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According to legend, Paxos was created when Poseidon, ancient Greek god of the sea, smashed off the tip of Corfu with his trident.

As 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 

The 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 well.  

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 famous 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 an endless olive grove, and the minute amounts of soil are retained by retaining walls - thousands of meters of wall. There are 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 with Greece.. 

In 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 years.

[From Yiannis Doikas out-of-print book "Paxos, History, Folklore, Culture", tr. Susan Boikos ]






Corfu and Paxos had officially declared a position of neutrality in the First World War.  

However, in 1923, Mussolini attacked and occupied Corfu after the murder of an Italian delegate to the Greek-Albanian border discussions - 'discussions' that still rage today.

The Italians held the island for one short year before being expelled, ending the 'Corfu Incident', as it became known.

Greece was occupied by both Italian soldiers and the Nazis during the Second World War.

The Italians were given administrative control of Corfu and Paxos in 1941 but this was seized back again in 1943 with an almighty bloodshed as Italian soldiers sided with Greek freedom fighters.

Liberation came with the advance of the Allied Forces in 1944.  

In the difficult years of the Occupation, the people of Paxoi were able to survive thanks to olive oil. Most of them used to go to the coasts of Epirus in rowboats, where they traded their oil with wheat, barley and corn. These trips were very risky and not always victimless.










Organized tourism first came to Paxos at the beginning of the 1980's and today it is very important part of the island's economy.

Living on so tiny an island often means that you have to be able to turn your hand to anything if you are to survive.

Many Paxiots grow vegetables and keep a few livestock on their smallholdings.

Fishing and the production of olive oil are still central pivots to the economy.





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