Vis (Italian: Lissa and ancient Greek Ίσσα, Issa) is a protruding
Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. It is 45 km away from the
mainland. The area of the island is 89.72 km2, a commercial line
from Split runs to the island two to four times a day, and in summer
it has a connection with Ancona in Italy. The total length of the
coast of Vis is 84.9 km.
The climate on the island is Mediterranean with hot summers. Since the island is quite far from other islands and the mainland, that is, it is quite lonely on the high seas, Vis is exposed to stronger winds than the neighboring Adriatic islands. The average is over 2600 hours of sunshine a year. Temperatures are above 24 ° C in summer and above 6 ° C in winter. Less than 800 mm of precipitation falls annually.
The island was inhabited in prehistoric times.
It was a place of ancient Greek settlement, and the ancient settlement of Issa dates from that time. Later it passed under ancient Roman rule.
In the early Middle Ages it was located in the old Croatian state. Afterwards, he often changed rulers, that is, he had Venetians as rulers. Then Vis was attacked by the Catalans in the service of the King of Naples, who ravaged the island. Due to the need for defense, they built the fortified settlements of Kut and Luka, which gave rise to modern Vis. In Napoleonic times, the rulers were the French and even the English (then cricket was played on the island, for the first time in Croatia). After the fall of Napoleon and the Venetian Republic, Vis came under Habsburg rule.
With the further administrative reorganization of the monarchy, Vis became part of the imperial province of Dalmatia, which after the Austro-Hungarian division of the monarchy fell under the Austrian part. In the vicinity of the island of Vis, the Battle of Vis took place in 1866, which greatly influenced the further development of events on the eastern Adriatic coast. With the victory of the Austro-Hungarian navy, the Italian encroachments on Vis and the whole of Dalmatia were temporarily stopped.
Vis in the 20th century
With the disintegration of Austro-Hungary, Vis fell under Italian occupation (1918-1921), and then became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Although the Treaty of London in 1915 promised the island to Italy, its army still had to withdraw from Vis. There is a story that at the last moment at the peace conference in Paris, Italy was given Lastovo to leave Vis, which was of symbolic importance to it due to the defeat of 1866. It is believed that the main role was played by Ante Trumbić, who was also a representative of the island of Vis.
The era of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, or later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was the period of the first crisis of the island, caused by the loss of a large market. There was also a conflict over the division of colonial land, which was used by the then Greater Serbia circles from Belgrade. They promised land to the Visans who converted to the Orthodox faith, which a large group of farmers did. According to the data of the Hvar diocese, from 1925-1933. 292 people converted to Orthodoxy, only in Vis, of which 58 returned to Catholicism over time, and by the end of World War II only 3 remained in Orthodoxy. A large Orthodox church was built in Vis in 1933 (damaged in 1944 when the Third Reich bombed Vis, and demolished in 1963 in preparation for the 20th anniversary of Tito's arrival on Vis) and the conversion to Orthodoxy continued. This caused severe conflicts, including physical ones, among the locals, which were sharply divided into two irreconcilable sides. With the founding of the Banovina of Croatia, the pro-Croatian current prevailed on the island, and the Orthodox movement disintegrated, only to disappear completely during the war.
Vis in the Second World War and the postwar period
After the outbreak of World War II, the island of Vis was again occupied by Italy in 1941, which immediately began to pursue a policy of general Italianization, especially in the town of Vis itself, where it had some supporters. They especially targeted members of the HSS, using the method of expelling more prominent Visans in the NDH. With the rise of partisan actions, methods of governing became increasingly cruel, including the shooting of hostages in Vis and Komiža and the burning of houses in Vis villages. After the capitulation of Italy in September 1943, the Partisans took power on the island. Vis is the only part of the former Yugoslavia that was never occupied by the German army. At that time, the Allied military airport was located on it (today under the vineyards). Tito took refuge on Vis in June 1944 after the German landing on Drvar. Until the capture of Belgrade in October 1944, the island functioned as a center of partisan authorities and allied military missions. All the island's population that was not able to fight was evacuated by the British to the El Shatt camp in Sinai, where many Visans died due to poor living conditions. The return from Egypt was made during 1946.
In socialist Yugoslavia, Vis was an island closed to foreigners due to its strategic position (the ban on the arrival of foreigners was lifted only in 1989) and the whole was turned into a large military fortress. Covering an area of only 90 km2, there were more than 30 military facilities, including an underground military hospital and a tunnel to shelter warships. The consequence of half a century of isolation was economic backwardness and the impossibility of tourism development, and the associated large emigration of the population. The Yugoslav army left the island only on May 30, 1992, 4 and a half months after Croatia's international recognition.