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Republic of Croatia
Republika Hrvatska
Flag of Croatia Coat of arms of Croatia
Flag Coat of arms
AnthemLijepa naša domovino
Our beautiful homeland

Location of Croatia
Location of  Croatia  (orange)

on the European continent  (white)  —  [Legend]

(and largest city)
45°48′N 16°0′E / 45.8°N 16°E / 45.8; 16
Official languages Croatian1
Demonym Croat/Croats
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Stjepan Mesić
 -  Prime Minister Ivo Sanader
 -  President of Parliament Luka Bebić
 -  Founded First half of 7th century 
 -  Medieval duchy March 4, 852 
 -  Recognized by the Pope May 21, 879 
 -  Elevated to kingdom 925 
 -  Union with Hungary 1102 
 -  Joined Habsburg Empire January 1, 1527 
 -  Independence from Austria-Hungary
October 29, 1918 
 -  Joined Yugoslavia (co-founder)
December 1, 1918 
 -  Declared independence June 25, 1991 
 -  Total 56,542 km2 (126th)
21,831 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.2
 -  2008 estimate 4,491,543[1] (114th)
 -  2001 census 4,337,460 
 -  Density 81/km2 (115th)
208/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $73.087 billion[2] 
 -  Per capita $16,474[2] (51st)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $63.948 billion[2] 
 -  Per capita $14,414[2] 
Gini (2005) 29 (low
HDI (2006) 0.862 (high) (45th)
Currency kuna (HRK)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .hr
Calling code 385
1 Also Italian in Istria and languages of other national minorities (Serbian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, etc.) in residential municipalities of the national minorities.
Coronation of king Tomislav (modern painting by Oton Iveković)

Croatia en-us-Croatia.ogg /kroʊˈeɪʃə/ (Croatian: Hrvatska IPA[xr̩ʋaːtskaː]), officially the Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska Republika_Hrvatska.ogg listen ), is a Central European country at the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Its capital (and largest city) is Zagreb. Croatia borders Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Bosnia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast. Its southern and western flanks border the Adriatic Sea, and it also shares a sea border with Italy in the Gulf of Trieste.

The Croats arrived in the seventh century in what is Croatia today. They organized the state into two dukedoms. The first king, Tomislav I was crowned in AD 925 and Croatia was elevated into Kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for almost two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Zvonimir. Via "Pacta conventa", Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1526, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand from the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918 Croatia declared independence from Austria-Hungary and joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as co-founder. During World War II, Nazis occupied Croatian territory and created a puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia. After the war Croatia became a founding member of Second Yugoslavia. On June 25, 1991 Croatia declared independence and became sovereign state.

Croatia is a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe, CEFTA, and is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–09 term. The country is also a candidate for membership of the European Union. Additionally, Croatia is also a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean upon its establishment in 2008.


[edit] History

[edit] Early history

Oton Iveković, The arrival of the Croats at the shores of Adriatic

The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period, ever since the Stone Age. In the area of Krapina, fossils of the Neanderthals have been unearthed dating to the middle Paleolithic. In the early Neolithic period, the Starčevo, Vučedol and Hvar cultures were scattered around the region. The Iron Age left traces of the Hallstatt culture (early Illyrians) and the La Tène culture (Celts).

Much later the region was settled by Liburnians and Illyrians, and Greek colonies were established on the islands of Vis (by the Dionysius I of Syracuse) and Hvar.[3] In 9 AD the territory of today's Croatia became part of the Roman Empire. The Emperor Diocletian built a massive palace in Split where he retired from politics in AD 305.[4] During the 5th century the last Roman Emperor Julius Nepos [5] ruled his small empire from Diocletian's Palace before he was killed in AD 480. The early history of Croatia ends with the Avar invasion in the first half of the 7th century and the destruction of almost all Roman towns. Roman survivors retreated to strategically better defending points on the coast, islands and mountains. Today's city of Dubrovnik was founded by the survivors.

