Curzola - Encyclopedia




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CURZOLA (Serbo-Croatian Korcula or Karkar), an island in the Adriatic Sea, forming part of Dalmatia, Austria; and lying west of the Sabioncello promontory, from which it is divided by a strait less than 2 M. wide. Its length is about 25 m.; its average breadth, 4 m. Curzola (Korcula), the capital and principal port, is a fortified town on the east coast, and occupies a rocky foreland almost surrounded by the sea. Besides the interesting church (formerly a cathedral), dating from the 12th or 13th century, the loggia or council chambers, and the palace of its former Venetian governors, it possesses the noble mansion of the Arnieri, and other specimens of the domestic architecture of the 15th and 16th centuries, together with the massive walls and towers, erected in 1420, and the 15th-century Franciscan monastery, with its beautiful Venetian Gothic cloister. The main resources of the islanders are boat-building (for which they are celebrated throughout the Adriatic), fishing and seafaring, the cultivation of the vine, corn and olives, and breeding of mules. Pop. (I goo) of island, 17,377; of capital (town and commune), 6486. Prehistoric grave-mounds are common on the hills of the interior, and in later times Curzola may have been a Phoenician settlement. Its early history is very obscure, but it was certainly colonized by Greeks from Cnidus. The present name is a corruption of the Gr. KEpKvpa MEAatva, or Lat. Corcyra Nigra, "Black Corcyra"; and is perhaps due to the dark pines which still partly cover the island. In 998 Curzola first came under Venetian suzerainty. During the 12th century it was ruled by Hungary and Genoa in turn, and enjoyed a brief period of independence; but after 1255 its hereditary counts again submitted to Venice. The Roman Catholic see of Curzola, created in 1301, was only suppressed in 1806. Curzola surrendered to the Hungarians in 1358, was purchased by Ragusa (1413-1417), and finally declared itself subject to Venice in 1420. In 1571 it defended itself so gallantly against the Turks that it obtained the designation fidelissima. From 1776 to 1797 it succeeded Lesina as the main Venetian arsenal in this region. During the Napoleonic wars it was ruled successively by Russians, French and British, ultimately passing to Austria in 1815.

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