Leyte is an island in the Visayas group of the Philippines.
Politically, the island is divided into two provinces: (Northern) Leyte and Southern Leyte. Territorially, Southern Leyte includes the island of Panaon to its south. To the north of Leyte is the island province of Biliran, a former sub-province of Leyte.
The major cities of Leyte are Tacloban, on the eastern shore at the northwest corner of Leyte Gulf, and Ormoc, on the west coast. The island was once the location of Mairete, a historic community which was ruled by Datu Ete. Before being colonized by Spain, the island was once home to indigenous animist Warays to the east and other indigenous animist Visayan groups to the west.
Leyte today is notable for the geothermal electric power plants near Ormoc.
However, Leyte is most famous for its role in the reconquest of the Philippines in World War II. On 20 October 1944, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore on Leyte, saying, "I have returned", but the Japanese did not give up so easily, as the ensuing Battle of Leyte proved. The convergence of naval forces resulted in the four-day Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history.