History of the island
It was first mentioned in writing by lexicographer Stephen of Byzanthium. Theopompus (4th c. BC) called it Ladesta and Ladeston, while the suffix –est (characteristic of Illyrian places on the Adriatic coast) indicates that it was named by ancient Illyrians. Ladestanos, the Greek version of the name of the island’s inhabitants, is also found, which proves that Lastovo was inhabited by the Dorians.
The Romans gave it a Latin name: Augusta Insula (Royal Island).
The names Augusta, Lagusta and Lagosta were used in the Middle Ages.
Its present name is composed of the Roman form Lasta and the Slavic suffix –ovo.
The oldest traces of life were found in Rača Cave and the continuity of life can be traced since the Early Bronze Age.
The Slavs and people from the area around the Neretva River inhabited the island in the 7th and 8th century. They soon became so strong that they jeopardized the safety of Venetian ships. This is why Doge Pietro II Orseolo conquered the island and completely destroyed the village on it in 998. The surviving inhabitants moved to a new location, today’s village of Lastovo. Lastovo’s history is turbulent, which can be seen from the fact that it frequently changed rulers. It was ruled by Zahumlje in the 11th and 12th century and taken over by Hungarian-Croatian kings at the end of the 12th century. In the 13th century, it was ruled by Zahumlje again. In 1252, it became part of the Dubrovnik Republic, which granted it communal autonomy and statutes in 1310. Dissatisfaction with the actions of the Dubrovnik nobility led to frequent peasants’ revolts in the 16th and 17th century. In the 19th century, Lastovo was ruled by France, then England and finally by Austria until 1918.
By the Treaty of Rapallo, Lastovo was ceded to Italy, which ruled it until 1943. After 1945, the authorities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia constructed a strong military base on the island and banned foreign tourists from visiting Lastovo. It was very detrimental to the development of Lastovo’s tourism and economy; both started developing after Croatia became an independent country.
The Lastovo Archipelago was declared a Nature Park by the Croatian Parliament on 29 September 2006.