Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic located in Europe at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The state, whose capital is also the largest city Zagreb, is divided into 20 administrative regions outside the capital. Croatia has a surface area of 56,594 km² with its continental area and more than a thousand islands. The vast majority of the country’s population of 4.29 million are Croats and the largest religion is Christianity, the Catholic Sect.
Croats first came to the region known as Croatia in the 6th century, and by the 9th century they established a state consisting of two duchies. Its international recognition took place on 7 June 879 under the leadership of Duke Branimir. With Tomislav becoming the first king in 925, Croatia became a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia continued to dominate the region for a period close to the 2nd century, King IV. It lived its golden age during the reigns of Petar Krešimir and Dmitar Zvonimir. In 1102, due to the crisis that would bring the end of the dynasty, it was united with the Kingdom of Hungary. Faced with the Ottoman conquest in 1527, the Croatian Parliament installed Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty to the Croatian throne. In 1918, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was established in cooperation with the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, which declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. II. The country, which was ruled under the name of the Independent State of Croatia, which was a short-term fascist puppet state during World War II, was among the founders and components of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after the war. Having declared its independence in June 1991, Croatia became independent on October 8, 1991, and had a four-year war over independence.
Croatia is an independent state governed by a parliamentary system. Today, Croatia has high standards of education, health, quality of life and economic dynamism among Central European countries, with very high living standards, life expectancy, literacy rates and homogeneous income distribution. Classified as a developing country by the International Monetary Fund, the country is defined as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Croatia is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, NATO and the World Trade Organization and one of the founding members of the Mediterranean Union. It has been a member of the European Union since 1 July 2013.
While most of the country’s economy is based on the service sector, industry and agriculture are other major sectors. Being the 18th most preferred touristic country in the world, Croatia gains a great income from the tourism sector, especially during the summer months. The state controls the economy to some extent, with significant government spending. The European Union is the country’s most important trading partner. Since 2000, it has been carrying out infrastructure works on transportation routes and facilities, especially on Pan-European corridors. Internal resources make up a significant part of Croatia’s energy. Croatia provides a universal healthcare system and free primary and secondary education, while supporting many public institutions and culture through institutional investments in media and broadcasting.
Prehistory and Antiquity
The region known today as Croatia was inhabited in prehistoric times. Neanderthal fossils unearthed in the Krapina region in northern Croatia have been dated to the Old Stone Age. Remains from the Old Stone Age and Copper Age have been found in all parts of the country. The vast majority of the ancient settlements in the country, and the three most important – the cultures of Starčevo, Vučedol and Baden – are located in the river beds in the north. In Croatia, the Iron Age left traces of the Illyrian Hallstatt and Celtic La Tène cultures.
Much later, Liburnians and Illyrians came to the region on the one hand, while the first Greek colonies were established in Vis and Hvar, on the other. In AD 9, the region was annexed to the Roman Empire. When Emperor Diocletian went into seclusion in 305 AD, he had a large palace built in Split. During the 5th century, Julius Nepos, one of the last Western Roman Emperors, ruled the small empire from this palace. This period ends when Avars and Croats came to the region in the first half of the 7th century and destroyed almost all Roman cities. The survivors of Rome retreated to more suitable areas along the coast, to the islands and mountains. Dubrovnik was founded by one of these people, Epidarius.
Although the ethnogenetic origin of the Croats is unknown, there are many theories regarding it. Of these, the Slavic and Iranian theories are the most frequently put forward. The most accepted view is the Slavic theory, which claims that White Croats migrated from White Croatia with the Migration of Tribes. On the other hand, the other theory is based on the words Χορούαθ[ος], Χοροάθος and Χορόαθος (Khoroúathos, Khoroáthos and Khoróathos) in the Tanais Tablets written in Greek, suggesting that these words are Croats with Iranian origins.