[edit] Kingdom of Croatia

Baška tablet, oldest evidence of the glagolitic script

The Croats arrived in what is today Croatia in the early 7th century. They organized into two dukedoms; the duchy of Pannonian Croatia in the north and the duchy of Littoral Croatia in the south. Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus says that Porga, duke of the Dalmatian Croats, who had been invited into Dalmatia by Byzantium Emperor Heraclius, sent to Heraclius for Christian teachers. At the request of Byzantium Emperor Heraclius, Pope John IV (640-642) sent Christian teachers and missionaries to the Croatian Provinces.[6] These missionaries had converted Porga, and also a great many of the clan that was under his immediate authority, to the Catholic faith in 640. For the most part, the Christianization of the settled Croats ended in the 9th century. Both duchies became Frankish vassals in late 8th century, and eventually became independent in the following century.

The first native Croatian ruler recognized by the pope was duke Branimir, whom Pope John VIII called dux Croatorum ("king of Croats") in 879.[7] Duke Tomislav of Littoral Croatia was one of the most prominent members of the House of Trpimirović. He united the Croats of Dalmatia and Pannonia into a single Kingdom in 925. Tomislav rounded off his state from the Adriatic Sea to the Drava River, and from the Raša River in Istria to the Drina River. Under his rule, Croatia became one of the most powerful kingdoms in Medieval Europe.[8] Tomislav defeated the Hungarian invasions of the Arpads in battle and forced them across the Drava River. He also annexed a part of Pannonian Croatia to his Croatian Dalmatia. This included the area between the rivers Drava, Sava and Kupa, so his Duchy bordered with Bulgaria for a period of time. This was the first time that the two Croatian Realms were united, and all Croats were in one state. This crowning was later confirmed by the Byzantium which gave the king crown to Stjepan Držislav [9] and pope crown to king Zvonimir. The medieval Croatian kingdom reached its peak during the reign of Kings Petar Krešimir IV (1058–1074) and Zvonimir (1075–1089).

[edit] Croatia in personal union with Hungary

Arhitecture of Medieval Croatia, Zadar

Following the disappearance of the Croatian ruling dynasty in 1091 Ladislaus I of Hungary the brother of Jelena Lijepa, the last Croatian queen, became the king of Croatia. Croatian nobility of Littoral opposed this crowning, which led to 10 years of war and the recognition of the Hungarian ruler Coloman as the common king for Croatia and Hungary in the treaty of 1102 (often referred to as the Pacta conventa). In return, Coloman promised to maintain Croatia as a separate kingdom, not to settle Croatia with Hungarians, to guarantee Croatia's self-governance under a ban (royal governor), and to respect all the rights, laws and privileges of the Croatian Kingdom. During this union, the Kingdom of Croatia never lost its right to elect their own kings, had the ruling dynasty become extinct. In 1293 and 1403 [10] Croatia chose its own kings, but in both cases the Kingdom of Hungary declared war and the union was reestablished.

For the next four centuries, the Kingdom of Croatia was ruled by parliament and Bans appointed by the Hungarian king. The Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia remained a legally distinct constitutional entity [11], but the change to a Hungarian king brought about other consequences such as: the introduction of feudalism and the rise of the native noble families such as Frankopan and Šubić. From this period of the personal union, the Congregatio Regni tocius Sclavonie Generalis, the oldest surviving document of Croatian parliament, dated 1273, was produced.[12] The later kings sought to restore some of their previously lost influence by giving certain privileges to towns.

The first period of personal union between Croatia and Hungary ended in 1526 with the Battle of Mohács and the defeat of Hungarian forces by the Ottomans. After the death of King Louis II, Croatian nobles at Cetingrad assembly decided to choose Habsburgs as the new rulers of Croatia, under the condition that they provide the troops and finances required to protect Croatia against the Ottoman Empire.[13][12] .

