Republika Hrvatska
Republic of Croatia
Flag of Croatia Coat of arms of Croatia
Flag Coat of arms
Historical: Antemurale Christianitatis (Latin)
(English: "Bulwark of Christianity")
Anthem: Lijepa naša domovino
"Our beautiful homeland"
Location of Croatia
Capital Zagreb
Largest city Zagreb
Official language Croatian1
Government Republic
 - President Stjepan Mesić
 - Prime minister Ivo Sanader
 - dissoluted SFR Yugoslavia June 25 1991 
 - From Habsburg Monarchy October 29 1918 
 - Habsburgs elected as kings 1526 
 - Medieval kingdom 925 
 - Medieval duchy March 4 852 
 - Founded seventh century (first half) 
 - Total 56,542 km² (126th)
21,831 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 0.01
 - July 2005 estimate 4,551,000 (115th)
 - 2001 census 4,437,460
 - Density 81/km² (110th)
210/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
 - Total $59,334 billion (71st)
 - Per capita $14,285 (52nd)
HDI  (2004) 0.846 (high) (44th)
Currency Kuna (kn)  (HRK)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .hr
Calling code +385
1Locally also Italian in Istria county and languages of other national minorities (Serbian, Hungarian, Czech, etc.) in residential municipalities of the national minorities.

Croatia (Croatian: Hrvatska listen), officially the Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska), is a country in Europe at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Central Europe and the Balkans. Its capital is Zagreb. Croatia shares land borders with Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the south, as well as a sea border with Italy to the west. It is a candidate for membership in the European Union and NATO.




A tribe of Croats came to the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia in the seventh century and was ultimately assimilated into the larger native Illyro-Roman and recently arrived Slavic population which took the same name. Ruled by various Croatian rulers, these duchies were intermittently controlled by the Byzantine Empire and the Franks. Eventually Croatia became an independent Monarchy in 925, when King Tomislav was crowned the first King of Croatia by a decree of the Pope.

Croatia retained its independence until 1102, when, after decades of inner struggles, the country entered a dynastic union with the Kingdom of Hungary under the name "Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen". Croatian statehood was preserved through a number of institutions, notably the Sabor which served as an assembly of Croatian nobles, and the ban or viceroy. Furthermore, the Croatian nobles retained their lands and titles.

By the mid-1400s, the Hungarian kingdom was shaken by Ottoman expansion as much of the mountainous country now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina fell to the Turks. At the same time, Dalmatia became mostly Venetian. Dubrovnik was a city-state that was, at first, Byzantine and Venetian, but later, unlike other Dalmatian city-states, became independent as Ragusa Republic, even though it was often under the suzerainty of neighbouring powers.

The Battle of Mohács in 1526 led the Croatian Parliament to elect the Habsburgs to the throne of Croatia. Habsburg rule eventually thwarted Ottoman expansion, and by the eighteenth century, many of the Croatian territories that had previously been Ottoman passed to the Austrians. The odd crescent shape of the Croatian lands remained as a mark, more or less, of the frontier to the Ottoman advance into Europe. Further south, Istria, Dalmatia and Dubrovnik all eventually passed to the Habsburg Monarchy between 1797 and 1815.

Following World War I, Croatia joined the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Shortly thereafter, this joint state entered into a union with Serbia to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which eventually became Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. After Germany and its Axis allies invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, the Nazis permitted the extreme right-wing organization Ustaše, backed and sponsored by Italian fascists, to found the "Independent State of Croatia". The new regime was highly dependent upon German support for survival. Numerous concentration camps were established in Croatia between 1941 and 1945, when many Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, anti-fascist Croats and others were murdered for racial, religious or political reasons. When the Axis powers were defeated in Croatia by the anti-fascists, the State Anti-Fascist Council of People's Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH) declared the People's Republic of Croatia, which became one of the six socialist republics within federal Yugoslavia.

