Although the first known inhabitants of the land were Phoenicians, Paxos was largely ruled by the Romans since 2nd Century BC. The Romans continued ruling the islands till the middle ages and it was a relatively peaceful rule until the death of King Constantine. His death divided the Romans into 2 camps – the Romans and the Goths. The Goths ruled Corfu and Paxos for over 600 years. During this time, only minor attacks from pirates were encountered.
The Byzantine Empire and the Venetians took over the land in 1147, and once the Byzantine Empire fell, the Venetians took over completely. The Venetians are responsible for much of the island’s architecture, they are credited with building the historic olive tree programme. Olives are still one of the things that the island is famous for to this day.
After this period, the islands were in constant conflict with Napoleon capturing it for a year before Russians and Turks took over to make it part of the State of the Seven Islands. Peace lasted for a short while before the French started a war in 1803. The British got involved in the war and took over neighbouring areas but never attacked Paxos or any of the Ionian Islands. This war ended in 1811 when Napoleon abdicated and the British were given the responsibility of running the islands from 1812.
Their rule led to the development of roads and houses. The British also created the Ionian Union in 1815 to integrate the Ionian islands into the country. Developments were also made in terms of improved drainage and the building of numerous reservoirs.
Once Greek mainlanders gained independence in 1821, many of the islands started revolting against their rulers. After over 40 years of struggle, Paxos and all its neighbouring islands were given to the Kingdom of Greek to become a single country
In mythology, there are multiple versions of the same tale regarding the origin of Paxos. According to Greek mythology, Poseidon threw his trident at the southernmost tip of the Corfu to create Paxos. Legend has it that this was done in order to create a solitary place for him and his lover, Amphitrite.
During the first World War, Paxos and Corfu remained neutral. The second World War was anything but peaceful as both colonies were attacked by Mussolini. Although Mussolini lost that war, the Germans then decided to take over Greece. They eventually did so and Paxos was constantly in conflict and occupied by the Germans and Italians for a long period of time. The Germans conceded control of the islands to the Italians in 1941 but seized it back in a bloody battle in 1943. In 1944, Paxos and the rest of Greece were liberated as the Allied Forces defeated the Germans.
Visitors can see various monuments and broken down castles around Paxos as evidence of all the conflicts. Since the end of the second World War, peace has prevailed over the region as development has become the first priority. Although Paxos is not as developed or well known as locations on the mainland, it has slowly adopted modern technologies into parts of its culture.
Paxos was initially a small economy that consisted of fishing communities. It became a tourist attraction in the early 1980s as more and more people realized how much it had to offer. Today, Paxos is a self-sufficient set of islands that are largely dependent on fishing and olive oil production for their economy.
You can explore Paxos, Antipaxos, and all of the surrounding islands with our well-planned tours. The Blue Caves, old churches, and a large variety of galleries and museums have documented the history of the island and are incredible to experience. We can help you relax or explore as you please, with the help of our friendly and experienced staff.