Rab Island

Rab is an island in Croatia and a town of the same name located just off the northern Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea.

The island is 22 km (14 mi) long, has an area of 93.6 km2 (36 sq mi)[1] and 9,480 inhabitants (2001). The highest peak is Kamenjak at 408 m. The northeastern side of the island is mostly barren, karst, while the southwestern side is covered by one of the last oak forests of the Mediterranean.

Ferries connect the island of Rab with the mainland port of Jablanac and with the neighbouring islands of Krk and Pag.

History

The island is first heard of under the Illyrians in 360 BC. It was part of Liburnia and then part of the Roman Empire. The emperor Octavian Augustus built town walls and gave Rab the title of Municipium.

Saint Marinus, the founder of the mini-state of San Marino, originated on Rab, whence he fled during the religious persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian (this ancient tie is commemorated in the present twin-city agreement between Rab and San Marino).

During the Middle Ages Rab was part of the Byzantine Empire, then, for a short time, part of the Kingdom of Croatia, then in 1358 the island came under the rule of King Louis the Great, the Angevin ruler of Hungary.

During the Renaissance it was ruled by Venice from 1409 until the end of 18th century followed by a brief interlude under Napoleon. It was eventually annexed by the Habsburgs in 1815 and remained under Austrian rule till 1918.

Since a majority of its residents were Italian-speaking, the locals sought to be annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, but Italy eventually decided to cede the island to Yugoslavia in 1921, and many of its Italian-speaking residents subsequently left for Istria and the rest of Italy.

During World War II, the forces of Fascist Italy established the Rab concentration camp on the island. A memorial complex built in 1953 commemorates the site of the former camp, located in the village of Kampor.

After the Second World War, the island was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until the Croatian independence referendum in 1991.

The island of Rab is rich in cultural heritage and cultural-historical monuments that make it a popular vacation destination. Rab is also known as a pioneer of naturism after the visit of King Edward VIII and Mrs Wallis Simpson.

The island is nowadays very popular with tourists and families for its beautiful nature, beaches, heritage and many events, particularly the Rab arbalest tournament and the Rab Medieval festival -Rapska Fjera.