Island (pop., 2000: 1,952,496) of the Visayan group, eastern Philippines. Occupying an area of 2,785 sq mi (7,214 sq km), it lies southwest of Samar Island, with which it is linked by a 7,093-ft (2,162-m) bridge. Known to 16th-century Spanish explorers as Tandaya, it was under Spanish rule until the late 19th century. Under U.S. control in the early 20th century, its population grew rapidly. During World War II it was occupied by the Japanese, who were ousted by U.S. forces in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. It has two major cities, Ormoc and Tacloban.