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Country in southeastern Europe

Top 10 Croatia related articles

Coordinates: 45°10′N 15°30′E / 45.167°N 15.500°E / 45.167; 15.500

Republic of Croatia

Republika Hrvatska  (Croatian)[a]
Anthem: "Lijepa naša domovino"
("Our Beautiful Homeland")
Location of Croatia (dark green)

– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green)

and largest city
45°48′N 16°0′E / 45.800°N 16.000°E / 45.800; 16.000
Official languagesCroatian[c]
Writing systemLatin[d]
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional republic
• President
Zoran Milanović
Andrej Plenković
Gordan Jandroković
LegislatureCroatian Parliament
• Duchy
9th century
• Kingdom
• Joined Habsburg Monarchy
1 January 1527
• Secession from
29 October 1918
4 December 1918
25 June 1991
12 November 1995
1 July 2013
• Total
56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi) (124th)
• Water (%)
• 2020 estimate
4,058,165[5] (128th)
• 2011 census
• Density
73/km2 (189.1/sq mi) (109th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$117.928 billion[7] (80st)
• Per capita
$29,207[7] (49th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$63.172 billion[7] (77th)
• Per capita
$15,646[7] (55th)
Gini (2018)  29.7[8]
low · 17th
HDI (2019)  0.851[9]
very high · 43rd
CurrencyKuna (HRK)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Date formatdd.mm.yyyy. (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+385
ISO 3166 codeHR
Internet TLD

Croatia (/krˈʃə/ ( listen), kroh-AY-shə; Croatian: Hrvatska, pronounced [xř̩ʋaːtskaː]), officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska, ( listen)),[e] is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Italy to the west and southwest. Its capital and largest city, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, with twenty counties. Croatia has 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and a population of 4.07 million.

The Croats arrived in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Croatia was first internationally recognised as independent on 7 June 879 during the reign of Duke Branimir. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. During the succession crisis after the Trpimirović dynasty ended, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Austria to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918, merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of Croatia was incorporated into a Nazi installed puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia. A resistance movement led to the creation of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, which after the war became a founding member and constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, and the War of Independence was fought for four years following the declaration.

A sovereign state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. It is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. An active participant in United Nations peacekeeping, Croatia has contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force and took a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.

Croatia is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy and ranks very high on the Human Development Index. Service, industrial sectors, and agriculture dominate the economy, respectively. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the 20 most popular tourist destinations. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides social security, universal health care, and tuition-free primary and secondary education while supporting culture through public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.

Croatia Intro articles: 106


The name of Croatia derives from Medieval Latin Croātia. Itself a derivation of North-West Slavic *Xrovat-, by liquid metathesis from Common Slavic period *Xorvat, from proposed Proto-Slavic *Xъrvátъ which possibly comes from Old Persian *xaraxwat-,[11] the root word being a 3rd-century Scytho-Sarmatian form attested in the Tanais Tablets as Χοροάθος (Khoroáthos, alternate forms comprise Khoróatos and Khoroúathos).[11] The origin of the name is uncertain but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe.[12] The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of the variable stem, attested in the Baška tablet in style zvъnъmirъ kralъ xrъvatъskъ ("Zvonimir, Croatian king").[13] The first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir I of Croatia from the year 852. The original is lost, and just a 1568 copy is preserved, leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim.[14] Although was archaeologically confirmed that the ethnonym Croatorum is mentioned in a church inscription found in Bijaći near Trogir dated to the end of the 8th or early 9th century,[15] the presumably oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir inscription found near Benkovac, where Duke Branimir is styled Dux Cruatorvm. It is not believed to be dated accurately but is likely to be from 879 to 892, during Branimir's rule.[16]

Croatia Etymology articles: 22


Left: Vučedol culture, Vučedol dove made between 2800 and 2500 BCE
Right: Croatian Apoxyomenos, Ancient Greek statue, 2nd or 1st century BC.


