Dalmatia

Dalmatia (/dælˈmeɪʃə, -tiə/; Croatian: Dalmacija [dǎlmaːtsija]; Italian: Dalmazia; see names in other languages) is one of the four historical regions of Croatia,[3] 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.

Dalmatia

Dalmacija
Flag of Dalmatia
Flag
Coat of arms of Dalmatia
Coat of arms
*   Dalmatia proper * Sometimes regarded as Dalmatia: *  (striped) Gračac Municipality *  Kotor Bay area in Montenegro *  Rab island and surroundings
Country Croatia
Largest citySplit
Area
 • Total12,158 km2 (4,694 sq mi)
Population
(2011)2
 • Total852,068
 • Density70/km2 (180/sq mi)
^ Dalmatia is not an official subdivision of the Republic of Croatia; it constitutes a historical region only.
^ The figures are an approximation based on statistical data for the four southernmost Croatian Counties (Zadar without Gračac, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia, Dubrovnik-Neretva).[1][2]

Name

The name Dalmatia derives from the name of the Dalmatae tribe, which is connected with the Illyrian word delme meaning "sheep" (Albanian: delme).[4] Its Latin form Dalmatia gave rise to its current English name. In the Venetian language, once dominant in the area, it is spelled Dalmàssia, and in modern Italian Dalmazia. The modern Croatian spelling is Dalmacija, pronounced [dǎlmaːt͡sija].

Dalmatia is referenced in the New Testament at 2 Timothy 4:10 so its name has been translated in many of the world's languages.

Definition

In antiquity the Roman province of Dalmatia was much larger than the present-day Split-Dalmatia County, stretching from Istria in the north to modern-day Albania in the south.[5] Dalmatia signified not only a geographical unit, but was an entity based on common culture and settlement types, a common narrow eastern Adriatic coastal belt, Mediterranean climate, sclerophyllous vegetation of the Illyrian province, Adriatic carbonate platform, and karst geomorphology.

Modern area

Dalmatia is today a historical region only, not formally instituted in Croatian law. Its exact extent is therefore uncertain and subject to public perception. According to Lena Mirošević and Josip Faričić of the University of Zadar:[6]

Dalmatia (Kingdom)
The extent of the Kingdom of Dalmatia (blue) which existed within Austria-Hungary until 1918, on a map of modern-day Croatia and Montenegro.

…the modern perception of Dalmatia is mainly based on the territorial extent of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia, with the exception of Rab island, which is geographically related to the Kvarner area and functionally to the LittoralGorski Kotar area, and with the exception of the Bay of Kotor, which was annexed to another state (Montenegro) after World War I. Simultaneously, the southern part of Lika and upper Pounje, which were not a part of Austrian Dalmatia, became a part of Zadar County. From the present-day administrative and territorial point of view, Dalmatia comprises the four Croatian littoral counties with seats in Zadar, Šibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik.

"Dalmatia" is therefore generally perceived to extend approximately to the borders of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia. However, due to territorial and administrative changes over the past century, the perception can be seen to have altered somewhat with regard to certain areas, and sources conflict as to their being part of the region in modern times:

  • The Bay of Kotor area in Montenegro. With the subdivision of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia into oblasts in 1922, the whole of the Bay of Kotor from Sutorina to Sutomore was granted to the Zeta Oblast, so that the border of Dalmatia was formed at that point by the southern border of the former Republic of Ragusa.[7] The Encyclopædia Britannica defines Dalmatia as extending "to the narrows of Kotor" (i.e. the southernmost tip of continental Croatia, the Prevlaka peninsula).[8] Other sources, however, such as the Treccani encyclopedia and the "Rough Guide to Croatia" still include the Bay as being part of the region.[9][10]
  • The island of Rab, along with the small islands of Sveti Grgur and Goli, were a part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia and are historically and culturally related to the region, but are today associated more with the Croatian Littoral, due to geographical vicinity and administrative expediency.
  • Gračac Municipality and northern Pag. A number of sources express the view that "from the modern-day administrative point of view", the extent of Dalmatia equates to the four southernmost counties of Croatia: Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia, and Dubrovnik-Neretva.[6][11][12][13][14][15] This definition does not include the Bay of Kotor, nor the islands of Rab, Sveti Grgur, and Goli. It also excludes the northern part of the island of Pag, which is part of the Lika-Senj County. However, it includes the Gračac Municipality in Zadar County, which was not a part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia and is not traditionally associated with the region (but instead the region of Lika).

Culture and ethnicity

The inhabitants of Dalmatia are culturally subdivided into two groups. The urban families of the coastal cities, sometimes known as Fetivi,[16] are culturally akin to the inhabitants of the Dalmatian islands (known derogatorily as Boduli). The two are together distinct, in the Mediterranean aspects of their culture, from the more numerous inhabitants of the Zagora, the hinterland, referred to (sometimes derogatorily) as the Vlaji or Vlachs.[16] The latter are historically more influenced by Ottoman culture, merging almost seamlessly at the border with the Herzegovinian Croats and southern Bosnia and Herzegovina in general. A large part of the agricultural population of present-day Dalmatia is descendent from Vlachs or Morlachs.[17]

The former two groups (inhabitants of the islands and the cities) historically included many Venetian and Italian speakers, many of whom identified as Italians (esp. after the Unification of Italy). Their presence, relative to those identifying as Croats, decreased dramatically over the course of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. The Italian speakers constituted (according to the Italian linguist Bartoli) nearly one third of Dalmatians in the second half of the 18th century.[18] According to the Austrian census it had decreased to 12.5% in 1865 and 3.1% in 1890.[19] There remains, however, a strong cultural, and, in part, ancestral heritage among the natives of the cities and islands, who today almost exclusively identify as Croats, but retain a sense of regional identity.

