The history of Losinj is – not surprisingly – very similar to its close neighbour, Cres. With evidence of life on Losinj going as far back as pre-historic times, the first main part of Losinj’s history goes to the Liburnians in the first few centuries BC, with a number of settlements all over the island. Once the Roman Empire swept into the area, Losinj was surprisingly overlooked – although there were some relatively important Roman towns on Cres, there’s not all that much to suggest a large presence on Losinj. (The Roman name for the island was Apsorrus.)
Croats arrive on Losinj
The Croats arrived on the island sometime in the 10th century, although Losinj came under Venetian rule from 1000 to 1358. After rule by the Croatian-Hungarian kingdom for around 60 years, it returned to the Venetian Empire, under which it remained until that Empire’s fall in 1797. Towards the latter part of this period, Losinj’s strength in shipbuilding and seafaring grew, which continued through to the 19th century.
The island came to be part of the Austrian Empire from 1814, and was a part of it up until the end of World War I. During this time, Losinj further prospered and tourism on the island became popular, with the wealthier citizens of the Empire holidaying on the island.
In 1920, the island was actually given to Italy – as well as some of the other nearby islands and parts of mainland – by the Treaty of Rapallo.
Occupied during World War II, the island of Losinj became part of Yugoslavia after the war. The island was part of Croatia when it declared independence in 1991.