A short history of the island of Vis

Small Island but amazing history – a short history of the island of Vis

It was a bit less than 2500 years ago that the tyrant of the Greek town Syracuse, Dionysus the Elder, formed a settlement or a colony called Issa on what is today known as the island of Vis in Croatian coast. Later on they formed a town of its own and it was spread around the peninsula of Prirovo and the surroundings. Later on became a town under the Roman Empire in 47 BC and the Romans had constructed a colosseum, thermal baths and more which still can be admired today.

The middle ages were rough with plenty of wars going on and people living in the villages all around the island and in both settlements, Comisa (today Komiža) and Issa (today Vis). All the way up until the end of the 18th century the island was under the rule of the Italians, Republic of Venice. Napoleon came here at the beginning of the 19th century and it was in 1811 that English defeated a larger French army and the island was shortly ruled by the Brits under the rule of king George, of which today’s Fortress in Vis town is named. The island was then ruled by the Austrian Hungarian Empire until the first WW. In 1866 another naval battle happened among Italian forces and Austrian forces and the winning of Austrians put them into even higher ruling position until the first WW. Until the second WW the island belonged to Italians again and then became Yugoslavia after 1920s.

During the second WW the island was occupied by the Italian forces and when the Italians capitulated, the island was given back to the Yugoslavia. In 1944 the Allied forces built an airport for the landings of their bombers but they left in 1945 leaving the airport to the vine growing business. It is now a plan to have the airport re-open for the tourist purposes.

After the second WW the island was in 1956 closed for foreign tourism and the military base was founded for the Yugoslav army. Military stayed on the island until 1992, but the island re-opened for tourism in 1989, which was painfully stopped with the Yugoslav war at the independency of all the 6 republics that formed the country Yugoslavia before. The island today is part of Croatia republic. Having the island closed for foreign tourism for so many years has of course slowed the development of tourism, but also protected the island from the uncontrolled construction of tourist facilities as can be seen on the other parts in the world. Today the island is a jewel as of all the natural beauty, amazing landscape, numerous beaches, good food and endless possibilities.



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