Geography and climate

Split center from the air 1
The ancient core of the city of Split, the largest city in Dalmatia, built in and around the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian.
Rocky beach at Brač island, in the Adriatic Sea within Croatia
Rocky beach at Brač island (Croatia), in the Adriatic Sea, during the summer
Dubrovnik crop
The historic core of the city of Dubrovnik, in southern Dalmatia.

Most of the area is covered by Dinaric Alps mountain ranges running from north-west to south-east. On the coasts the climate is Mediterranean, while further inland it is moderate Mediterranean. In the mountains, winters are frosty and snowy, while summers are hot and dry. To the south winters are milder. Over the centuries many forests have been cut down and replaced with bush and brush. There is evergreen vegetation on the coast. The soils are generally poor, except on the plains where areas with natural grass, fertile soils and warm summers provide an opportunity for tillage. Elsewhere, land cultivation is mostly unsuccessful because of the mountains, hot summers and poor soils, although olives and grapes flourish. Energy resources are scarce. Electricity is mainly produced by hydropower stations. There is a considerable amount of bauxite.

The largest Dalmatian mountains are Dinara, Mosor, Svilaja, Biokovo, Moseć, Veliki Kozjak and Mali Kozjak. The regional geographical unit of historical Dalmatia—the coastal region between Istria and the Gulf of Kotor—includes the Orjen mountains with the highest peak in Montenegro, 1894 m. In present-day Dalmatia, the highest peak is Dinara (1913 m), which is not a coastal mountain, while the highest coastal Dinaric mountains are on Biokovo (Sv. Jure, 1762 m) and Velebit (Vaganski vrh, 1757 m),[20] although the Vaganski vrh itself is located in Lika-Senj County.[21]

The largest Dalmatian islands are Brač, Korčula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Vis, Hvar, Pag and Pašman. The major rivers are Zrmanja, Krka, Cetina and Neretva.

The Adriatic Sea's high water quality,[22] along with the immense number of coves, islands and channels, makes Dalmatia an attractive place for nautical races, nautical tourism, and tourism in general. Dalmatia also includes several national parks that are tourist attractions: Paklenica karst river, Kornati archipelago, Krka river rapids and Mljet island.

Administrative division

The area of Dalmatia roughly corresponds to Croatia's four southernmost counties, listed here north to south:[1]

County County seat Area (km2) Population (2011 census)
Zadar County Zadar 3,642 170,017
Šibenik-Knin County Šibenik 2,939 109,375
Split-Dalmatia County Split 4,534 454,798
Dubrovnik-Neretva County Dubrovnik 1,783 122,568
Total 12,898 857,743

Other large Dalmatian cities include Biograd, Kaštela, Sinj, Solin, Omiš, Knin, Metković, Makarska, Trogir, Ploče and Imotski.

History

Antiquity

REmpire Dalmatia
Province of Dalmatia during the Roman Empire.
Marcellinus Dalmatia
Independent Dalmatia - Extent of Marcellinus' Control (454-468) and Julius Nepos' Control (468-480).

Dalmatia's name is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae who lived in the area of the eastern Adriatic coast in the 1st millennium BC. It was part of the Illyrian Kingdom between the 4th century BC and the Illyrian Wars (220, 168 BC) when the Roman Republic established its protectorate south of the river Neretva. The name "Dalmatia" was in use probably from the second half of the 2nd century BC and certainly from the first half of the 1st century BC, defining a coastal area of the eastern Adriatic between the Krka and Neretva rivers.[23] It was slowly incorporated into Roman possessions until the Roman province of Illyricum was formally established around 32–27 BC. In 9 AD the Dalmatians raised the last in a series of revolts[24] together with the Pannonians, but it was finally crushed, and in 10 AD, Illyricum was split into two provinces, Pannonia and Dalmatia which spread into larger area inland to cover all of the Dinaric Alps and most of the eastern Adriatic coast.[25]

The historian Theodore Mommsen wrote in his book, The Provinces of the Roman Empire, that all Dalmatia was fully romanized by the 4th century AD. However, analysis of archaeological material from that period has shown that the process of romanization was rather selective. While urban centers, both coastal and inland, were almost completely romanized, the situation in the countryside was completely different. Despite the Illyrians being subject to a strong process of acculturation, they continued to speak their native language, worship their own gods and traditions, and follow their own social-political tribal organization which was adapted to Roman administration and political structure only in some necessities.[26]

The collapse of the Western Roman Empire, with the beginning of the Migration Period, left the region subject to Gothic rulers, Odoacer and Theodoric the Great. They ruled Dalmatia from 480 to 535 AD, when it was restored to the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire by Justinian I.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages in Dalmatia were a period of intense rivalry among neighboring powers: the waning Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Croatia (later in a personal union with Hungary), the Bosnian Kingdom, and the Venetian Republic. Dalmatia at the time consisted of the coastal cities functioning much like city-states, with extensive autonomy, but in mutual conflict and without control of the rural hinterland (the Zagora). Ethnically, Dalmatia started out as a Roman region, with a romance culture that began to develop independently, forming the now-extinct Dalmatian language.

Dalmatian principalities, 9th century
9th century.

In the Early Medieval period, Byzantine Dalmatia was ravaged by an Avar invasion that destroyed its capital, Salona, in 639 AD, an event that allowed for the settlement of the nearby Diocletian's Palace in Spalatum (Split) by Salonitans, greatly increasing the importance of the city. The Avars were followed by the great South Slavic migrations.[27]

The Slavs, loosely allied with the Avars, permanently settled the region in the first half of the 7th century AD and remained its predominant ethnic group ever since. The Croats soon formed their own realm: the Principality of Dalmatian Croatia ruled by native Princes of Guduscan origin. The meaning of the geographical term "Dalmatia" now shrank to the coastal cities and their immediate hinterland. These cities were the romance-speaking Dalmatian city-states and remained influential as they were well fortified and maintained their connection with the Byzantine Empire. The original name of the cities was Jadera, Spalatum, Crespa, Arba, Tragurium, Vecla, Ragusium and Cattarum. The language and the laws were initially Latin, but after a few centuries they developed their own neo-Latin language (the "Dalmatico"), that lasted until the 19th century. The cities were maritime centres with a huge commerce mainly with the Italian peninsula and with the growing Republic of Venice. The two communities were somewhat hostile at first, but as the Croats became Christianized this tension increasingly subsided. A degree of cultural mingling soon took place, in some enclaves stronger, in others weaker, as Slavic influence and culture was more accentuated in Ragusa, Spalatum, and Tragurium.