Along with Slovenia, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991, which triggered the Croatian War of Independence. The Serb population living in Croatia revolted, supported by the Yugoslav army and paramilitary extremist groups from Serbia. The ensuing months saw combat between newly established Croatian Army and joint Yugoslav/Serb armed forces. Following this stage of the war, the independence of Croatia was internationally-recognized. The war ended in 1995, after the Croatian Army successfully launched two major military operations to retake the occupied area. The war left hundreds of thousands refugees on both sides, and thousands were killed either in battle or by ethnic cleansing.

At the time of modern Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman's death in December 1999, the country was in a perilous state. The HDZ lost power after the presidential and parliamentary elections at the beginning of 2000, which ushered in a new era of politicians who pledged commitment to political and economic reforms and Croatia's integration into the European mainstream. The left-centre coalition government was led by the SDP until November 2003, when the reformed HDZ formed minority government. President Stjepan Mesić, coming from centrist/liberal party HNS, was elected two times, in 2000 and 2005. The constitution has been changed to shift power away from the president to the parliament. Croatia has joined the World Trade Organization and opened up the economy, making it grow and inflation was kept under control. It joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program and became an official candidate for membership in that alliance. By early 2003 it had made sufficient progress to apply for European Union membership, becoming the second EU candidate country from former Yugoslavia, after Slovenia (who joined the EU on May 1, 2004). Accession negotiations were opened on October 3 2005, and the country is expected to become an EU member state in 2009 or 2010.



Map of Croatia
Map of Croatia

Croatia is located in Southern Europe. Its shape resembles that of a crescent or a horseshoe, which flanks its neighbours Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. To the north lie Slovenia and Hungary; Italy lies across the Adriatic Sea. Its mainland territory is split in two non-contiguous parts by the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.

Satellite image of Croatia
Satellite image of Croatia

Its terrain is diverse, including:

The country is famous for its many national parks.

Croatia has a mixture of climates. In the north and east it is continental, Mediterranean along the coast and a semi-highland and highland climate in the south-central region. Offshore Croatia consists of over one thousand islands varying in size.

National Geographic Adventure Magazine named Croatia as Destination of the Year in 2006. [1]



Zagreb skyline
Zagreb skyline
See also: Foreign relations of Croatia and Accession of Croatia to the European Union

Since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution, Croatia has been a democratic republic. Between 1990 and 2000 it had a semi-presidential system, and since 2000 it has a parliamentary system.

The President of the Republic (Predsjednik) 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.

Croatia is a member of:
United Nations
Council of Europe
Partnership for Peace
Other organizations

The Croatian Parliament (Sabor) is a unicameral legislative body (a second chamber, the "House of Counties", which was set up by the Constitution of 1990, has been abolished in 2001 [2]). The number of the Sabor's members can vary from 100 to 160; they are all elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The plenary sessions of the Sabor take place from January 15 to July 15, and from September 15 to December 15.

The Croatian Government (Vlada) is headed by the Prime minister who has two deputy prime ministers and fourteen ministers in charge of particular sectors of activity. The executive branch is responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies of the republic.

Croatia has a three-tiered judicial system, consisting of the Supreme Court, county courts, and municipal courts. The Constitutional Court rules on matters regarding the Constitution.

The yearly Reporters Without Borders' press freedom rankings for Croatia from 2002 to 2006 are: 33rd · 69th · 54th · 56th · 53rd


Administrative divisions

The Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Old Harbour at Dubrovnik's Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Old Harbour at Dubrovnik's Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Croatia is divided into twenty-one counties (županija) and the capital Zagreb's city district (in italics below):

