Are the inhabitants of the island of Pag Dalmatians or coastal Croats?
Pag is the only Croatian island that is administratively divided between two counties and for centuries spread partly in the region of Dalmatia and partly in the region of the Croatian coast (Hrvatsko primorje).
This means that some islanders declared themselves Dalmatians, while others saw themselves as coastlines (primorci).
The Croatian Coastline is a historical name for the region of Croatia comprising mainly the coastal areas between traditional Dalmatia to the south, mountainous Croatia to the north, Istria and the Kvarner Gulf of the Adriatic Sea to the west.
However, by the late 1980s almost all islanders saw themselves as coastlines. At that time, the island of Pag was part of the Community of Municipalities of Rijeka and was administratively and economically strongly linked to Rijeka.
But over time that has changed. Before the 2011 census, prof. Branimir Vukosav and prof. Lena Mirošević from the Geography Department of the University of Zadar carried out research on the island of Pag with the aim of determining the sense of regional belonging of the inhabitants of the island of Pag.
In the survey they conducted, the islanders had the option of declaring themselves as Dalmatians, Littoral or whatever, according to their own wishes and feelings. Most residents of the town of Pag, one of the two main towns on the island along with Novalja, have declared themselves as Dalmatians, reported Radio Pag.
In addition, in Novalja, the majority of the inhabitants declared themselves to be Dalmatians. According to the research, 68% of the inhabitants of the towns of Pag and Novalja declared themselves to be Dalmatians, and 32% as Coastal or other. This indicates that there is still a problem of regional identity on the island of Pag.
According to the Croatian encyclopedia, the island of Pag belongs entirely to Dalmatia. Namely, according to this source, the northern border of Dalmatia with the Croatian coast includes part of the sub-Velebit coast south of Tribnje and the island of Pag, and the border of the Croatian coast in the south is close to the colony Tribanj- Krušćica, hamlet of Mandalina.
This is where the Croatian coast ends and Dalmatia begins. Therefore, the whole island of Pag is Dalmatia. But not all islanders are obviously considered Dalmatians.
It will be known if anything has changed in the attitude of the islanders towards their own regional affiliation after the announced research which should be carried out after the census which is being carried out in all of Croatia.
Josip Portada / Radio Pag