Infobox Islands
name = Elba

image caption = West Coast
image size = 280px
map_custom = yes

native name =
native name link =
nickname =
location = Tyrrhenian Sea
coordinates = coord|42|45.71|N|10|14.45|E|display=inline,title
archipelago = Tuscan Archipelago
total islands = 7
major islands = Elba, Gorgona, Capraia, Pianosa, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri)
area = convert|224|km2|sqmi|1|abbr=on
coastline = convert|147|km|abbr=on
highest mount = Monte Capanne
elevation = convert|1018|m|abbr=on
country = Italy
country admin divisions title = Region
country admin divisions = Tuscany
country admin divisions title 1 = Province
country admin divisions 1 = Livorno
country admin divisions title 2 = Communes of Elba
country admin divisions 2 = Portoferraio, Campo nell'Elba, Capoliveri, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Rio Marina and Rio nell'Elba
country capital city =
country largest city = Portoferraio
country largest city population = 12,013
country leader title =
country leader name =
population = 31,059
population as of = Jan 1, 2007
density = 138
ethnic groups =
additional info =

Elba ( _la. Ilva) is an island in Tuscany, Italy, convert|20|km from the coastal town of Piombino. It is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia. Elba and the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago are protected in the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago. The French island of Corsica lies about convert|50|km|-1 to the west. In Italian it is called "Isola d'Elba".


Originally inhabited by Ligures Ilvati who gave the ancient name Ilva, the island was well known from very ancient times for its iron resources and its valued mines. The Greeks called it "Aethalia" (fume) after the fumes of the furnaces for the metal production.

The island was then taken by force by the Etruscans first and (after 480 BC) by the Romans. After the end of the Roman Empire, the island suffered from ravages by barbarians and Saracens. In the early 11th century it became a possession of the Republic of Pisa. When the latter, in 1398, was sold to the Visconti of Milan, the island was acquired by the Appiani, Lords of Piombino, who retained it for two centuries. In 1546 part of the island was handed over to Cosimo I de' Medici, who fortified Portoferraio, renaming it "Cosmopoli", while in 1577 the rest of the island returned to the Appiani. In 1603 Philip II of Spain captured Porto Azzurro and built there two fortresses. In 1802 the island became a French possession, and its economy flourished.

Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, French emperor Napoleon I was exiled to Elba after his forced abdication in 1814 and arrived at Portoferraio on May 3, 1814 to begin his exile there. He was allowed to keep a personal guard of six hundred men. Although he was nominally sovereign of Elba, the island was watched (more or less) by British naval patrols.

During these months, partly to pass the time and partly out of a genuine concern for the well-being of the people, he carried out a series of economic and social reforms to improve the quality of life on Elba. Napoleon stayed on Elba for 300 days before he escaped and returned to France on February 26 for the Hundred Days. After his defeat at Waterloo he was subsequently exiled again, this time to the barren and isolated South Atlantic island of Saint Helena. Napoleon's stay on Elba is the basis for the famous English language palindrome: "Able was I ere I saw Elba." It is for the connection with Napoleon that Elba is best known internationally.

In the Congress of Vienna the island was given to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In 1860 it became part of the new unified Kingdom of Italy.

French troops landed on Elba on June 17 1944, liberating the island from the Germans. Faulty intelligence and strong defences made the battle more difficult than expected.

More recently, the island has become famed for its wine. It is today a renowned tourist resort.


* There is an airport on the island, Marina di Campo Airport. It's served by Intersky, with flights to Friedrichshafen, Munchen and Zurich.

Image Gallery



External links

* [http://www.1clickelba.it/geologia-eng/ Elba Geology] a rich site about Elba's geology.
* [http://www.images-italy.com/elba/ Pictures Elba]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/85/a2943885.shtml War story about the WWII battle]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Elba — (Elva), 1) Insel im Mittelländischen Meere, 11/2 Meile westlich von der Küste des italienischen Festlandes (von diesem durch den Kanal von Piombino getrennt), zum toscanischen Compartimento Pisa gehörig; 4 QM.; sehr gebirgig (im Westen Granit;… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Elba — Elba, ital. Insel im Mittelländischen Meer, die größte Insel des Toskanischen Archipels, bildet einen Kreis (Portoferrajo, s. d.) der Provinz Livorno und liegt zwischen Korsika und dem Festland, von dem sie durch den 10–12 km breiten Kanal von… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Elba — (Aethalia, Ilva bei den Alten), toskan. Insel, durch die Straße von Piombino vom toskan. Festlande getrennt, 4 QM. groß, gebirgig, ohne Ackerbau, unerschöpflich reich an Eisen, hat auch Marmorbrüche; die 20000 E. treiben Weinbau, besonders aber… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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