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Almost a Bračanin, maybe Boljanin, right? Being a retiree, this year Iíve lived eighteen weeks on Grabov Rat: six weeks in the late winter and early spring and nearly all summer (twelve weeks). That does not make me a Bračanin (a native of the island of Brač) or Boljanin (a native of the city of Bol) but I donít feel like an ordinary tourist either. In particular, I do gardening and agriculture was the main population regulator throughout the islandís history. In the peak of summer tourism, the islandís population increases fivefold but they donít turn the soil.

population : Brac & Bol : from 1857 to 2006

SOURCE: Mladen Smoljanović et al.: Stanovništvo hrvatskih otoka, Split 1999;

                Current county and city websites

GRAPH BACKGROUND: photo by A. Kukec in Brač, Fotomonografija, Zagreb, 1967.

It is argued that large scale forest clearance, which was associated with the adoption of Mediterranean agriculture as the basis of Dalmatian economy, did not take place until the eastern Adriatic became the Roman province of Dalmatia.

Under Venetian control, Dalmatia and Brač began to specialize in vine production. In the nineteenth century an enormous expansion of vineyards occurred as agriculture was intensified because of population pressure. In the latter half of the century two separate attacks on the vineyards in France by fungi (Oidium tuckerii) and aphids (Phylloxera vasatrix) of American vine species led to a much increased market for Dalmatian wines and additional expansion of the area in grapes. When the market collapsed, a large outmigration occurred. Much of the land in vines was abandoned.

The Dalmatian economy stagnated until the post-World War II development of tourism. The Adriatic highway and improved water supplies were primary factors in the expansion of tourism on the coast. A sharp contrast is now apparent in land use and settlement between the Dalmatian coast and the interior.

Marijean Hamilton Eichel: Dissertation, An historical geography of changing land use on Brač, Yugoslavia, California State University, San Jose, 1969.

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