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Croatia existed as a medieval kingdom of Croats that existed in the 11th century. In 1102 most Croats were brought under the Hungarian crown, beginning eight centuries of Hungarian domination. Following the defeat and dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, the southern Slav people formed a new kingdom which included historic Croatian lands. It was known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the name of this new nation was changed to Yugoslavia. After World War II, the former prewar kingdom was replaced by a federation of six equal republics. The Serb-dominated kingdom was now a socialist dictatorship ruled by Marshal Tito, an iron-fisted Croat. A decade after his death in 1980, Yugoslavia divided along ethnic lines. In the early 1990s, Croatia fought a civil war with Serbian separatists and was involved in the fighting in neighboring Bosnia. In 1995 Croatia mounted a successful military offensive and reclaimed the territory ruled by Serbian separatists, returning to the boundaries it held previously as a Yugoslavian state.
In 1995 there were approximately 5 million people in Croatia. Croats comprised 78 percent of the population and Serbs about 12 percent. There has been a significant emigration from Croatia to America. It is estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 Croatians came to the United States before World War I. Large population transfers occurred during and after World War II. Serbs were forcibly evacuated from Croatia to Serbia and Croats fled from Serbia to Croatia. Other minorities such as Germans and Italians were either expelled or left. It was estimated in 1970 that one-fourth of all Croatians lived abroad. Large transfers were instigated during the Croatian war of independence. Between 1991-1995, more Serbs were expelled to Bosnia and Serbia, while refugee Croats were received from those countries. Croats are almost exclusively Roman Catholic and Serbs are Orthodox
Early Croat History
Linguistic evidence suggests that the Croats originate from northwestern Iran and spoke a language related to Iranian. By the time the Croats appear in historical documents, they are a Slavic nation. During the Avar expansion into the Balkans peninsula, the Croats moved into what is Croatia today.
The Croats migrated into what is Croatia today in 610-641. The vast majority of the Croats, during this period, remained pagan.
In 803, the Croats seem to have accepted the sovereignty of Charlemagne after his defeat of the Avars. The 10th century Croat Kingdom stretched from the Dalmatian coast to the Sava River.
The relation between Croatia and Hungary had been agreed on in the Pacta Conventa (alleged agreement) of 1102. Hungarian sovereignty was undisputed in Slavonia and central Croatia (around Zagreb), while mountainous Dalmatia was difficult to control, and was contested with Venice. The city of Ragusa was effectively an independent kingdom.
The introduction of feudal law in Hungary and the integration of the Kingdom into European political culture. The Venetians established their rule over all of Dalmatia in 1408-1420. It was to last until 1797. Dalmatia suffered the first Ottoman raid in 1420; Bosnia submitted to the Ottoman Empire in 1463; in 1493 a Croatian army was annihilated by their Ottoman foes in the Battle of Krbava. In 1521, the Ottomans captured Hungarian border fortress of Belgrade, and in 1526 crush the Hungarian army.
Battle of Mohacs and division of Hungary. 1553/1578, the Militärgrenze (military frontier) was established. In 1593 an Ottoman force was defeated by an Austro-Croat force in the Battle of Sisak. In 1609, the Sabor decided that any confession other than the Catholic faith should be outlawed in Croatia.
With the Treaty of Karlowitz 1699, the Ottoman Empire ceded Slavonia to Austria. Muslims emigrate. Ethnic Germans immigrated into the cities of Croatia. In 1783 Joseph II decreed that Germans and other non-Croatians were to be admitted to public office.
In 1809, after a brief war with France, Austria ceded Carinthia, Carniola, Croatia west of the Sava River, Gorizia, Trieste to France. These territories were amalgamated into the Illyrian Provinces.
In 1813 the French were expelled and Habsburg rule restored. The Vienna Congress allocated previously Venetian Dalmatia, including Ragusa, to Austria.
After the Austrian defeat in the Battle of Königgrätz (1866) i.e. Battle of Sadowa, the Austrian Empire had to be placed on a wider power basis. To achieve this, Emperor Franz Joseph I. initiated the Austrian-Hungarian Ausgleich of 1867 in which the Hungarian Kingdom was given far-ranging autonomy.
Croatia formed a part of the Hungarian Kingdom. In 1881/1886 the Militärgrenze was dissolved.
In 1887, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia-Slavonia was granted autonomy. During World War I, many natives of Croatia served in the Austro-Hungarian army.
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1991 to present
Republic of Croatia