Byzantine Emperor VII in the 10th century. According to De Administrando Imperio, dictated by Konstantinos, although the Croats came to the region known as Croatia at the beginning of the 7th century, this thesis is tried to be disproved by those who argue that the Croats came to the region between the 6th and 9th centuries. According to the records written by Einhard in 818, which was later confirmed, two duchies were established, Pannonia and Dalmatia, ruled by Ljudevit Posavski and Borna. These are the first documents written about the country of the Croats, a vassal region of Francia. French supremacy in the region came to an end 20 years later with the reign of Mislav. VII. Although Constantine says that the Christianization process of the Croats began in the 7th century, the Christianization of the Croats is generally dated to the 9th century. The first Croatian monarch recognized by the Pope was Branimir, and Pope VIII. Ioannes nicknamed him Dux Croatorum (Duke of the Croats) in 878.
Tomislav is the first monarch of Croatia to be recognized as king by the Papacy. Pope VIII. He received this title in a letter sent to him in 925 by Ioannes. By showing success against the Hungarian and Bulgarian invasions, he further spread the influence of the Croatian kings. Kingdom of Croatia in the Middle Ages, IV. It lived its golden age during the reigns of Petar Krešimir (1058-1074) and Dmitar Zvonimir (1075-1089). In 1091 II. With the death of Stjepan, the Trpimirović dynasty came to an end, and Hungarian King Ladislaus claimed the Kingdom of Croatia. A war broke out in the face of these claims and in 1102, during the reign of Hungarian King Coloman, Croatia went to unite with Hungary.
For the next four centuries it was ruled by a parliament called Sabor and governors named Ban appointed by the king. During this period, he engaged in struggles with the Republic of Venice for Ottoman conquests and control of the coasts. Venice took control of most of Dalmatia in 1428, with the exception of the independent city-state of Dubrovnik. Against the Ottoman conquests, the Battle of Krbava in 1493 and the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 resulted in a decisive Ottoman victory. King II. After Lajos’ death in Mohac, the Cetin Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty as the new ruler of Croatia in 1527, on the condition that he provide protection against Ottoman conquests. This transfer resulted in the promotion of many people from indigenous noble families such as Frankopan and Šubić to the position of Ban.
Surrounded by Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, and Montenegro and the Adriatic Sea to the south, Croatia is located at the intersection of Central and Southeast Europe. The southernmost part of the country, located between the 42°-47° north parallels and the 13°-20° east meridians, does not have a land connection with the rest of the country due to the intervening city of Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The country covers an area of 56,594 km², of which 56,414 km² is land and 128 km² is inland waters. It is the 127th largest country in the world by surface area. The altitude rises towards the Dinaric Alps and reaches its highest point at 1831 meters at Dinara, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south, descending to 0 in the Adriatic Sea, which covers the entire southwestern border of the country. While the country has about a thousand islands and islets, only 48 of them are open to settlement. The largest islands are Cres and Krk, with a stable area of 405 km².
The great rivers Sava, Drava, Kupa and Danube pass through the mountainous northern parts of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the lowland northern regions of Slavonia. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe, flowing along the country’s easternmost Vukovar and drawing part of the country’s border with Serbia. The central and southern regions close to the Adriatic coast and the islands consist of low mountain and forested lands. The country has oil, coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clay, salt, and hydropower.
Karst topography makes up about half of the country, especially the Dinaric Alps. There are many caves in the country, of which 49 are more than 250 meters deep, 14 are 500 and 3 are deeper than 1000 meters. The country’s most famous lakes are the Plitvice Lakes, which consists of 16 lakes and waterfalls connected by a series of dolomite and limestone. The reputation of the lakes is that they are distinguished from each other by different colors such as turquoise, mint green, gray and blue.
Most of Croatia is under the influence of a warm and rainy continental climate defined by the Köppen climate classification. Average monthly temperature ranges from -3 °C (January) to 18 °C (July). The coldest regions of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar, where the snowy forest climate is seen after an altitude of 1200 meters, while the warmest regions are the Adriatic coast, where the Mediterranean climate is observed, especially the interior of the coast where the temperature is directed by the sea. As a result, temperature differences are more pronounced in terrestrial regions. The lowest temperature in the country was -35.5 °C on 3 February 1919 in Čakovec, while the highest temperature was 42.4 °C on 5 July 1950 in Karlovac.
