Last modified: 2011-08-20 by ivan sache
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Vis is the largest settlement on the island of the same name, located about 60 km southwest of Split. Its population is 2,200, almost all inhabitants living in the town itself.
Vis (Italian, Lissa) is the outermost largest island in the area and has always an important strategic place and a naval base. Vis was held by Venice from at least the 15th century. in 1797 it was taken by Austria and in 1805 Napoléon occupied it for France. The British conquered it in 1811 and held it until 1814 when it was returned to Austria. It was an important fort in the Continental blockade. The French launched a strong attack in 1811 to regain it, but were defeated.
On the sea near Vis was held in 1866 a great battle between the Italian and Austria fleet for the control over the Adriatic Sea. The Austrian fleet of 27 ships commanded by Admiral Tegetthoff met the Italian fleet of 34 ships commanded by Admiral Persano, that bombed the island and suffered a big loss, so that Austria gained supremacy over the Adriatic until its end. The flags used by both sides were meticulously recorded and shown in numerous paintings. Tegetthoff's admiral flag is still preserved today in the Vienna Military History Museum.
After the First World War the island of Vis became part of the South-Slavic state as part of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia, as part of the Coastal Banate (Primorska Banovina), and part of the Banate Croatia after its formation in 1939. In 1941 it was occupied by Italy and was then ceded to it by the Rome Treaties, with which Pavelić gave up most of Dalmatia to Italy as a payment for gaining power in Croatia. After the Italian capitulation in 1943, partisan units that were resisting the Italians on the coast of the istland took the entire island and it was held until the end of the Second World War. In 1944, Tito's headquarters was moved there and Vis was organized as a great stonghold. A British commando brigade with over 1,000 troopers was also included in the defense of Vis, as well as some other Allied naval units. Vis functioned as the political and military center of the liberated territories until the liberation of Belgrade in late 1944.
After the Second World War, the island was retained as a military stronghold and was forbidden to foreigners until the 1990s. The recent opening of the island for tourism means that it is a preserved and unexplored jewel, among the most popular tourist destinations on the Adriatic Sea.
Today, the island of Vis is administratively organized into two Towns, dividing the island in half almost in line north-south. The easter half is the Town of Vis and the western half is the Town of Komiža, which also includes the small, outer islands of Biševo, Sveti Andrija and Palagruža, as well as several smaller unihabited cliffs.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004
The flag of Vis is in proportions 1:2, white with the coat of arms in the middle.
Željko Heimer, 4 August 2004
The coat of arms is a blue oval with St. George killing the dragon within a golden baroque cartouche.
Željko Heimer, 4 August 2004