The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period. Fossils of Neanderthals dating to the middle Palaeolithic period have been unearthed in northern Croatia, with the most famous and the best presented site in Krapina.[17] Remnants of several Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures were found in all regions of the country.[18] The largest proportion of the sites is in the river valleys of northern Croatia, and the most significant cultures whose presence was discovered include Baden, Starčevo, and Vučedol cultures.[19][20] The Iron Age left traces of the early Illyrian Hallstatt culture and the Celtic La Tène culture.[21]


The 1st century-built Pula Arena was the sixth largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire

Much later, the region was settled by Illyrians and Liburnians, while the first Greek colonies were established on the islands of Hvar,[22] Korčula, and Vis.[23] In 9 AD, the territory of today's Croatia became part of the Roman Empire. Emperor Diocletian was native to the region, and he had a large palace built in Split, to which he retired after his abdication in AD 305.[24]

During the 5th century, the last de jure Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos ruled his small realm from the palace after fleeing Italy in 475.[25] The period ends with Avar and Croat invasions in the first half of the 7th century and the destruction of almost all Roman towns. Roman survivors retreated to more favourable sites on the coast, islands, and mountains. The city of Dubrovnik was founded by such survivors from Epidaurum.[26]

Middle Ages

Kingdom of Croatia c. 925, during the reign of King Tomislav

The ethnogenesis of Croats is uncertain, and there are several competing theories, Slavic and Iranian being the most frequently put forward. The most widely accepted of these, the Slavic theory, proposes migration of White Croats from White Croatia during the Migration Period. Conversely, the Iranian theory proposes Iranian origin, based on Tanais Tablets containing Ancient Greek inscriptions of given names Χορούαθος, Χοροάθος, and Χορόαθος (Khoroúathos, Khoroáthos, and Khoróathos) and their interpretation as anthroponyms of Croatian people.[27]

According to the work De Administrando Imperio written by the 10th-century Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, Croats had arrived in the Roman province of Dalmatia in the first half of the 7th century after they defeated the Avars.[28][29][30] However, that claim is disputed, and competing hypotheses date the event between the 6th and the 9th centuries.[31] Eventually, a dukedom was formed, Duchy of Croatia, ruled by Borna, as attested by chronicles of Einhard starting in 818. The record represents the first document of Croatian realms, vassal states of Francia at the time.[32]

The Frankish overlordship ended during the reign of Mislav two decades later.[33] According to Constantine VII Christianization of Croats began in the 7th century, but the claim is disputed, and generally, Christianization is associated with the 9th century.[34] The first native Croatian ruler recognised by the Pope was Duke Branimir, who received papal recognition from Pope John VIII on 7 June 879.[16]

Coronation of King Tomislav by Oton Iveković

Tomislav was the first king of Croatia, styled as such in a letter of Pope John X in 925. Tomislav defeated Hungarian and Bulgarian invasions, spreading the influence of Croatian kings.[35] The medieval Croatian kingdom reached its peak in the 11th century during the reigns of Petar Krešimir IV (1058–1074) and Dmitar Zvonimir (1075–1089).[36] When Stjepan II died in 1091, ending the Trpimirović dynasty, Dmitar Zvonimir's brother-in-law Ladislaus I of Hungary claimed the Croatian crown. This led to a war and personal union of Croatia and Hungary in 1102 under Coloman.[37]

For the next four centuries, the Kingdom of Croatia was ruled by the Sabor (parliament) and a ban (viceroy) appointed by the king.[38] This period saw the rise of influential nobility such as the Frankopan and Šubić families to prominence, and ultimately numerous Bans from the two families.[39] There was an increasing threat of Ottoman conquest and a struggle against the Republic of Venice for control of coastal areas. The Venetians controlled most of Dalmatia by 1428, except the city-state of Dubrovnik, which became independent. Ottoman conquests led to the 1493 Battle of Krbava field and the 1526 Battle of Mohács, both ending in decisive Ottoman victories. King Louis II died at Mohács, and in 1527, the Croatian Parliament met in Cetin and chose Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg as the new ruler of Croatia, under the condition that he protects Croatia against the Ottoman Empire while respecting its political rights.[38][40]

Personal union with Hungary (1102) and Habsburg Monarchy (1527)

