LESINA (Serbo-Croatian, Hvar), an island in the Adriatic Sea, forming part of Dalmatia, Austria. Lesina lies between the islands of Brazza on the north and Curzola on the south; and is divided from the peninsula of Sabbioncello by the Narenta channel. Its length is 41 m.; its greatest breadth less than 4 m. It has a steep rocky coast with a chain of thinly wooded limestone hills. The climate is mild, and not only the grape and olive, but dates, figs and the carob or locust-bean flourish. The cultivation of these fruits, boat-building, fishing and the preparation of rosemary essence and liqueurs are the principal resources of the islanders. Lesina (Hvar) and Cittavecchia (Starigrad) are the principal towns and seaports, having respectively 2138 and 3120 inhabitants. Lesina, the capital, contains an arsenal, an observatory and some interesting old buildings of the 16th century. It is a Roman Catholic bishopric, and the centre of an administrative district, which includes Cittavecchia, Lissa, and some small neighbouring islands. Pop. (IQOO) of island 18,091, of district 27,928.
To the primitive " Illyrian " race, whose stone cists and bronze implements have been disinterred from barrows near the capital, may perhaps be attributed the " Cyclopean " walls at Cittavecchia. About 385 B.C., a Greek colony from Paros built a city on the site of the present Lesina, naming it Paros or Pharos The forms Phara, Pharia (common among Latin writers), and Pityeia, also occur. In 229 B'.C. the island was betrayed to the Romans by Demetrius, lieutenant of the Illyrian queen Teuta but in 219, as Demetrius proved false to Rome also, his capita! was razed by Lucius Aemilius Paullus. Neos Pharos, now Cittavecchia, took its place, and flourished until the 6th century when the island was laid waste by barbarian invaders. Con stantine Porphyrogenitus mentions Lesina as a colony of pagan Slavs, in the lolh century. Throughout the middle ages it remained a purely Slavonic community; and its name, which appears in old documents as Lisna, Lesna or Lyesena, " wooded ' is almost certainly derived from the Slavonic lyes, " forest," no from the Italian lesina, " an awl." But the old form Pharia persisted, as Far or Hvar, with the curious result that the modern Serbo-Croatian name is Greek, and the modern Italian name Slavonic in origin. Lesina became a bishopric in 1145, an< received a charter from Venice in 1331. It was sacked by thi enemies of Venice in 1354 and 1358; ceded to Hungary in th same year; held by Ragusa from 1413 to 1416; and incorporatec in the Venetian dominions in 1420. During the 16thcentur Lesina city had a considerable maritime trade, and, thoug! sacked and partly burned by the Turks in 1571, it remainec the chief naval station of Venice, in these waters, until 1776 when it was superseded by Curzola. Passing to Austria in 1797 and to France in 1805, it withstood a Russian attack in 1807 * Ethnological Map of Daghestan.
>ut was surrendered by the French in 1813, and finally annexed o Austria in 1815.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)