History Novalja - Historical and Cultural Information about Novalja
Evidence of life on the island of Pag dates far back in the Paleolithic period. Illyrian tribes resided on the island of Pag during the Bronze period while the 1st century BC was marked by the Roman conquest campaigns. Romans left a strong mark on the island and the remnants of their culture can still be seen today; they even founded an ancient settlement Cissa in the area of today's town of Novalja.
Strong Christian community marked 4th and 5th century and as a proof for this claim three basilicas which can still be seen in Novalja suggesting that this town was a very important pilgrimage centre during the Antique period.
At the beginning of 7th century Croats came to the island of Pag and during 8th and 9th century formed their state and the town Kissa(Cissa) became an important centre.
During 11th and 12th century the island of Pag was divided between the city of Zadar and the island of Pag. During 13th and 14th century Venetian Republic was fighting over Dalmatian cities and islands with Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. 1203 was the year when town Kissa was destroyed in the conflict with the city of Zadar.
At the beginning of 15th century Venetian Republic took over the island of Pag as well as the rest of Dalmatian islands. During that period the name Novalja was first mentioned and it referred to a small settlement governed by the Duke of Rab (Rab is also an island in the Adriatic Sea).
By the end of the 18th century the island of Pag was under the rule of Austria. In 1805 French defeated the Austrians thus making France the ruler of Dalmatia. In 1815 Austria regained its power over Pag and the rule of Austria lasted until the National Revival in 1848.
By the end of the 19th century Croatian language became an official language in schools. After the fall of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy the island of Pag became the part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, and after the 2nd World War Pag became a part of Independent Republic of Croatia even though Italian army was still on the island. Partisans took over the island in 1945 and until 1992 island of Pag was a part of Yugoslavia.
In 1992, when Croatia managed to gain its Independence, thus Pag became a part of the Republic of Croatia.