Croatian Ban Nikola Šubić Zrinski is honoured as a national hero for his defence of Szigetvár against the Ottoman Empire

Following the decisive Ottoman victories, Croatia was split into civilian and military territories, with the partition formed in 1538. The military territories would become known as the Croatian Military Frontier and were under direct Habsburg control. Ottoman advances in Croatia continued until the 1593 Battle of Sisak, the first decisive Ottoman defeat, and stabilisation of borders.[40] During the Great Turkish War (1683–1698), Slavonia was regained, but western Bosnia, which had been part of Croatia before the Ottoman conquest, remained outside Croatian control.[40] The present-day border between the two countries is a remnant of this outcome. Dalmatia, the southern part of the border, was similarly defined by the Fifth and the Seventh Ottoman–Venetian Wars.[41]

The Ottoman wars instigated large demographic changes. During the 16th century, Croats from western and northern Bosnia, Lika, Krbava, the area between the rivers of Una and Kupa, and especially from western Slavonia, migrated towards Austria and the present-day Burgenland Croats are direct descendants of these settlers.[42][43] To replace the fleeing population, the Habsburgs encouraged the people of Bosnia to provide military service in the Military Frontier.

The Croatian Parliament supported King Charles III's Pragmatic Sanction and signed their own Pragmatic Sanction in 1712.[44] Subsequently, the emperor pledged to respect all privileges and political rights of the Kingdom of Croatia, and Queen Maria Theresa made significant contributions to Croatian matters, such as introducing compulsory education.

Ban Josip Jelačić distinguished himself during the Revolutions of 1848

Between 1797 and 1809, the First French Empire gradually occupied the entire eastern Adriatic coastline and a substantial part of its hinterland, ending the Venetian and the Ragusan republics, establishing the Illyrian Provinces.[40] In response, the Royal Navy blockaded the Adriatic Sea, leading to the Battle of Vis in 1811.[45] The Illyrian Provinces were captured by the Austrians in 1813 and absorbed by the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna in 1815. This led to the formation of the Kingdom of Dalmatia and the restoration of the Croatian Littoral to the Kingdom of Croatia, now both under the same crown.[46] The 1830s and 1840s saw romantic nationalism inspire the Croatian National Revival, a political and cultural campaign advocating the unity of all South Slavs in the empire. Its primary focus was establishing a standard language as a counterweight to Hungarian while promoting Croatian literature and culture.[47] During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Croatia sided with the Austrians, Ban Josip Jelačić helping defeat the Hungarian forces in 1849 and ushering a Germanization policy.[48]

The Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia was an autonomous kingdom within Austria-Hungary created in 1868 following the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement

By the 1860s, failure of the policy became apparent, leading to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. The creation of a personal union between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary followed. The treaty left Croatia's status to Hungary, and it was resolved by the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement of 1868 when kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia were united.[49] The Kingdom of Dalmatia remained under de facto Austrian control, while Rijeka retained the status of Corpus separatum introduced in 1779.[37]

After Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina following the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, the Military Frontier was abolished. The Croatian and Slavonian sectors of the Frontier returned to Croatia in 1881,[40] under provisions of the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement.[50][51] Renewed efforts to reform Austria-Hungary, entailing federalisation with Croatia as a federal unit, were stopped by the advent of World War I.[52]

Yugoslav Era (1918–1991)

On 29 October 1918 the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) declared independence and decided to join the newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs,[38] which in turn entered into union with the Kingdom of Serbia on 4 December 1918 to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.[53] The Croatian Parliament never ratified a decision to unite with Serbia and Montenegro.[38] The 1921 constitution defining the country as a unitary state and abolition of Croatian Parliament and historical administrative divisions effectively ended Croatian autonomy.

