Croatia History

By | January 9, 2023

Croatia – national flag

Croatia National Flag

The Croatian tricolor dates from 1848. The colors are Pan-Slavic. In its current form, the flag was introduced in 1990, when the communist star was replaced by the country’s old red-and-white coat of arms, which can possibly be traced back to the 1500’s. In 1990, the crown was added to the five historical shields of (from left) Old Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia.

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Croatia (Prehistory)

Scattered finds testify to the human presence in Croatia in the Old Paleolithic. At Krapina, bones of Neanderthal people who lived in the last Middle Ages have been found. Moustérien finds from the last ice age, until approximately 40,000 BC, known from Veternica, where signs of bear cult have been found. Settlements are also known with finds from the cultures the aurignacia and the eastern, late gravetti in the Late Paleolithic.

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The oldest agriculture arose approximately 6000 BC In northern Croatia, the Starčevo culture spread, while Dalmatia’s coastal areas were populated by peasants and shepherds whose Impresso pottery suggests connections with southern Italy. In calculic times and early Bronze Age, approximately 4500-1800 BC, fortified settlements arose, which are especially known from Vučedol in Slavonia; the place has given its name to the Vučedol culture, which characterized by a richly patterned applied art. Bronze Age metal production is particularly illustrated by the many depot finds in Slavonia from 1000-850 BC.

Burial mounds from the early Iron Age in Slavonia, approximately 700-500 BC, contains rich burials that testify to the existence of a warrior aristocracy. NW Croatia was at this time part of the Hallstatt culture. Hundreds of fortified settlements are known from Istria, and the coast of Dalmatia was also densely populated in the Iron Age. There were trade relations with the Greeks, who in 385 BC. founded colonies on the islands of Hvar and Vis. As a result of the Celts’ expansion in the Balkans after approximately 350 BC came the land between the rivers Sava and Drava under the influence of Celtic culture.

Croatia (History)

According to a2zgov, the Croatian coastal area was conquered by the Romans in 200 BC. (see Illyricum), while the interior first became Roman in imperial times (see Dalmatia). At the end of the 500-t. conquered the land by the slaves, and during the 700-800-t. the residents became Christians and have since belonged religiously to the Roman Catholic Church. In 925, the first Croatian king, Tomislav I, was crowned king. The kings of Hungary made early connections through marriages to the Croatian royal house, and the Hungarian king Kálmán was crowned king of Croatia in 1102. In the Middle Ages, the Croats of the Hungarian king saw a protector, first against Venice, as in the 1200’s and 1300’s. tried to subjugate the entire eastern Adriatic coast, then in the 1400’s. against the Ottomans. In 1526, the Hungarian king, Lajos II, fell in battle with the Ottomans, and Hungary was divided into a larger Turkish-dominated part and a smaller part, which came under the Habsburg princes of Austria. The central part of Croatia and the coastal country came to belong to the Habsburgs,

Croatia became an important bridgehead against further Ottoman advance and also a haunt for many Serbs fleeing the Turkish-occupied territories. They were allowed to settle as a kind of soldier peasants in the border regions, the so-called Militärgrenze Krajina, which came to form a special administrative area.

Shortly before 1700, the Austrians succeeded in displacing the Ottomans from Hungary and Slavonia, so that the northern parts of Croatia were united under Habsburg rule. However, the first attempt to create a unified Croatian nation was made by France. After defeating Venice and Austria in 1806, French troops occupied most of present-day Slovenia, central Croatia, Dalmatia and Dubrovnik, and in 1808 created the Illyrian Provinces. These were formally incorporated into France, but constituted a special territory in which the “Illyrian language,” the French word for Croatian, was elevated to official language alongside French and Italian; the whole area, however, came at Napoleon’s defeat in 1814 under Austria.

Under the Austrian emperors, Croatia was again divided, with the northern part becoming part of Hungary, while Dalmatia was separated and annexed directly under Austria. Hungary had in the first half of 1800-t. a far-reaching autonomy, and here too there were strong nationalist currents. The Hungarians broke with old tradition and introduced Hungarian as the language of government instead of Latin, just as Hungarian became the language of instruction in high schools. The language dispute became the main reason why the Croats revolted and supported the Austrian emperor when Hungary broke with the emperor in 1848. In this, the Croats were supported by the Serbs who lived in Croatia. Croatia then came directly under Austria and got a Croatian governor, Josip Jelačić, but in 1867 Croatia was returned to Hungary.

