Iona, the most famous of the Hebrides, 1 1/4 mile W. of the south-western extremity of Mull. Its modern name is believed to have originated in a mistaken reading of n for u; the word in the oldest manuscripts being clearly written Ioua. From the 6th century to the 17th century the island was most generally called I, Hi, Y, etc. - that is, simply, 'the island;' or Icolmkill, I-Columb-Kille, etc. - that is,' the island of Columba of the church.' It is 3 1/2 miles long, 1 1/2 mile broad, and 3 1/2 sq. m., or 2264 acres in area, of which more than a fourth is under tillage. Dunii, the highest point, is 327 feet above the sea. Pop. 247. In 563 St Columba sailed from Ireland for Iona with twelve disciples. Having obtained a grant of the island, he built upon it a monastery, which was long regarded as the mother-church of the Picts, and was venerated not only among the Scots of Britain and Ireland, but among the Angles of the north of England, who owed their conversion to the self-denying missionaries of Iona. Neither piety nor learning availed to save it from the ravages of the fierce and heathen Norsemen, who wasted it and massacred the monks in 795, 802, 806, 825, and 986. About 1074 the monastery was repaired by St Margaret, the queen of Malcolm Canmore; and in 1097 it was visited by King Magnus Barefoot of Norway, of which kingdom it now formed part. In 1203 a Benedictine monastery was founded here, and a Benedictine (afterwards Augustinian) nunnery. In 1506 Iona became the seat of the Scottish Bishop of the Isles, the abbey church being his cathedral. St Oran's Chapel, now the oldest church in the island, may probably be of the latter part of the 11th century. The Cathedral, or St Mary's Church (c. 1203), has a choir, with a sacristy on the north side, and chapels on the south side ; north and south transepts; a central tower, 70 feet high, and a nave. On the north of the cathedral are the chapter-house and other conventual remains. The ruin was given by the Duke of Argyll to the Church of Scotland in 1899, and in 1902-5 partly restored. See books by the Duke of Argyll (1871), Macmillan (1898), and others.