Below we discuss the Battle of Lissa (1811) fought just west of the mouth of the harbor pictured above.
In 1811, the Dalmatian island of Lissa, as Vis was then called, was used by the British navy as a base of operations for warships and privateers operating against the ships of France and its allies in the Adriatic. The main town on the island was Port St. George, the modern day town of Vis which is pictured above.
The Napoleonic Wars encompassed theaters of operations throughout the world. The main theaters shifted over time but some theaters were destined to remain strategic backwaters. The Adriatic was one of those.
The Venetian Republic had ceased to exist when it was overrun by the troops of Revolutionary France in 1797. Ceded to Austria under the treaty that ended the War of the First Coalition, Venice was an Austrian province until 1805. When the Treaty of Pressburg was signed, in the aftermath of disastrous defeats at the hands of the French at Ulm and Austerlitz and the collapse of the Third Coalition, Venice was stripped from Austrian control and became part of Napoleon’s short lived Kingdom of Italy.
While the Adriatic was of little strategic import to the British it was an important source of naval stores for France and so raiding commerce in the Adriatic became a priority for the British Navy. Continue reading