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Rab is an island and a town of the same name located just off the northern Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea, today in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar county. The island was the frontier between Liburnia and Dalmatia.
The island is 22 km long, has an area of 93.6 km2 and 9,480 inhabitants (2001). The highest peak is Kamenjak at 408 meters. The northeastern side of the island is mostly barren, karst, while the southwestern side is covered in green pine forests. The island is very popular nowdays with tourists and families for its beautiful beaches and many events, particularly the Rab arbalest tournament and Rab Medieval festival.
The main town on the island is also named Rab. It has 554 residents (2001) and is located on a small peninsula on the southwestern side of the island. Ferries connect the island of Rab with the mainland port of Jablanac and with the neighbouring island Krk.
The town Rab has a long history that dates back to 360 BC when it was under the Illyrians. From the third century BC to the sixth century AD Rab was part of the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Augustus proclaimed it a Municipium in 10 BC. It was the first town of Roman Dalmatia to be given honorary title felix. Marinus, the Christian founder of San Marino, was a native of Rab who was said to have fled the island under Diocletian's persecution in AD 301.
The historic town center of RabDuring the Middle Ages Rab was part of the Byzantine Empire, then, for a short time, part of the Kingdom of Croatia, then in 1358 the island came under the rule of King Louis the Great, the Angevin ruler of Hungary. From the Renaissance it was governed by Venice. It was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, then the Italian Kingdom, before becoming part of Yugoslavia.
During World War II, the forces of Fascist Italy established the Rab concentration camp on the island where over a thousand people were killed between 1942 and 1943. A memorial complex built in 1953 commemorates the site of the former camp, located in the village of Kampor.
The worst disaster in town history was an outbreak of the plague in 1456 that decimated the city's population.
Position of island Rab