Saturday, July 08, 2006
Croatia again: The Uskoks at Senj, Croatia
Senj is different from Sinj, where the horsemen were, previous post. See fine history of Senj at www.senj.hr/English/History.
Here is Senj,with its fortress at the top of the hill. This is the place where the people known as Uskoks fled the spread of the Ottoman Empire to the south in the 1200's, settled at a bay at the base of high mountains and a pass with dreadfully strong and unpredictable winds. They built a walled city with a fortress at the top: Senj. They battled the Ottomans so successfully that the Venetians, just across the Adriatic Sea, could continue with their merchant fortune-building and shipping and just had to pay tribute to the Ottomans, who were kept occupied by the Uskoks. See Croatia Road Ways
When the Uskoks became too powerful and too good at warrioring, the Venetians turned against them and attacked. The Uskoks surpassed the Venetians at maneuvering in the great winds that barreled down the valley between the mountains, and with the loss of revenue when the Venetians blocked them, became pirates - very successful ones.
By the 16th Century, they were reduced to being only pirates, see www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2005/is_n3_v27/ai_15324703 -- for Uskoks, Pirates, 16th Century. Use the dot com address as a start, and see if the rest of the address is useful to get to the specific spot. People can be forced into ways of life that were not part of their original plan or makeup.
Ultimately they were defeated and killed off and the remnant dispersed. You can see their fortress, climb right up there - vast post and beam construction - all those trees gone now, largely to the Venetians for their own ships. Children can read the great old family names on crests, and read about the Uskoks, and see the wax figures in the old dress, and know they fought hard for their independence, were doublecrossed by many cultures who owe much of their wealth to Uskok bravery.
Now: even Croatian sites limit the reference to these people by only calling them "pirates of the Adriatic." Come on, now. Don't waste them, even if you are mainly pushing rentals and real estate. Croatia Accommodations Overviews by Town