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SYLT (probably from the O. Fris. Silendi, i.e. sealand), the largest German island in the North Sea, being about 38 sq. m. in area and nearly 23 m. long. It is, however, very narrow, being generally about half a mile in width, except in the middle, where it sends out a peninsula to the east 7 m. across. It belongs to the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, and lies from 7 to 12 m. from the Schleswig coast. The central peninsula contains some marshland and moorland pasture, on which a few thousand sheep graze; but the rest of the island consists merely of dunes or sandhills. These attain at places a height of from 100 to 150 ft., and are continually shifting to the westward. The inhabitants (3500) are of Frisian origin, and the official language is German, though in the extreme north of the island, known as List, Danish is spoken. Their occupations are fishing, oyster-dredging, seafaring and wild-duck catching. The chief places are Keitum, Tinnum, Morsum, Rantum and Westerland. Westerland, one of the most frequented sea-bathing places of Germany, lies on the west side of the island, separated from the sea, which is seldom perfectly calm, by a chain of sand dunes, across which board walks lead to the beach. The island is reached by a regular steamboat service from Hoyer on the mainland to Munkmarsch, which is connected by a steam tram with Westerland. Another line of steamers runs from Hamburg to Sylt via Heligoland. During the Danish War of 1864, after suffering severely at the hands of the Danes, the island was occupied by the Prussians on the 13th of July (see FRISIAN ISLANDS).

See P. Knuth, Botanische Wanderungen auf der Insel Sylt (Tondern, 1890); C. P. Hansen, Das Nordseebad Westerland auf Sylt (Carding, 1891); Meyn, Geologische Beschreibune der Insel Sylt (Berlin, 1876); and Kepp, Wegweiser auf Sylt (Tondern, 1885).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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