damp climate grew especially
The castle of St. Nicholas was built in 1453 and
although ruined today it still stands guard proudly over
the island, awing the visitor with its presence and
impressing with its simplicity and imposing lines, its
cannon and the ports through which they were fired. A second castle was built at about the same time:
that of Dalietos,
at Babaka near Lakka, close to the
Charami beach, but neglect has ensured that no
traces of it can be seen today.
Once the security of the island
had been established, the attention of the inhabitants
turned to increasing the island's production of olives.
The extent of their achievement, the results of their
sweat and toil in these distant years, can be admired
today. The whole island is
grove, and the minute amounts of soil are retained by
retaining walls - thousands of
some two hundred and fifty thousand olive trees on the
island, and the 152 ruined and primitive olive-presses
remind the visitor of the hive of work and activity that
this island once was.
In 1797, after 411 years of Venetian occupation, Paxos was handed over to the French revolutionary government.
French occupation initially lasted only 2 years, and a successful joint Russian -Turkish siege in 1799
led to the proclamation of a "Septinsular
Republic" and a Constitution (1800). The
fledgling republic was under the protectorate of Turkey
and Russia. But this Greek state was to exist for only
seven years. In accordance with the secret articles of
the Treaty of Tilsit (July 8, 1807), the Ionian Islands
were returned to French control, which lasted until
1814. During the Napoleonic Wars, which covered this
period, the island was under English blockade, and
serious shortages of food developed. This caused the
Paxiots to rebel, in 1810, and kill the island's
Commander, Count Dimakis Makris, and Laskaris
Grammatikos and to injure a number of others. The
French, however, managed to put down the rising in a few days. and the ring-leaders were severely
punished. Seven of them were shot, in 1811, in Corfu
Castle, many were imprisoned and still more islanders
were forced to emigrate. In 1814, however, an English fleet under Captain (later Sir
Richard) church, with the aid of the Greek freedom
fighter Theodoros Kolokotronis, captured the castle and
overcame the guard without a shot being fired.
In 1817, a new Constitution was signed,
and the "United State of the Ionian Islands"
came into being under British protectorate. The British
Lord High Commissioner held supreme authority in the
islands until 1854. when Paxos and the the rest of the
group were formally amalgamated
1864, the London Protocol
was signed, stating that "
the islands, Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkas,
Ithaca, Kythira, Paxos and the other little ones are
united with the kingdom of Greece in order to be its
part forever, in one and only state".
The islands were under British protectorate for 50
Doikas out-of-print book "Paxos, History,
Folklore, Culture", tr. Susan Boikos ]