Croatia

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

Republic of Croatia

Republika Hrvatska  (Croatian)[a]
Anthem: "Lijepa naša domovino"
(English: "Our Beautiful Homeland")
Location of  Croatia  (dark green) – in Europe  (green & dark grey) – in the European Union  (green)
Location of  Croatia  (dark green)

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

Location of Croatia
Capital
and largest city
Zagreb
45°48′N 16°0′E / 45.800°N 16.000°E
Official languagesCroatian[b]
Writing systemLatin[c]
Ethnic groups
(2011[4])
Religion
(2011)
Demonym(s)
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional republic
• President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
Andrej Plenković
Gordan Jandroković
LegislatureSabor
Establishment
• Duchy
7th century
• Kingdom
925
1102
• Joined Habsburg Monarchy
1 January 1527
• Secession from
Austria-Hungary
29 October 1918
4 December 1918
25 June 1991
12 November 1995
1 July 2013
Area
• Total
56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi) (124th)
• Water (%)
1.09
Population
• 2017 estimate
4,154,200[5] (129th)
• 2011 census
4,284,889[6] (128th)
• Density
75.8/km2 (196.3/sq mi) (126th)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$113 billion[7] (84th)
• Per capita
$27,664[7] (56th)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$61.586 billion[7] (81st)
• Per capita
$15,137[7] (57th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 29.7[8]
low · 17th
HDI (2017)Increase 0.831[9]
very high · 46th
CurrencyKuna (HRK)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Date formatdd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+385
Patron saintSt. Joseph[10]
ISO 3166 codeHR
Internet TLD

Croatia (/kroʊˈeɪʃə/ (listen), kroh-AY-shə; Croatian: Hrvatska, pronounced [xř̩ʋaːtskaː]), officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska, listen )[d], 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, sharing a maritime border with Italy. Its capital, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics.

Inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, the Croats arrived in the area in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Croatia was first internationally recognized as an independent state 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, which retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries. 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, in the final days of World War I, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918 it was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of the Croatian territory was incorporated into the Nazi-backed client-state which led to the development of a resistance movement and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia which after the war become a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully for four years following the declaration.

The sovereign state of Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system and a developed country with a very high standard of living. It is a member of the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has constantly invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.

Croatia's economy is dominated by service and industrial sectors and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the top 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides a social security, universal health care system, and a tuition-free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.

Etymology

Greda i zabat s natpisom kneza Branimira 879
The Branimir Inscription is the oldest preserved monument containing an inscription defining a Croatian medieval ruler as a duke of Croats

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 word is attested by the Old Iranian toponym Harahvait- which is the native name of Arachosia.

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 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 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] The oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription found near Benkovac, where Duke Branimir is styled Dux Cruatorvm. The inscription is not believed to be dated accurately, but is likely to be from during the period of 879–892, during Branimir's rule.[15]

History

Left: Croatian Apoxyomenos, Ancient Greek statue 2nd or 1st century BC.
Right: The Roman provinces of the Lower Danube. Old historical map from Droysens Historical Atlas, 1886

Apoxyomène de Croatie exposé au musée du Louvre -04
Roman provinces of Illyricum, Macedonia, Dacia, Moesia, Pannonia and Thracia

Early history

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.[16] Remnants of several Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures were found in all regions of the country.[17] 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.[18][19] The Iron Age left traces of the early Illyrian Hallstatt culture and the Celtic La Tène culture.[20]

Greek and Roman rule

Tanais Tablet B
Tanais Tablet B, name Khoroáthos highlighted

Much later, the region was settled by Illyrians and Liburnians, while the first Greek colonies were established on the islands of Hvar,[21] Korčula, and Vis.[22] In 9 AD the territory of today's Croatia became part of the Roman Empire. Emperor Diocletian had a large palace built in Split to which he retired after his abdication in AD 305.[23]

During the 5th century, the last de jure Western emperor last Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos ruled his small realm from the palace after fleeing Italy to go into exile in 475.[24] The period ends with Avar and Croat invasions in the first half of the 7th century and 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.[25]

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 the territory of White Croatia during the Migration Period. Conversely, the Iranian theory proposes Iranian origin, based on Tanais Tablets containing Greek inscription of given names Χορούαθος, Χοροάθος, and Χορόαθος (Khoroúathos, Khoroáthos, and Khoróathos) and their interpretation as anthroponyms of Croatian people.[26]

Middle Ages

Kingdom of Croatia
Kingdom of Croatia c. 925, during the reign of King Tomislav
Oton Ivekovic, Dolazak Hrvata na Jadran
The Arrival of the Croats at the Adriatic Sea by Oton Iveković

According to the work De Administrando Imperio written by the 10th-century Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, the Croats had arrived in what is today Croatia in the early 7th century. However, that claim is disputed and competing hypotheses date the event between the 6th and the 9th centuries.[27] Eventually two dukedoms were formed—Duchy of Pannonia and Duchy of Croatia, ruled by Ljudevit and 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.[28]

The Frankish overlordship ended during the reign of Mislav two decades later.[29] According to the Constantine VII Christianization of Croats began in the 7th century, but the claim is disputed and generally Christianization is associated with the 9th century.[30] The first native Croatian ruler recognised by the Pope was Duke Branimir, who received papal recognition from Pope John VIII on 7 June 879.[15]

Tomislav was the first ruler of Croatia who was styled a king in a letter from the Pope John X, dating kingdom of Croatia to year 925. Tomislav defeated Hungarian and Bulgarian invasions, spreading the influence of Croatian kings.[31] 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).[32] When Stjepan II died in 1091 ending the Trpimirović dynasty, Ladislaus I of Hungary claimed the Croatian crown in name of his sister Helena, wife of King Dmitar Zvonimir. Opposition to the claim led to a war and personal union of Croatia and Hungary in 1102, ruled by Coloman.[33]

Baška tablet
The Baška tablet, the oldest evidence of the glagolitic script

For the next four centuries, the Kingdom of Croatia was ruled by the Sabor (parliament) and a Ban (viceroy) appointed by the king.[34] The period saw increasing threat of Ottoman conquest and struggle against the Republic of Venice for control of coastal areas. The Venetians gained control over most of Dalmatia by 1428, with exception of the city-state of Dubrovnik which became independent. Ottoman conquests led to the 1493 Battle of Krbava field and 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 new ruler of Croatia, under the condition that he provide protection to Croatia against the Ottoman Empire while respecting its political rights.[34][35] This period saw the rise of influential nobility such as the Frankopan and Zrinski families to prominence and ultimately numerous Bans from the two families.[36]

Habsburg Monarchy and Austria-Hungary

Johann Peter Krafft 005
Croatian ban Nikola Šubić Zrinski is honoured as a national hero both in Croatia and in Hungary for his defence of Szigetvár against the invading Ottoman Turks

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 Imperial control. Ottoman advances in the Croatian territory continued until the 1593 Battle of Sisak, the first decisive Ottoman defeat, and stabilisation of borders.[35] 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.[35] 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.[37]

The Ottoman wars instigated great demographic changes. Croats migrated towards Austria and the present-day Burgenland Croats are direct descendants of these settlers.[38] To replace the fleeing population, the Habsburgs encouraged the Christian populations of Bosnia to provide military service in the Croatian Military Frontier. Most of the transferred population were Orthodox Vlachs and the peak of transferring was during the 16th century.[39][40][41]

The Croatian Parliament supported King Charles III's Pragmatic Sanction and signed their own Pragmatic Sanction in 1712.[42] Subsequently, the emperor pledged to respect all privileges and political rights of Kingdom of Croatia and Queen Maria Theresa made significant contributions to Croatian matters.

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.[35] In response the Royal Navy started the blockade of the Adriatic Sea leading to the Battle of Vis in 1811.[43] 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 formation of the Kingdom of Dalmatia and restoration of the Croatian Littoral to the Kingdom of Croatia, now both under the same crown.[44] 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 the establishment of a standard language as a counterweight to Hungarian, along with the promotion of Croatian literature and culture.[45] During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 Croatia sided with the Austrians, Ban Josip Jelačić helping defeat the Hungarian forces in 1849, and ushering a period of Germanization policy.[46]

Austria-Hungary map
The Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (no. 17) 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 and creation of a personal union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. The treaty left the issue of Croatia's status to Hungary, and the status was resolved by the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement of 1868 when kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia were united.[47] The Kingdom of Dalmatia remained under de facto Austrian control, while Rijeka retained the status of Corpus separatum introduced in 1779.[33]

After Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina following the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, the Croatian Military Frontier was abolished and the territory returned to Croatia in 1881,[35] pursuant to provisions of the Croatian-Hungarian settlement.[48][49] Renewed efforts to reform Austria-Hungary, entailing federalisation with Croatia as a federal unit, were stopped by advent of World War I.[50]

Yugoslavia (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,[34] which in turn entered into union with the Kingdom of Serbia on 4 December 1918 to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.[51] The Croatian Parliament never ratified a decision to unite with Serbia and Montenegro.[34] The 1921 constitution defining the country as a unitary state and abolition of Croatian Parliament and historical administrative divisions effectively ended Croatian autonomy. The new constitution was opposed by the most widely supported national political party—the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) led by Stjepan Radić.[52]

Adolf Hitler meets Ante Pavelić.1941
Adolf Hitler meets fascist dictator Ante Pavelić upon his arrival at the Berghof for a state visit, June 1941

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.[53] The dictatorship formally ended in 1931 when the king imposed a more unitarian constitution, and changed the name of the country to Yugoslavia.[54] 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 defence, internal security, foreign affairs, trade, and transport while other matters were left to the Croatian Sabor and a crown-appointed Ban.[55]

In April 1941, Yugoslavia was occupied by Germany and Italy. Following the invasion the territory, parts 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 were annexed by Hungary.[56] The NDH regime was led by Ante Pavelić and ultranationalist Ustaše.

