The Uskoks and their myth lasted for eighty years, forming thus an important part of the history of the town of Senj.
The Uskoks were the ancestors of the Herzegovian mountainous people and the rebelious and warlike Dalmatas whowere fleeing from the Osmanlie and found the shelter in Klis. After the fall of Klis to the Osmanlie in 1537, the majority of the Uskoks settled down in Senj and its surroundings. They were attacking the Osmanlie and the Venetians from Senj causing them enormous losses. They were brave warriors who were endangering the Venetian economy on the Adriatic with their small and swift boats. They were fearful in their appereance so the famous proveb says: “Be alert of the hand of Senj”. They dared to oppose the Osmanlie and the Venetians fighting for their lives. They were courageous and persistant in the scarcity, they never fell down on their knees and they were always wiling to fight.
As the Christians and catholics, they were devoted to their faith and tradition, respecting and keeping their code of courage and they especially esteemed the freedom and their families. They had their commanders, dukes and flag carriers who belonged to the most important and the most courageous Uskok families.
They were richly dressed in the Uskok costumes with the Illyrian patterns. They were part of militarz forces in the Town’s Castle and the Nehaj tower. During the time when the whole Adriatic coast, except Dubrovnik, were under the Venetian rule, the area of Senj inhabitated by the Uskoks, was free.
Due to their constant attacks of the Venetian vessels, their destiny was sealed with the peace treaty agreed between the great powers in 1617 in Madrid. According to the Madrid Treaty, the Uskoks had to imigrate from Senj and from the coast while their boats were burned down. In the same year, the German naval army entered the town of Senj and around 1624 the famous myth about the Uskoks ceased to exist.
Their courage inspired king Mathey to call them as the wall barrier of Dalmatia, Rudolf II cosidered them as a unique fortification in the state while Pop Gregor XIII called them “the resurrected Macabeans”. The Uskok myth represens the most glorius part of our exicting history. They lived and fought in difficult times, they fought for their lives and for their people. They were not afraid either of the sea nor of the storm, they were the real masters of the sea and the waves.
Their history is the history of a small but above all courageous part of the Croatian people who defended their country from different invaders.