Anglicized name Native name
1 Zagreb Zagrebačka
2 Krapina-Zagorje Krapinsko-zagorska
3 Sisak-Moslavina Sisačko-moslavačka
4 Karlovac Karlovačka
5 Varaždin Varaždinska
6 Koprivnica-Križevci Koprivničko-križevačka
7 Bjelovar-Bilogora Bjelovarsko-bilogorska
8 Primorje-Gorski Kotar   Primorsko-goranska
9 Lika-Senj Ličko-senjska
10 Virovitica-Podravina Virovitičko-podravska
11 Požega-Slavonia Požeško-slavonska
12 Brod-Posavina Brodsko-posavska
13 Zadar Zadarska
14 Osijek-Baranja Osječko-baranjska
15 Šibenik-Knin Šibensko-kninska
16 Vukovar-Srijem Vukovarsko-srijemska
17 Split-Dalmatia Splitsko-dalmatinska
18 Istria Istarska
19 Dubrovnik-Neretva Dubrovačko-neretvanska
20 Međimurje Međimurska
21 City of Zagreb Grad Zagreb


Croatia has an economy based mostly on various services and some, mostly light, industry. Tourism is a notable source of income during the summer. With over 8,5 million foreign tourists a year, Croatia is ranked as the 18th major tourist destination in the world.[3]

The estimated Gross Domestic Product per capita in purchasing power parity terms for 2005 was USD 12,158 or 45.2% of the EU average for the same year.

The Croatian economy is post-communist. In the late 1980s, at the beginning of the process of economic transition, its position was favourable, but it was gravely impacted by de-industrialization and war damages as well as having problems from losing the markets of Yugoslavia and the SEV.

Main economic problems include high unemployment (15.7% in 2006) and an insufficient amount of economic reforms. Of particular concern is the heavily backlogged judiciary system, combined with inefficient public administration, especially involving land ownership. The country has since experienced faster economic growth and has been preparing for membership in the European Union, its most important trading partner.

In February 2005, the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU officially came into force and Croatia is currently advancing further towards full EU membership. The country expects some major economic impulses and high growth rates in the following next years (currently Croatia suffers from high export deficit and considerable debt). Croatia is expecting a boom in investments, especially greenfield investments.



Split, the largest and most important city in Dalmatia.
Split, the largest and most important city in Dalmatia.

The population of Croatia has been stagnating over the last decade. The 1991–1995 war in Croatia had previously displaced large parts of the population and increased emigration. Some Croats who fled the country during the war are returning. The natural growth rate is minute or negative (less than ± 1%), as the demographic transition has been completed half a century ago. Average life expectancy is approximately 75 years, and the literacy rate is 98.5%.

Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.9%). There are around twenty minorities, Serbs being the largest one (4.5%) and others having less than 0.5% each. The predominant religion is Catholicism (87.8%), with some Orthodox (4.4%) and Sunni Muslim (1.3%) minorities.

The official and common language, Croatian, is a South Slavic language, using the Latin alphabet. Less than 5% of the population cites other languages as their mother tongues.

Ethnic composition of Croatia
Ethnicity Population % of total
Croats 3,977,171 89.63
Serbs 201,631 4.54
Bosniaks 20,755 0.49
Italians 19,636 0.44
Hungarians 16,595 0.37
Albanians 15,082 0.34
Slovenians 13,173 0.30
Czechs 10,510 0.24
Roma 9,463 0.21
Montenegrins 4,926 0.11
Slovaks 4,712 0.11
Macedonians 4,270 0.10

There is also a sizeable German/Austrian minority and also an increasing Chinese population in Zagreb and the other bigger cities, estimated at between 1,500 to 3,000.[4]



Croatian culture is based on a thirteen century-long history during which the country has attained many monuments and cities, which gave birth to a number of historical figures. The country includes six World Heritage sites and eight national parks. Among a list of notable people that came from Croatia are two Nobel prize winners, and numerous inventors. Some of the world's first fountain pens, came from Croatia.

Croatia also has a place in the history of clothing as the origin of the necktie (cravat). The country has a long artistic, literary and musical tradition. Of particular interest is the diverse nature of cuisine.


See also








External links


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