[edit] Republic of Dubrovnik

Republic of Dubrovnik before 1808

City of Dubrovnik was established in 7th century [14] after Avar and Slavic raiders destroyed the Roman city of Epidaurum. Surviving Roman population had escaped to a small island near the coast where they founded a new settlement. During the Fourth Crusade the city fell under the control of the Republic of Venice which would last until 1358 and Zadar treaty in which Venice, defeated by Croato-Hungarian kingdom, lost control of Dalmatia and Republic of Dubrovnik became a vassal to the kingdom. Through the next 450 years Republic of Dubrovnik would be vassal to the personal union, the Ottomans and the Habsburgs. During this time the republic became rich through trade. The republic became the most important publisher of Croatian literature during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Aside from poets and writers, whose works were important for Croatian-wide development of literature like Marin Držić and Ivan Gundulić, the most famous person from Republic of Dubrovnik was the scientist Ruđer Josip Bošković, who was a member of the Royal Society and the Russian Academy of Sciences. The republic would survive until 1808 when it was annexed by Napoleon. Today the city of Dubrovnik is a famous tourist destination and has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

[edit] Ottoman Wars

Nikola Šubić Zrinski, great Croatian hero in wars against Ottomans

Shortly after the Battle of Mohács, Habsburg unsuccessfully sought to stabilise borders between the Ottomans and the Kingdom of Croatia by creating a captaincy in Bihać. However, in 1529, the Turks swept through the area and captured Buda and besieged Vienna; a movement which brought violence and turmoil to the Croatian border areas (see Ottoman wars in Europe). After the failure of the first military operations, the Kingdom of Croatia was split into civilian and military units in 1553. From the military half, Habsburg created Croatian and Slavonian Krajina and both eventually became parts of the Military Frontier which was directly under the control of Vienna. Ottoman raids on Croatian territory continued until 1593 when the Battle of Sisak, after which borders stabilised for considerable time. The kingdom of that time has become known under the name of Reliquiae reliquiarum olim inclyti Regni Croatiae ("The remains of the remains of once famous Kingdom of Croatia"). The most famous battle of these wars was the Battle of Szigetvár when 2,300 soldiers under the leadership of the Croatian ban Nikola Šubić Zrinski held back for two months 100,000 Ottoman soldiers led by the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, fighting to the last man. Cardinal Richelieu was reported to have called this battle "the battle that saved civilization."[15]

During the Great Turkish War, Slavonia was restored but the hilly western Bosnia which had been a part of Croatia until the Ottoman conquest remained outside Croatia control and the current borders, which resemble a crescent or a horseshoe, is a remnant of this historical outcome. The southern part of the 'horseshoe' was created with by the Republic of Venice conquest following the Siege of Zara and was influenced by the 17-18th century wars with Ottomans. De jure reason for this Venetian expansion was the decision of the crowned king of Croatia, Ladislas of Naples, to sell his rights on Dalmatia to Venice in 1409 [2].

During more than 2 centuries of Ottoman Wars, Croatia underwent great demographic changes. The Croats have left because of Turks the riverland areas of Gacka, Lika and Krbava, Moslavina in Slavonia and an area of present day north-western Bosnia towards Austria where they remained and the present day Burgenland Croats are direct descendants from these settlers. In place of the escaping Croats, Habsburgs have called on the Ortodox populations of Bosnia and Serbia to military service in Croatian and Slavonian Krajina. The first massive coming of the Orthodox Vlachs, which took on a Serbian identity during the first part of the 18th century[16] and then of the Serbs which slowly started to arrive during 16th century, and then majorly during the Great Serb Migrations of 1690 and 1737-39. The rights and obligations of new populace of the Military frontier were decided with Statuta Valachorum in 1630 [17].

[edit] National revival

National revival in Croatia started in 1813 when the bishop of Zagreb Maksimilijan Vrhovac issued a plea for the collection of "national treasures". In the beginning of the 1830s, a group of young Croatian writers gathered in Zagreb and established the Illyrian movement for national renewal and unity of all South Slavs within the Habsburg Monarchy. The most important focus of Illyrians was the establishment of standard language as a counter-weight to Hungarian, and the promotion of Croatian written literature and official culture. Important members of this movement were Count Janko Drašković who wrote a pamphlet in 1832 which created movement, Ljudevit Gaj who received permission from royal government of Habsburg Monarchy for printing first newspaper in Croatian, Josif Runjanin writer of lyrics for the Croatian national anthem, Vatroslav Lisinski composer of the first Croatian opera "Ljubav i zloba" ("Love and Malice", 1846) and many others.

Fearful of first Hungarian and then Habsburg pressure of assimilation Kingdom of Croatia has always refused to change official language which has stayed Latin until middle of 19 century. Only on 2 May 1843 Croatian language has been first time spoken in parliament [18] and it has become official only because of popularity of Illyrian movement in 1847.

