The beautiful Paxoi island
The island is approximately 13 kilometers in length and tipped up towards the west. The west coast is dominated by steep white, chalky cliffs that are greatly eroded at sea level, and harbour many caves, which can be explored on launches departing from Gaios. Much of the attractive landscape is still covered in olive groves. These stretch from Lakka, the harbour community in the north, through Magazia to Gaios, the capital. Olive oil making, soap manufacture and fishing were supplanted by tourism as the main industry in the mid sixties, resulting in a construction boom, which has greatly altered the coastline around Gaios, the capital of the Paxiot community. There are ferry and jetfoil connections daily with Kerkyra (Corfu) and with the mainland at Parga.
Although it was possibly inhabited from prehistoric times, the Phoenicians are traditionally held to have been the first settlers on Paxoi. The name is believed to be derived from Pax, which meant trapezoidal in their language. This island is noted for the Battle of Paxos, fought between the ancient Greek and Illyrian fleets during the First Illyrian War in 229 BC. The battle is recorded by the ancient historian Polybius. The Romans ruled the island from the 2nd century BC, and during the Byzantine period and Middle Ages it was constantly attacked by pirates. After various rulers and Crusaders had passed through, the island was taken by the Venetians at the end of the 14th century. During the Napoleonic wars, the Ionian Islands were taken by the French and the Russo-Turkish alliance. On 13 February 1814, the island of Paxos surrendered to the Royal Navy frigate HMS Apollo and 160 troops from the 2nd Greek Light Infantry from Cephalonia and the 35th Regiment of the Royal Corsican Rangers. In 1815, United Kingdom established the Ionian Union. In 1864, together with the rest of the Heptanese, Paxos was ceded to Greece.