Croatian people are one of the oldest nations in Europe. They are situated on the territory between Adriatic sea in the south and rivers Drava and Dunav in the north since 7th century.
Even the ancient Greeks had their colonies on croatian part of the Adriatic coast. First Roman contact with Pannonia (eastern part of Croatia) were made in the second century BC. The magnificeant amphiteather Arena in Pula was built few centuries later, in first century AD.
According to one of the legends, the Arena was built by Emperor Vespasian in honor of his mistress Antonia Cenida. And of course, unavoidable Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
Croatian Kings 845. – 1091.
Putting Romans aside in the year 845. Croatian only dynasty – Trpimirovic takes control. First they were dukes and then the kings were selected from their line. The name of Croat was for the first time mentioned in a gift certificate from the King Trpimir which is dating from year 852. And that makes it the most important legal document.
King Tomislav was first croatian king, and the while first legal one was Stjepan Držislav. Petar Krešimir IV. Was the most famous one. He united croatian provinces and encouraged developing of cities on the coast at the sea, Šibenik, Knin, Biograd and Nin.
Through reign of King Dmitar Zvonimir Croatia enjoyed peacefull economical and cultural growth. Knin was King Dmitar’s capital. He is best known for the Bašćanska ploča.
With Bašćanska ploča he gave land on island Krk. It is written in glagolitic script. Glagolitic is the oldest known Slavic alphabet from the 9th century. The creation of the characters is attributed to Saints Cyrill and Methodius who may have created them in order to facilitate the introduction of Christianity. With its linguistic and literary meaning, it also has important historical meaning because it mentions the king’s name for the first on common language – King Zvonimir.
Dynasty ends with Stjepan II. in year 1091. That was the only time that Croatia was independent untill 1991. Except for month and a half in Republic of SHS, but that is a different period.
Personal union with Hungary 1102. – 1527.
After the a time of independence, with signing Pacta Convecta, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary. Few dynasties ruled Croatia in that time. First of the them were Arpads, and last Anjouvians.
Kings from Anjouvians dynasty Karl I. and Ludovic I., had continuously demeaned Croatian feudalists. They chose members of foreign nobility for dukes Ludovik’s daughter Maria was on the throne for a while, but people were not thrilled with it, because she was a woman. For that reason, her husband, Sigismund of Luxembourg was then chosen to be king.
In time of Ladislaus II., Croatia lost every better connection to the sea apart from Senj and was exposed to Turkish attacks. Nobel family Frankopani have grown their influence and they were situated in Čakovec, on the north of the Croatia.
Croatia and the Habsburgs
Ludovic II. lost his life in 1526. at Mohacs field. Croatian nobility thought that the best solution was to connect with Austria. Austrian archduke Ferdinand I. was chosen to be a king. He promised protection from the Turkish empire. Sixteenth century was characterized by constant battle against the Turkish empire. What has left from Croatia in that time was called remains of the remnants once famous Croatian kingdom.
In eighteenth century the Turkish empire are banished from our territory , and Croats gave their support to emperor Maria Theresa. She ruled by pracmatic sanction (permission that allows woman on the throne) and in return promised to help Croatia.
Croatian national movement gathered many influenced people in Croatia and started linguistic and cultural reform. Ljudevit Gaj founded Illyrian party which was banned only by its name, and so he changes it to National party. It is very important to mention viceroy Josip Jelačić. He suppressed Hungarian rebellion. Croatia was very eager to unite all of her parts, but Austro – Hungarian authorities did not let that happen. Croatia achieved that since 1847. croatian is official language instead of latin. The national anthem Lijepa naša (Our beautiful) was composed at the time of Croatian national movement.
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians
It was founded on the 1st of December in 1918. as a response of regent, Alexandar Karađorđević. One part of Croatia was under the Serbs hegemony, and other part by Italian authority. In 1919. Italy occupied Rijeka, and made a contract in 1924. which made the city of Rijeka Italian. Four years later king declares dictatorship after assassination in National parliament, where Croatian politicians were murdered and injured.
Indepedent State of Croatia – NDH
On German and Italian initiative new so called independent country was made. This country, named NDH was founded in 10.04.1941. Country totally dependent upon Germany and Italy. Ante Pavelić was the chief od NDH. In 1945. when the war was over and Third Reich had disappeared, NDH also vanished completely.
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia began with it’s forming after the World War II. Josip Broz Tito was it’s leader, born in Kumrovec. He had substantial reputation in the world accomplished by his participation in anti – fascist struggle.
Republic of Croatia
The long time wished independence was declared in 1991. Democratic election and newly founded independent state led to Serbian aggression on Croatian territory. Franjo Tuđman was elected president on the first democratic elections. In 1992. Croatia was accepted internationally as independent and sovereign country. During the war, there were extremely difficult times in Croatia. Hundreds of centuries old dream, after many human casualties, is finally realized.