[edit] Austro-Hungary

Croatian answer to Hungarian revolution of 1848 was the declaration of war. Austrian, Croatian and Russian forces together defeated the Hungarian army in 1849 and next 17 years were remembered in Croatia and Hungary as Germanization. Failure of this policy resulted in Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and the creation of a new state which was a monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. With this compromise, the only open question of new state was the status of Croatians. The next year Croatian and Hungarian parliament created a constitution for the personal union of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia and the Kingdom of Hungary [19].

After the Ottoman Empire lost military control over Bosnia and Herzegovina Austro-Hungary abolished Croatian and Slavonian Krajina, and restored territory to Croatia in 1881. During the second half of the 19th century pro-Hungarian political parties played Croats against Serbs with the aim of controlling the parliament. This policy failed in 1906 when Croat-Serbian coalition became the election winner. The newly created political situation did not change until World War I.

On 10 July 1856 Nikola Tesla, without question the most famous person from Croatia, is born in Smiljan which was in Croatian Krajina at the time. Contemporary biographers of Tesla have regarded him as "The Father of Physics", "The man who invented the twentieth century"[20] and "the patron saint of modern electricity."[21]. "Tesla was always proud of his Serbian origin and Croatian homeland."[22]

[edit] Kingdom of Yugoslavia

On 29 October 1918, the Croatian Sabor (parliament) declared independence [23] and vested its sovereignty in the new State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Pressured by Italian army that was entering its territory of the new state from south and west, State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs started expedient negotiations with Kingdom of Serbia and on November 23, 1918 delegation was sent to Belgrade for proclamation of union. From national assembly of State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs delegation received 11 points which need to be fullfilled for creation of future state [24]. Most important of these points is the first which refers for the need of a constitution of the new state, that was voted on in parliament with two thirds majority. Eventually, a constitution for centralized state was voted with 50% + 1 vote majority and caused the end of state autonomy. This decision had created public outcry between Croats, which started a political upheaval for the restoration of state autonomy under the leadership of Croatian Peasant Party.

The unhealthy political situation in Yugoslavia became much worse after Stjepan Radić, the president of CPP, was killed in Yugoslav parliament in 1928 by Serbian ultra-nationalist Puniša Račić. The ensuing chaotic period ended the next year with the banning of all political parties and proclamation of a Yugoslav king: Alexander dictatorship. The next 4 years Yugoslav regime was described by Albert Einstein as a "horrible brutality which is being practised upon the Croatian People" .[25]. During dictatorship Vladko Maček next leader of Croatian Peasant Party has ended in prison and he will become free after end of dictatorship when Yugoslav king Alexander was killed in plot that was organized by the Croatian right wing extremist movement Ustaše. Upon Maček's release, the Yugoslav political situation was then restored to situation before Stjepan Radić killings with Croatian demands for autonomy against Yugoslav government decisions in protection of the centralized state. The Croatian question was solved only on August 26, 1939 with Cvetković-Maček Agreement when Croatia received autonomy (and had borders extended) and Maček became Yugoslav vice-prime minister. The ensueing peace that followed, starting in 1939 was short lived when Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941.

[edit] World War II

The German invasion lasted little more than ten days, ending with the unconditional surrender of the Royal Yugoslav Army on April 17. The territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina became a Nazi Germany puppet state[26][27] called Independent State of Croatia. In the beginning, they offered state leadership to Vladko Maček, but after he refused the position and was imprisoned, leadership was given to Ante Pavelić and the Ustaše extremists who began a reign of terror. Only one day after entering Zagreb, on April 17, 1941, Ante Pavelić proclaimed that all people who offended, or tried to offend the Croatian nation were guilty of treason — a crime punishable by death.[28] Shortly after that, in the first days of May, the minister of education, Mile Budak, declared: "We will kill one third of all Serbs. We will deport another third, and the rest of them will be forced to convert to Catholicism." In the end, between 56,000-97,000 people (Serbs, Jews, Croats, Roma) were killed under the Independent State of Croatia government (today territory of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina). [29] [30]. In response to this reign of terror, a massive uprising began on June 22, 1941 with the creation of 1st Sisak Partisan Detachment. The leadership of the Yugoslav partisan movement was in the hands of Croat Josip Broz Tito whose policy of brotherhood and unity would in the end defeat Chetniks forces led by nationalistic hate mongers towards Croats, Muslims and Ustaše forces fueled by hatred towards Serbs.