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

A resistance movement soon emerged. On 22 June 1941,[57] the 1st Sisak Partisan Detachment was formed near Sisak, as the first military unit formed by a resistance movement in occupied Europe.[58] This sparked the beginning of the Yugoslav Partisan movement, a communist multi-ethnic anti-fascist resistance group led by Josip Broz Tito.[59] The movement grew rapidly and at the Tehran Conference in December 1943 the Partisans gained recognition from the Allies.[60]

With Allied support in logistics, equipment, training and air power, 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, during which thousands of members of the Ustaše, as well as Croat refugees, were killed by the Yugoslav Partisans.[61]

Jelačićev trg 12.5.1945
People of Zagreb celebrating liberation from Axis powers on 12 May 1945

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.[62][63]

NDH was trying to fit into the Nazi ideology and tried to establish such an internal structure that would be consistent with that of the Third Reich and fascist Italy. As modelled on the Third Reich, the authorities of NDH have adopted similar racial interpretations.[64] For this reason, they have already introduced a series of racist laws against Jews, Roma and some other groups in 1941. All those who opposed the Ustaše regime were also victims of the regime. Shortly after, the deportations and the executions of Jews and Roma began, which were imprisoned in concentration camps.[65] Considering the total number of detainees and the number of victims, the largest concentration camps were Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška. Jasenovac was at the same time a death camp and a labour camp where detainees, among other things, went to work on agricultural land. It is estimated that between 70,000 and 100,000 detainees were killed there. Vladimir Žerjavić has come to the estimated 83,000 people killed in Jasenovac.[66] The number of Croats killed in the NDH is estimated to be approximately 200,000, either by Ustaše, as members of the armed resistance, or as Axis collaborators.[67][68] Several thousand of these were killed by the Chetniks. Most Croatian historians place the number of Croats killed by the Chetniks on the territory of modern-day Croatia at between 3,000 and 3,500. Croatian estimates for the number of Croats killed by Chetniks in the whole of Yugoslavia range from 18,000 to 32,000 combatants and civilians.[69]

Nixontito19712
Josip Broz Tito, a Croat by nationality, 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 enjoying 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 greater autonomy for Croatian language.[70] The declaration contributed to a national movement seeking greater civil rights and decentralization of the Yugoslav economy, culminating in the Croatian Spring of 1971, suppressed by Yugoslav leadership.[71] 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.[72]

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.[73][74] In January 1990, the Communist Party fragmented along national lines, with the Croatian faction demanding a looser federation.[75] In the same year, the first multi-party elections were held in Croatia, with Franjo Tuđman's win raising nationalist tensions further.[76] Some of Serbs in Croatia left Sabor and declared the autonomy of areas that would soon become the unrecognised Republic of Serbian Krajina, intent on achieving independence from Croatia.[77][78]

Independence (1991–present)

Serb T-55 Battle of the Barracks
Destroyed Yugoslav Army tank, a scene from the Croatian War of Independence
Tuđman i Ana Havel
Franjo Tuđman was the first democratically elected President of Croatia

As tensions rose, Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991. However, the full implementation of declaration only came into effect on 8 October 1991.[79][80] In the meantime, tensions escalated into overt war when the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and various Serb paramilitary groups attacked Croatia.[81] By the end of 1991, a high-intensity conflict fought along a wide front reduced Croatia to control of only about two-thirds of its territory.[82][83] The various Serb paramilitary groups then began pursuing a campaign of killing, terror and expulsion against the Croats in the rebel territories, killing thousands of Croat civilians and forcing at least 170,000 from their homes.[84]

On 15 January 1992, Croatia gained diplomatic recognition by the European Economic Community members, and subsequently the United Nations.[85][86] The war effectively ended in August 1995 with a decisive victory by Croatia.[87] This was accompanied by the uncompelled fleeing of about 200,000 Serbs from the rebel territories, whose lands were subsequently settled by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[88] The remaining occupied areas were restored to Croatia pursuant to the Erdut Agreement of November 1995, with the process concluded in January 1998.[89]

Tratado de Lisboa 13 12 2007 (081)
Croatia has been a member of the European Union since 2013.

Following 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 characterized by democratization, economic growth and structural and social reforms, as well as problems such as unemployment, corruption and the inefficiency of the public administration.

Croatia joined the Partnership for Peace on 25 May 2000[90] and become a member of the World Trade Organization on 30 November 2000.[91] On 29 October 2001, Croatia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union,[92] submitted a formal application for the EU membership in 2003,[93] was given the status of candidate country in 2004,[94] and began accession negotiations in 2005.[95] In November 2000 and March 2001, the Parliament amended the Constitution changing its bicameral structure back into historic unicameral and reducing the presidential powers.[96]

Although Croatia experienced a significant boom in the economy in the early 2000s, the increase of the government debt and the absence of concrete reforms led to a financial crisis in 2008 which forced the government to cut public spending thus provoking a public outcry.[97] On 1 April 2009, Croatia joined NATO.[98] A wave of anti-government protests organized via Facebook took place in early 2011 as general dissatisfaction with political and economic state grew.[99]

The majority of Croatian voters voted in favour of country's EU membership at the 2012 referendum.[100] Croatia completed EU accession negotiations in 2011 and joined the European Union on 1 July 2013.[101] 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.[102]

Geography

Satellite image of Croatia in September 2003
Satellite image of Croatia
Krčić source
Dinara is the highest mountain in Croatia (1831m)

Croatia is located in Central and Southeast Europe, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It borders Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast, and Slovenia to the northwest. It lies mostly between latitudes 42° and 47° N and longitudes 13° and 20° E. Part of the territory in the extreme south surrounding Dubrovnik is a practical exclave connected to the rest of the mainland by territorial waters, but separated on land by a short coastline strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.[103]

The territory covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), consisting of 56,414 square kilometres (21,782 square miles) of land and 128 square kilometres (49 square miles) of water. It is the 127th largest country in the world.[104] Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Dinaric Alps with the highest point of the Dinara peak at 1,831 metres (6,007 feet) near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south[104] to the shore of the Adriatic Sea which makes up its entire southwest border. Insular Croatia consists of over a thousand islands and islets varying in size, 48 of which are permanently inhabited. The largest islands are Cres and Krk,[104] each of them having an area of around 405 square kilometres (156 square miles).

The hilly northern parts of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the flat plains of Slavonia in the east which is part of the Pannonian Basin are traversed by major rivers such as Danube, Drava, Kupa, and Sava. The Danube, Europe's second longest river, runs through the city of Vukovar in the extreme east and forms part of the border with Vojvodina. The central and southern regions near the Adriatic coastline and islands consist of low mountains and forested highlands. Natural resources found in the country in quantities significant enough for production include oil, coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, and hydropower.[104] Karst topography makes up about half of Croatia and is especially prominent in the Dinaric Alps.[105] There are a number of deep caves in Croatia, 49 of which are deeper than 250 m (820.21 ft), 14 of them deeper than 500 m (1,640.42 ft) and three deeper than 1,000 m (3,280.84 ft). Croatia's most famous lakes are the Plitvice lakes, a system of 16 lakes with waterfalls connecting them over dolomite and limestone cascades. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from turquoise to mint green, grey or blue.[106]

Biodiversity

Croatia can be subdivided between a number of ecoregions because of its climate and geomorphology. The country is consequently one of the richest in Europe in terms of biodiversity. There are four types of biogeographical regions in Croatia—Mediterranean along the coast and in its immediate hinterland, Alpine in most of Lika and Gorski Kotar, Pannonian along Drava and Danube, and continental in the remaining areas. One of the most significant are karst habitats which include submerged karst, such as Zrmanja and Krka canyons and tufa barriers, as well as underground habitats.

The karst geology harbours approximately 7,000 caves and pits, some of which are the habitat of the only known aquatic cave vertebrate—the olm. Forests are also significantly present in the country, as they cover 2,490,000 hectares (6,200,000 acres) representing 44% of Croatian land surface. Other habitat types include wetlands, grasslands, bogs, fens, scrub habitats, coastal and marine habitats.[107] In terms of phytogeography, Croatia is a part of the Boreal Kingdom and is a part of Illyrian and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region and the Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. The World Wide Fund for Nature divides Croatia between three ecoregions—Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.[108]

Croatia Köppen
Köppen climate types of Croatia

There are 37,000 known species in Croatia, but their actual number is estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000.[107] The claim is supported by nearly 400 new taxa of invertebrates discovered in Croatia in the first half of the 2000s alone.[107] There are more than a thousand endemic species, especially in Velebit and Biokovo mountains, Adriatic islands and karst rivers. Legislation protects 1,131 species.[107] The most serious threat to species is loss and degradation of habitats. A further problem is presented by invasive alien species, especially Caulerpa taxifolia algae.

The invasive algae are regularly monitored and removed to protect the benthic habitat. Indigenous sorts of cultivated plants and breeds of domesticated animals are also numerous. Those include five breeds of horses, five breeds of cattle, eight breeds of sheep, two breeds of pigs, and a poultry breed. Even the indigenous breeds include nine endangered or critically endangered ones.[107] There are 444 protected areas of Croatia, encompassing 9% of the country. Those include eight national parks, two strict reserves, and ten nature parks. The most famous protected area and the oldest national park in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Velebit Nature Park is a part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. The strict and special reserves, as well as the national and nature parks, are managed and protected by the central government, while other protected areas are managed by counties. In 2005, the National Ecological Network was set up, as the first step in the preparation of the EU accession and joining of the Natura 2000 network.[107]

Climate

Winter bora in Senj
Bora is a dry, cold wind which blows from the mainland out to sea, whose gusts can reach hurricane strength, particularly in the channel below Velebit, e.g. in the town of Senj

Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) in January and 18 °C (64 °F) in July. The coldest parts of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar where snowy forested climate is found at elevations above 1,200 metres (3,900 feet). The warmest areas of Croatia are at the Adriatic coast and especially in its immediate hinterland characterised by the Mediterranean climate, as the temperature highs are moderated by the sea. Consequently, temperature peaks are more pronounced in the continental areas. The lowest temperature of −35.5 °C (−31.9 °F) was recorded on 3 February 1919 in Čakovec, and the highest temperature of 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) was recorded on 4 August 1981 in Ploče.[109][110]

Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimetres (24 inches) and 3,500 millimetres (140 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type. The least precipitation is recorded in the outer islands (Biševo, Lastovo, Svetac, Vis) and in the eastern parts of Slavonia. However, in the latter case, it occurs mostly during the growing season. The maximum precipitation levels are observed on the Dinara mountain range and in Gorski kotar.[109]

Prevailing winds in the interior are light to moderate northeast or southwest, and in the coastal area, prevailing winds are determined by local area features. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast, generally as the cool northeasterly bura or less frequently as the warm southerly jugo. The sunniest parts of the country are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year, followed by the middle and southern Adriatic Sea area in general, and northern Adriatic coast, all with more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year.[111]

Politics

The Republic of Croatia is a unitary state using a parliamentary system of governance. With the collapse of the ruling communist party in SFR Yugoslavia, Croatia organized its first multi-party elections and adopted its present constitution in 1990.[112] It declared independence on 8 October 1991 which led to the break-up of Yugoslavia and countries international recognition by the United Nations in 1992.[80][86] Under its 1990 Constitution, Croatia operated a semi-presidential system until 2000 when it switched to a parliamentary system.[113] Government powers in Croatia are divided into legislative, executive and judiciary powers.[114]

The President of the Republic (Croatian: Predsjednik Republike) is the head of state, directly elected to a five-year term and is limited by the Constitution to a maximum of two terms. In addition to being the commander in chief of the armed forces, the president has the procedural duty of appointing the prime minister with the consent of the parliament, and has some influence on foreign policy.[114] The most recent presidential elections were held on 11 January 2015, when Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović won. She took the oath of office on 15 February 2015.[115] The Government is headed by the Prime Minister, who has four deputy prime ministers and 16 ministers in charge of particular sectors of activity.[116] As the executive branch, it is responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies of the republic. The Government is seated at Banski dvori in Zagreb.[114] Since 19 October 2016, Croatian Prime Minister has been Andrej Plenković.

A unicameral parliament (Sabor) holds legislative power. A second chamber, the House of Counties, set up in 1993 pursuant to the 1990 Constitution, was abolished in 2001. The number of Sabor members can vary from 100 to 160; they are all elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The sessions of the Sabor take place from 15 January to 15 July, and from 15 September to 15 December.[117] The two largest political parties in Croatia are the Croatian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Croatia.[118]

Law and judicial system

Croatia has a civil law legal system in which law arises primarily from written statutes, with judges serving merely as implementers and not creators of law. Its development was largely influenced by German and Austrian legal systems. Croatian law is divided into two principal areas—private and public law. By the time EU accession negotiations were completed on 30 June 2010, Croatian legislation was fully harmonised with the Community acquis.[119] The main law in the county is the Constitution adopted on December 22, 1990.