Stjepan Radić, leader of the Croatian Peasant Party who advocated federal organisation of the Yugoslavia, at the assembly in Dubrovnik, 1928

The new constitution was opposed by the most widely supported national political party—the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) led by Stjepan Radić.[54]

The political situation deteriorated further as Radić was assassinated in the National Assembly in 1928, leading to the dictatorship of King Alexander in January 1929.[55] The dictatorship formally ended in 1931 when the king imposed a more unitarian constitution and changed the name to Yugoslavia.[56] The HSS, now led by Vladko Maček, continued to advocate federalisation of Yugoslavia, resulting in the Cvetković–Maček Agreement of August 1939 and the autonomous Banovina of Croatia. The Yugoslav government retained control of the defence, internal security, foreign affairs, trade, and transport while other matters were left to the Croatian Sabor and a crown-appointed Ban.[57]

In April 1941, Yugoslavia was occupied by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Following the invasion, most of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the region of Syrmia were incorporated into the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a Nazi-backed puppet state. Parts of Dalmatia were annexed by Italy and the northern Croatian regions of Baranja and Međimurje by Hungary.[58] The NDH regime was led by Ante Pavelić and ultranationalist Ustaše, a fringe movement in pre-war Croatia.[59] With German and Italian military and political support,[60] the regime introduced racial laws and enacted a genocide campaign against Serbs, Jews, and Roma.[61] Many were imprisoned in concentration camps, the largest of which was the Jasenovac complex.[62] Anti-fascist Croats were targeted by the regime as well.[63] Several concentration camps were also established in Italian-occupied territories, mostly for Slovenes and Croats.[62] At the same time, the Yugoslav Royalist and Serbian nationalist Chetniks pursued a genocidal campaign against Croats and Muslims,[61][64] aided by fascist Italy.[65]

A resistance movement soon emerged. On 22 June 1941,[66] the 1st Sisak Partisan Detachment was formed near Sisak, the first military unit formed by a resistance movement in occupied Europe.[67] That sparked the beginning of the Yugoslav Partisan movement, a communist multi-ethnic anti-fascist resistance group led by Josip Broz Tito.[68] The movement grew fast, and at the Tehran Conference in December 1943, the Partisans gained recognition from the Allies.[69]

Celebrating Tito in Zagreb in 1945, in presence of Orthodox dignitaries, the Catholic cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, and the Soviet military attaché

With Allied support in logistics, equipment, training and airpower, and with the assistance of Soviet troops taking part in the 1944 Belgrade Offensive, the Partisans gained control of Yugoslavia and the border regions of Italy and Austria by May 1945. Members of the NDH armed forces and other Axis troops, as well as civilians, were in retreat towards Austria. Following their surrender and the aftermath of the Bleiburg repatriations, many were killed by the Yugoslav Partisans.[70] In the following years, ethnic Germans faced persecution in Yugoslavia, and many were interned in camps.[71]

The political aspirations of the Partisan movement were reflected in the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia, which developed in 1943 as the bearer of Croatian statehood and later transformed into the Parliament of Croatia in 1945, and AVNOJ—its counterpart at the Yugoslav level.[72][73]

Based on the studies on wartime and post-war casualties by demographer Vladimir Žerjavić and statistician Bogoljub Kočović, a total of 295,000 people from the territory of Croatia (not including territories ceded from Italy after the war) lost their lives, among whom were 125–137,000 Serbs, 118–124,000 Croats, 16–17,000 Jews, and 15,000 Roma.[74][75] In addition, from areas joined to Croatia after the war, a total of 32,000 people died, among whom 16,000 were Italians and 15,000 were Croats.[76]

Josip Broz Tito led SFR Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1980; Pictured: Tito with the US president Richard Nixon in the White House, 1971

After World War II, Croatia became a single-party socialist federal unit of the SFR Yugoslavia, ruled by the Communists, but having a degree of autonomy within the federation. In 1967, Croatian authors and linguists published a Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Standard Language demanding equal treatment for the Croatian language.[77] The declaration contributed to a national movement seeking greater civil rights and redistribution of the Yugoslav economy, culminating in the Croatian Spring of 1971, suppressed by Yugoslav leadership.[78] Still, the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution gave increased autonomy to federal units, basically fulfilling a goal of the Croatian Spring and providing a legal basis for independence of the federative constituents.[79]

