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The Aeolian Islands, named after the wind god, Aeolus, are a volcanic group of 17 islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, near north-eastern Sicily. Lipari is the main and most populated island of the group. The next in size are Vulcano, Stromboli, Salina, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea. The principal products of the islands are grapes, figs, olives, and pumice stone. The islands are the summits of a submerged mountain chain rising to 3,156 ft (962 m) on Salina. Volcanic activity has been known since ancient times, and Vulcano and Stromboli are still active and there are fumaroles on Lipari and Panarea.
From Neolithic and Bronze Age beginnings, the islands were settled by the Greeks in the 6th century BC. Later Carthaginians, Romans, Saracens and Normans all ruled. Naples and the Sicilian kings fought over them until the finally became united to Sicily in the late 15th century.
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