[edit] Socialist Yugoslavia

Modern Croatia was founded on AVNOJ anti-fascist partisans' principles during the second world war, and it became a constitutional federal republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[31]. A Communist dictatorship was established, but due to the Tito-Stalin split economic and personal freedom were better than in the Eastern Bloc. From the 1950s, the Socialist Republic of Croatia enjoyed a autonomy under the rule of the local Communist elite, but in 1967 group of influential Croatian poets and linguists published a Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Standard Language. After 1968 the patriotic goals of that document morphed into a generic Croatian movement for more rights for Croatia, greater civil rights and demands for the decentralization of the economy. In the end The Yugoslav leadership interpreted the Croatian Spring as a restoration of Croatian nationalism, dismissed the movement as chauvinistic and arrested must important leaders. In 1974, a new Yugoslav federal constitution was ratified that gave more autonomy to the individual republics, thereby basically fulfilling the main goals of the Croatian Spring.

[edit] Independent Croatia

Circle of nationalistic violence which will destroy Yugoslavia has started with Albanian 1981 demands for Kosovo to be removed from Serbia and become a constituent republic inside Yugoslavia [32], Serbian nationalistic answer in 1986 and in the end with Croatian and Slovenian nationalism in 1989 after Serbia organized coups in Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro.

Under influence of Slobodan Milošević propaganda it diminished the importance who won the first Croatian multi party elections in 50 years, because allegedly Serbs influenced both Croatian nationalist leader Franjo Tuđman and communist leader Ivica Račan. [33]. The Electoral win of Franjo Tuđman, further inflamed the situation in Croatia, Serbs left the Croatian parliament, and created the Association of the municipalities of Northern Dalmatia and Lika in Knin, which was latter to become the the Republika Srpska Krajina. Of the events of 1990-92 Milan Babić, president of Republika Srpska Krajina, was later to declare that he had been "strongly influenced and misled by Serbian propaganda" [34]. On the other side questionable statements of Croatian president Franjo Tuđman; like "I am happy that my wife is not Serbian or Jew" [35] did nothing to improve the situation. The events culminated in the full scale Serb rebelion, in 1991 which lasted until Operation Storm, when most of Croatia was liberated by the Croatian Army. On August 6, 1995, the leadership of Republika Srpska Krajina gave the order that all population would have to leave Croatia for Bosnia and Herzegovina [3].

Croatia was internationally recognized on January 15th, 1992, by the European Union and the United Nations, at a moment where it didn't have full sovereignty over more than 1/3rd of its territory. The first country to recognize Croatia was Iceland on December 19, 1991.[36]

[edit] Geography

Map of Croatia

Croatia is located between South-Central Europe and Middle 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.

Its terrain is diverse, including:

Phytogeographically, Croatia belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Central European and Illyrian provinces of the Circumboreal Region and the Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. According to the WWF, the territory of Croatia can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.

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. Istra has a temperate climate, while the Palagruža archipelago is home to a subtropical climate.

Island of Mljet
Lučice Bay near Milna, Brač
Trakošćan Castle
Dubrovnik's Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major tourist attraction

Offshore Croatia consists of over one thousand islands varying in size. The largest islands in Croatia are Cres and Krk which are located in the Adriatic Sea. The Danube, Europe's second longest river, runs through the city of Vukovar. Dinara, the eponym of the Dinaric Alps, is the highest peak of Croatia at 1,831 metres above sea level.[37]

There are 49 pits deeper than 250 m in Croatia, 14 of them are deeper than 500 m and three deeper than 1000 m (Cave system Lukina jama-Trojama, Slovacka jama and Cave system Velebita). The deepest Croatian pits are mostly found in two regions - Mt. Velebit and Mt. Biokovo.[38]

[edit] Counties

Croatia is divided into 20 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

[edit] World Heritage Sites

[edit] Government and politics

Banski dvori - 2-story baroque building which was the residence of Croatian bans from 1809 until 1918

Since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution, Croatia has been a democracy. 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. His official residence is Predsjednički dvori. Apart from that he has summer residences on the islands of Vanga (Brijuni islands) and the island of Hvar.