The main national courts are the Constitutional Court, which oversees violations of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of appeal. In addition, there are also County, Municipal, Misdemeanor, Commercial, and Administrative courts.[120] Cases falling within judicial jurisdiction are in the first instance decided by a single professional judge, while appeals are deliberated in mixed tribunals of professional judges. Lay magistrates also participate in trials.[121] State's Attorney Office is the judicial body constituted of public prosecutors that is empowered to instigate prosecution of perpetrators of offences.

Law enforcement agencies are organised under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior which consist primarily of the national police force. Croatia's security service is the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA).

Administrative divisions

Croatia was first subdivided into counties in the Middle Ages.[122] The divisions changed over time to reflect losses of territory to Ottoman conquest and subsequent liberation of the same territory, changes of political status of Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, and Istria. The traditional division of the country into counties was abolished in the 1920s when the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and the subsequent Kingdom of Yugoslavia introduced oblasts and banovinas respectively.[123]

Varaždin - panoramio
Varaždin, capital of Croatia between 1767 and 1776, is the seat of Varaždin county; Pictured: Old Town fortress, one of 15 Croatia's sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list

Communist-ruled Croatia, as a constituent part of post-World War II Yugoslavia, abolished earlier divisions and introduced municipalities, subdividing Croatia into approximately one hundred municipalities. Counties were reintroduced in 1992 legislation, significantly altered in terms of territory relative to the pre-1920s subdivisions. In 1918, the Transleithanian part of Croatia was divided into eight counties with their seats in Bjelovar, Gospić, Ogulin, Osijek, Požega, Varaždin, Vukovar, and Zagreb, and the 1992 legislation established 14 counties in the same territory.[124][125]

Since the counties were re-established in 1992, Croatia is divided into 20 counties and the capital city of Zagreb, the latter having the authority and legal status of a county and a city at the same time. Borders of the counties changed in some instances since, with the latest revision taking place in 2006. The counties subdivide into 127 cities and 429 municipalities.[126] Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) division of Croatia is performed in several tiers. NUTS 1 level places the entire country in a single unit, while there are three NUTS 2 regions. Those are Northwest Croatia, Central and Eastern (Pannonian) Croatia, and Adriatic Croatia. The latter encompasses all the counties along the Adriatic coast. Northwest Croatia includes Koprivnica-Križevci, Krapina-Zagorje, Međimurje, Varaždin, the city of Zagreb, and Zagreb counties and the Central and Eastern (Pannonian) Croatia includes the remaining areas—Bjelovar-Bilogora, Brod-Posavina, Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Požega-Slavonia, Sisak-Moslavina, Virovitica-Podravina, and Vukovar-Syrmia counties. Individual counties and the city of Zagreb also represent NUTS 3 level subdivision units in Croatia. The NUTS Local administrative unit divisions are two-tiered. LAU 1 divisions match the counties and the city of Zagreb in effect making those the same as NUTS 3 units, while LAU 2 subdivisions correspond to the cities and municipalities of Croatia.[127]

County Seat Area (km2) Population at
2011 Census
Zastava bjelovarsko bilogorske zupanije.gif Bjelovar-Bilogora Bjelovar 2,652 119,743
Flag of Brod-Posavina County.svg Brod-Posavina Slavonski Brod 2,043 158,559
Flag of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.png Dubrovnik-Neretva Dubrovnik 1,783 122,783
Zastava Istarske županije.svg Istria Pazin 2,820 208,440
Flag of Karlovac county.svg Karlovac Karlovac 3,622 128,749
Flag of Koprivnica-Križevci County.png Koprivnica-Križevci Koprivnica 1,746 115,582
Flag of Krapina-Zagorje-County.svg Krapina-Zagorje Krapina 1,224 133,064
Flag of Lika-Senj County.png Lika-Senj Gospić 5,350 51,022
Medjimurje-flag.gif Međimurje Čakovec 730 114,414
Zastava Osječko-baranjske županije.png Osijek-Baranja Osijek 4,152 304,899
Flag of Požega-Slavonia County.png Požega-Slavonia Požega 1,845 78,031
Flag of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.png Primorje-Gorski Kotar Rijeka 3,582 296,123
Flag of Sisak-Moslavina County.png Sisak-Moslavina Sisak 4,463 172,977
Flag of Split-Dalmatia County.svg Split-Dalmatia Split 4,534 455,242
Flag of Šibenik-Knin County.png Šibenik-Knin Šibenik 2,939 109,320
Flag of Varaždin County.png Varaždin Varaždin 1,261 176,046
Flag of Virovitica-Podravina County.png Virovitica-Podravina Virovitica 2,068 84,586
Flag of Vukovar-Syrmia County.svg Vukovar-Syrmia Vukovar 2,448 180,117
Flag of Zadar County.png Zadar Zadar 3,642 170,398
Zagreb County.png Zagreb County Zagreb 3,078 317,642
Flag of Zagreb.svg City of Zagreb Zagreb 641 792,875

Foreign relations

Treaty of Rome anniversary group photograph 2017-03-25 03
Group photograph of European Union heads of government on occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in Rome, Italy

Croatia has established diplomatic relations with 181 countries.[128] As of 2017, Croatia maintains a network of 54 embassies, 28 consulates and eight permanent diplomatic missions abroad. Furthermore, there are 52 foreign embassies and 69 consulates in the Republic of Croatia in addition to offices of international organisations such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Organization for Migration, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), United Nations Development Programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and UNICEF.[129] In 2009, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration employed 1,381 personnel and expended 648.2 million kuna (€86.4 million).[130] Stated aims of Croatian foreign policy include enhancing relations with neighbouring countries, developing international co-operation and promotion of the Croatian economy and Croatia itself.[131]

Podizanje NATO zastave 070409 pano 1
Flag hoisting ceremony at Ministry of Defence marking Croatian accession to the NATO in 2009

Since 2003, Croatian foreign policy has focused on achieving the strategic goal of becoming a member state of the European Union (EU).[132][133] In December 2011, Croatia completed the EU accession negotiations and signed an EU accession treaty on 9 December 2011.[134][135] Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013 marking the end of a process started in 2001 by signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and Croatian application for the EU membership in 2003.[136] A recurring obstacle to the negotiations was Croatia's ICTY co-operation record and Slovenian blocking of the negotiations because of Croatia–Slovenia border disputes.[137][138] The latter should be resolved through an Arbitration Agreement of 4 November 2009, approved by national parliaments and a referendum in Slovenia.,[139] but due to the events during arbitration Croatia does not accept results. As of 2019, Croatia has unsolved border issues with all neighbouring former Yugoslav countries (Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro).[140]

Another strategic Croatian foreign policy goal for the 2000s was NATO membership.[132][133] Croatia was included in the Partnership for Peace in 2000, invited to NATO membership in 2008 and formally joined the alliance on 1 April 2009.[141][142] Croatia became a member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term, assuming presidency in December 2008.[143] The country is preparing to join the Schengen Area.[144]

Military

US Navy 021029-N-1955P-020 Navy aircraft participate in Joint Wings 2002
Croatian Air Force and US Navy aircraft participate in multinational training, 2002
Providing security (7296490988)
Croatian army soldiers - training exercise during the Immediate Response 2012 (IR12) training event held in Slunj

The Croatian Armed Forces (CAF) consist of the Air Force, Army, and Navy branches in addition to the Education and Training Command and Support Command. The CAF is headed by the General Staff, which reports to the Defence Minister, who in turn reports to the President of Croatia. According to the constitution, the President is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and in case of immediate threat during wartime he issues orders directly to the General Staff.[145]

Following the 1991–95 war defence spending and CAF size have been in constant decline. As of 2005 military spending was an estimated 2.39% of the country's GDP, which placed Croatia 64th in a ranking of all countries.[104] Since 2005 the budget was kept below 2% of GDP, down from the record high of 11.1% in 1994.[146] Traditionally relying on a large number of conscripts, CAF also went through a period of reforms focused on downsizing, restructuring and professionalisation in the years prior to Croatia's accession to NATO in April 2009. According to a presidential decree issued in 2006 the CAF is set to employ 18,100 active duty military personnel, 3,000 civilians and 2,000 voluntary conscripts between the ages of 18 and 30 in peacetime.[145] Compulsory conscription was abolished in January 2008.[104] Until 2008 military service was compulsory for men at age 18 and conscripts served six-month tours of duty, reduced in 2001 from the earlier scheme of nine-month conscription tours. Conscientious objectors could instead opt for an eight-month civilian service.[147] As of April 2011 the Croatian military had 120 members stationed in foreign countries as part of United Nations-led international peacekeeping forces, including 95 serving as part of the UNDOF in the Golan Heights.[148] As of 2011 an additional 350 troops serve as part of the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan and another 20 with the KFOR in Kosovo.[149][150]

Croatia also has a significant military industry sector which exported around US$120 million worth of military equipment and armament in 2010.[151] Croatian-made weapons and vehicles used by CAF include the standard sidearm HS2000 manufactured by HS Produkt and the M-84D battle tank designed by the Đuro Đaković factory. Uniforms and helmets worn by CAF soldiers are also locally produced and successfully marketed to other countries.[151]

Economy

Istria3
Istrian vineyards; Wine is produced in nearly all regions of Croatia
The largest Croatian companies by turnover in 2015[152][153]
Rank Name Revenue
(Mil. €)
Profit
(Mil. €)
1 Agrokor Increase 6,435 Increase 131
2 INA Decrease 2,476 Increase 122
3 Konzum Increase 1,711 Increase 18
4 Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP) Increase 1,694 Decrease 260
5 Orbico Group Steady 1,253 Increase 17

Croatia is classified as a high-income economy by the United Nations.[154] International Monetary Fund data projects that Croatian nominal GDP stands at $54.758 billion, or $13,271 per capita for 2017, while purchasing power parity GDP stands at $102.113 billion, or $24,748 per capita.[155] According to Eurostat, Croatian PPS GDP per capita stood at 62% of the EU average in 2017.[156]

Real GDP growth in 2007 was 6.0 per cent.[157] The average net salary of a Croatian worker in January 2017 was 5,895 HRK per month (roughly 800 EUR), and the average gross salary was 7,911 HRK per month.[158] As of December 2018, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.6% from 12.2% in December 2017. The number of unemployed persons was 148.919 thousand. Unemployment Rate in Croatia in years 1996-2018 averaged 17.38%, reaching an all-time high of 23.60% in January 2002 and a record low of 8.40% in September 2018.[159] In 2010, economic output was dominated by the service sector which accounted for 66% of GDP, followed by the industrial sector with 27.2% and agriculture accounting for 6.8% of GDP.[160] According to 2004 data, 2.7% of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 32.8% by industry and 64.5% in services.[104][161] The industrial sector is dominated by shipbuilding, food processing, pharmaceuticals, information technology, biochemical and timber industry. In 2010, Croatian exports were valued at 64.9 billion kuna (€8.65 billion) with 110.3 billion kuna (€14.7 billion) worth of imports. The largest trading partner is the rest of the European Union.[162] More than half of Croatia's trade is with other European Union member states.[163]

Souostroví Pakleni otoci
Paklinski Islands, located on the southwest coast of the island of Hvar

Privatization and the drive toward a market economy had barely begun under the new Croatian Government when war broke out in 1991. As a result of the war, the economic infrastructure sustained massive damage, particularly the revenue-rich tourism industry. From 1989 to 1993, the GDP fell 40.5%. The Croatian state still controls a significant part of the economy, with government expenditures accounting for as much as 40% of GDP.[164] A backlogged judiciary system, combined with inefficient public administration, especially on issues of land ownership and corruption, are particular concerns. In the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, the country is ranked 60th with a score of 48, where zero denotes "highly corrupt" and 100 "very clean".[165] In June 2013, the national debt stood at 59.5% of the nation's GDP.[166]

Tourism

Bol na Bracu - Zlatni rat
Zlatni Rat beach on the Island of Brač is one of the foremost spots of tourism in Croatia.

