The Economic and Social Life in the Community of Cherso (Cres) Through the Centuries: A Foreword
Università Degli Studi di Milano
December 23, 2010
Luigi Tomaz, LA MAGNIFICA COMUNITA’ DI CHERSO, COMUNE AUTONOMO NEL GOLFO DI SAN MARCO, Think ADV, Conselve, 2010
Cherso (Cres in Croatian) is the largest island in the Adriatic. Placed in the northern part of this sea, namely in the Kvarner Gulf and lying off the east coast of the Istrian peninsula, Cherso today belongs to the Republic of Croatia, but for centuries this island had been a faithful and flourishing member of the Venetian Commonwealth. Luigi Tomaz, born in Cherso in 1931 and settled in Chioggia, near Venice, as refugee in 1947, at the moment when this island, according to Peace Treaty of Paris, was surrendered by Italy to Yugoslavia, is the author of a number of books and articles. These publications are the outcome of researches on various topics all related to the Adriatic civilization; most of them deals with his birthplace’s history, culture and architecture. This foreword introduces a book by Luigi Tomaz on the Community of Cherso/Cres that encompasses the history of this island from old ages up to the end of XVIII century when the Republic of Venice lost its independence and the Venetian Commonwealth ineluctably collapsed.
The book analyses some relevant institutional, economic and social aspects of the daily life of the island of Cherso. In fact, this island was an important stop on the maritime trade route connecting Venice with its Eastern Mediterranean merchant bases and the research enlightens main problems and salient features common to most Adriatic harbour-towns and strongholds (insular and peninsular) belonging to the Venetian Commonwealth disseminated along this sailing route. In particular the study, mainly based on records personally collected by the Author in the archives of the Cherso’s commune, focuses on the daily working of local autonomous public administration and its relations with Venice, discusses the statute and regulations of the commune and describes the social structure of population. It deals also with the welfare of the community, the administration of justice, the role of the church, the economic life (involving agriculture, sheep rising, fishing, manufacturing, trade and shipping, finance and banking) as well as with not less important issues connected with the defence and public health organizations, addressed respectively to protect the islanders against evils from overseas such as invasions, piracy raids and epidemic diseases.
Keywords: Cherso/Cres, Venice, Italy, Croatia, local autonomous administration, history of the Adriatic
JEL Classification: N13, N33, N43, N93
Date posted: December 26, 2010