In about 925 AD, Duke Tomislav was crowned, establishing the Kingdom of Croatia, and extending his influence further southwards to Zachlumia. As an ally of the Byzantine Empire, the King was given the status of Protector of Dalmatia, and became its de facto ruler.

SPLIT-Adam S front view
An engraving of the seaward walls of the city of Split by Robert Adam, 1764. The walls were originally built for the Roman Diocletian's Palace.

In the High Medieval period, the Byzantine Empire was no longer able to maintain its power consistently in Dalmatia, and was finally rendered impotent so far west by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Venetian Republic, on the other hand, was in the ascendant, while the Kingdom of Croatia became increasingly influenced by Hungary to the north, being absorbed into it via personal union in 1102. Thus, these two factions became involved in a struggle in this area, intermittently controlling it as the balance shifted. During the reign of King Emeric, the Dalmatian cities separated from Hungary by a treaty.[28] A consistent period of Hungarian rule in Dalmatia was ended with the Mongol invasion of Hungary in 1241. The Mongols severely impaired the feudal state, so much so that that same year, King Béla IV had to take refuge in Dalmatia, as far south as the Klis fortress. The Mongols attacked the Dalmatian cities for the next few years but eventually withdrew without major success.

In the south, due to its protected location, Kotor became a major city for the salt trade. The area flourished during the 14th century under the rule of Serbian emperor Dušan the Mighty, who was notorious for his aggressive law enforcement, and made the Bay of Kotor a particularly safe place for doing business.[29] In 1389 Tvrtko I, the founder of the Bosnian Kingdom, was able to control the Adriatic littoral between Kotor and Šibenik, and even claimed control over the northern coast up to Rijeka, and his own independent ally, Dubrovnik (Ragusa). This was only temporary, as Hungary and the Venetians continued their struggle over Dalmatia after Tvrtko's death in 1391. By this time, the whole Hungarian and Croatian Kingdom was facing increasing internal difficulties, as a 20-year civil war ensued between the Capetian House of Anjou from the Kingdom of Naples, and King Sigismund of the House of Luxembourg. During the war, the losing contender, Ladislaus of Naples, sold his "rights" on Dalmatia to the Venetian Republic for a mere 100,000 ducats. The much more centralized Republic came to control all of Dalmatia by the year 1420, it was to remain under Venetian rule for 377 years (1420–1797).[30]

Early modern period (1420–1815)

Map of Ragusa
Map of the Republic of Ragusa, dated 1678.

From 1420 to 1797 the Republic of Venice controlled most of Dalmatia, calling it Esclavonia in the 15th century[31] with the southern enclave, the Bay of Kotor, being called Albania Veneta. Venetian was the commercial lingua franca in the Mediterranean at that time, and it heavily influenced Dalmatian and to a lesser degree coastal Croatian and Albanian.

The southern city of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) became de facto independent in 1358 through the Treaty of Zadar when Venice relinquished its suzerainty over it to Louis I of Hungary. In 1481, Ragusa switched allegiance to the Ottoman Empire. This gave its tradesmen advantages such as access to the Black Sea, and the Republic of Ragusa was the fiercest competitor to Venice's merchants in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Bosnia Eyalet, Central europe 1683
Ottoman Bosnia at its peak territorial extent just before the Morean War in 1684.

The Republic of Venice was also one of the powers most hostile to the Ottoman Empire's expansion, and participated in many wars against it. As the Ottomans took control of the hinterland, many Christians took refuge in the coastal cities of Dalmatia. The border between the Dalmatian hinterland and the Ottoman Bosnia and Herzegovina greatly fluctuated until the Morean War, when the Venetian capture of Knin and Sinj set much of the borderline at its current position.[32]

Republic of Venice 1796
Dalmatian possessions of the Republic of Venice in 1797

After the Great Turkish War and the Peace of Passarowitz, more peaceful times made Dalmatia experience a period of certain economic and cultural growth in the 18th century, with the re-establishment of trade and exchange with the hinterland. This period was abruptly interrupted with the fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797. Napoleon's troops stormed the region and ended the independence of the Republic of Ragusa as well, saving it from occupation by the Russian Empire and Montenegro.

In 1805, Napoleon created his Kingdom of Italy around the Adriatic Sea, annexing to it the former Venetian Dalmatia from Istria to Kotor. In 1808 he annexed to this Italian Kingdom the just conquered Republic of Ragusa. A year later in 1809 he removed the Venetian Dalmatia from his Kingdom of Italy and created the Illyrian Provinces, which were annexed to France, and created his marshal Nicolas Soult Duke of Dalmatia.

Napoleon's rule in Dalmatia was marked with war and high taxation, which caused several rebellions. On the other hand, French rule greatly contributed to Croatian national awakening (the first newspaper in Croatian was published then in Zadar, the Il Regio Dalmata – Kraglski Dalmatin), the legal system and infrastructure were finally modernized somewhat in Dalmatia, and the educational system flourished. French rule brought a lot of improvements in infrastructure; many roads were built or reconstructed. Napoleon himself blamed Marshal Auguste Marmont, the governor of Dalmatia, that too much money was spent. However, in 1813, the Habsburgs once again declared war on France and, by the following year, had restored control over Dalmatia.