Tourism dominates the Croatian service sector and accounts for up to 20% of Croatian GDP. Annual tourist industry income for 2017 was estimated at €9.5 billion.[167] Its positive effects are felt throughout the economy of Croatia in terms of increased business volume observed in retail business, processing industry orders and summer seasonal employment. The industry is considered an export business, because it significantly reduces the country's external trade imbalance.[168] Since the end of the Croatian War of Independence, the tourist industry has grown rapidly, recording a fourfold rise in tourist numbers, with more than 11 million tourists each year.[169] The most numerous are tourists from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, and Poland as well as Croatia itself.[170] Length of a tourist stay in Croatia averaged 4.9 days in 2011.[171]

The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic Sea coast. Opatija was the first holiday resort. It first became popular in the middle of the 19th century. By the 1890s, it had become one of the most significant European health resorts.[172] Later a number of resorts sprang up along the coast and islands, offering services catering to both mass tourism and various niche markets. The most significant are nautical tourism, as there are numerous marinas with more than 16 thousand berths, cultural tourism relying on appeal of medieval coastal cities and numerous cultural events taking place during the summer. Inland areas offer agrotourism, mountain resorts, and spas. Zagreb is also a significant tourist destination, rivalling major coastal cities and resorts.[173]

Croatia has unpolluted marine areas reflected through numerous nature reserves and 116 Blue Flag beaches.[174] Croatia is ranked as the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world.[175] About 15% of these visitors, or over one million per year, are involved with naturism, an industry for which Croatia is world-famous. It was also the first European country to develop commercial naturist resorts.[176]

Adriatic Sea islands
Croatia has over a thousand islands; Pictured: Adriatic Sea Dalmatia.
Casco viejo de Dubrovnik, Croacia, 2014-04-14, DD 02
Panoramic view of the old city of Dubrovnik, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

Infrastructure

Zagreb Airport New Terminal
Zagreb Airport is the largest and busiest international airport in the country
Rijekaizzraka
Rijeka has the largest and busiest container port in the country
A1 near junction Maslenica
Croatia has over 1250 km of modern highways most of which were built in the early 2000s; Pictured: A1 motorway near Maslenica

The highlight of Croatia's recent infrastructure developments is its rapidly developed motorway network, largely built in the late 1990s and especially in the 2000s (decade). By September 2011, Croatia had completed more than 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) of motorways, connecting Zagreb to most other regions and following various European routes and four Pan-European corridors.[177][178][179] The busiest motorways are the A1, connecting Zagreb to Split and the A3, passing east–west through northwest Croatia and Slavonia.[180]

A widespread network of state roads in Croatia acts as motorway feeder roads while connecting all major settlements in the country. The high quality and safety levels of the Croatian motorway network were tested and confirmed by several EuroTAP and EuroTest programs.[181][182]

Croatia has an extensive rail network spanning 2,722 kilometres (1,691 miles), including 984 kilometres (611 miles) of electrified railways and 254 kilometres (158 miles) of double track railways.[183] The most significant railways in Croatia are found within the Pan-European transport corridors Vb and X connecting Rijeka to Budapest and Ljubljana to Belgrade, both via Zagreb.[177] All rail services are operated by Croatian Railways.[184] There are international airports in Dubrovnik, Osijek, Pula, Rijeka, Split, Zadar, and Zagreb.[185] The largest and busiest is Franjo Tuđman Airport.[186] As of January 2011, Croatia complies with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards and the Federal Aviation Administration upgraded it to Category 1 rating.[187]

The busiest cargo seaport in Croatia is the Port of Rijeka and the busiest passenger ports are Split and Zadar.[188][189] In addition to those, a large number of minor ports serve an extensive system of ferries connecting numerous islands and coastal cities in addition to ferry lines to several cities in Italy.[190] The largest river port is Vukovar, located on the Danube, representing the nation's outlet to the Pan-European transport corridor VII.[177][191]

There are 610 kilometres (380 miles) of crude oil pipelines in Croatia, connecting the Port of Rijeka oil terminal with refineries in Rijeka and Sisak, as well as several transhipment terminals. The system has a capacity of 20 million tonnes per year.[192] The natural gas transportation system comprises 2,113 kilometres (1,313 miles) of trunk and regional natural gas pipelines, and more than 300 associated structures, connecting production rigs, the Okoli natural gas storage facility, 27 end-users and 37 distribution systems.[193]

Croatian production of energy sources covers 85% of nationwide natural gas demand and 19% of oil demand. In 2008, 47.6% of Croatia's primary energy production structure comprised use of natural gas (47.7%), crude oil (18.0%), fuel wood (8.4%), hydro power (25.4%) and other renewable energy sources (0.5%). In 2009, net total electrical power production in Croatia reached 12,725 GWh and Croatia imported 28.5% of its electric power energy needs.[103] The bulk of Croatian imports are supplied by the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, 50% owned by Hrvatska elektroprivreda, providing 15% of Croatia's electricity.[194]

Demographics

With its estimated population of 4.19 million in 2016, Croatia ranks 125th by population in the world. Its population density stands at 75.9 inhabitants per square kilometre. The overall life expectancy in Croatia at birth was 78.20 years in 2016.[195]

Most populous cities of Croatia

Zagreb

Zagreb
Split

Split

Rank City County Urban population City-governed population

Rijeka

Rijeka
Osijek

Osijek

1 Zagreb City of Zagreb 688,163 790,017
2 Split Split-Dalmatia 167,121 178,102
3 Rijeka Primorje-Gorski Kotar 128,314 128,624
4 Osijek Osijek-Baranja 83,104 108,048
5 Zadar Zadar 71,471 75,082
6 Pula Istria 57,460 57,460
7 Slavonski Brod Brod-Posavina 53,531 59,143
8 Karlovac Karlovac 46,833 55,705
9 Varaždin Varaždin 38,839 46,946
10 Šibenik Šibenik-Knin 34,302 46,332
Source: 2011 Census[196]
Historical population
YearPop.±%
1890 2,854,558—    
1900 3,161,456+10.8%
1910 3,460,584+9.5%
1921 3,443,375−0.5%
1931 3,785,455+9.9%
1948 3,779,958−0.1%
1953 3,936,022+4.1%
1961 4,159,696+5.7%
1971 4,426,221+6.4%
1981 4,601,469+4.0%
1991 4,784,265+4.0%
2001 4,492,049−6.1%
2011 4,456,096−0.8%
As of 29 June 2011

The total fertility rate of 1.43 children per mother, is one of the lowest in the world. Since 1991, Croatia's death rate has continuously exceeded its birth rate.[103] Since the late 1990s, there has been a positive net migration into Croatia, reaching a level of more than 7,000 net immigrants in 2006.[197]

The Croatian Bureau of Statistics forecast that the population may shrink to 3.1 million by 2051, depending on actual birth rate and the level of net migration.[198] The population of Croatia rose steadily from 2.1 million in 1857 until 1991, when it peaked at 4.7 million, with exception of censuses taken in 1921 and 1948, i.e. following two world wars.[103] The natural growth rate of the population is currently negative[104] with the demographic transition completed in the 1970s.[199] In recent years, the Croatian government has been pressured each year to add 40% to work permit quotas for foreign workers.[200] In accordance with its immigration policy, Croatia is trying to entice emigrants to return.[201]

Bevölkerungspyramide Kroatien 2016
Population pyramid 2016

The population decrease was also a result of the Croatian War of Independence. During the war, large sections of the population were displaced and emigration increased. In 1991, in predominantly occupied areas, more than 400,000 Croats were either removed from their homes by the Croatian Serb forces or fled the violence.[202] During the final days of the war in 1995, more than 100,000 Serbs voluntarily fled the country before the arrival of Croatian forces during Operation Storm to avoid being brought to justice for their unjustifiable acts committed during the Croatian War for Independence.[203][204] After the war, the number of displaced persons fell to about 250,000. The Croatian government has taken care of displaced persons by the social security system, and since December 1991 through the Office of Displaced Persons and Refugees.[205]

Most of the territories which were abandoned during the Croatian War of Independence were settled by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly from north-western Bosnia, while some of the displaced people returned to their homes.[206][207]

According to the 2013 United Nations report, 17.6% of Croatia's population were foreign-born immigrants.[208] Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (90.4%) and is ethnically the most homogeneous of the six countries of former Yugoslavia. Minority groups include Serbs (4.4%), Bosniaks, Italians, Albanians, Roma, Hungarians, Slovenes, Czechs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Yugoslavs, and others (1.98%).[4]

Religion

Croatia has no official religion. Freedom of religion is a right defined by the Constitution which also defines all religious communities as equal before the law and separated from the state.[210]

According to the 2011 census, 91.36% of Croatians identify as Christian; of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 86.28% of the population, after which follows Eastern Orthodoxy (4.44%), Protestantism (0.34%) and other Christian (0.30%). The largest religion after Christianity is Islam (1.47%). 4.57% of the population describe themselves as non-religious.[211]

In the Eurostat Eurobarometer Poll of 2005, 67% of the population of Croatia responded that "they believe there is a God".[212] In a 2009 Gallup poll, 70% answered yes to the question "Is religion an important part of your daily life?".[213] However, only 24% of the population attends religious services regularly.[214]

St Donatus Zadar

Church of St Donatus (9th century) in Zadar is the second largest Pre-Romanesque rotunda in Europe

Marija Bistrica - crkva

Marija Bistrica is Croatia's largest Catholic pilgrimage site

Šibenik, Katedrala sv. Jakova - sjeveroistok

Šibenik Cathedral has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000

Languages

Croatian is the official language of Croatia, and became the 24th official language of the European Union upon its accession in 2013.[215][216] Minority languages are in official use in local government units where more than a third of population consists of national minorities or where local legislation defines so. Those languages are Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian, and Slovak.[217]

Hrvatska narječja
Map of the dialects of Croatia

According to the 2011 Census, 95.6% of citizens of Croatia declared Croatian as their native language, 1.2% declared Serbian as their native language, while no other language is represented in Croatia by more than 0.5% of native speakers among population of Croatia.[2] Croatian is a member of the South Slavic languages of Slavic languages group, and is written using the Latin alphabet. There are three major dialects spoken on the territory of Croatia, with standard Croatian based on the Shtokavian dialect. The Chakavian and Kajkavian dialects are distinguished by their lexicon, phonology, and syntax.[218]

Croatian replaced Latin as the official language of the Croatian government in the 19th century.[219] In Yugoslavia, from 1972 to 1989, the language was constitutionally designated as "Croatian literary language". It was the result of the resistance to "Serbo-Croatian" in the form of a Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language and Croatian Spring.[220] Croatians are protective of their Croatian language from foreign influences and are known for Croatian linguistic purism, as the language was under constant change and threats imposed by previous rulers (i.e. Austrian German, Hungarian, Italian, and Turkish words were changed and altered to Slavic looking or sounding ones).