The average annual precipitation varies between 600 mm and 3500 mm, depending on the geographical region and the prevailing climate. The lowest precipitation is on the outlying islands such as Vis, Lastovo, Biševo, Svetac and the eastern parts of Slavonia, while the highest precipitation is in the Dinaric Alps and Gorski kotar. The prevailing winds in the northeast and southeast slightly temperate the regions, while the prevailing winds in the continental area are determined by continental factors. The fastest winds occur along the coast in the coldest months, usually in the form of gusts and sometimes sirocco. The sunniest regions of the country are Hvar and Korčula with more than 2700 hours of sunshine per year, followed by the Southern Adriatic region, the northern Adriatic coast and Slavonia with more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year.
Croatia was first divided into counties in the Middle Ages. Administrative divisions have changed over time depending on the lands lost in the Ottoman conquests, the liberation of these lands, and the change in the political status in Dalmatia, Dubrovnik and Istria regions. This traditional division was completely destroyed in the 1920s by the oblasts and banovinas formed by the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, followed by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Communist-ruled Croatia, World War II. It was one of the elements that formed Yugoslavia, which was an active power in World War II, and in this period, the administrative structure was completely changed and the country was divided into about 100 municipalities. With a law enacted in 1992, it was again divided into administrative units and districts before 1920, but 8 districts created in Translithania in 1918 and 7 more districts besides their centers Bjelovar, Gospić, Ogulin, Požega, Vukovar, Varaždin, Osijek and Zagreb. and divided the region into 15 districts.
The country has been subdivided into 20 counties and the Zagreb Capital Region since it was divided into districts again in 1992. Zagreb has the powers of a district and a city. The boundaries of the districts were changed several times; The most important of these changes occurred in 2006. Districts are divided into 127 cities and 429 municipalities in total.
In Croatia, tourism makes up the bulk of the service sector and accounts for about 20% of Croatia’s revenues. Tourism industry revenues are estimated at €6.61 billion for 2011. This positive effect contributes to the improved business volume in Croatia’s retail sector, industrial goods sales and seasonal labor. Since the tourism industry contributes greatly to the closing of the country’s foreign trade deficit, it is considered as foreign sales. After the end of the Croatian War of Independence, the number of tourists visiting the country increased to 10 million, a nearly four-fold increase. Most of the tourists in Croatia are Croatian tourists, as well as German, Slovenian, Austrian and Czech. The average stay of tourists coming to the country is 4.9 days.
Most of the tourists coming to the country prefer the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Opatija became the country’s first resort town in the mid-19th century. This town turned into one of the most important health centers in Europe until the 1890s. After the opening of many resort areas along the coast and islands, it has provided many services from mass tourism to the growth of the catering market. The most important income of the tourism sector is provided by sea tourism, and due to the medieval coastal cities and many cultural events during the summer, approximately 16 thousand yachts approach the marinas every year. The regions inland from the coast provide opportunities in many areas such as mountain tourism, agrotourism and spas. In addition to these, the capital Zagreb is an important tourism region that competes with the coastal cities and resort towns. Unpolluted sea nature, many natural reserves and 116 Blue Flag beaches are a source of pride for the country. With these features, Croatia is the 18th country that receives the most tourists in the world.
Croatia, which is the 125th most populous country in the world with a population of 4.29 million according to the 2011 census, has 75.9 people per square kilometer and the average life expectancy is 75.7 years. There are 1.5 children per woman, one of the lowest in the world. Since 1991, the death rate in the country has consistently exceeded the birth rate. Since the 1990s the country has been receiving a large number of immigrants, and in 2006 this number was more than 7000. According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, the country’s population will drop to 3.1 million by 2051, due to reductions in birth rates and immigration. Croatia’s population peaked from 2.1 million in 1857 to 4.7 million in 1991. There were no censuses in 1921 and 1948 due to the two world wars. Having completed its demographic transition in the 1970s, the country’s population growth rate has been negative recently. Also recently, the Croatian government has been under pressure to increase its quota for foreign workers by 40%. In line with its immigration policy, Croatia tries to persuade immigrants to return to the country.
