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Vis (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈʋiːs]; Greek: Ἴσσα - Issa; Italian, Venetian: Lissa) is the most outerly lying larger Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, and is part of the Central Dalmatian group of islands, with an area of 90.26 km² and a population of 3,617 (as of 2001 ). Of all the inhabited Croatian islands, it is the farthest from the coast. The highest peak of Vis is called Hum, 587 m high.
There are two towns and municipalities on the island, Vis (1,960 inhabitants in the municipality) and Komiža (it. Comisa) (1,677),both located on the seacoast. There are smaller settlements on the island's interior: Podselje, Marinje zemlje, Podšpilje, and Podstražje.
Vis was inhabited by the time of the Neolithic period. In the 4th century B.C., the tyrant of Siracuse, Dionysius the Elder, founded the colony Issa on the island. Later, it became an independent city-state, and even minted its own money and founded its own colonies elsewhere. In the first century B.C., the island was held by the Liburnians.In the 4th century BC Syracusan Greeks colonised the Island Its importance in the region ended with the first Illyro-Roman war (29-219 B.C.. Having sided with Pompeus during the period of civil struggles in Rome, became an "oppidum civium Romanorum" in 47 B.C.
The island then passed, for several centuries, under the rule of the Republic of Venice, until 1797. During this time large settlements developed on the coast (Comisa, now Komiža and Lissa, now Vis). Administratively the island of Lissa was for centuries bound to the island of Lesina, now Hvar. The Venetian influence is still recognizable in architecture, and many words In the local Croatian dialect are Venetian in origin.
After the short-lived Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, with Italian as the official language, it passed under the rule of Austrian Empire. It maintained its Italian name of Lissa. At the end of World War I, it passed under Italian rule in the period 1918 and 1921, according to the Treaty of London, and then was ceded to Yugoslavia following the Treaty of Rapallo. Almost all its population was re-located to islands and cities in Italian Dalmatia, shortly after the exchange between Lissa, assigned to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and Lagosta, assigned to Italy.
The sea to the north of the island was the stage of two battles:
- on 13 March 1811, a small Royal Navy fleet, under the command of Captain William Hoste, defeated a larger French fleet (see Battle of Lissa (1811));
- on 20 July 1866, the Austrian fleet, under Admiral Tegetthoff, attacked the Italian fleet, under Admiral Persano, sinking the battleship Re d'Italia (see Battle of Lissa (1866)).