In the 1800’s. the Hungarian National Liberal politicians tried to make the Hungarian Empire as Hungarian-speaking as possible. Here the Croats and the Serbs in Croatia faced a common problem which brought them together. The fraternization between Serbs and Croats was largely promoted by Pan-Slavic ideas, which were especially put into circulation by the Russians. The good relations between Serbs and Croats changed after the unification in December 1918 in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, even though the leading Croatian politicians had wholeheartedly supported it. The new state did not become an equal partnership between the nations, as the Croats had expected, and their experience with the joint parliament in Belgrade did not turn out well. The crisis culminated in 1928 when a Montenegrin MP fired gunshots at leading Croatian politicians. The leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, Stjepan Radić, died a month after the assassination of his wounds. In 1929, King Alexander introduced a dictatorship, changed the country’s name to Yugoslavia, and implemented a new provincial division that went across the historical boundaries between the kingdom’s constituencies. The king was assassinated in 1934 in Marseille. Behind the attack was the Croatian terrorist organization ustaša. In 1939, the new leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, Vladko Maček (1879-1964),

This experiment was abruptly stopped by the German attack on Yugoslavia in April 1941. The radical nationalists, ustaša, under the leadership of Ante Pavelić, now gained power in Croatia. The independent state of Croatia incorporated the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina and tried to solve the “problem” with the many Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina by carrying out mass killings of them under the cover of the German occupation. Many Croats, however, took part in the partisan battles against the Germans and ustaša, and it was a Croat, Josip Broz Tito, who came to head the new communist federal state after the war. Croatia’s borders were again changed, which meant that Bosnia got the Croatian populated areas back.

The Ustaša regime gave Croatia an image problem after the war, and in post-war Yugoslavia it was very much on guard against a resurgence of Croatian nationalism in particular. It turned out in 1971, when several prominent Croatian nationalists were put on trial and sentenced to prison, followed by purges in the Croatian Communist Party. In the 1980’s, new tensions were unleashed in relations between the Croats and Belgrade due in part to the economic crisis, in part to the growing Serbian nationalism and a resurgent Croatian nationalism; again the regime intervened with imprisonments. The Federal President of Yugoslavia, the Croatian Ante Marković, tried to create a joint Yugoslav federalist movement, but it was too late. In Serbia, the nationalists, led by Slobodan Milosevic, which in the long run made the position of the Croatian federalists untenable. In December 1989, the Croatian Communists renamed themselves the Party for Democratic Change, and in February 1990, it was decided that parliamentary elections should be held with several parties. Here the nationalist prevailedCroatian Democratic Union, HDZ, large with Franjo Tudjman as leader. The party introduced a new constitution based on a multi-party system and a strong presidency, and Croatia was in principle defined as an independent state with the Croats as the “state-bearing” people.

The dissolution of Yugoslavia and the independence of Croatia.

The development caused concern among many Serbs living in Croatia, as they now saw themselves defined as a minority. The Krajina area near Bosnia became a source of conflict, with clashes between local Serbian militias and Croatian police flaring up in 1991. In a referendum in May 1991, 93% of those present 84% of voters voted for independence, including many Serbs. On 25 June 1991, Croatia, together with Slovenia, declared complete independence from Yugoslavia. The Federal Government responded by deploying the army against the breakaway republics. While the war in Slovenia lasted only a few weeks, the war in Croatia became protracted. Nearly a third of the country came under heavy control after Serbian fighting. On 15 January 1992, the EU recognized Croatia’s independence, placing UN forces in Serbian-controlled areas.

Following a military operation in the Kraijna province in 1995, which brought it under Croatian control and eliminated its Serbian population, elections were held in October 1995 for the House of Representatives, with the ruling nationalist party HDZ with 44.8% of the vote in power. of the electoral system secured 62.5% of the seats. It was not enough to secure it to a constitutional amendment required 2/3 majority that President Tuđman went by, but enough to ensure his firm grip on Croatian politics.

In 1996, the UN Security Council sharply criticized Croatia for the actions of Croatian troops against the Serbs in Krajina in 1995, but Tuđman opposed the extradition of Croatian citizens to the International Criminal Tribunal for The Hague. In contrast, the former commander-in-chief of the Bosnian Croat army, Tihomir Blaskić, who was accused of massacring Bosnian civilians in Bosnia in 1993, reported to the tribunal in The Hague. In 1996, Croatia and Yugoslavia mutually recognized each other, and Croatia, after abolishing the death penalty, was admitted to the Council of Europe, and the following year the Croatian Parliament ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. In January 1998, the last Serbian-populated enclave under UN control, Eastern Slavonia, was integrated into Croatia. The one in the Dayton AgreementHowever, the planned repatriation of Serbian refugees in Croatia in 1995 was very slow, despite foreign pressure, and there was great dissatisfaction with the refusal of the Croatian authorities to hand over secret documents in the Blaskić case. Tuđman officially protested to the Hague Tribunal over the preparation of war crimes trials against the Croatian generals who had led the Krajina operation in 1995, threatening to suspend all cooperation with The Hague.

