A brief background & History of Vis

The town of Vis is in a relatively large and protected bay (Croatian: Uvala Svetog Jurja’ English: Bay of Saint George) on the island’s northeast side, facing the island of Hvar and the Dalmatian mainland. The port of Vis is in the southwest part of the bay. The port is protected from the open sea’s influence by the islet Host (named after William Hoste) and the peninsula Prirovo (sometimes spelled “Prilovo”). Other, smaller ports are in Kut and Stonca, which are also parts of the town of Vis.

Vis is separated from its hinterlands (Dračevo polje and Velo polje) by 250–300 m high hills which are important for local residents as the main source of income from viticulture. Other official parts of the town are villages on the bays of the south and southeast coast, such as Milna, Rukavac, Srebrna, Stiniva, Stončica, some of which show signs of developing into new towns. Besides Vis itself, these bays and villages are the island’s main source of tourist income.

Vis was established in the 4th century BCE as the Greek polis Issa, a colony of Syracuse, Sicily (which in turn was a colony of Corinth). Dionysius the Elder, the contemporary tyrant of Syracuse, founded the colony Issa to control shipping in the Adriatic Sea.[2][3] Ancient Issa developed as the urban and economic centre of the Dalmatian coasts, and it also served as a military base. The city established several colonies, such as Aspálathos, modern-day Split (now the largest city in Dalmatia), Epidauros (Stobreč), and Tragurion (Trogir). Issa functioned as an independent polis until the 1st century BCE, when it was conquered by the Roman Empire

Following the Roman conquest, Issa lost its significance until the late Middle Ages, when it was mentioned in several historical sources.

Until 1797, the island was under the rule of the Republic of Venice. Administratively, the island of Lissa was for centuries bound to the island of Lesina, now named Hvar. After the short-lived Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, with Italian as the official language, the town was ruled by the Austrian Empire from 1814. It maintained its Italian name of Lissa.

After the end of World War I, it was under Italian rule again in the period from 1918 to 1921, according to the provisions of the 1915 Treaty of London, before it was ceded to Kingdom of Yugoslavia as part of the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo. Vis was the site of the general headquarters of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, the leader of the Yugoslav Partisan resistance movement during World War II. After the war, the Yugoslav People’s Army used the island as one of its main naval bases until abandoning the base in 1989.