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Croatian History

Like many other countries of Western Europe, Croatia too developed in an area that once made part of the Roman Empire. In the maelstrom of the great migrations of peoples that took place Europe-wide after the fall of Rome, the Croat tribes took over this area. The Croats established their own princedom as early as the 7th century and founded an independent state in the 9th century

A short history of Croatia

Like many other countries of Western Europe, Croatia too developed in an area that once made part of the Roman Empire. In the maelstrom of the great migrations of peoples that took place Europe-wide after the fall of Rome, the Croat tribes took over this area. The Croats established their own princedom as early as the 7th century and founded an independent state in the 9th century. In the 10th century the Kingdom of the Croats came into being, ruled by the national kings. From the time of the conversion to Christianity, which was completed in the 9th century, the Croats became a part of Western Christendom and of the society of Western Europe.

Croatian King from XI centuryThe course of history replaced the rule of the Croatian national rulers by a new political setting. In the 11th century, Croatia entered a personal union with the King of Hungary. In this association, which lasted a full eight centuries, Croatia retained all the attributes of statehood through its Parliament, Viceroy, money and army. Nevertheless, as a result of Hungarian policy, the coastal parts of Croatia came under the direct control of Venice in the beginning of the 15th century, and in the 16th century, along with Hungary, Croatia too became part of the Habsburg Monarchy. The economic and cultural progress of Croatia in the 16th and 17th centuries was subordinated to the defence of the Austro-Hungarian frontiers against the inroads of the Turkish Empire. At the price of losing a large part of its central territory, and taking on its present horse-shoe shape, Croatia did indeed manage to stop the century long expansion of the Ottomans.

 

The Navy of the King Petar Kresimir IV (XI century)In the course of the centuries, Croatia has kept up with and taken part in all European movements. And thus in the 19th century there was here too an awakening of the civic spirit in the Revival Movement which played an important role in defining the Croatian nation's awareness of itself. After the collapse of the Habsburg Empire in 1918, the Croatian people were condemned to live for more than 70 years without a country of their own, without even the right to bear witness to their own national being. They were forced by the great powers to live in an artificial creation. First of all in the State of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, and then in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which disappeared in the whirlwind of World War II. Croatia began the New Era after 1945 as one of the six socialist republics of communist Yugoslavia. However, after fifty years of communist rule, the citizens of Croatia, like almost all the other nations of the former "Eastern Europe", rejected the totalitarian system, opting for a democratic system. In January 1992, Croatia received international recognition as an independent and sovereign European state. This act ushered in a new chapter of Croatian history.

 

The Croatian Name

The Croatian name was carried, apart from the Croatian people of today, by another two slavic tribes: the White Croats in Poland, along the upper course of the Visla river, west of the San, with The Ancient Croatian Coat-of-ArmsKrakow being their centre, and by a tribe in the north/eastern part of the Chech Republic. The traces of the name Croat, preserved in local names, witness that smaller groups of Croats were mixed with other Slavic tribes; Slovenians, Slovakians, the Lusatian Sorbs, probably in Zeta, Macedonia, even in Greece. There are several theories on the origin and meaninig of the name Croat (Hrvat), from the one by Constantine Porphyrogeitus, who derived the name from the Greek : land (according to which Croats would be "people owning much land, who derived it from the name of the inhabitants of the island of Krk (Curetes, Curibantes), then Ratkaj (who brought the name into relation with the Croatian verb "hrvati se" - to wrestle), to the 19th and 20th century philological explanations according to which Croat (Hrvat) descends from hrev: tree (Dobrovsky); hruv: dance (Miklošia); heru: sword (Zeuss); hruvat: deer (Much). From the beginning of the 20th century, after Pogodin drew attention to the archon Horóathos or Hurúathos from the 2nd/3rd c. from Tanais, the teories about the Iranian origin of the Croats started to emerge (Sakae, Jireeek, Hauptmann, etc.).

(source: Croatia Tourist Guide, Lexicographic Institute Miroslav Krleza, Zagreb, 1998)

 
Basic Historical Data
  • around 400 BC the first Greek colonies are founded on Adriatic islands
  • around 100 BC Romans rule over the east coast of the Adriatic
  • 305 - Roman emperor Diokletian in present day Split
  • around 600 Croats start moving to what is today's Croatia
  • 852 - Duke Trpimir issues the carter in which for the first time is mentioned the name Croatia, in domesic official documents
  • 925 - Tomislav, the first Croatian king, is mentioned, unfifier of Pannonian and Dalmatian Croatia
  • 1102 - after the death of Petar Svaeia, the last Croatian king, Croatia enters into a union with Hungary
  • 1242 - King Bela IV issues the Golden Bull in which he proclaims Zagreb a Free Royal City
  • 1433 - the beginning of the defense against the Turks, who through time ocupy the larger part of Croatian territory
  • 1527 - by a decision of the Croatian Assembly, the dynasty of Habsburg comes to the Croatian throne
  • 1699 - Croatia is largely liberated of Turkish rule; continental Croatia remains under the rule of Habsburg, and the largest part of the Adriatic coast and islands are under Venice; only Dubrovnik Republic remains completely independent
  • 1815 - after the short-term rule of the French under Napoleon, who aboloshed Venice and Dubrovnik Republic, almost the whole of present day Croatia enters into the Habsburg Monarchy
  • 1847 - Croatian becomes the official language of Croatia
  • 1848 - Ban (Vice -Roy) Josip Jelacic defends Croatia against attempts of Hungarian occupation and unites all Croatian provinces
  • 1866 - Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer founds the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the first in southeast Europe
  • 1918 - after the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in World War I, Croatia becomes part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, later proclaimed Yugoslavia
  • 1941 - German and Italian forces occupy Yugoslavia; the organized partisan resistance stars, led by Croatian anti-fascists under the guidance of Josip Broz - Tito
  • 1945 - the Federative Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia is proclaimed and with this, today's Croatia is a federative republic
  • 1990 - the first multi-party elections after World War II are organized in Croatia; the Croatian Assembly elects Dr. Franjo Tudman as its first president
  • 1991 - Croatia proclaims independence; the Serbian rebellion starts, supported by the Yugoslav National Army from Belgrade, and results in the occupation of the third of Croatian territory
  • 1992 - the Republic of Croatia becomes a member of the United Nations
  • 1998 - the last occupied part of Croatia, in the east, including Vukovar, is integrated into the country with the help of the United Nations

