Paxos is a small island which has a population of around 2500 with tourism being its primary income; though locals also rely on fishing and olive oil production which was introduced by the Venetians who ruled the islands from the 14th century. There is an interesting story about the creation of the Islands; Poseidon the Greek God delivered a blow of his powerful Trident to the southern tip of the Corfu, which floated and formed the Paxos Islands. He created this island as a solitary peace and resting haven for him and his lady Amphitrite where he could keep their love nest a secret from his wife.
The history of Paxos is rich and possibly dates back to prehistoric times. It is noted that the Romans ruled the island from the 2nd century BC and continued their rule during the Byzantine and the Middle Ages. During the Byzantine rule, the islands were constantly raided by pirates and by the end of the 14th century they were taken over by the Venetians. The Venetians had a very strong hold and influence on the culture of the islands which is still visible in the architecture on the islands. During the crusades of Napoleon in the late 17th century, the island was under his rule which he later lost to the Russians.
After the Russians, it was the French again who ruled the island for 7 years. Then after the treaty of Paris, all of the Ionian Islands were placed under British Protection, when Paxos surrendered to the Royal Navy frigate HMS Apollo, the 2nd Greek Light Infantry from Cephalonia and the 35th Regiment of the Royal Corsican Rangers.
A year later and the British rule established the Ionian Union in the year 1815. Everything remained peaceful in Paxos and the other Ionian islands for the years to come. There was a lot of improvement with the infrastructure, education and the judicial system in the islands. Everything seemed to be running smoothly for almost 50 years and it was through this time that the foundations were laid. However, unfortunately, there was unrest on the Greek mainland...
A fierce war for independence was fuming between the Turks and the Greeks. Things were looking bad for the Greeks and so in a bid to help their fellow countrymen, many young men from Paxos also joined the war and fought alongside the Greek soldiers. One such young soldier who laid his life in the war for Greece was Yiorgos Anemoyiannis who was slain by the Turks at a young age of 23. He was killed in a daring and brave attempt when he tried to set ablaze a Turkish fleet ship moored on the shores, however, in the process, he was captured and killed by the Turkish soldiers. Due to his brave act, he became and was regarded as the local hero for the Paxos islands and his statue is seen at the southern entrance to the Paxos island capital Gaios harbour.
Finally in the year 1814, the British gave in to the nationalist sentiment of the Ionian Islands population and allowed the integration of the Ionian Islands with the Kingdom of Greece. Things were stable on the islands until the start of World War II; where the islands were briefly ruled by the Italians and the Germans. In 1944 the islands were freed by the allied forces.
The history of Paxos was not just colorful but also had a lot of various regional influences which still are prominent in the culture of the islands. There are some incredible beaches and ports which are absolutely breathtaking. The famous locales are Gaios, Panayia, St Nicolas, Lakka, and Loggos. There are some beautiful villages and countryside and as there is no airport, it is not an island for the masses. Tourists must travel to Paxos by cruises and boats making this a dream destination to visit along with your near and dear ones.