Nineteenth century

At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Dalmatia was granted as a province to the Emperor of Austria. It was officially known as the Kingdom of Dalmatia.

Dalmatia 1852
Map of Dalmatia, Croatia, and Sclavonia (Slavonia). Engraved by Weller for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge under the Supervision of Charles Knight, dated January 1, 1852. Dalmatia is the area detailed in the smaller map annexed map on the right.

In 1848, the Croatian Assembly (Sabor) published the People's Requests, in which they requested among other things the abolition of serfdom and the unification of Dalmatia and Croatia. The Dubrovnik Municipality was the most outspoken of all the Dalmatian communes in its support for unification with Croatia. A letter was sent from Dubrovnik to Zagreb with pledges to work for this idea. In 1849, Dubrovnik continued to lead the Dalmatian cities in the struggle for unification. A large-scale campaign was launched in the Dubrovnik paper L'Avvenire (The Future) based on a clearly formulated programme: the federal system for the Habsburg territories, the inclusion of Dalmatia into Croatia and the Slavic brotherhood. The president of the council of Kingdom of Dalmatia was the politician Baron Vlaho Getaldić.

In the same year, the first issue of the Dubrovnik almanac appeared, Flower of the National Literature (Dubrovnik, cvijet narodnog književstva), in which Petar Preradović published his noted poem "To Dubrovnik". This and other literary and journalistic texts, which continued to be published, contributed to the awakening of the national consciousness reflected in efforts to introduce the Croatian language into schools and offices, and to promote Croatian books. The Emperor Franz Joseph brought the so-called Imposed Constitution which prohibited the unification of Dalmatia and Croatia and also any further political activity with this end in view. The political struggle of Dubrovnik to be united with Croatia, which was intense throughout 1848–49, did not succeed at that time.

In 1861 was the meeting of the first Dalmatian Assembly, with representatives from Dubrovnik. Representatives of Kotor came to Dubrovnik to join the struggle for unification with Croatia. The citizens of Dubrovnik gave them a festive welcome, flying Croatian flags from the ramparts and exhibiting the slogan: Ragusa with Kotor. The Kotorans elected a delegation to go to Vienna; Dubrovnik nominated Niko Pucić, who went to Vienna to demand not only the unification of Dalmatia with Croatia, but also the unification of all Croatian territories under one common Assembly.

Twentieth century

In 1905 a dispute arose in the Austrian Reichsrat over whether Austria should pay for Dalmatia. It has been argued that in the conclusion of the so-called "April Laws" is written "given by Banus Count Keglevich of Buzin", which explained the historical affiliation of Dalmatia to Hungary.[33] Two years later Dalmatia elected representatives to the Austrian Reichsrat.

Dalmatia was a strategic region during World War I that both Italy and Serbia intended to seize from Austria-Hungary. Italy joined the Triple Entente Allies in 1915 upon agreeing to the London Pact that guaranteed Italy the right to annex a large portion of Dalmatia in exchange for Italy's participation on the Allied side. From 5–6 November 1918, Italian forces were reported to have reached Lissa, Lagosta, Sebenico, and other localities on the Dalmatian coast.[34] By the end of hostilities in November 1918, the Italian military had seized control of the entire portion of Dalmatia that had been guaranteed to Italy by the London Pact and by 17 November had seized Rijeka as well.[35] In 1918, Admiral Enrico Millo declared himself Italy's Governor of Dalmatia.[35] Famous Italian nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio supported the seizure of Dalmatia, and proceeded to Zadar in an Italian warship in December 1918.[36] However, in spite of the guarantees of the London Pact to Italy of a large portion of Dalmatia and Italian military occupation of claimed territories of Dalmatia, during the peace settlement negotiations of 1919 to 1920 the Fourteen Points of Woodrow Wilson that advocated self-determination of nations took precedence, with Italy only being permitted to annex Zadar from Dalmatia, while the rest of Dalmatia was to be part of Yugoslavia.

At the end of the First World War, the Austrian Empire disintegrated, and Dalmatia was again split between the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) which controlled most of it, and the Kingdom of Italy which held small portions of northern Dalmatia around Zadar and the islands of Cres, Lošinj and Lastovo. Italy entered the First World War in a territorial gamble, mostly to gain Dalmatia. But Italy got only a small part of its pretensions, so Dalmatia mostly stayed Yugoslav until Benito Mussolini invaded Yugoslavia in 1941 and occupied the region.

In 1922, the territory of the former Kingdom of Dalmatia was divided into two provinces, the District of Split (Splitska oblast), with its capital in Split, and the District of Dubrovnik (Dubrovačka oblast), with its capital in Dubrovnik. In 1929, the Littoral Banovina (Primorska Banovina), a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was formed. Its capital was Split, and it included most of Dalmatia and parts of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. The southern parts of Dalmatia were in Zeta Banovina, from the Gulf of Kotor to Pelješac peninsula including Dubrovnik. In 1939, Littoral Banovina was joined with Sava Banovina (and with smaller parts of other banovinas) to form a new province named the Banovina of Croatia. The same year, the ethnic Croatian areas of the Zeta Banovina from the Gulf of Kotor to Pelješac, including Dubrovnik, were merged with a new Banovina of Croatia.

During World War II, in 1941, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria occupied Yugoslavia, redrawing their borders to include former parts of the Yugoslavian state. A new Nazi puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), was created, and Fascist Italy was given some parts of the Dalmatian coast, notably around Zadar and Split, as well as many of the area's islands. The remaining parts of Dalmatia became part of the NDH. Many Croats moved from the Italian-occupied area and took refuge in the satellite state of Croatia, which became the battleground for a guerrilla war between the Axis and the Yugoslav Partisans. Following the surrender of Italy in 1943, most of Italian-controlled Dalmatia was taken over by German forces and reverted to control under the puppet Independent State of Croatia. Zadar was razed by the Allies during World War II, starting the exodus of its Italian population. After WWII, Dalmatia became part of the People's Republic of Croatia, part of the SFR Yugoslavia (then called the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia).

