Islay (Īˈlā, Īˈlə) [key], island (1985 est. pop. 3,900), 240 sq mi (622 sq km), Argyll and Bute, W central Scotland, southernmost of the Inner Hebrides. Bowmore is the ancient capital, but Port Ellen (founded 1844) is the main town. The land is fertile, with large livestock and dairy farms and vast fields of peat. Oats and potatoes are the main crops, and cheese is made. Distilling and tourism are important. Islay's west coast is the site of the world's first commercial wave-powered electrical generation station (2000). Memorials to victims of the sinkings (1918) of the Tuscania and the Otranto are on the island.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography