The area of Dubašnica is inhabited by Croats that came to Krk at the end of the 6th or at the beginning of the 7th century. At the same time they inhabited the neighbouring land too. The Island of Krk is very close to the mainland so the crossing has never been a problem. However, this area of the western part of the island was more significantly inhabited by the island’s count of the period, Ivan VII Frankopan, from 1451 to 1463. He brought his most intimate entourage with him, and shepherds from Velebit, the Morlach (Vlasi), who originated from the area of today’s Romania. They were mostly refugees escaping from Ottomans who surrounded the Balkans in that period. Part of these emigrants settled on the wider area, close to St. Apollinaire Church, which was the centre of the now extinct village of Dubašnica.
Dubašnica was named after dub, an archaic name for oak tree. This is a logical name since the large Downy Oak forests (quercus pubescens) grow here. As far as administration was concerned, in 1480 this area was separated from Kaštel in Omišalj and the individual Komun (Kaštel) Dubašnica was formed.
Dubašnica inhabitants were farmers and agriculture represented the main source of their income. They cultivated small plots of land fencing it with dry stone walls. Due to the soil configuration the land was usually cultivated manually. However, tools typical for this area were also used. Special tools from the area are the pickaxe, the hoe, the mejkača (a long 5 cm wide hoe used for digging rocky soil), the capon (a wide hoe with a sharp edge used for routing grass and roots), the rankun (a cutter whose top is shaped like a sickle used for clearing underbrush and thin vegetation), the kopanj (a shallow wooden box used for carrying soil) and the rogulja (a tool with two sharp spikes used for ploughing hard soil that a hoe is unable to break). Deep land was cultivated using bullocks (cattle) that dragged ploughs and a zubatica (a tool pulled by cattle used to break up large lumps of soil) which is similar to today’s plough.
Cereals were planted in the deeper land. For example, in 1956 cereals were planted over an area of 160 ha; mainly wheat, barley, corn and sorghum were sown. Particular locations were the threshing floors in which cereals were threshed. Every house had its own threshing floor which was here, in this rockery, a truly valuable work of popular construction.
Cereals were ground manually at home in the žrvno (a traditional hand mill), by turning a stone wheel with a muna (wooden handle).
In the past, olive growing represented a large source of income to these people. In 1850, Dubašnica had up to ten toš which were used for olive milling. From each toš up to 700 barils of oil were produced (1 baril = 66 litres). Part was used for personal needs and the rest was exported on sailing boats to Trieste, Venice, Chioggia, Bakar and Rijeka.
In the area of the Municipality of Malinska – Dubašnica mainly local olive varieties were cultivated whose oil was of an excellent quality. These varieties are Drobnica, Plominka (sweet), Slivnjača, Krčka debela and Rosulja.
Olive growing is on the rise today. During the plantation of new olive groves, varieties imported from Italy, Leccino and Pendolino were also planted.
In 1715 bishop Petar D. Calore (1713-1727) indicated the richness of the island of Krk calling it the “Isola d’oro” (Golden Island). He especially highlighted Dubašnica due to the fertility of its land and the fine and much desired wine. Viticulture experienced a large increase in popularity after World War I. Local grapevines Brajdica and Žlahtina were grown in Dubašnica, although a number of American grapevines could be found there too. There are records showing that up to 261,425 vines once grew in Dubašnica, which is light and easy to drink and once presented a regular source of income for each family.
Viticulture today has been completely abandoned and in the municipality area there are only two or three vineyards left. Only the inhabitants of the Municipality of Vrbnik, on the north-eastern part of the island, are still seriously involved in viticulture and wine production.
One of the strongest economic sectors was cattle breeding. Bullocks (cattle) were bred for work on the land. They were used to cultivate the land and to turn the stone toš (mill) for olive milling. Furthermore, they were used to transfer cargo on car loads, for dragging trees from the forest and stone for the construction of houses, barns and dry stone walls. Besides bullocks, people also bred cows that produced milk. Sheep were the most profitable animals. It is not surprising then that each family had sheep which pastured on private lots. In the summer they were taken to the komun (common land belonging to the state) in Gradina for pasture. Sheep breeding has been preserved until today. Every year Dubašnica traditionally cherishes at least 150 years of old customs. This is known as Sensa (Spasovo), when the young men – shepherds race to get cheese. The village leader evaluates the race and assigns the prize.
In the past, only the monks of St. Magdalene’s Monastery in Porat were fishermen. When today’s people from Porat, from the village of Dvorani, moved and started to live by the sea, the monks taught them how to catch fish. Porat and Vantačići inhabitants were the first fishermen here, whilst people from Malinska started to catch fish only recently.
Fishermen were organized in small kumpanije (groups). They would move off the shore in small ladve (small boats made a single oak tree), catch the fish during the night using lights. The light was produced by lighting the spruce tree on the boat’s prow.
For this purpose carbide and petroleum candles were later used. Subsequently, nets and fishing weirs were used.
COEXISTENCE WITH STONE
This land is mostly rocky. Stone was removed manually and by digging was dragged to deposit sites. Dry stone walls were formed in this way and are still part of the local landscape. By removing stone, lots of clean fertile soil was created. Large and better pieces of stone were used to build or to fence these lots. Even today, dry stone walls and duplice can be seen on every corner, as well as mošunje and stube and stone houses and barns for cattle.
Mošunje are stone dwellings that were used by shepherds who kept and milked their sheep there. They would also hide in them during bad weather. Stube which were made partly of a dry stone wall, were used as passages between two lots or as an entrance to the lot. They are actually narrow passages between two upright stones, which are separated to fit the width of a man’s foot and through which sheep or other small animals could not pass.