Following the death of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the political situation in Yugoslavia deteriorated, with national tension fanned by the 1986 SANU Memorandum and the 1989 coups in Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Montenegro.[80][81] In January 1990, the Communist Party fragmented along national lines, with the Croatian faction demanding a looser federation.[82] In the same year, the first multi-party elections were held in Croatia, with Franjo Tuđman's win raising nationalist tensions further.[83] Some of the Serbs in Croatia left Sabor and declared the autonomy of what would soon become the unrecognised Republic of Serbian Krajina, intent on achieving independence from Croatia.[84][85]

Independent Croatia (1991–present)

The Eternal Flame and 938 marble crosses on the Memorial Cemetery of Homeland War in Vukovar

As tensions rose, Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991. However, the full implementation of the declaration only came into effect on 8 October 1991.[86][87] In the meantime, tensions escalated into overt war when the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and various Serb paramilitary groups attacked Croatia.[88] By the end of 1991, a high-intensity conflict fought along a wide front reduced Croatia's control of only about two-thirds of its territory.[89][90] The various Serb paramilitary groups then began pursuing a campaign of killing, terror, and expulsion of the Croats in the rebel territories, killing thousands[91] of Croat civilians and expelling or displacing as many as 400,000 Croats and other non-Serbs from their homes.[92] Meanwhile, Serbs living in Croatian towns, especially those near the front lines, were subjected to various forms of discrimination.[93] Croatian Serbs in Eastern and Western Slavonia and parts of the Krajina, were also forced to flee or were expelled by Croatian forces, though on a restricted scale and in lesser numbers.[94] The Croatian Government sought to stop such occurrences and were not a part of the Government's policy.[95]

On 15 January 1992, Croatia gained diplomatic recognition by the European Economic Community members, and subsequently the United Nations.[96][97] The war effectively ended in August 1995 with a decisive victory by Croatia;[98] the event is commemorated each year on 5 August as Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders.[99] Following the Croatian victory, about 200,000 Serbs from the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina fled from the region[100] and hundreds of mainly elderly Serb civilians were killed in the aftermath of the military operation.[101] Their lands were subsequently settled by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[102] The remaining occupied areas were restored to Croatia following the Erdut Agreement of November 1995, with the UNTAES mission concluded in January 1998.[103]

Franjo Tuđman Croat politician who led the country to independence from Yugoslavia in 1991

After the end of the war, Croatia faced the challenges of post-war reconstruction, the return of refugees, advancing democratic principles, protection of human rights, and general social and economic development. The post-2000 period is characterised by democratisation, economic growth, structural and social reforms, as well as problems such as unemployment, corruption, and the inefficiency of the public administration.[104]

Croatia joined the Partnership for Peace on 25 May 2000[105] and became a member of the World Trade Organization on 30 November 2000.[106] On 29 October 2001, Croatia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union,[107] submitted a formal application for the EU membership in 2003,[108] was given the status of candidate country in 2004,[109] and began accession negotiations in 2005.[110] In November 2000 and March 2001, the Parliament amended the Constitution, changing its bicameral structure back into historic unicameral and reducing the presidential powers.[111]

Croatia became the 28th EU member country on 1 July 2013

Although the Croatian economy had enjoyed a significant boom in the early 2000s, the financial crisis in 2008 forced the government to cut public spending, thus provoking a public outcry.[112] On 1 April 2009, Croatia joined NATO.[113] A wave of anti-government protests in early 2011 reflected a general dissatisfaction with the political and economic state.[114]

Croatia completed EU accession negotiations in 2011. A majority of Croatian voters opted in favour of country's EU membership at the 2012 referendum,[115] and Croatia joined the European Union effective 1 July 2013.[116] Croatia was affected by the European migrant crisis in 2015 when Hungary's closure of its borders with Serbia forced over 700,000 migrants to use Croatia as a transit country on their way to Western Europe.[117]

On 22 March 2020, a 5.5 earthquake[118] struck Croatia, with the epicenter located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of Zagreb city centre, inflicting heavy structural damage in the historic city centre and causing 27 injuries with one fatality. Over 1,900 buildings were reported to have become uninhabitable by the earthquake damage.[119]

Croatia History articles: 217