Croatisation or Croatization (Croatian: kroatizacija, or pohrvaćenje; Italian: croatizzazione) is a process of cultural assimilation, and its consequences, in which people or lands ethnically only partially Croatian or non-Croatian become Croatian.

Croatisation of Serbs


Serbs in the Roman Catholic Croatian Military Frontier were out of the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć and in 1611, after demands from the community, the Pope establishes the Eparchy of Marča (Vratanija) with seat at the Serbian-built Marča Monastery and instates a Byzantine vicar as bishop sub-ordinate to the Roman Catholic bishop of Zagreb, working to bring Serbian Orthodox Christians into communion with Rome which caused struggle of power between the Catholics and the Serbs over the region. In 1695 Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Lika-Krbava and Zrinopolje is established by metropolitan Atanasije Ljubojevic and certified by Emperor Josef I in 1707. In 1735 the Serbian Orthodox protested in the Marča Monastery and becomes part of the Serbian Orthodox Church until 1753 when the Pope restores the Roman Catholic clergy. On 17 June 1777 the Eparchy of Križevci is permanently established by Pope Pius VI with see at Križevci, near Zagreb, thus forming the Croatian Greek Catholic Church which would after World War I include other people; Rusyns and Ukrainians of Yugoslavia.[1][2]

Croatisation in the NDH

The Croatisation during Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was aimed primarily to Serbs, with Italian, Jews and Roma to a lesser degree. The Ustaše aim was a "pure Croatia" and the biggest enemy was the ethnic Serbs of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ministers announced the goals and strategies of the Ustaše in May 1941. The same statements and similar or related ones were also repeated in public speeches by single ministers as Mile Budak in Gospic and, a month later, by Mladen Lorkovic.[3]

  • One third of the Serbs (in the Independent State of Croatia) were to be forcibly converted to Catholicism.
  • One third of the Serbs were to be expelled (ethnically cleansed).
  • One third of the Serbs were to be killed.

Croatisation in Dalmatia

Even with a predominant Croatian majority, Dalmatia retained relatively large Italian communities in the coast (Italian majority in some cities and islands, largest concentration in Istria). Italians in Dalmatia kept key political positions and Croatian majority had to make an enormous effort to get Croatian language into schools and offices. Most Dalmatian Italians gradually assimilated to the prevailing Croatian culture and language between the 1860s and World War I, although Italian language and culture remained present in Dalmatia. The community was granted minority rights in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia; during the Italian occupation of Dalmatia in World War II, it was caught in the ethnic violence towards non-Italians during fascist repression: what remained of the community fled the area after World War II.[4]

During and prior to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Following the establishment of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia in November 1991, and especially from May 1992 forward, the Herzeg-Bosnia leadership engaged in continuing and coordinated efforts to dominate and "Croatise" (or ethnically cleanse) the municipalities which they claimed were part of Herzeg-Bosnia, with increasing persecution and discrimination directed against the Bosniak population.[5] The Croatian Defence Council (HVO), the military formation of Croats, took control of many municipal governments and services, removing or marginalising local Bosniak leaders.[6] Herzeg-Bosnia authorities and Croat military forces took control of the media and imposed Croatian ideas and propaganda.[7] Croatian symbols and currency were introduced, and Croatian curricula and the Croatian language were introduced in schools. Many Bosniaks were removed from positions in government and private business; humanitarian aid was managed and distributed to the Bosniaks' disadvantage; and Bosniaks in general were increasingly harassed. Many of them were deported to concentration camps: Heliodrom, Dretelj, Gabela, Vojno, and Šunje.

Notable individuals who voluntarily Croatised

  • Dimitrija Demeter, a playwright who was the author of the first modern Croatian drama, was from a Greek family.
  • Vatroslav Lisinski, a composer, was originally named Ignaz Fuchs. His Croatian name is a literal translation.
  • Bogoslav Šulek, a lexicographer and inventor of many Croatian scientific terms, was originally Bohuslav Šulek from Slovakia.
  • Stanko Vraz, a poet and the first professional writer in Croatia, was originally Jakob Frass from Slovenia.
  • August Šenoa, a Croatian novelist, poet and writer, is of Czech-Slovak descent. His parents never learned the Croatian language, even when they lived in Zagreb.
  • Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger, a geologist, palaeontologist and archaeologist who discovered Krapina man[8] (Krapinski pračovjek), was of German descent. He added his second name, Gorjanović, to be adopted as a Croatian.
  • Slavoljub Eduard Penkala was an inventor of Dutch/Polish origins. He added the name Slavoljub in order to Croatise.
  • Lovro Monti, Croatian politician, mayor of Knin. One of the leaders of the Croatian national movement in Dalmatia, he was of Italian roots.
  • Adolfo Veber Tkalčević -linguist of German descent
  • Ivan Zajc (born Giovanni von Seitz) a music composer was of German descent
  • Josip Frank, nationalist Croatian 19th century politicia, born as a Jew
  • Vladko Maček, Croatian politician, leader of the Croats in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after Stjepan Radić and one time opposition reformist, maker of the Cvetković-Maček agreement that founded the Croatian Banate, born in a Slovene-Czech family
  • Savić Marković Štedimlija, publicist and Nazi collaborator, Montenegrin by origin
  • Vlaho Bukovac, born Biagio Faggioni to a family of mixed Italian and Croatian ancestry

See also


  1. Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture at Google Books
  2. Geopolitics of European Union Enlargement: The Fortress Empire at Google Books
  3. Eric Gobetti, "L' occupazione allegra. Gli italiani in Jugoslavia (1941–1943)", Carocci, 2007, 260 pages; ISBN 88-430-4171-1, ISBN 978-88-430-4171-8, quoting from V. Novak, Sarajevo 1964 and Savez jevrejskih opstina FNR Jugoslavije, Beograd 1952
  4. Društvo književnika Hrvatske, Bridge, Volume 1995, Numbers 9–10, Croatian literature series – Ministarstvo kulture, Croatian Writer's Association, 1989
  5. "ICTY: Blaškić verdict – A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993 c) The municipality of Kiseljak".
  6. "ICTY: Blaškić verdict – A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993 – b) The municipality of Busovača".
  7. "ICTY: Blaškić verdict — A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993 – c) The municipality of Kiseljak". the authorities created a radio station which broadcast nationalist propaganda
  8. Krapina C Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
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