About the Island
Paxos is the smallest island complex of the Ionian Islands (The Heptanese).
The largest islands are Paxi and the neighboring to the south Antipaxi, where you can find two of the best sandy beaches in the Ionian Islands, Voutoumi and Vrika.
According to the ancient Greek mythological tradition, the god of the sea, the mighty Poseidon, created the island by striking with his trident the southern end of Corfu. The purpose was to create a retreat flooded with peace and tranquility for himself and his wife, Amphitrite. His trident was lost and when it was found by the inhabitants of Paxos it became the emblem of their island.
The scattered flint tools found on the island, lead us to conclude that probably during the Upper Palaeolithic period, the island's territory, then united with the island of Corfu and its opposite shore up to about 11,000 years before present, was a place exploited by moving Homo sapiens hunter-gatherer groups.
It is believed that the Phoenicians were the first to set up an organized settlement on the island, probably because they acknowledged the importance of a commercial station. Moreover, in Strabo's view, the Phoenician word "pax", which means “trapezoidal”, is the etymological root of the name of the island due to its trapezoidal shape.
The excavation of a part of an archaic cemetery near Magazia, conducted by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Corfu, brought to light information about the burial customs of the Archaic period and outlined the social organization of life on the island in the context of an archaic society. Archaeological and historical testimonies for classical and post-classical times are feeble. From the texts of the traveler Louis Salvador we learn about the naval battle - reported by Polybius- which took place in 229 B.C, near Paxos between the Illyrian pirates, with their allies Akarnaneis and Corfiots, with their allies Aetolians and the Achaeans. Probably, during the 2nd century BC, Paxos was a territory that belonged to the vast Roman Empire. The same traveler informs us on the existence roman coins that have been found in the 19th century during agricultural works of the inhabitants.
Two Christian temples on the southeast part of the island are the material testimonies of the byzantine era. One is dedicated to St Marina, while the other to St Stephen. They date back to the Early Christian years or between the 7th and 8th centuries AD. Probably the centers of activity were concentrated in the southeastern part of the island within and around Gaios, while there is no archaeological evidence for Loggos and Lakka. The local legends of pirates and their attacks on the island may reflect real historical events of the Byzantine period and perhaps explain the choice of concentration of activity in the southeastern part of the island that was well protected by the islets of Panagia and Agios Nikolaos.
After the pirates and crusaders, the island was conquered by the Venetians in the late 14th century. The castle of St Nicolas islet dates back to that period. During the Napoleonic wars, the Ionian Islands were conquered by the French and the Russian-Turkish Alliance. On February 13 1814, Paxos surrendered to the Apollo frigate of the English Royal Navy. Major of the English army was Theodoros Kolokotronis.
During the Greek Revolution of 1821, Odysseus Androutsos pursued by his enemies resorted to the island. Here he married his sister, Siora-Kori, with Marko Vellianitis. In 1864, Paxoi, like the rest of the Ionian Islands, was granted to the newly established Greek state.