Croatia Through The Ages
Around 625 a tribe known as the White Croats makes its way south from present-day Poland. The treacherous exodus takes over a century...
On a religious front, the Church of the Holy Cross of Nin is inscribed with the Latin âHere the weak man is brought to lightâ because of Prince Viseslavâs Christian conversion (800). This Venetian alliance is of particular interest because of the wealth of Johns, Pauls, Gregorys and Innocents who canât keep their hands out of the Croatian cookie-jar at various points during the second millennium.
During his reign (879 - 892) Prince Branimir starts the initial movement for political and religious independence in Dalmatia.
By the end of the century (880) Croatia is recognized as an independent state.
10th Century Croatia reaches arguably its greatest height under the rule of Tomislav (910 - 929) who brings the Panonska and Dalmatian Hrvatska together to make a single and unified state. Granted papal permission, he rules much of present-day Croatia, Bosnia and parts of the Montenegrin Coast.
He commands a very impressive army, putting Croatia in a position of power.
Hungarian forces attack and are repelled by Tomislav (924) and in 925 the Pope crowns him king, thus making Croatia a kingdom for the first time.
11th Century The tricky game of Christianity tug-of-war is irreversibly concluded when King Petar Kresimir firmly locks his eyes upon the Roman Catholicism practiced in the West (1058 - 1074).
This serves to stabilize the country, and it enjoys a period of cultural renaissance.
This religious determination serves to place Croatia more firmly in the heart of conflict and dispute, their geographic position an increasingly dangerous intersection of contrary ideologies.
Ladislav I of Hungary establishes a bishopric order in the north of Croatia (1094), and the name Zagreb is first employed to the land behind Medvedgrad Mountain.
12th Century A âpersonal unionâ is entered into with Hungary (1102) and thus begins the Arpadovici Dynasty.
The two countries share kings for the next 400 years but essentially retain their attributes as separate states, both in their cultural manifestations and legal philosophies.
13th Century Four separate Venetian crusades are led to convert and overwhelm the numerous non-Christian people of the Dalmatian coast.
Zadar (1202) is the sight of the bloodiest of the battles. Terribly out-manned, villagers hang white crosses on the city walls to signify their surrender. The crusaders ignore this and massacre the entire village.
In 1204, crusaders occupying Zadar are given a fleet of warships by the Pope, which helps them to maintain control of the region. The year 1273 sees the first Slavonski Parliamentary meeting in Croatia.
14th Century Pope Clement V attacks Zadar (1312) and Venice becomes the ruler of a large part of the Dalmatian coast, including both of the cities Split and Nin. By the year 1358, Dubrovnik begins to exist as a separate republic.
15th Century Italian King Ladislav (of Napoli) sells enormous tracts of the Dalmatian coast to Venice (1409). The second half of the century sees the invasion of the Ottoman Turks.
In 1493 the most notable battle takes place (Krbavska Bitka) and nearly all of the Croatian aristocracy are killed, thus begins the Ottoman presence in the country. They will get close to Zagreb, but never capture it.
16th Century Croatia is termed Antemurale Christianitatis (Perimeter Bulwark) by Pope Leo X (1519) as it struggles to survive the wrath of the Ottomans.
In 1526 Ludovik II, the last king of Croatia, is killed in Battle of Mohac and Croatia offers the crown to Austrian Duke Ferdinand to protect themsleves from the Turks.
In 1573 villagerâs revolt against the Christian aristocracy and all the villagers are slaughtered.
Their leader, Matija Gubec, is forced to wear a red-hot iron crown and then he is drawn-and-quartered. In the year 1593, the town of Sisak is liberated from the Ottomans.
17th Century Relationships between the nobility of Austria and Croatia become progressively worse because of the continued Ottoman presence in the latter (1668).
Counts Zrinski and Frankopanski, two leaders of powerful Croatian families, make desperate attempts to spurn an uprising in the people of their country and completely fails.
They are hunted down by the Austrian Emperor and beheaded for their attempt in 1671. By 1685, central Croatia is essentially sovereign of the Turkish armies.
18th Century By 1718 the town of PoÅ£areva is freed of the Ottomans, who are now completely purged from the country. Maria Theresa becomes the empress (1750) and the first female ruler of Austria - Croatia.
Her son Joseph II inherits the throne. After his death (1790) Hungary attempts to Hungarianise the Croats, which manifests in an attempted force of cultural, linguistic and social conventions.
19th Century The Napoleonic French find Dubrovnik very much to their liking, and they take it away from Russian and Montenegrin forces who are already fighting for it (1808).
Though the Napoleonic occupation proves to be very short (ending in 1813), French forces come mere kilometres from Zagreb before being turned away. Supremely important to modern day Croats, the Illyrian movement is spurned on by Ljudevit Gaj (1834), which serves to meld the many languages and dialects of the country into one.
It also creates a renewed sense of nationalism and by 1847 Croatia has an official language.
The year 1848 brings revolution all over Europe and in Croatia ban Josip JelaÃ¨ic suppresses a Hungarian rebellion, branding him a national hero. In 1868 Hungary and Croatia agree to ally and share a king.