A 2011 survey revealed that 78% of Croatians claim knowledge of at least one foreign language.[221] According to a survey ordered by the European Commission in 2005, 49% of Croatians speak English as the second language, 34% speak German, 14% speak Italian, and 10% speak French. Russian is spoken by 4% each, and 2% of Croatians speak Spanish. However, there are large municipalities that have minority languages that include substantial populations that speak these languages. An odd-majority of Slovenes (59%) have a certain level of knowledge of Croatian.[222] The country is a part of various language-based international associations most notably the European Union Language Association.[223]

Education

University of Zagreb
University of Zagreb is the largest Croatian university and the oldest university in the area covering Central Europe south of Vienna and all of Southeastern Europe (1669)

Literacy in Croatia stands at 99.2 per cent.[224] A worldwide study about the quality of living in different countries published by Newsweek in August 2010 ranked the Croatian education system at 22nd, to share the position with Austria.[225] Primary education in Croatia starts at the age of six or seven and consists of eight grades. In 2007 a law was passed to increase free, noncompulsory education until 18 years of age. Compulsory education consists of eight grades of elementary school.

Secondary education is provided by gymnasiums and vocational schools. As of 2017, there are 2,049 elementary schools and 701 schools providing various forms of secondary education.[226] Primary and secondary education are also available in languages of recognized minorities in Croatia, where classes are held in Italian, Czech, German, Hungarian, and Serbian languages.[227]

Split University Library-wide
Library of the University of Split

There are 137 elementary and secondary level music and art schools, as well as 120 schools for disabled children and youth and 74 schools for adults.[226] Nationwide leaving exams (Croatian: državna matura) were introduced for secondary education students in the school year 2009–2010. It comprises three compulsory subjects (Croatian language, mathematics, and a foreign language) and optional subjects and is a prerequisite for university education.[228]

Croatia has 8 public universities, the University of Dubrovnik, University of Osijek, University of Pula, University of Rijeka, University of Split, University of Zadar and University of Zagreb, and 2 private universities, Catholic University of Croatia and Dubrovnik International University.[229] The University of Zadar, the first university in Croatia, was founded in 1396 and remained active until 1807, when other institutions of higher education took over until the foundation of the renewed University of Zadar in 2002.[230] The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating university in Southeast Europe.[231] There are also 15 polytechnics, of which 2 are private, and 30 higher education institutions, of which 27 are private.[229] In total, there are 55 institutions of higher education in Croatia, attended by more than 157 thousand students.[226]

There are 205 companies, government or education system institutions and non-profit organisations in Croatia pursuing scientific research and development of technology. Combined, they spent more than 3 billion kuna (€400 million) and employed 10,191 full-time research staff in 2008.[103] Among the scientific institutes operating in Croatia, the largest is the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb.[232] The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb is a learned society promoting language, culture, arts and science from its inception in 1866.[233]

Croatia has been the home of many famous inventors, like Fausto Veranzio, Giovanni Luppis, Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, Franjo Hanaman and Nikola Tesla, as well as scientists, such as Franciscus Patricius, Nikola Nalješković, Nikola Vitov Gučetić, Josip Franjo Domin, Marino Ghetaldi, Roger Joseph Boscovich, Andrija Mohorovičić, Ivan Supek, Ivan Đikić, Miroslav Radman and Marin Soljačić. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to 2 Croatian laureates, Lavoslav Ružička (1939) and Vladimir Prelog (1975).

Health

Croatia has a universal health care system, whose roots can be traced back to the Hungarian-Croatian Parliament Act of 1891, providing a form of mandatory insurance of all factory workers and craftsmen.[234] The population is covered by a basic health insurance plan provided by statute and optional insurance. In 2017, annual healthcare related expenditures reached 22.0 billion kuna (€3.0 billion).[235] Healthcare expenditures comprise only 0.6% of private health insurance and public spending.[236] In 2017, Croatia spent around 6.6% of its GDP on healthcare.[237] In 2015, Croatia ranked 36th in the world in life expectancy with 74.7 years for men and 81.2 years for women, and it had a low infant mortality rate of 3 per 1,000 live births.[238][239]

There are hundreds of healthcare institutions in Croatia, including 79 hospitals and clinics with 23,967 beds. The hospitals and clinics care for more than 700 thousand patients per year and employ 5,205 medical doctors, including 3,929 specialists. There are 6,379 private practice offices, and a total of 41,271 health workers in the country. There are 63 emergency medical service units, responding to more than a million calls. The principal cause of death in 2008 was cardiovascular disease at 43.5% for men and 57.2% for women, followed by tumours, at 29.4% for men and 21.4% for women. In 2009 only 13 Croatians had been infected with HIV/AIDS and 6 had died from the disease.[103] In 2008 it was estimated by the WHO that 27.4% of Croatians over the age of 15 are smokers.[240] According to 2003 WHO data, 22% of the Croatian adult population is obese.[241]

Culture

TrogirView
Historic centre of Trogir has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Site since 1997s[242]

Because of its geographical position, Croatia represents a blend of four different cultural spheres. It has been a crossroads of influences from western culture and the east—ever since the schism between the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire—and also from Mitteleuropa and Mediterranean culture.[243] The Illyrian movement was the most significant period of national cultural history, as the 19th century proved crucial to the emancipation of the Croatian language and saw unprecedented developments in all fields of art and culture, giving rise to a number of historical figures.[45]

The Ministry of Culture is tasked with preserving the nation's cultural and natural heritage and overseeing its development. Further activities supporting the development of culture are undertaken at the local government level.[244] The UNESCO's World Heritage List includes ten sites in Croatia. The country is also rich with intangible culture and holds fifteen of UNESCO's World's intangible culture masterpieces, ranking fourth in the world.[245] A global cultural contribution from Croatia is the necktie, derived from the cravat originally worn by the 17th-century Croatian mercenaries in France.[246][247]

Trakošćan 2007
Trakošćan Castle is one of the best preserved historic buildings in the country.[248]

Croatia has 95 professional theatres, 30 professional children's theatres and 52 amateur theatres visited by more than 1.54 million viewers per year. The professional theatres employ 1,195 artists. There are 46 professional orchestras, ensembles, and choirs in the country, attracting an annual attendance of 317 thousand. There are 166 cinemas with attendance exceeding 4.814 million.[249] Croatia has 222 museums, visited by more than 2.7 million people in 2016. Furthermore, there are 1,768 libraries in the country, containing 26.8 million volumes, and 19 state archives.[250]

In 2010, 7,348 books and brochures were published, along with 2,676 magazines and 267 newspapers. There are also 135 radio stations and 25 TV stations operating in the country. In the past five years, film production in Croatia produced up to five feature films and 10 to 51 short films, with an additional 76 to 112 TV films. As of 2009, there are 784 amateur cultural and artistic associations and more than 10 thousand cultural, educational and artistic events held annually.[103] The book publishing market is dominated by several major publishers and the industry's centrepiece event—Interliber exhibition held annually at Zagreb Fair.[251]

Croatia is categorised as having established a very high level of human development in the Human Development Index, with a high degree of equality in HDI achievements between women and men.[9] It promotes disability rights.[252] Recognition of same-sex unions in Croatia has gradually improved over the past decade, culminating in registered civil unions in July 2014, granting same-sex couples equal inheritance rights, tax deductions and limited adoption rights.[253] However, in December 2013 Croatians voted in a constitutional referendum and approved changes to constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.[254]

Arts and literature

Pula Arena, Istria, Croatia
1st-century Pula Arena was the sixth largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire
Peristyle, Split 1
Historical nucleus of Split with the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979
De Gondola
Ivan Gundulić, the most prominent Croatian Baroque poet

Architecture in Croatia reflects influences of bordering nations. Austrian and Hungarian influence is visible in public spaces and buildings in the north and in the central regions, architecture found along coasts of Dalmatia and Istria exhibits Venetian influence.[255] Large squares named after culture heroes, well-groomed parks, and pedestrian-only zones, are features of these orderly towns and cities, especially where large scale Baroque urban planning took place, for instance in Osijek (Tvrđa), Varaždin and Karlovac.[256][257] Subsequent influence of the Art Nouveau was reflected in contemporary architecture.[258] Along the coast, the architecture is Mediterranean with a strong Venetian and Renaissance influence in major urban areas exemplified in works of Giorgio da Sebenico and Niccolò Fiorentino such as the Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik. The oldest preserved examples of Croatian architecture are the 9th-century churches, with the largest and the most representative among them being Church of St. Donatus in Zadar.[259][260]

Besides the architecture encompassing the oldest artworks in Croatia, there is a long history of artists in Croatia reaching the Middle Ages. In that period the stone portal of the Trogir Cathedral was made by Radovan, representing the most important monument of Romanesque sculpture from Medieval Croatia. The Renaissance had the greatest impact on the Adriatic Sea coast since the remainder of Croatia was embroiled in the Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War. With the waning of the Ottoman Empire, art flourished during the Baroque and Rococo. The 19th and the 20th centuries brought about affirmation of numerous Croatian artisans, helped by several patrons of the arts such as bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer.[261] Croatian artists of the period achieving worldwide renown were Vlaho Bukovac and Ivan Meštrović.[259]

The Baška tablet, a stone inscribed with the glagolitic alphabet found on the Krk island and dated to 1100, is considered to be the oldest surviving prose in Croatian.[262] The beginning of more vigorous development of Croatian literature is marked by the Renaissance and Marko Marulić. Besides Marulić, Renaissance playwright Marin Držić, Baroque poet Ivan Gundulić, Croatian national revival poet Ivan Mažuranić, novelist, playwright and poet August Šenoa, children's writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, writer and journalist Marija Jurić Zagorka, poet and writer Antun Gustav Matoš, poet Antun Branko Šimić, expressionist and realist writer Miroslav Krleža, poet Tin Ujević and novelist and short story writer Ivo Andrić are often cited as the greatest figures in Croatian literature.[263][264]

Media

The freedom of the press and the freedom of speech are guaranteed by the constitution of Croatia.[265] Croatia ranked 62nd in the 2010 Press Freedom Index report compiled by Reporters Without Borders.[266] The state-owned news agency HINA runs a wire service in Croatian and English on politics, economics, society and culture.[267]

Zgrada HRT Zagreb
Radio Zagreb, now a part of Croatian Radiotelevision, was the first public radio station in Southeast Europe.[268]

Despite the provisions fixed in the constitution, freedoms of press and speech in Croatia have been classified as partly free since 2000 by Freedom House, the independent nongovernmental organisation that monitors press freedom worldwide. Namely the country has been ranked 85th (of 196 countries),[269] and the 2011 Freedom House report noted improvement of applicable legislation reflecting Croatia's accession to the EU, yet pointed out instances of politicians' attempts to hinder investigative journalism and influence news reports contents, difficulties regarding public access to information, and that most of print media market is controlled by German-owned Hanza Media and Austrian-owned Styria Media Group.[270] Amnesty International reports that in 2009 in Croatia there was an increase in the number of physical attacks and murders of journalists. The incidents were mainly perpetrated against journalists investigating war crimes and organised crime.[271]

