Komiža was settled earlier than the neighbouring Vis. One theory suggests that its name originated from the word Com Issa, which means “next to Issa,” the ancient Polis Issa, today’s town of Vis. Komiža was first mentioned in 1145 as Val Komeza in the Grant of Prince Peter from Zadar, but it is believed that a Benedictine monastery, the church of St. Nicholas today, also called Muster, had existed before. Different authorities governing over the island and previously mentioned in the chapter on the town of Vis, governed over Komiža as well. What makes this city particular is its long and strong tradition of fishing.
Since the middle ages, under Venetian rule, Komiža has developed into a fishing centre of the Adriatic. Income from fishing served to build the most important buildings in the town but also enriched Venice. The greatest growth the town experienced was under Austrian rule, from 1815 to 1918, but with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this cradle of fishing slowly began to decay. The rich fishing areas around the Palagruža by the 1947 came under Italian rule, vine growing was shaken by vine disease and residents were forced to move to California where they continued to deal with what they knew best, and that was fishing.
After the Second World War, the island became a military zone, and due to isolation, a large number of young people moved to the mainland, and serious tourism was not developed at the time. The former fish processing factories, affiliated with the factory “Neptun”, had been some kind of backbone of Komiža for years, but the story had a sad ending – the factory was closed and it is empty today. With the departure of the Army from the island in 1992, tourism started developing and now a few fishing boats with about 60 professional fishermen sail to the sea in order to catch some fish.