First inhabited by settlers from the Roman Empire, Olib is first mentioned in documents from the 10th century as Aloep Island.
Croatian inhabitants arrived in the mid to late fifteenth century, from Vrlika in the Cetinska Krajina, fleeing the Ottoman invasions. In 1476 priest Juraj Cetinjanin arrived in Olib by sea with approximately one hundred followers. Juraj Cetinjanin remained in Olib leading his parishioners until his death in 1519. These first Croatian settlers are the ancestors to modern day Olibljani.
The Chakavian dialect of the Croatian language is spoken on Olib. The residents of Olib call themselves Olibjani.
The island has many historic buildings and ruins. Among these are the Parish Church Assumption of Mary with its collection of Antiquities including Glagolitic codices in the treasury of the parish rectory (dating back from 17th century); the Tower or "Kula" which was built for protection from pirates; and the ruins of St. Paul's Church and Monastery, abandoned in the 13th century.
The products of Olib include Wine, Olive Oil, and Cheese. Olib has no native freshwater sources. Consequently, nearly all homes on the island are built with cisterns to capture rainwater. There are also two communal wells available to residents.
Olib is connected to the mainland by ferry to Zadar via the islands of Silba and Premuda. The journey to the mainland takes approximately two hours on a catamaran or three to five hours on a car ferry.