Vrbnik is certainly considered one of the oldest settlement on the island of Krk, although the exact time has not been determined due to lack of sources. Its begging go way into Prehistoric or Stone and Bronze Age, which is supported by numerous prehistoric findings of local and wither surroundings. Archeological findings discover existence of Illira settlements located at the area of Kostrilj, on the territory of the villages Garica and Risika. Significant number of Greek traces, but also traces of Roman cultural layers have been found at Vrbnik area under Hlam, at the main road Vrbnik-Krk.
The first known inhabitants of Vrbnik were Iapodes, one of 70 tribes of Illyrians. Later on they were pushed by the Liburnians, who occupied the entire present Croatian coast. The Liburnians remained on the island of Krk and Vrbnik, as independent rulers until the beginning of the century, when they were conquered by the Romans. Although the Ilyrians conserved their language and customs in their private life, their assimilation with the way of life of Roman empire cause them to slowly become lost as people.
When the Croats settled on the island of Krk, at he end of 6th and beginning of 7th century, Vrbnik became one of the main domicile, so that in the Medieval Age it became castle, which, according to the first know information dating from 1527 had 500 inhabitants, and half a century later there were already about 1000 of them.
Besides the city of Krk, Vrbnik was one of the four castles (Baska, Dobrinj, Omisalj and Vrbnik), located on the island of Krk, which have independent administration. It was surrounded with firm ramparts with castle (fortalice) at its east side.
In written documents it is mentioned for the first time along with Dobrinje in the oldest known Glagolitic document - Dead of Gift of “Famous Dragoslav” dated Jan. 1, 1100, who, donating newly guilt church of St. Vitus nearby Dobrinj, states donated lot which besides others, also makes border with the path “… going to Vrbnik”.
The island of Krk, and with it also Vrbnik, came under Venetian authority somewhere around 1118, by which long period of Venice domination started, and it came definitively under the Republic of Venice in 1480, which lasted until 1797. After that it came under dominance of the Hapsburg Monarchy.
During the time of Krk dukes, in 1388, Vrbnik got its Vrbnik Statute, written in Croatian and Glagolitic-script. Vrbnik Statute is the second oldest among Croatian statutes, written immediately after Vinodol Statute. Like most of them, it also pays major attention to criminal law. It has not been preserved in its original, but only as a transcript made by Vrbnik priest Grgur Zaskovic. It is now stored in the University Library of Zagreb.
© Ineco, 1995./2005.