As of December 2018, there are fourteen nationwide free-to-air DVB-T television channels, with Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) operating four, Nova TV and RTL Televizija operating two of the channels each, and the remaining three operated by the Croatian Olympic Committee, Kapital Net d.o.o. and Author d.o.o. companies. In addition there are 21 regional or local DVB-T television channels.[272] The HRT is also broadcasting a satellite TV channel.[273] In 2016, there were 135 radio stations and 25 TV stations in Croatia.[274] Cable television and IPTV networks are gaining ground in the country, as the cable TV networks already serve 450 thousand people, 10% of the total population of the country.[275][276]

There are 314 newspapers and 2,678 magazines published in Croatia.[103] The print media market is dominated by Europapress Holding and Styria Media Group who publish their flagship dailies Jutarnji list, Večernji list and 24sata. Other influential newspapers are Novi list and Slobodna Dalmacija.[277][278] In 2013, 24sata was the most widely circulated daily newspaper, followed by Večernji list and Jutarnji list.[279]

Croatia's film industry is small and heavily subsidised by the government, mainly through grants approved by the Ministry of Culture with films often being co-produced by HRT.[280][281] Pula Film Festival, the national film awards event held annually in Pula, is the most prestigious film event featuring national and international productions.[282] The greatest accomplishment by Croatian filmmakers was achieved by Dušan Vukotić when he won the 1961 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Ersatz (Croatian: Surogat).[283]

Cuisine

Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. Dalmatia and Istria draw upon culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines which prominently feature various seafood, cooked vegetables and pasta, as well as condiments such as olive oil and garlic. The continental cuisine is heavily influenced by Austrian, Hungarian, and Turkish culinary styles. In that area, meats, freshwater fish and vegetable dishes are predominant.[284]

There are two distinct wine-producing regions in Croatia. The continental region in the northeast of the country, especially Slavonia, is capable of producing premium wines, particularly whites. Along the north coast, Istrian and Krk wines are similar to those produced in neighbouring Italy, while further south in Dalmatia, Mediterranean-style red wines are the norm.[284] Annual production of wine exceeds 140 million litres.[103] Croatia was almost exclusively a wine-consuming country up until the late 18th century when a more massive production and consumption of beer started;[285] the annual consumption of beer in 2008 was 83.3 litres per capita which placed Croatia in 15th place among the world's countries.[286]

Sports

Poljud panorama 2
Poljud stadium, Split was the venue of the 1990 European Athletics Championships.

There are more than 400,000 active sportspeople in Croatia.[287] Out of that number, 277,000 are members of sports associations and nearly 4,000 are members of chess and contract bridge associations.[103] Association football is the most popular sport. The Croatian Football Federation (Croatian: Hrvatski nogometni savez), with more than 118,000 registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country.[288] The Prva HNL football league attracts the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the country. In season 2010–11, it attracted 458,746 spectators.[289]

Croatian athletes competing at international events since Croatian independence in 1991 won 44 Olympic medals, including fifteen gold medals—at the 1996 and 2004 Summer Olympics in handball, 2000 Summer Olympics in weightlifting, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics in alpine skiing, 2012 Summer Olympics in discus throw, trap shooting, and water polo, and in 2016 Summer Olympics in shooting, rowing, discus throw, sailing and javelin throw.[290] In addition, Croatian athletes won 16 gold medals at world championships, including four in athletics at the World Championships in Athletics held in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2017, one in handball at the 2003 World Men's Handball Championship, two in water polo at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships and 2017 World Aquatics Championships, one in rowing at the 2010 World Rowing Championships, six in alpine skiing at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in 2003 and 2005 and two at the World Taekwondo Championships in 2011 and 2007. Croatian athletes also won Davis cup in 2005 and 2018. Croatia national football team came in third in 1998 and second in 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Croatia hosted several major sport competitions, including the 2009 World Men's Handball Championship, the 2007 World Table Tennis Championships, the 2000 World Rowing Championships, the 1987 Summer Universiade, the 1979 Mediterranean Games and several European Championships. The governing sports authority in the country is the Croatian Olympic Committee (Croatian: Hrvatski olimpijski odbor), founded on 10 September 1991 and recognised by the International Olympic Committee since 17 January 1992, in time to permit the Croatian athletes to appear at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France representing the newly independent nation for the first time at the Olympic Games.[291]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In the recognized minority languages and the most spoken minority languages of Croatia:
    • Czech: Chorvatská republika
    • French: République de Croatie
    • German: Republik Kroatien
    • Hungarian: Horvát Köztársaság
    • Italian: Repubblica di Croazia
    • Rusyn: Републіка Хорватія
    • Serbian: Република Хрватска
    • Slovak: Chorvátska republika
    • Slovene: Republika Hrvaška
    • Ukrainian: Респу́бліка Хорва́тія
  2. ^ Apart from Croatian, state counties have official regional languages that are used for official government business and commercially. Istria County is Italian-speaking[1][2] while select counties bordering Serbia speak standard Serbian.[3] Other notable–albeit significantly less present–minority languages in Croatia include: Czech, Hungarian, and Slovak.
  3. ^ The writing system of Croatia is legally protected by federal law. Efforts to alter the official writing system, on a local level, has drawn considerable backlash.
  4. ^ IPA transcription of "Republika Hrvatska": (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈrepǔblika ˈxř̩ʋaːtskaː]).

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Bibliography

External links

2018 FIFA World Cup Final

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match that took place on 15 July 2018 to determine the winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It was the final of the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA. The match was contested by France and Croatia, and held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.

Before 2018, France's only World Cup victory was in 1998 – though they had also reached the final in 2006 – while Croatia were playing in their first World Cup final. Both teams had defeated former World Cup champions on their way to the final: France defeated 1930 and 1950 winners Uruguay, Croatia defeated 1966 winners England and both teams defeated 1978 and 1986 winners Argentina. Croatia became the third Eastern European nation to reach the World Cup final, and the first since Czechoslovakia lost the final in 1962 to Brazil.

France won the match 4–2, having taken a 2–1 lead during the first half on an own goal and penalty awarded by the video assistant referee (VAR), both firsts in a World Cup final. France also became the second team in the 32-team World Cup to win all their knockout matches without any extra time or penalty shoot-out after Brazil in 2002. The final was watched by a global audience of 1.12 billion people on television and streaming platforms.

Balkans

The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range.

The concept of the Balkan peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. The term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe. It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, further promoted during the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan peninsula natural borders are not coinciding with the technical definition of a peninsula and hence modern geographers are rejecting the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while the scholars usually discuss the Balkans as a region. The term steadily got, especially since the 1990s, a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, and hence the rather used alternative term for the region is Southeast Europe.

Counties of Croatia

The counties of Croatia (Croatian: županije) are the primary administrative subdivisions of the Republic of Croatia.

Since they were re-established in 1992, Croatia has been divided into 20 counties and the capital city of Zagreb, which has the authority and legal status of both a county and a city (separate from the surrounding Zagreb County). As of 2015, the counties are subdivided into 128 cities and 428 (mostly rural) municipalities.

Croatia national football team

The Croatia national football team (Croatian: Hrvatska nogometna reprezentacija) represents Croatia in international association football matches. The team is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), the nation's governing body for football, and is widely supported throughout the country due to the ever-present popularity of the sport. Most home matches are played at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb or though other smaller venues are also used occasionally. They are one of the youngest national teams (since formation) to reach the knockout stage of a major tournament, as well as the youngest team to occupy the top 10 in the FIFA World Rankings.

Croatia has represented itself as an independent nation since 1993, when the team was officially recognised by both FIFA and UEFA following dissolution from Yugoslavia. However, short-lived national sides were briefly active during periods of political upheaval, representing sovereign states such as the Banovina of Croatia from 1939 to 1941, or the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to 1944. Before the current team was formed, most Croatian players represented the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia instead. The modern-day team has played competitive matches since 1994, starting with a successful qualifying campaign for the 1996 European Championships. In 1998, they competed in their first FIFA World Cup, finishing 3rd and providing the tournament's top scorer, Davor Šuker. Exactly twenty years later, under their second golden generation, Croatia reached the 2018 World Cup Final, securing second place after losing to France. Captain Luka Modrić was awarded best player of the tournament for his performances, thus making him the first ever Croatian player to win the award.

Among other nicknames, the team is colloquially referred to as the Vatreni ("Blazers" or "Fiery Ones") or the Kockasti ("Chequered"). In the Italian-speaking counties the team is known as Il furioso incendio ("The Blazing Fire"). Since becoming eligible to compete, Croatia has only failed to qualify for two major tournaments; the 2000 European Championship and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Their biggest defeat came in 2018 with a 6–0 loss to Spain, while their highest-scoring victory was a 10–0 friendly win over San Marino in 2016. The national team is also known for some long-standing rivalries, such as the Derby Adriatico with Italy, or the politically-charged rivalry with Serbia, both of which have led to controversial or disruptive matches.

The team represents the second-smallest country by population and land mass to reach the World Cup final, behind Uruguay and Netherlands respectively. At major tournaments, Croatia holds joint-records for longest period between one goal and another of a player (2002–2014), most penalty shootouts played (2), most extra time periods played (3) and most penalties saved in a match (3). They are also one of only two teams—along with Colombia—to be named FIFA's "Best Mover of the Year" more than once, winning the award in 1994 and 1998. Upon admission to FIFA, Croatia was ranked 125th in the world; following the 1998 World Cup campaign, the side rose to third place in the rankings, making it the most volatile team in FIFA Rankings history.

Croatian War of Independence

The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)—and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat operations in Croatia by 1992. In Croatia, the war is primarily referred to as the "Homeland War" (Domovinski rat) and also as the "Greater-Serbian Aggression" (Velikosrpska agresija). In Serbian sources, "War in Croatia" (Рат у Хрватској / Rat u Hrvatskoj) and "War in Krajina" (Рат у Крајини / Rat u Krajini) are used.A majority of Croats wanted Croatia to leave Yugoslavia and become a sovereign country, while many ethnic Serbs living in Croatia, supported by Serbia, opposed the secession and wanted Serb-claimed lands to be in a common state with Serbia. Most Serbs effectively sought a new Serb state within a Yugoslav federation, including areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with ethnic Serb majorities or significant minorities, and attempted to conquer as much of Croatia as possible. Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991, but agreed to postpone it with the Brioni Agreement and cut all remaining ties with Yugoslavia on 8 October 1991.

The JNA initially tried to keep Croatia within Yugoslavia by occupying all of Croatia. After this failed, Serb forces established the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) within Croatia. After the ceasefire of January 1992 and international recognition of the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign state, the front lines were entrenched, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was deployed, and combat became largely intermittent in the following three years. During that time, the RSK encompassed 13,913 square kilometers (5,372 sq mi), more than a quarter of Croatia. In 1995, Croatia launched two major offensives known as Operation Flash and Operation Storm, which would effectively end the war in its favor. The remaining United Nations Transitional Authority for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) zone was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia by 1998.The war ended with Croatian victory, as it achieved the goals it had declared at the beginning of the war: independence and preservation of its borders. Approximately 21–25% of Croatia's economy was ruined, with an estimated US$37 billion in damaged infrastructure, lost output, and refugee-related costs. Over 20,000 people were killed in the war, and refugees were displaced on both sides. The Serb and Croatian governments began to progressively cooperate with each other but tensions remain, in part due to verdicts by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and lawsuits filed by each country against the other.In 2007, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) returned a guilty verdict against Milan Martić, one of the Serb leaders in Croatia, for having colluded with Slobodan Milošević and others to create a "unified Serbian state". Between 2008 and 2012, the ICTY had prosecuted Croatian generals Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markač and Ivan Čermak for alleged involvement in the crimes related to Operation Storm. Čermak was acquitted outright, and the convictions of Gotovina and Markač were later overturned by an ICTY Appeals Panel. The International Court of Justice dismissed mutual claims of genocide by Croatia and Serbia in 2015. The Court reaffirmed that to an extent, crimes against civilians had taken place, but ruled that specific genocidal intent was not present.