The territory of former Kingdom of Dalmatia was divided between two federal Republics of Yugoslavia and most of the territory went to Croatia, leaving only the Bay of Kotor to Montenegro. When Yugoslavia dissolved in 1991, those borders were retained and remain in force. During the Croatian war of Independence, most of Dalmatia was a battleground between the Croatian government and local Serb rebels, with much of the region being placed under the control of Serbs. Croatia did regain southern parts of these territories in 1992 but did not regain all of the territory until 1995.

Cities by population

Split (178,102)
Zadar (75,082)
Šibenik (46,332)
Dubrovnik (42,615)

Gallery

Dubrovnik - Croatia

Medieval fortresses Lovrijenac & Bokar, in Dubrovnik.

Narodni Trg (Pjaca)

The Pjaca city square in Split.

Sibenik 2003

Panoramic view of Šibenik.

Cathedral of St. James, Sibenik1 (js)

Šibenik's Cathedral.

Zadar

Panoramic view of Zadar.

Zadar Forum

The ancient Roman forum in Zadar.

Krapanj cafe

Summer on a Krapanj street.

Bol Brac

Panoramic view of Bol.

Korchula tower

Amid the streets of Korčula.

Cavtat Croatia 2008-10-07

Panoramic view of Cavtat.

Ston 10

Old church in Ston.

Hidden Beach (15093910956)

Hidden beach in southern Dalmatia.

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Population by Age and Sex, by Settlements, 2011 Census: County of Zadar". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
  3. ^ Frucht, Richard C. (2004). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. 1 (illustrated ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 413. ISBN 1576078000. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  4. ^ Wilkes, John (1995). The Illyrians. The Peoples of Europe. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 244. ISBN 0-631-19807-5.
  5. ^ Robert Stallaerts (22 December 2009). Historical Dictionary of Croatia. Scarecrow Press. pp. 89–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7363-6.
  6. ^ a b Mirošević, Lena; Faričić, Josip (2011). Perception of Dalmatia in Selected Foreign Lexicographic Publications. XVI. Geoadria. p. 124.; Department of Geography, University of Zadar.
  7. ^ Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Anali Zavoda za Povijesne Znanosti Hrvatske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti u Dubrovniku, p.405, Volume 38
  8. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Dalmatia
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  10. ^ "Dalmatia on Enciclopedia Treccani".
  11. ^ James, Ryan; Mastrini, Hana; Baker, Mark; Torme Olson, Karen; Charlton, Angela; Bain, Keith; de Bruyn, Pippa (2009). Frommer's Eastern Europe. John Wiley & Sons. p. 120. ISBN 0470473347.
  12. ^ Turnock, David (2003). The Human Geography of East Central Europe. Routledge. p. 318. ISBN 1134828004.
  13. ^ Heenan, Patrick; Lamontagne, Monique (1999). The Central and Eastern Europe Handbook. Taylor & Francis. p. 168. ISBN 1579580890.
  14. ^ "Gorilo u nekoliko dalmatinskih županija" [Fire in several Dalmatian counties]. Nacional (in Croatian). Zagreb. 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  15. ^ "Za 29 dalmatinskih malih kapitalnih projekata 14.389.000 kuna" [14,389,000 kuna for 29 Dalmatian capital projects]. Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (in Croatian). Republic of Croatia: Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  16. ^ a b Bousfield, Jonathan (2003). The Rough Guide to Croatia. Rough Guides. p. 293. ISBN 1843530848.
  17. ^ Stanko Guldescu, The Croatian-Slavonian Kingdom: 1526-1792, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 1970, p.70, ISBN 9783110881622
  18. ^ Seton-Watson, "Italy from Liberalism to Fascism, 1870-1925". p. 107
  19. ^ Perselli, Guerrino. I censimenti della popolazione dell'Istria, con Fiume e Trieste, e di alcune città della Dalmazia tra il 1850 ed il 1936
  20. ^ Ostroški, Ljiljana, ed. (December 2015). "Geographical and Meteorological Data". Statistički ljetopis Republike Hrvatske 2015 [Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Croatia 2015] (PDF). Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Croatia (in Croatian and English). 47. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. p. 48. ISSN 1333-3305. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Vaganski vrh" [Vaganski peak] (in Croatian). Croatian Mountaineering Association. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Cyprus and Croatia top EU rankings for bathing water quality". European Commission. July 28, 2011. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  23. ^ S.Čače, Ime Dalmacije u 2. i 1. st. prije Krista, Radovi Filozofskog fakulteta u Zadru, godište 40 za 2001. Zadar, 2003, pp. 29, 45.
  24. ^ Charles George Herbermann, The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference (1913)
  25. ^ M.Zaninović, Ilirsko pleme Delmati, pp. 58, 83-84.
  26. ^ A. Stipčević, Iliri, Školska knjiga Zagreb, 1974, p. 70
  27. ^ Curta Florin. Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 2006; ISBN 978-0-521-81539-0 ([1])
  28. ^ cit: Hunc iste, postquam Dalmatae pacto hoc a Hungaria separati se non tulissent, revocatum contra Emericum armis vindicavit, ac Chelmensi Ducatu, ad mare sito, parteque Macedoniae auxit. AD 1199. Luc. lib. IV. cap. III. Diplomata Belae IV. AD 1269.
  29. ^ Rick Steves Snapshot Dubrovnik by Rick Steves and Cameron Hewitt
  30. ^ Yugoslavia - Carol Greene - Google Livres. Books.google.fr. 1984. ISBN 9780516027913. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  31. ^ "Esclavonia, formerly called Dalmatia", according to the Spanish traveler Pedro Tafur, who sailed down the coast in 1436 (Pedro Tafur, Andanças e viajes).
  32. ^ Nazor, Ante (February 2002). "Inhabitants of Poljica in the War of Morea (1684-1699)" (in Croatian). 21 (21). Croatian Institute of History. ISSN 0351-9767. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  33. ^ Stenographische Protokolle über die Sitzungen des Hauses der Abgeordneten des österreichischen Reichsrates, Ausgaben 318-329, Seite 29187, Austria, Reichsrat, Abgeordnetenhaus, published 1905.
  34. ^ Giuseppe Praga, Franco Luxardo. History of Dalmatia. Giardini, 1993. Pp. 281.
  35. ^ a b Paul O'Brien. Mussolini in the First World War: the Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist. Oxford, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Berg, 2005. Pp. 17.
  36. ^ A. Rossi. The Rise of Italian Fascism: 1918-1922. New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2010. Pp. 47.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of Dalmatia at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Dalmatia at Wikimedia Commons
  • Dalmatia travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Dalmacija.hr - Official website of Split-Dalmatian County (in Croatian)
  • Dalmatia.hr - Official website of Croatian Tourism Board for Dalmatia
Ban of Croatia