The problem of depopulation in the country is also one of the consequences of the Croatian War of Independence. Many people were displaced or emigrated during the war. In 1991, more than 400,000 Croats and other non-Serb ethnicities in Serb-dominated areas were either displaced by Croatian Serb forces or had to flee violence. During the final days of the war in 1995, more than 120,000, perhaps 200,000, Serbs fled the area before the approaching Croatian forces in Operation Storm. In the decade after the war, only 117,000 of the 300,000 Serbs who were displaced during the war returned to the country. Most Serbs living in Croatia have never lived in the areas occupied during the Croatian War of Independence. The Serbs have only re-settled part of their former settlement in other areas after the resettlement of Croatian refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly Republika Srpska. The vast majority of Croatia’s population is Croatian, with a figure of 89.6%. The remaining population is Serbs with 4.5% and Bosnians, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Roma and others with 5.9%. The biggest religions are Catholicism, which 88% of the population believes, Orthodoxy, 4.4%, other Christian denominations, 0.4%, and Islam, 1.3%. While 5.2% of the remaining population is non-believer, 0.9%’s belief is unknown.
The official language of Croatia is Croatian and Croatian became the 24th official language of the European Union in July 2013. Minority languages are free in local governments. Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Serbian and Slovak, which make up more than a third of the population in their regions, have regional language status in areas recognized by local governments. According to the 2001 censuses, 96% of Croatian citizens declared their mother tongue as Croatian, while 1% declared Serbian. Except for Croatian and Serbian, no language is the mother tongue of more than 0.5% of the population. Croatian is a language of the South Slavic languages. Most of the words originate from the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. Croatian, written in the Latin alphabet, has 3 main dialects that differ from each other in terms of vocabulary, phonology and syntax, these are the standardized dialect Štokavian, Čakavian and Kajkavian dialects.
The literacy rate in Croatia is 98.1%. According to the research on quality of life in different countries published by Newsweek in August 2010, Croatia’s education system is 22nd among the countries included in the study. Primary education in Croatia starts at the age of 6-7 and continues for 8 years. With a law enacted in 2007, the period of free, non-compulsory education was increased up to the age of 18. Compulsory education consists of 8 years. After primary school, students go to gymnasium or vocational high schools. According to 2010 statistics, there are 2131 primary schools and 713 high schools in the country. It is possible to receive primary and high school education in the recognized minority languages Serbian, Hungarian, Italian, Czech and German.
While there are 131 music and art schools in the country, 84 of which are at primary level and 47 at high school level, there are 92 schools for children and youth with disabilities and 74 schools for adults. High school leaving exams consisting of three compulsory subjects and one elective subject in Croatian, mathematics and foreign language have been held since 2009-2010 and this exam is a prerequisite for university placement.
There are 8 universities in the country. These are: University of Zagreb, University of Split, University of Rijeka, University of Osijek, University of Zadar, University of Dubrovnik, International Dubrovnik University and Pula Juraj Dobrila University. The country’s first university is the University of Zadar, founded in 1396. Until the reopening of the university, which provided education until 1807, in 2002, other educational institutions received the status of the oldest university from Zadar. Founded in 1669, the University of Zagreb is the oldest university in Southeastern Europe to continue its education without interruption. Apart from these, there are 11 polytechnics and 23 colleges, 19 of which are private. There are a total of 132 higher education institutions in the country where 145,000 students receive education.
Croatia has 205 companies, government or educational institutions and non-profit organizations engaged in scientific research and technology development. These organizations spend around 3 million kuna (€ 400 million) according to 2008 data and employ 10,191 full-time research assistants. In this way, the country has produced inventors and Nobel Prize winners.
Croatian cuisine varies from one region to another. Coastal areas have been influenced by Greek, Roman and other Mediterranean cuisines, especially in terms of seafood, cooked vegetables and cake making, as well as the use of olive oil and garlic to flavor the dish. The interior area was influenced by Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish cuisines. Meat dishes, freshwater fish and vegetable dishes are the most consumed in this region.
Croatia has two different wine producing regions. In the continental area in the northeast, especially in Slavonia, wine production, especially white wine, is widespread. Another important wine-producing region is the Istria and Krk regions along the northern coastline, where wines are similar to Italian wines, while in Dalmatia in the south Mediterranean wine production is almost standard. Annual wine production in the country exceeds 140 million liters. Although beer came to the country at the end of the 18th century, annual consumption is 83.3 liters compared to 2007, and with this rate, Croatia is among the top 15 beer consuming countries in the world.