The Brijuni Islands had some Ancient Roman settlements, but up to the late 19th century the islands were mainly used for their quarries, which have been worked on for centuries. The islands belonged to Venice from the Middle Ages, and stone from the islands was used to build the palaces and bridges of the city. The islands were part of the Illyrian Provinces after Napoleon's brief annexation.
In 1815 the islands became part of the Austrian Empire, which later became Austria-Hungary. During this period the islands' quarries first supplied stone to Vienna and Berlin. With the erection of a naval base in the harbour of Pula, the Austrians built a strong fortress on Veliki Brijun Island Island, together with minor fortifications on some of the others.
The Austro-Hungarian Navy abandoned the fortress, and in 1893 the Viennese business magnate Paul Kupelwieser bought the whole archipelago and created an exclusive beach resort. The estate was supplemented with first class hotels, restaurants, beach resorts, a casino and a yacht harbour and became a focal point in social life on the Austrian Riviera. Kupelwieser also established a sailing regatta, a golf course and - due to the flourish of Austrian Culture - various music concert and literature events. The Brijuni islands became popular as a destination for the Viennese upper class and were visited by members of the Imperial family and other wealthy European bourgeois and aristocrats.
In 1918 after World War I Brijuni became part of Italy. Karl Kupelwieser, the son of the founder of the estate tried to maintain the former splendor, but after the economic crisis following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the estate went bankrupt and Karl committed suicide. In 1930 the islands were acquired by the Italian state and remained part of Italy until the capitulation in 1943.
In 1945 after World War II the Brijuni became part of Yugoslavia and President Marshal Josip Broz Tito made the Brijuni Islands his