Ban of Croatia (Croatian: Hrvatski ban, Hungarian: horvát bán) was the title of local rulers or office holders and after 1102, viceroys of Croatia. From earliest periods of Croatian state, some provinces were ruled by bans as a ruler's representative (viceroy) and supreme military commander. In the 18th century, Croatian bans eventually became chief government officials in Croatia. They were at the head of Ban's Government, effectively the first prime ministers of Croatia. The institution of ban in Croatia persisted until the 20th century.

Bol, Croatia

Bol is a town on the south of the island of Brač in the Split-Dalmatia County of Croatia, population 1,630 (2011).

Bol (its name is derived from the Latin word "vallum") is renowned for its most popular beach, the Zlatni Rat ("Golden cape"). It is a promontory composed mostly of pebble rock that visibly shifts with the tidal movement. The Adriatic Sea water at Zlatni Rat is clear and somewhat cold, due to the strong current of the strait it is situated in. There is a beach on either side of the horn. Bol itself is a popular tourist destination, known for its harbourside bars and restaurants, and wind surfing conditions.

The Dominican church in Bol contains a number of paintings by Tripo Kokolja.

Dalmatia (Roman province)

Dalmatia was a Roman province. Its name is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae, which lived in the central area of the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It encompassed the northern part of present-day Albania, much of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia, thus covering an area significantly larger than the current Croatian region of Dalmatia. Originally this region was called Illyria (in Greek) or Illyricum (in Latin).

The province of Illyricum was dissolved and replaced by two separate provinces: Dalmatia and Pannonia.

Dalmatian Italians

Dalmatian Italians are the historical Italian national minority living in the region of Dalmatia, now part of Croatia and Montenegro. Since the middle of the 19th century, the community, counting according to some sources nearly 20% of all Dalmatian population in 1840, suffered from a constant trend of decreasing presence and now numbers only around 1,000–4,000 people. Throughout history, though small in numbers in the last two centuries, it exerted a vast and significant influence on the region.

They are currently represented in Croatia and Montenegro by the Italian National Community (Italian: Comunità Nazionale Italiana) (CNI). The Italo-Croatian minorities treaty recognizes the Italian Union (Unione Italiana) as the political party officially representing the CNI in Croatia. The Italian Union represents the 30,000 ethnic Italians of former Yugoslavia, living mainly in Istria and in the city of Rijeka. Following the positive trend observed during the last decade (i.e., after the dissolution of Yugoslavia), the number of Dalmatian Italians in Croatia adhering to the CNI has risen to around one thousand. In Dalmatia the main operating centers of the CNI are in Split, Zadar, and Kotor.

Eparchy of Dalmatia

The Eparchy of Dalmatia (Serbian: Далматинска епархија or Dalmatinska eparhija) is a diocese or eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church, having jurisdiction over the region of Dalmatia, in Croatia. Since 2017, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Dalmatia is Nikodim Kosović.

History of Dalmatia

The History of Dalmatia concerns the history of the area that covers eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea and its inland regions, from the 2nd century BC up to the present day.

The earliest mention of Dalmatia as a province came after its establishment as part of the Roman Empire. Dalmatia was ravaged by barbaric tribes in the beginning of the 4th century. Slavs settled in the area in the 6th century, the White Croats settled Dalmatia the following century. In 1527 the Kingdom of Croatia became a Habsburg crown land, in 1812 the Kingdom of Dalmatia is formed. In 1918, Dalmatia was a part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War II, Dalmatia became part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in SR Croatia.

Italian irredentism

Italian irredentism (Italian: irredentismo italiano) was a nationalist movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Italy with irredentist goals which promoted the unification of geographic areas in which indigenous ethnic Italians and Italian-speaking persons formed a majority, or substantial minority, of the population.

Originally, the movement promoted the annexation to Italy of territories inhabited by an Italian indigenous population, but retained by the Austrian Empire after Third Italian War of Independence in 1866.

During the period of Risorgimento in 1860 to 1861, Prime Minister of Piedmont-Sardinia, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour who was leading the Risorgimento effort, faced the view of French Emperor Napoleon III who indicated that France would support militarily the Italian unification provided that France was given Nice and Savoy that were held by Piedmont-Sardinia, as France did not want a powerful state having control of the passages of the Alps. As a result, Piedmont-Sardinia was pressured to cede Nice and Savoy to France in exchange for France accepting and sending troops to help the unification of Italy. These included Trentino and Trieste, but also multilingual and multiethnic areas within the northern Italian region encompassed by the Alps, with German, Italian, Slovene, Croatian, Ladin and Istro-Romanian population such as South Tyrol, a part of Istria, Gorizia and Gradisca and part of Dalmatia. The claims were extended later to the city of Fiume, Corsica, the island of Malta, the County of Nice and Italian Switzerland.