Early 20th Century In 1914 Austrian Duke Ferdinand is assassinated by Bosnian Gavrilo Princip, and thus begins World War I. Austria attacks Serbia.
Croatian sentiments are divided. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy is ultimately destroyed (1918), and a new alliance is brought about called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1915, the Yugoslav Committee is established, and by 1918 Croatia joins countries Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia as a single monarchical Yugoslavia.
The union is a tense one however, the balance of power clearly held by Serbia who outnumbers the other members in their representation. This tension manifests violently in a session of parliament in 1928.
Croatian leader Stjepan Radic is shot for his independent posturing by Punisa Racic, a Serbian extremist that wishes to hear none of the anti-Kingdom sentiment that is finding an increasingly loud voice. Four of Radicâs colleagues are also shot and killed; he dies from his wounds a couple of months later. In the year 1937, a young Croat known only by the single name of Tito is named leader of the Communistic Party of Yugoslavia.
Communism & Beyond In 1941 World War II begins, scattering Yugoslavian military and ideological allegiance three ways: Titoâs Partizani army resists the Nazi regime, and fight them on German and Italian occupied fronts, including areas of Croatia and Serbia.
Ante Pavelic of the Ustasa faction actively supports Hitler, and commands forces to fight on the side of the Naziâs. Finally, the Serbian-homed Cetnici seek to retain Yugoslaviaâs monarchical ways and blurrily move between axis and allied sentiments.
A new German-controlled territory is created in the over-taken central Croatia region, and itâs referred to as the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Eastern Croatia remains Yugoslavian.
1943 The Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council of Yugoslavia meets and sets up their first parliament. AVNOJ is led by Tito and serves two purposes: it is a pronouncement re-affirming continued resistance to Hitler, and it expresses Partizani intent to control Yugoslavia after the war.
1948 Joseph Stalin fails in his attempt to persuade Tito to ally himself with the more staunch version of communism in Russia.
The move creates great tension between the two powers and is not wholly supported by the people, some of whom are swayed by an indisputable Russian military strength.
1961 Tito formulates a notion of Nesvrstani (Non-Allied Countries) as a reaction to the recent NATO and Warsaw pacts.
This formulation is a non-military proclamation Yugoslavia as an independent entity allied with neither the East or West.
1967 - 1971 A Serbo-Croat dictionary is published, seeming to make Serbian the standard language and Croatian a subordinate to it.
The Declaration Concerning the Name and Position of the Croatian Language is published immediately there-after, demanding the recognized equality of all four Yugoslavian state languages.
A ripple of Croatian nationalism begins to be felt, ideologically referred to as Croatian Spring, or Hrvatsko Proljece.
Tito briefly aligns himself with the Croatian Spring, though soon after he changes his opinion, rather wishing the Yugoslavians see themselves as a unified people. His rallying cry becomes bratstvo i jedinstvo (brotherhood and unity).
1980 - 1988 Tito dies on May 4th, thus signalling the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia. The decade is a turbulent one for the Croatian people, many wishing to retain the politics and ideologies of Tito, and a great many others wishing to express their independence and a more democratic vision.
The economies of both Yugoslavia and Croatia begin a steady decay, greatly heightening political tensions.
1989 The uprising of the people becomes great enough to demand the first democratic vote, and an intensely nationalistic ex-Partizani general by the name of Franjo Tudman of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) wins the election.
Though he wins the popular vote, he faces a terribly segregated state. The Serbian military presence (JNA - Yugoslav Peopleâs Army) and police influence commands a supremely powerful faction within the newly independent state of Croatia, creating an electrifying current of tension.
1990 Yugoslavia is officially abolished. The first Croatian constitution is written, professing Croatia a democratic state. 1991 Croatian Parliament (Sabor) declares Croatian independence in 1991. The first flare-ups between Croats and Serbs begin occurring.
Violence seems an unavoidable eventuality and then manifests as Serbs fire rockets on Franjo Tudmanâs office in Gradec. He is safely away from it when they hit.
1992 - 1995 Fighting breaks out between the Serbs and the Croats.
The town of Vukovar near the border of the two countries sustains the most horrific damage, left devastated by incessant land and air barrage.
In 1995 liberation of parts of Croatia still under Serbian control (referred to as Krajina) is brought about with the successful Lightning (Bljesak) and Storm (Oluja) military manoeuvres. Great numbers of Serbians flee their previous home of Croatia. East Slavonia remains occupied by the Serbians.
1996 Radio 101, an outspoken and popular Zagreb radio station is denied their license to broadcast by the Croatian Telecommunications Council.
120,000 enraged citizens protest the attempted silence of the station on Trg bana Josipa Jelacica. The station is soon granted a renewal of their franchise.
1998 The United Nations re-integrates Vukovar into Croatia.
1999 Franjo Tudman dies.
2000 The Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) comes into power, lead by Prime Minister Ivica Racan and President Stjepan Mesic.
2001 On June 22, Croats celebrate 10 years of independence. Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic is put on trial for war crimes by HAAG in July....