Croatian language

Croatian ( (listen); hrvatski [xř̩ʋaːtskiː]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Standard Croatian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. In the mid-18th century, the first attempts to provide a Croatian literary standard began on the basis of the Neo-Shtokavian dialect that served as a supraregional lingua franca pushing back regional Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Shtokavian vernaculars. The decisive role was played by Croatian Vukovians, who cemented the usage of Ijekavian Neo-Shtokavian as the literary standard in the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, in addition to designing a phonological orthography. Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet.Besides the Shtokavian dialect, on which Standard Croatian is based, there are two other main dialects spoken on the territory of Croatia, Chakavian and Kajkavian. These dialects, and the four national standards, are usually subsumed under the term "Serbo-Croatian" in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers, and paraphrases such as "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.

Croats

Croats (; Croatian: Hrvati, pronounced [xr̩ʋăːti]) or Croatians are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group native to Croatia. Croats mainly live in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but are also recognized minorities in such countries as Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Due to political, social and economic reasons, many Croats migrated to North and South America (Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay) as well as Australia and New Zealand, establishing a diaspora in the aftermath of World War II, with grassroots assistance from earlier communities and the Roman Catholic Church.Croats are mostly Roman Catholics. The Croatian language is official in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in the European Union, and is a recognised minority language within Croatian autochthonous communities and minorities in Montenegro, Austria (Burgenland), Italy (Molise), Romania (Carașova, Lupac) and Serbia (Vojvodina).

Dalmatia

Dalmatia (; Croatian: Dalmacija [dǎlmaːtsija]; Italian: Dalmazia; see names in other languages) is one of the four historical regions of Croatia, alongside Croatia proper, Slavonia, and Istria.

Dalmatia is a narrow belt of the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The hinterland (Dalmatian Zagora) ranges in width from fifty kilometres in the north, to just a few kilometres in the south; it is mostly covered by the rugged Dinaric Mountains. Seventy-nine islands (and about 500 islets) run parallel to the coast, the largest (in Dalmatia) being Brač, Pag, and Hvar. The largest city is Split, followed by Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Šibenik.

The name of the region stems from an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae, who lived in the area in classical antiquity. Later it became a Roman province, and as result a Romance culture emerged, along with the now-extinct Dalmatian language, later largely replaced with related Venetian. With the arrival of Croats to the area in the 8th century, who occupied most of the hinterland, Croatian and Romance elements began to intermix in language and culture. During the Middle Ages, its cities were often conquered by, or switched allegiance to, the kingdoms of the region. The longest-lasting rule was the one of the Republic of Venice, which controlled most of Dalmatia between 1420 and 1797, with the exception of the small but stable Republic of Ragusa (1358–1808) in the south. Between 1815 and 1918, it was a province of the Austrian Empire known as the Kingdom of Dalmatia. After the Austro-Hungarian defeat in the First World War, Dalmatia was split between the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes which controlled most of it, and the Kingdom of Italy which held several smaller parts, and after World War II, SFR Yugoslavia took complete control over the area.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik (Croatian: [dǔbroːʋniːk] (listen); historically Latin: Ragusa) is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Its total population is 42,615 (census 2011). In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade; as the capital of the maritime Republic of Ragusa, it achieved a high level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries, as it became notable for its wealth and skilled diplomacy.

In 1991, after the break-up of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was besieged by Serbian and Montenegrin soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) for seven months and suffered significant damage from shelling. After repair and restoration works in the 1990s and early 2000s, Dubrovnik re-emerged as one of the top tourist destinations in the Mediterranean.

GNK Dinamo Zagreb

Građanski nogometni klub Dinamo Zagreb, commonly referred to as GNK Dinamo Zagreb or simply Dinamo Zagreb (pronounced [dinamo ˈzâːɡreb]), is a professional Croatian football club based in Zagreb. The club was founded in 1911 as 1. HŠK Građanski, 1945 changed name to Dinamo Zagreb. They play their home matches at Stadion Maksimir. They are the most successful club in Croatian football, having won 19 Croatian Football League titles, 15 Croatian Football Cups and five Croatian Football Super Cups. The club has spent its entire existence in top flight, having been members of the Yugoslav First League from 1946 to 1991, and then the Croatian First League since its foundation in 1992.

After the Second World War, the new communist regime considered clubs like HŠK Građanski as fascist and nationalistic. As such, they were banned, and, in 1945, NK Dinamo was founded as a club to act as an unofficial successor to HŠK Građanski, getting around the ruling party's disapproval. They entered the Yugoslav First League in its inaugural 1946–47 season, finishing as runners-up. In their second season in Yugoslav top flight in 1947–48 they finished as Yugoslav champions, which was their first major trophy. The club won three more league titles and seven Yugoslav Cups. Amid the breakup of Yugoslavia and formation of the Croatian football league system, Dinamo left the Yugoslav league in 1991. Dinamo are the only Croatian club with European silverware, having won the 1966–67 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup by defeating Leeds United in the final. They also finished runners-up in the same competition in 1963 when they lost to Valencia.

Until the early 1990s, its foundation year was considered to be 1945 but amid political turmoil during the breakup of Yugoslavia the club began claiming direct lineage to pre-WWII clubs Građanski Zagreb and HAŠK. In order to reflect this, in June 1991, it was renamed HAŠK Građanski, which lasted until February 1993 when it was renamed Croatia Zagreb. They won five league titles and participated in the 1998–99 and 1999–2000 UEFA Champions League group stages carrying that name before reverting to "Dinamo Zagreb" in February 2000. Although the subject was dropped for a while, in 2011, club management increasingly began claiming that Dinamo is the direct descendant of Građanski (which had originally been founded in 1911 and disbanded in 1945) and in April that year decided to prepend the adjective "Građanski" to the club's official name, turning it into the present-day GNK Dinamo (Građanski nogometni klub Dinamo or "Citizens' Football Club Dinamo").

The team's traditional colour is royal blue, which has been replaced for European matches in recent times with the darker navy blue. The club's biggest rivals are Hajduk Split, and matches between the two teams are referred to as "Eternal Derby." One of the club's most notable wins came in the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League group stage, which was a 2–1 home victory against English side Arsenal, their first ever Champions League victory since the 1999–2000 season. Another notable match was a 0–0 draw against Manchester United in the 1999–2000 season, who were the European champions at the time, with many fans considering it one of Dinamo's finest performances in the club's history.

Independent State of Croatia

The Independent State of Croatia (Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH; German: Unabhängiger Staat Kroatien; Italian: Stato Indipendente di Croazia) was a World War II fascist puppet state of Germany and Italy. It was established in parts of occupied Yugoslavia on 10 April 1941, after the invasion by the Axis powers. Its territory consisted of most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as some parts of modern-day Serbia and Slovenia, but also excluded many Croat-populated areas in Dalmatia (until late 1943), Istria, and Međimurje regions (which today are part of Croatia).

During its entire existence, the NDH was governed as a one-party state by the fascist Ustaša organization. The Ustaše was led by the Poglavnik, Ante Pavelić. The regime targeted Serbs, Jews and Roma as part of a large-scale campaign of genocide, as well as anti-fascist or dissident Croats and Muslims.Between 1941–45, 22 concentration camps existed inside the territory controlled by the Independent State of Croatia, two of which (Jastrebarsko and Sisak) housed only children and the largest of which was Jasenovac.The state was officially a monarchy after the signing of the Laws of the Crown of Zvonimir on 15 May 1941. Appointed by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta initially refused to assume the crown in opposition to the Italian annexation of the Croat-majority populated region of Dalmatia, annexed as part of the Italian irredentist agenda of creating a Mare Nostrum ("Our Sea"). He later briefly accepted the throne due to pressure from Victor Emmanuel III and was titled Tomislav II of Croatia, but never moved from Italy to reside in Croatia.From the signing of the Treaties of Rome on 18 May 1941 until the Italian capitulation on 8 September 1943, the state was a territorial condominium of Germany and Italy. In its judgement in the Hostages Trial, the Nuremberg Military Tribunal concluded that NDH was not a sovereign state. According to the Tribunal, "Croatia was at all times here involved an occupied country".In 1942, Germany suggested Italy take military control of all of Croatia out of a desire to redirect German troops from Croatia to the Eastern Front. Italy however rejected the offer as it did not believe that it could handle the unstable situation in the Balkans alone. After the ousting of Mussolini and the Kingdom of Italy's armistice with the Allies, the NDH on 10 September 1943 declared that the Treaties of Rome were null and void and annexed the portion of Dalmatia that had been ceded to Italy. The NDH attempted to annex Zara, which had been a recognized territory of Italy since 1919 but long an object of Croatian irredentism, but Germany did not allow it.

Ivan Rakitić

Ivan Rakitić (Croatian pronunciation: [ǐʋan rǎkititɕ]; born 10 March 1988) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a central or attacking midfielder for Spanish club Barcelona and the Croatia national team.

Rakitić started his professional career at Basel and spent two seasons with them before he was signed by Schalke 04. After spending three-and-a-half seasons in the Bundesliga, he was signed by Sevilla in January 2011. Two years later, Rakitić was confirmed as the club captain and captained the team to UEFA Europa League triumph. In June 2014, Barcelona and Sevilla reached an agreement on the transfer of Rakitić. In his first season with Barça, he won the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League. He scored the first goal of the 2015 Champions League Final and became the first player ever to win the Champions League a year after winning the Europa League while playing for two clubs.

At the international level, Rakitić plays for the Croatia national team. Although naturally a product of Switzerland's youth level, Rakitić pledged his international career to his parents' country of Croatia instead. He made his debut for Croatia in 2007 and has since represented the country at UEFA Euro 2008, UEFA Euro 2012, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, winning a runners-up medal in the latter tournament, and earning him 100 caps.

Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and is the captain of the Croatia national team. Modrić plays mainly as a central midfielder but can also play as an attacking midfielder or as a defensive midfielder, usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker. Modrić is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, and the greatest Croatian footballer of all-time. Able to blend traditional and trequartista playmaking effectively, he is known for his vision, precision in execution, and tactical strategy.

Born in Zadar, Modrić's childhood coincided with the Croatian War of Independence which displaced his family. In 2002, he was signed by Dinamo Zagreb at age 16, after showing promise with his hometown club's youth team. He continued his development in Zagreb before spells on loan to Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zaprešić. He made his debut for Dinamo in 2005 and won three consecutive league titles and domestic cups, being named the Prva HNL Player of the Year in 2007. In 2008, he moved to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur for a club-record transfer fee of £16.5 million, where he led Spurs to their first UEFA Champions League appearance in almost 50 years, reaching the quarter-finals of the 2010–11 tournament.