(source: Croatia Tourist Guide, Lexicographic Institute Miroslav Krleza, Zagreb, 1998)

 
Some Famous People of Croatia
  • BOSKOVIC, RUDJERRudjer Boskovic - the physicist, mathematician, phylosopher (1711 - 1787) the physicist, mathematician and astronomer; one of the most learned people of his time, predecessor of modern phzsics, founder of dynamic atomistics
  • BROZ - TITO, JOSIP (1892 - 1980) politician and statesman; organizer of the anti-fascist rising in the former Yugoslavia during World War II
  • DRZIC, MARIN (1508 - 1567) writer; chronicler of Dubrovnik Republic; one of the greatest comedians of the Renaissance (predecessor of Moliere)
  • GENERALIC, IVAN (1914 - 1992) naive painter; founder of the world renowed Hlebine painting school
  • GETALDIC, MARIN GHETALDUS (1566 - 1606) mathematician; known for the application of algebra in geometrz and also a pioneer in the making of conic lenses Julije Klovic  - the painter
  • GUNDULIC, IVAN (1589 - 1638) writer; known for his epic "Osman", which exalts the freedom-loving spirit of Dubrovnik Republic
  • KLOVIC, JULIJE (1498 - 1578) painter, the greatest European miniaturist of his time, painted for the Roman Pope and for the Medici family in Florence
  • KRLEZA, MIROSLAV (1893 - 1981) the greatest modern Croatian writer and also one of the most significant Middle-European writers of the first half of the 20th century; founder of Croatian lexicography
  • LISINSKI, VATROSLAV (1819 - 1854) composer, wrote the first Croatian opera "Love and Malice" in 1846
  • LUPIS, IVAN (1813 - 1875) nautical officer from Rijeka; inventor of the torpedo, which was manufactured for the forst time in Whitehead's factory in Rijeka in 1866Antun Gustav Matos - the writer
  • MARIN (4th century) stone-cutter from the island of Rab, founded San Marino, the first republic in Europe
  • MATOS, ANTUN GUSTAV (1873-1914) Croatian writer, the last romatic in Croatian literature
  • MEŠTROVIC, IVAN (1883 - 1962) famous croatian sculptor, known forIvan Mestrovic - the sculptor monumental sculptures with national themes; worked in the USA, his best known sculpture is "Indians" in Chicago
  • PENKALA, SLAVOLJUB (1871 - 1922) inventor of the mechanical pencil and fountain pen in 1906 and of the first Croatian two-seater plane
  • POLO, MARCO (1254 - 1324) Venetian adventurer and explorer, meritorious for his explorations of China; according to tradition, born on island Koreula
  • PRELOG, VLADIMIR (1906 - 1998) chemist, worked in Switzerland; winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975
  • RADIC, STJEPAN (1871 - 1928) plotician, founder of the Croatian Peasant Party, democrat and champion of Croatian liberation; died from wouds after being shot in the Assembly of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
  • RUZICKA, VATROSLAV (1887 - 1976) chemist, worked in Switzerland; winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939
  • SCHWARTZ, DAVID (1852 - 1897) creator of the air ship with a metal frame; Ferdinand Zeppelin bought out his work and, based on them, built the aircraft which bears his name
  • STARCEVIC, ANTE (1823 - 1896) politician, founder of the Croatian Party of Rights, advocated the policy of complete independence of Croatia; named the "father of the nation"
  • STEPINAC, ALOJZIJE (1898 - 1960) Zagreb archbishop, cardinal and theologian, publicly condemned fascist persecution during World War II; after the establishment of Communist rule, was imprisoned. Died in confinement. Proclaimed a martyr. The Pope  JOHN PAUL IINikola Tesla - the physicist made beatification of the Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac on 3rd October 1998.
  • TESLA, NIKOLA (1856 - 1943) physicist, worked in the USA, one of the greatest inventors in the field of electrical engineering; drew up plans for the first hydrolelectric power plant at Niagara Falls using alternating current, laid the groundwork for the making of radar equipment; named for him is the measuring unit for magnetic indiction (Tesla - T)
  • TU?MAN, FRANJO (1922 - ) politician and historian; a participant in the anti-fascist movement. Because of advocating Croatian national rights, came in conflict with the communist regime; founded the Croatian Democratic Party which won the first multi-party elections in 1990; the first president of the independent Croatian state, re-elected in 1996
  • VRANCIC, FAUST (1551 - 1617) inventor, philosopher and lexicographer; anticipated a number of technical inventions, the parachute, among others
  • VUCETIC, IVAN (1858 - 1925) one of the inventors of dactiloscopy, the method for identifying persons by their fingerprints

(source: Croatia Tourist Guide, Lexicographic Institute Miroslav Krleza, Zagreb, 1998)

A clicable index of 250 Croatian outstanding names of its history, culture & science you can find on:

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