To avoid confusion and in line with convention, this article uses modern English place names throughout. However, most places have alternative names in Italian. See List of Italian place names in Dalmatia.

Italian irredentism in Dalmatia

Italian irredentism in Dalmatia was the political movement supporting the unification to Italy, during the 19th and 20th centuries, of adriatic Dalmatia.

Julius Nepos

Julius Nepos (Latin: Flavius Julius Nepos Augustus; c. 430 – 480) was Western Roman Emperor de facto from 474 to 475 and de jure until his death in 480. He was also the ruler of Roman Dalmatia from 468 to 480. Some historians consider Nepos to be the last Western Roman Emperor, while others consider the western line to have ended with Romulus Augustulus in 476. In contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire and its line of emperors survived this period of history essentially intact.

Nepos was elevated to Western Roman Emperor in 474 by the Eastern Roman Emperor Leo I in order to replace the usurper Glycerius. Nepos was then deposed by Orestes, who took control of the government at Ravenna on August 28, 475, forcing Nepos to flee by ship to Dalmatia. Orestes crowned his son, Romulus Augustulus, as emperor but they were soon deposed by Odoacer.

Nepos continued to reign from Dalmatia as the "Emperor of the West" recognized by Constantinople, but in practical terms his power did not extend beyond Dalmatia. Nepos was assassinated in 480, and Eastern Emperor Zeno formally abolished the Western division of the Empire.

Kingdom of Croatia (925–1102)

The Kingdom of Croatia (Croatian: Kraljevina Hrvatska, Latin: Regnum Croatiae), or Croatian Kingdom (Croatian: Hrvatsko Kraljevstvo), was a medieval kingdom in Central Europe comprising most of what is today Croatia (without western Istria and some Dalmatian coastal cities), as well as most of the modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Kingdom existed as a sovereign state for nearly two centuries. Its existence was characterized by various conflicts and periods of peace or alliance with the Bulgarians, Byzantines, Hungarians, and competition with Venice for control over the eastern Adriatic coast. The goal of promoting the Croatian language in the religious service was initially brought and introduced by the 10th century bishop Gregory of Nin, which resulted in a conflict with the Pope, later to be put down by him. In the second half of the 11th century Croatia managed to secure most coastal cities of Dalmatia with the collapse of Byzantine control over them. During this time the kingdom reached its peak under the rule of kings Peter Krešimir IV (1058–1074) and Demetrius Zvonimir (1075–1089).

The state was ruled mostly by the Trpimirović dynasty until 1091. At that point the realm experienced a succession crisis and after a decade of conflicts for the throne and the aftermath of the Battle of Gvozd Mountain, the crown passed to the Árpád dynasty with the coronation of King Coloman of Hungary as "King of Croatia and Dalmatia" in Biograd in 1102, uniting the two kingdoms under one crown. The precise terms of the relationship between the two realms became a matter of dispute in the 19th century. The nature of the relationship varied through time, Croatia retained a large degree of internal autonomy overall, while the real power rested in the hands of the local nobility. Modern Croatian and Hungarian historiographies mostly view the relations between Kingdom of Croatia and Kingdom of Hungary from 1102 as a form of a personal union of two internally autonomous kingdoms united by a common king.

Kingdom of Dalmatia

The Kingdom of Dalmatia (Croatian: Kraljevina Dalmacija; German: Königreich Dalmatien; Italian: Regno di Dalmazia) was a crown land of the Austrian Empire (1815–1867) and the Cisleithanian half of Austria-Hungary (1867–1918). It encompassed the entirety of the region of Dalmatia, with its capital at Zadar.

List of rulers of Croatia

This is a complete list of rulers of Croatia under Croatian or foreign monarchs. This article follows the monarch's title number according to Hungarian succession for convenience. For example, the Hungarian monarch Béla IV is according to Croatian succession correctly titled Béla III. This is because Hungarians had a king named Béla prior to the incorporation of Croatia under the Hungarian Crown but the Croats did not.

Postage stamps and postal history of Dalmatia

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Dalmatia.

Regions of Croatia

The Republic of Croatia is administratively organised into twenty counties, and is also traditionally divided into four historical and cultural regions: Croatia proper, Dalmatia, Slavonia, and Istria. These are further divided into other, smaller regions.

Serbs of Croatia

The Serbs of Croatia (Serbo-Croatian: Srbi u Hrvatskoj, Serbian Cyrillic: Срби у Хрватској) or Croatian Serbs (Хрватски Срби/Hrvatski Srbi) constitute the largest national minority in Croatia. The community is predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christian by religion, as opposed to the Croats who are Roman Catholic.

In some regions of modern-day Croatia, mainly in southern Dalmatia, ethnic Serbs have been present from the Early Middle Ages. Serbs from modern-day Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina started actively migrating to Croatia in several migration waves after 1538 when the Emperor Ferdinand I granted them the right to settle on the territory of the Military Frontier. In exchange for land and exemption from taxation, they had to conduct military service and participate in the protection of the Habsburg Monarchy's border against the Ottoman Empire. They populated the Dalmatian hinterland, Lika, Kordun, Banovina, Slavonia, and Western Syrmia. After the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918 (later renamed to Yugoslavia), a few thousand Serbs moved to Croatian territory. During World War II, Serbs were subjected to persecution by Ustaše. After the beginning of the breakup of Yugoslavia and Croatia's proclamation of independence, the Serbs living in Croatia rebelled against the Croatian government and proclaimed the Republic of Serb Krajina (RSK) on parts of Croatian territory, which led to the Croatian War of Independence. After the Croatian Army's Operation Storm, the RSK ceased to exist, its territory was reincorporated into Croatia, and approximately 200,000 Serbs fled the country.