In the summer of 2012, Modrić joined Real Madrid for a £30 million transfer fee, where he became a key contributor under head coach Carlo Ancelotti and helped the team win La Décima, being elected to 2013–14 Champions League squad of the season. After Zinedine Zidane took over Madrid, Modrić was critical to three consecutive Champions League titles from 2015–16 to 2017–18, each time being voted into the squad of the season. He would go on to win the La Liga Award for "Best Midfielder" in 2016 for the second time, and the UEFA Club Football Award for "Best Midfielder" in 2017 and 2018. In 2015, he became the first Croatian player to be included in the FIFA World XI, in which he was included once again between 2016 and 2018, as well in the UEFA Team of the Year between 2016 and 2018. In 2018, Modrić became the first Croatian player to win the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award, and by winning The Best FIFA Men's Player and Ballon d'Or awards, he became the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the awards in more than a decade.

Modrić made his international debut for Croatia against Argentina in March 2006, and scored his first international goal in a friendly match against Italy. Modrić has since anchored Croatia's "second Golden Generation", participating in every major tournament Croatia has qualified for, including the 2008, 2012, and UEFA Euro 2016, as well the 2006, 2014, and 2018 FIFA World Cup. At UEFA Euro 2008, he was selected for the Team of the Tournament, becoming only the second Croatian to ever achieve this honour. Following group stage eliminations in his first two World Cups, Modrić led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup Final, and he received the Golden Ball award for Best Player of the Tournament. Furthermore, he has been named the Croatian Footballer of the Year a record seven times between 2007–2018.

Socialist Republic of Croatia

The Socialist Republic of Croatia (Serbo-Croatian: Socijalistička Republika Hrvatska) was a constituent republic and federated state of Yugoslavia. By its constitution, modern-day Croatia is its direct continuation. Along with five other Yugoslav republics, it was formed during World War II and became a socialist republic after the war. It had four full official names during its 48-year existence (see below). By territory and population, it was the second largest republic in Yugoslavia, after the Socialist Republic of Serbia.

In 1990, the government dismantled the single-party system of government – installed by the Communist Party – and adopted a multi-party democracy. The newly elected government of Franjo Tuđman moved the republic towards independence, formally seceding from Yugoslavia in 1991 and thereby contributing to its dissolution.

Split, Croatia

Split (Croatian pronunciation: [splît] (listen); see other names) is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia, with about 200,000 people living in its urban area. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. An intraregional transport hub and popular tourist destination, the city is linked to the Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula.

Home to Diocletian's Palace, built for the Roman emperor in AD 305, the city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos (Aσπάλαθος) in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. It became a prominent settlement around 650 when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona. After the Sack of Salona by the Avars and Slavs, the fortified Palace of Diocletian was settled by the Roman refugees. Split became a Byzantine city, to later gradually drift into the sphere of the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Croatia, with the Byzantines retaining nominal suzerainty. For much of the High and Late Middle Ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and the King of Hungary for control over the Dalmatian cities.

Venice eventually prevailed and during the early modern period Split remained a Venetian city, a heavily fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. Its hinterland was won from the Ottomans in the Morean War of 1699, and in 1797, as Venice fell to Napoleon, the Treaty of Campo Formio rendered the city to the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg added it to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and in 1806 it was included in the French Empire, becoming part of the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. After being occupied in 1813, it was eventually granted to the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna, where the city remained a part of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia until the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and the formation of Yugoslavia. In World War II, the city was annexed by Italy, then liberated by the Partisans after the Italian capitulation in 1943. It was then re-occupied by Germany, which granted it to its puppet Independent State of Croatia. The city was liberated again by the Partisans in 1944, and was included in the post-war Socialist Yugoslavia, as part of its republic of Croatia. In 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia amid the Croatian War of Independence.

Ustashe

The Ustaša – Croatian Revolutionary Movement (Croatian: Ustaša – Hrvatski revolucionarni pokret), commonly known as Ustaše (pronounced [ûstaʃe], Croatian: Ustaše), was a Croatian fascist, racist, ultranationalist and terrorist organization, active, as one organization, between 1929 and 1945. Its members murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Roma as well as political dissidents in Yugoslavia during World War II.They are variously known in English as the Ustaše, Ustashe, Ustashi, Ustahis, or Ustashas; with the associated adjective sometimes being Ustashe or Ustasha, apart from Ustaše. This variance stems from the fact that Ustaše is the plural form of Ustaša in the Serbo-Croatian language.

The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Roman Catholicism and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span the Drina River and extend to the border of Belgrade. The movement emphasized the need for a racially "pure" Croatia and promoted genocide against Serbs, Jews and Romani people, and persecution of anti-fascist or dissident Croats and Bosniaks. The Ustaše viewed the Bosniaks as "Muslim Croats," and as a result, Bosniaks were not persecuted on the basis of race.Fiercely Roman Catholic, the Ustaše espoused Roman Catholicism and Islam as the religions of the Croats and Bosniaks and condemned Orthodox Christianity, which was the main religion of the Serbs. Roman Catholicism was identified with Croatian nationalism, while Islam, which had a large following in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was praised by the Ustaše as the religion that "keeps true the blood of Croats."When it was founded in 1930, it was a nationalist organization that sought to create an independent Croatian state. When the Ustaše came to power in the NDH, a quasi-protectorate established by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II, its military wings became the Army of the Independent State of Croatia and the Ustaše militia (Croatian: Ustaška vojnica). However the Ustaše never received massive support.The movement functioned as a terrorist organization before World War II but in April 1941, they were appointed to rule a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia as the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which has been described as both an Italian-German quasi-protectorate, and as a puppet state of Nazi Germany.

Yugoslav Wars

The Yugoslav Wars were a series of separate but related ethnic conflicts, wars of independence and insurgencies fought in the former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 2001, which led to the breakup of the Yugoslav state. Its constituent republics declared independence, despite unresolved tensions between ethnic minorities in the new countries, fueling the wars.

Most of the wars ended through peace accords, involving full international recognition of new states, but with a massive human cost and economic damage to the region. Initially the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) sought to preserve the unity of the whole of Yugoslavia by crushing the secessionist governments, but it increasingly came under the influence of the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević, which evoked Serbian nationalist rhetoric and was willing to use the Yugoslav cause to preserve the unity of Serbs in one state. As a result, the JNA began to lose Slovenes, Croats, Kosovar Albanians, Bosniaks, and ethnic Macedonians, and effectively became a Serb army. According to a 1994 United Nations report, the Serb side did not aim to restore Yugoslavia, but to create a "Greater Serbia" from parts of Croatia and Bosnia. Other irredentist movements have also been brought into connection with the wars, such as "Greater Albania" (from Kosovo, though it was abandoned following international diplomacy) and "Greater Croatia" (from parts of Herzegovina, until 1994 when the Washington Agreement ended it).Often described as Europe's deadliest conflicts since World War II, the wars were marked by many war crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and rape. The Bosnian genocide was the first European crime to be formally judged as genocidal in character since World War II, and many key individual participants were subsequently charged with war crimes. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established by the UN to prosecute these crimes.According to the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Yugoslav Wars resulted in the death of 140,000 people. The Humanitarian Law Center estimates that in the conflicts in the former Yugoslav republics at least 130,000 people were killed.

Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia (; Serbo-Croatian: Jugoslavija/Југославија [juɡǒslaːʋija]; Slovene: Jugoslavija [juɡɔˈslàːʋija]; Macedonian: Југославија [juɡɔˈsɫavija]; Pannonian Rusyn: Югославия, transcr. Juhoslavija; literally "Land of Southern Slavs") was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (it was formed from territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire) with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign. The kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929.

Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers on 6 April 1941. In 1943, a Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Partisan resistance. In 1944 King Peter II, then living in exile, recognised it as the legitimate government. The monarchy was subsequently abolished in November 1945. Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established. It acquired the territories of Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar from Italy. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

The six constituent republics that made up the SFRY were the SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Serbia, and SR Slovenia. Serbia contained two Socialist Autonomous Provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, which after 1974 were largely equal to the other members of the federation. After an economic and political crisis in the 1980s and the rise of nationalism, Yugoslavia broke up along its republics' borders, at first into five countries, leading to the Yugoslav Wars. From 1993 to 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia tried political and military leaders from the former Yugoslavia for war crimes, genocide and other crimes.

After the breakup, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro formed a reduced federation, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), which aspired to the status of sole legal successor to the SFRY, but those claims were opposed by the other former republics. Eventually, Serbia and Montenegro accepted the opinion of the Badinter Arbitration Committee about shared succession. In 2003 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed to State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The union peacefully broke up when Serbia and Montenegro became independent states in 2006, while Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008.

Zagreb

Zagreb ( ZAH-greb, Croatian pronunciation: [zǎːɡreb] (listen)) is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. It is located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately 122 m (400 ft) above sea level.

The estimated population of the city in 2018 is 810,003. The population of the Zagreb urban agglomeration is about 1.2 million, approximately a quarter of the total population of Croatia.

Zagreb is a city with a rich history dating from the Roman times to the present day. The oldest settlement located in the vicinity of the city was the Roman Andautonia, in today's Ščitarjevo. The name "Zagreb" is recorded in 1134, in reference to the foundation of the settlement at Kaptol in 1094. Zagreb became a free royal town in 1242. In 1851 Zagreb had its first mayor, Janko Kamauf.

Zagreb has special status as a Croatian administrative division and is a consolidated city-county (but separated from Zagreb County), and is administratively subdivided into 17 city districts. Most of them are at a low elevation along the river Sava valley, whereas northern and northeastern city districts, such as Podsljeme and Sesvete districts are situated in the foothills of the Medvednica mountain, making the city's geographical image rather diverse. The city extends over 30 kilometres (19 miles) east-west and around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north-south.The transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific, and research institutions and industrial tradition underlie its leading economic position in Croatia. Zagreb is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies, and almost all government ministries. Almost all of the largest Croatian companies, media, and scientific institutions have their headquarters in the city. Zagreb is the most important transport hub in Croatia where Central Europe, the Mediterranean and Southeast Europe meet, making the Zagreb area the centre of the road, rail and air networks of Croatia. It is a city known for its diverse economy, high quality of living, museums, sporting, and entertainment events. Its main branches of economy are high-tech industries and the service sector.

Medals won by Croatia at the Olympics[292]
Olympic Games Olympic medals
Gold Silver Bronze Total per OG
France 1992 Albertville 0 0 0 0
Spain 1992 Barcelona 0 1 2 3
Norway 1994 Lillehammer 0 0 0 0
United States 1996 Atlanta 1 1 0 2
Japan 1998 Nagano 0 0 0 0
Australia 2000 Sydney 1 0 1 2
United States 2002 Salt Lake City 3 1 0 4
Greece 2004 Athens 1 2 2 5
Italy 2006 Turin 1 2 0 3
China 2008 Beijing 0 2 3 5
Canada 2010 Vancouver 0 2 1 3
United Kingdom 2012 London 3 1 2 6
Russia 2014 Sochi 0 1 0 1
Brazil 2016 Rio de Janeiro 5 3 2 10
TOTAL: 15 16 13
Croatia articles
History
Geography
Politics
Economy
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Cities and towns of Croatia by population
100,000+
35,000+
10,000+
National parks
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