During the 1999 Kosovo conflict between NATO and Yugoslavia, Croatia made its airspace available to NATO. However, the year was increasingly marked by the president’s illness, rivalry between the various wings of the HDZ, and political and economic stagnation. In December, President Tuđman died in Zagreb.

In the election to the House of Representatives in January 2000, in which the electoral system was changed to ordinary proportional representation, HDZ suffered defeat. The Prime Minister was Ivica Račan, the last communist head of government in Croatia and later leader of the Croatian Social Democratic Party SDP. He received particular support from the Social Liberal Party HSLS, led by the moderate nationalist Dražen Budiša (b. 1948). In the presidential election the same year, the second round was between the government candidate Dražen Budiša and Stipe Mesić, the last president of the former Yugoslavia in 1991, who had since broken out of the HDZ and had founded the Croatian People’s Party (HNS). Mesić won with 56.2% of the vote. The new center-left government represented a clear break with Tuđman’s strongly nationalist-anti-Yugoslav line. The desire for greater regional cooperation and a dampening of support for the Bosnian Croats created interest in Croatia as a possible future EU and NATO country. In the same direction, a constitutional amendment acted in November 2000, which increased the power of the Parliament and the Constitutional Court in relation to the presidency. At the same time, Croatia’s economy improved, thanks to increased tourist revenues.

Croatia in the early 2000-t.

Domestically and regionally, Ivica Račan’s government was weakened in 2001 by the resignation of the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS) in protest of the government’s opposition to far-reaching autonomy for the Istrian peninsula and the introduction of Italian as the second official language of the province. Another point of contention in the governing coalition was the relationship with neighboring Slovenia over the joint use of the Krško nuclear power plant on the border between the states, where President Stipe Mesić’s policy of reconciliation met with strong opposition from nationalists. However, Mesić’s regional reconciliation efforts took an important step forward in 2002, when a meeting was held in Sarajevo between the heads of state of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Agreements on closer economic cooperation were concluded here,

In the 2003 election to the House of Representatives, HDZ came to power under a new and modernized leadership, chaired by Ivo Sanader (b. 1953). The party did not gain an absolute majority, but Sanader formed a center-right minority government backed by several smaller parties, including the representatives of the Serbian minority, which in turn got an agreement to end discrimination. However, the HDZ failed to seize the presidency of the popular Stipe Mesić in the January 2005 presidential election, in which the party ran for vice-president, Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor (b. 1953). Mesić won in the second round with 65.9%, with a turnout of 51%.

Croatia is still facing international criticism for allowing Croatians in Bosnia to vote in the Croatian elections, while having the right to vote in the elections in Bosnia. Mesić has wanted to abolish this practice, which Sanader has maintained, however. However, the biggest foreign policy problem since 2000 has also been foreign criticism of an apparent Croatian unwillingness to cooperate with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague with a view to extraditing the war-torn Croatian generals. When Serbia extradited former President Slobodan Milošević in 2001, Croatian Prime Minister Račan had to promise the war crimes tribunal to extradite the two Croatian generals Rahim Ademi (b. 1954) and Ante Gotovina (b. 1955).

The ultranationalist party HSP, the Croatian Law Party, tripled its number of seats in the local elections in 2005. The party’s voters include dissatisfied with the fact that persons perceived as national heroes from the war of liberation must be branded as war criminals. The Gotovina case led to the fact that in 2005 Croatia was put back in the queue among candidate countries for the EU. However, Croatia was backed by Austria, which made it a condition for the start of talks on Turkey’s accession to the EU that talks with Croatia also be launched. In the autumn, Gotovina finally came to The Hague, but both in the EU and NATO there were still reservations about the country, even though its economy was stronger than, for example, that of Slovakia, Latvia and Lithuania. Croatia thus missed out on the possibility of EU membership at the same time as Romania and Bulgaria per. 1.1.2007, but was supported by its neighbors in the former Yugoslavia, including Slovenia, as well as by Slovakia, which has provided expertise to Croatia in the process of accession to the EU. In 2011, the Commission ruled that Croatia met the criteria for accession to the EU, and Member States voted in favor of Croatia’s accession. In a referendum in 2012, Croats voted in favor of membership, and the country was admitted as the 28th EU member state on July 1, 2013.