According to the 2011 census, there were 186,633 Serbs living in Croatia (4.4% of the population).

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.

Split-Dalmatia County

Split-Dalmatia County (Croatian: Splitsko-dalmatinska županija [splîtsko-dalmǎtiːnskaː ʒupǎnija]) is the central-southern Dalmatian county in Croatia. The administrative center is Split. The population of the county is 455,242 (2011). The land area is 4540 km2.

Physically, the county is divided into three main parts: an elevated hinterland (Dalmatinska zagora) with numerous karst fields; a narrow coastal strip with high population density; and the islands. Parts of the Dinaric Alps, including Dinara itself, form the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina while the Kozjak, Mosor and Biokovo mountains separate the coastal strip from the hinterland.

The most important economic activity is tourism. Manufacturing and agriculture are in decline.

The county is linked to the rest of Croatia by the newly built four-lane Split-Zadar-Karlovac-Zagreb highway and the Lika railway. Split-Kaštela international airport is used mostly by tourist charter flights in the summer. There is also a smaller paved airfield on the island of Brač.

In the hinterland, the larger towns are Sinj (pop. 11,500 town, 25,373 with villages), Imotski (4,350) and Vrgorac (2,200).

Besides the largest city, Split (189,000 city proper, 250,000 including Kaštela and Solin), the towns on the coast are Trogir (11,000), Omiš (6,500) and Makarska (13,400).

On the islands, the populations are smaller due to high levels of emigration, but are still mostly urban in character. The main townships are: Supetar (3,300) on the island of Brač; Hvar town (3,700) and Stari Grad (1,900) on Hvar; and Vis town (1,800) and Komiža (1,500) on Vis.

Zadar

Zadar (Croatian: [zâdar] (listen); see other names) is the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. It is situated on the Adriatic Sea, at the northwestern part of Ravni Kotari region. Zadar serves as the seat of Zadar County and the wider northern Dalmatian region. The city proper covers 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi) with a population of 75,082 in 2011, making it the second largest city of the region of Dalmatia and the fifth-largest city in the nation.

The area of present-day Zadar traces its earliest evidence of human life from the late Stone Age, while numerous settlements have been dated as early as the Neolithic. Before the Illyrians, the area was inhabited by an ancient Mediterranean people of a pre-Indo-European culture. Zadar traces its origin to its 9th-century BC founding as a settlement of the Illyrian tribe of Liburnians known as Iader.

In 59 BC it was renamed Iadera when it became a Roman municipium, and in 48 BC, a Roman colonia. It was during the Roman rule that Zadar acquired the characteristics of a traditional Ancient Roman city with a regular road network, a public square (forum), and an elevated capitolium with a temple.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and the destruction of Salona by the Avars and Croats in 614, Zadar became the capital of the Byzantine theme of Dalmatia. In the beginning of the 9th century, Zadar came under short Frankish rule, and was returned to the Byzantines by the Pax Nicephori in 812. The first Croatian rulers gained brief control over the city in 10th century. In 998 Zadar swore allegiance to Doge Pietro Orseolo II and became a vassal of the Republic of Venice. In 1186 it placed itself under the protection of Béla III, King of Hungary.

In 1202, Zadar was reconquered and sacked by the Venetians, with the help of the Crusaders. Hungary regained control over the city in 1358, when it was given to king Louis I of Hungary. In 1409, king Ladislaus I sold Zadar to the Venetians. When the Turks conquered the Zadar hinterland at the beginning of the 16th century, the town became an important stronghold, ensuring Venetian trade in the Adriatic, the administrative center of the Venetian territories in Dalmatia and a cultural center. This created an environment in which arts and literature could flourish, and between the 15th and 17th centuries Zadar came under the influence of the Renaissance, giving rise to many important Italian Renaissance figures like Giorgio da Sebenico, Giorgio Ventura, Andrea Meldolla and Giovanni Francesco Fortunio, who wrote the first Italian grammar book, and many famous Croatian writers, such as Petar Zoranić, Brne Krnarutić, Juraj Baraković and Šime Budinić, who wrote in the Croatian language.

After the fall of Venice in 1797, Zadar came under the Austrian rule until 1918, except for the period of short-term French rule (1805–1813), still remaining the capital of Dalmatia. During the French rule, the first newspaper in the Croatian language, Il Regio Dalmata – Kraglski Dalmatin, was published in Zadar (1806–1810). During the 19th century, Zadar was a center of the Croatian movement for cultural and national revival, in a context of increasing polarization and politicization of ethnic identities between Croats and Dalmatian Italians.

With the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo Zadar was given to the Kingdom of Italy. During World War II, it was bombed by the Allies and witnessed the evacuation of ethnic Italians. The city was captured on 1 November 1944 and later ceded to SR Croatia, a federal constituent of the SFR Yugoslavia, whose armed forces defended it in October 1991 from the Serb forces who aimed to capture it.

Today, Zadar is a historical center of Dalmatia, Zadar County's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, educational, and transportation centre. Zadar is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zadar. Because of its rich heritage, Zadar is today one of the most popular Croatian tourist destinations, named "entertainment center of the Adriatic" by The Times and "Croatia's new capital of cool" by The Guardian. In 2016, Zadar was named "Best European Destination" by the Belgian portal Europe's Best Destinations.com after a three-week period of online voting and more than 288,000 cast votes.The fortified city of Zadar was also included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site list as part of Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar in 2017.

Šibenik

Šibenik (Croatian pronunciation: [ʃîbeniːk] (listen); Italian: Sebenico) is a historic city in Croatia, located in central Dalmatia where the river Krka flows into the Adriatic Sea. Šibenik is a political, educational, transport, industrial and tourist center of Šibenik–Knin County and also the third-largest city in the historic region of Dalmatia. It is the oldest native Croatian town on the shores of the sea.

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