Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia, with about 200,000 people living in its urban area. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. An intraregional transport hub and popular tourist destination, the city is linked to the Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula.
Home to Diocletian's Palace, built for the Roman emperor in AD 305, the city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos (Aσπάλαθος) in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. It became a prominent settlement around 650 when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona. After the Sack of Salona by the Avars and Slavs, the fortified Palace of Diocletian was settled by the Roman refugees. Split became a Byzantine city, to later gradually drift into the sphere of the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Croatia, with the Byzantines retaining nominal suzerainty. For much of the High and Late Middle Ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and the King of Hungary for control over the Dalmatian cities. Venice eventually prevailed and during the early modern period Split remained a Venetian city, a heavily fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. Its hinterland was won from the Ottomans in the Morean War of 1699, and in 1797, as Venice fell to Napoleon, the Treaty of Campo Formio rendered the city to the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg added it to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and in 1806 it was included in the French Empire, becoming part of the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. After being occupied in 1813, it was eventually granted to the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna, where the city remained a part of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia until the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and the formation of Yugoslavia. In World War II, the city was annexed by Italy, then liberated by the Partisans after the Italian capitulation in 1943. It was then re-occupied by Germany, which granted it to its puppet Independent State of Croatia. The city was liberated again by the Partisans in 1944, and was included in the post-war Socialist Yugoslavia, as part of its republic of Croatia. In 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia amid the Croatian War of Independence.