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, was abolished in 2001). 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. Government's official residence is at Banski dvori.

[edit] Law

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. Law enforcement in Croatia is the responsibility of the Croatian police force, which is under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.[39][40] In recent years, the force has been undergoing a reform with assistance from international agencies, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe since its mission to Croatia began on 18 April 1996.[39]

[edit] Demographics

For the most of the 20th century the population of Croatia has been rising from 3,430,270 in 1931 to 4,784,265 in 1991 [4]. The natural growth rate of the population is currently negative[41] with the demographic transition completed in the 1970s.[42] Average life expectancy is 75.1 years,[41] and the literacy rate is 98.1 percent.[41] During recent years Croatian government is pressured each year to add 40% to work permit quotas for foreign workers [5] and in accordance with its immigration policy it is trying to entice emigrants to return [6]. The main religions of Croatia are Roman Catholic 88%, Orthodox 4.4%, other Christian 0.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other and unspecified 0.9%, none 5.2%.

During the last decade of the 20th century the population of Croatia has been stagnating because of Croatian War of Independence. During the 1991–95 war, large sections of the population were displaced and emigration increased. In 1991, during the war campaign started by rebel Serb forces more than 80,000 Croats were forced out of their homes or fled the violence[43]. During the final days of the war in 1995, more than 120,000 Serbs[44], and perhaps as many as 200,000[45], fled Croatia due to a liberation of occupied areas by Croatian forces. Only a small fraction of Serbs and Croats have returned to their homes since 1995, according to the Human Rights Watch.[46]

[edit] Economy

The Croatian economy has a stable functioning market economy. International Monetary Fund data shows that Croatian nominal GDP stood at $50.053 billion, or $11,271 per capita, in 2007.[47] The IMF forecast for 2008 is $54.950 billion, or $13,553 per capita.[47] In purchasing power parity terms, total GDP was $69.866 billion in 2007, equivalent to $15,733 per capita.[47] For 2008, it is forecast to be $74.419 billion, or $16,758 per capita.[47]

According to Eurostat data, Croatian PPS GDP per capita stood at 57.5 per cent of the EU average in 2007, and is forecast to reach 57.8 per cent in 2008.[48] Real GDP growth in 2007 was 6.0 per cent.[49] The average gross salary of a Croat during the first nine months of 2008 was 7,161 kuna (US$ 1,530) per month[50] In 2007, the International Labour Organization-defined unemployment rate stood at 9.1 per cent, after falling steadily from 14.7 percent in 2002.[51] The registered unemployment rate is higher, though, standing at 13.7 percent in December 2008.[52]

In 2007, 7.2 percent of economic output was accounted for by agriculture, 32.8 percent by industry and 60.7 percent by the service sector.[41] According to 2004 data, 2.7 percent of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 32.8 percent by industry and 64.5 in services.[41]

The industrial sector is dominated by shipbuilding, food processing and the chemical industry. Tourism is a notable source of income during the summer, with over 11 million foreign tourists in 2008 generating a revenue of €8 billion.[53] Croatia is ranked as the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world.[53] In 2006 Croatia exported goods to the value of $10.4 billion (FOB) ($19.7 billion including service exports).[53]

Of particular concern is the backlogged judiciary system, combined with inefficient public administration, especially issues of land ownership and corruption. Another main problem includes the large and growing national debt which has reached over 34 billion euro or 89.1 per cent of the nations gross domestic product.[54] Because of these problems, studies show that the population of Croatia generally has negative expectations of the country's economic future.[55]

The country has been preparing for membership in the European Union, its most important trading partner. In February 2005, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU officially came into force.

[edit] Infrastructure

A1 highway connecting Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik
Skradin Bridge

The highlight of Croatia's recent infrastructure developments is its rapidly-growing highway network, of which plans were drawn and work commenced in the 1970s, but was realised only after independence due to the (then) Yugoslav Government plans of road projects of 'national' importance.

