geographical name

Island, Italy. Sicily is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. The largest island (9,830 sq mi [25,460 sq km]) in the Mediterranean Sea, it is also the site of Europe's highest active volcano, Mount Etna. The capital is Palermo. Sicily's strategic location at the centre of the Mediterranean has made the island a crossroads of history. The Greeks colonized it in the 8th–6th centuries BCE, and in the 3rd century BCE it became the first Roman province. It came under Byzantine rule in the 6th century CE and fell in 965 to Arabs from North Africa. It was taken in 1060 by the Normans. In the 12th–13th centuries and again in the 18th century it formed part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. During the 19th century it was a major centre of revolutionary movements; in 1860 it was liberated from the Bourbons, and in 1861 it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. Agriculture is its economic mainstay; industries include oil refining, food processing, wine making, and shipbuilding. Together with the islands of Egadi, Lipari, Pelagie, and Pantelleria, Sicily forms an autonomous region of Italy (pop., 2007 est.: 5,016,861).

Variants of SICILY

Sicily Italian Sicilia

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