Croatia has now over 1,200 km of highways connecting Zagreb to most other regions. The best known highways are A1, connecting Zagreb to Split and A3, passing east-west through northwest Croatia and Slavonia. Most highways are tolled, except the Zagreb bypass and sections of A3, A7, B8 and B9. There is also a smaller and more obscure network of expressways connecting to the highways. One of the most used is the B28 expressway, connecting A4 near Zagreb to Bjelovar, but also serving as the main shunpiking alternative to the A3. The Croatian highways network its considered one of very good overall quality and excellent security, winning several EUROTAP awards.[56][57]

Croatia Airlines is the croatian national airline

Croatia has an extensive rail network, although due to historical circumstances, some regions (notably Istria and even more so Dubrovnik) are not accessible by train without passing through neighbouring countries. Serious investment is needed in the rail network over the coming decades to bring it up to European standards in both speed and operational efficiency. All rail services are operated by Croatian Railways (Croatian: Hrvatske željeznice). The inter-city bus network (operated by private operators) is extensively developed, with higher levels of coverage and timetables than the railways.

Croatia has three major international airports, located in Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. Other important airports include Zadar, Rijeka (on the island of Krk), Osijek, Bol, Lošinj and Pula. Croatia Airlines is the national airline and flag carrier. An extensive system of ferries, operated by Jadrolinija, serves Croatia's many islands and links coastal cities. Ferry services to Italy are also available.

[edit] Education

University of Zagreb

Primary education in Croatia starts at the age of six or seven and consists of eight grades. In 2007 a law was passed to increase free but not compulsory education until eighteen years of age. Compulsory education consists of eight grades ( Elementary School ) Secondary education is provided by gymnasiums and vocational schools.

Croatia has seven universities, the University of Zagreb, University of Split, University of Rijeka, University of Osijek, University of Zadar, University of Dubrovnik and the University of Pula. The University of Zadar, the first University in Croatia, was founded in 1396 and remained active until 1807, when other institutions of higher education took over until the foundation of the renewed University of Zadar in 2002. The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating University in Southeastern Europe. There are also polytechnic and higher education institutions.

[edit] Culture

Mediterranian Cuisine in Dalmatia
White Truffles from Istria

Croatian culture is the result of a fourteen century-long history which has seen the development of many cities and monuments. The country includes seven World Heritage sites and eight national parks. Croatia is also the birthplace of a number of historical figures. Included among the notable people are three 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 (kravata). The country has a long artistic, literary and musical tradition. Also of interest is the diverse nature of Croatian cuisine.

[edit] Sport

Sports popular in Croatia include football, handball, basketball, water polo and tennis. The Croatian national football team finished third in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Davor Šuker won the Golden Boot as the top goal scorer. The country failed in its joint bid with Hungary to co-host the 2012 European Championships.

The Croatian national handball team were world champions in 2003 and two time Olympic winners in 1996 and 2004. Ivano Balić is considered to be the best handball player in the world. RK Zagreb was a two time European champion and RK Bjelovar won the same championship once.

The national basketball team finished third at the 1994 FIBA World Championship, second at the 1992 Summer Olympics and third at EuroBasket 1993 and 1995. Croatian basketball clubs were European champions 5 times: KK Split three times and KK Cibona twice. The third most famous basketball club is KK Zadar.

The Croatian national water polo team are the current world champions. Mladost was a seven time European champion and was awarded the title Best Club of the 20th Century by LEN. Jug and Jadran were both three time European champions. Croatian Davis Cup team won the tournament in 2005.

The tennis player Goran Ivanišević is one of the country's most recognisable sportsmen who won the 2001 Men's Singles title at Wimbledon. Some of the other most famous athletes include Janica Kostelić and Ivica Kostelić in skiing, Blanka Vlašić in athletics, Duje Draganja, Sanja Jovanović and Đurđica Bjedov in swimming, Dražen Petrović, Krešimir Ćosić, Toni Kukoč and Dino Rađa in basketball, Matija Ljubek in canoeing, Željko Mavrović and Mate Parlov in boxing, Branko Cikatić and Mirko Filipović, known as "Cro Cop", in kickboxing and mixed martial arts and UFC fighter Goran Reljic in mixed martial arts, Tamara Boroš in table tennis.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "CIA World Factbook: Croatia". Central Intelligence Agency, United States. 2009-02-24. Retrieved on 2009-02-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Croatia". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  3. ^ Wilkes, J. J. (1992). The Illyrians. p. 114. ISBN 0631198075. "... in the early history of the colony settled in 385 BC on the island Pharos (Hvar) from the Aegean island Paros, famed for its marble. In traditional fashion they accepted the guidance of an oracle, ..." 
  4. ^ Gibbon, Edward. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Modern Library, New York, p. 335
  5. ^ J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, §4, p. 408.
  6. ^ De Administrando Imperio, Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos,
  7. ^ Stjepan Antoljak, Pregled hrvatske povijesti, Split 1993., str. 43.
  8. ^ Opća enciklopedija JLZ. Zagreb. 1982. 
  9. ^ Recipiebant enim regie dignitatis insignia ab imperatoribus Constantinopolitanis et dicebantur eorum eparchi siue patritii
  10. ^ Kako je Ladislav prodao Dalmaciju
  11. ^ Michigan state university libraries-Steven W. Sowards:25 lectures on modern Balkan history
  12. ^ a b History of Croatian parliament on Croatian
  13. ^ Milan Kruhek: Cetin, grad izbornog sabora Kraljevine Hrvatske 1527, Karlovačka Županija, 1997, Karlovac
  14. ^ Andrew Archibald Paton (1861). Researches on the Danube and the Adriatic; Or Contributions to the Modern History of Hungary and Translvania, Dalmatia and Croatia, Servia and Bulgaria, Brockhaus
  15. ^ [1] Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers, Item 548456
  16. ^ Evaluating the Slavonian Census of 1698
  17. ^ [Jean Nouzille:Historie de frontieres:L'Autriche et l'Empire Ottoman, page 263]
  18. ^ Govor Ivana Kukuljevića Sakcinskog u Saboru 2 svibnja 1843
  19. ^ Constitution of Union between Croatia-Slavonia and Hungary
  20. ^ Lomas, Robert (1999). The Man who Invented the Twentieth Century. London: Headline. ISBN 0747275882. 
  21. ^ Seifer, "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla," book synopsis
  22. ^ Tesla telegram to Vladko Maček
  23. ^ Povijest saborovanja
  24. ^ Naputak Narodnog vijeća SHS delegaciji za pregovore i utanačenje ujedinjenja države SHS s Kraljevinom Srbijom
  25. ^ Einstein accuses Yugoslavian rulers in savant's murder, New York Times. May 6, 1931. mirror
  26. ^ Independent State of Croatia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  27. ^ Yugoslavia, Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  28. ^ Independent State of Croatia laws on Croatian
  29. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about Jasenovac and Independent State of Croatia
  30. ^ Genocide and Resistance in Hitler’s Bosnia: The Partisans and the Chetniks, 1941-1943 pp20
  31. ^ Croatian constitution
  33. ^ Dusan Bilandzic:Hrvatska moderna povijest
  34. ^ ICTY Sentencing Judgement
  35. ^ Žene Franje Tuđmana
  36. ^ "Važniji datumi iz povijesti saborovanja". Hrvatski Sabor. Retrieved on 2008-04-23. 
  37. ^ "Dinara -- Climbing, Hiking & Mountaineering". SummitPost. Retrieved on 2008-05-16. 
  38. ^ "Caves in Croatia". The Speleological Committee of the Croatian Mountaineering Association. Retrieved on 2008-08-22. 
  39. ^ a b OSCE Mission to Croatia retrieved May 19, 2007
  40. ^ Police, Croatia retrieved May 19, 2007
  41. ^ a b c d e "Croatia". CIA World Factbook. 2008-03-06. Retrieved on 2008-03-09. 
  42. ^ Mrđen, Snježana; Friganović, Mladen (1998). "The demographic situation in Croatia". Geoadria 3: 29-56. 
  43. ^ "Summary of judgement for Milan Martić". United Nations. 2007-06-12. Retrieved on 2008-06-21. 
  44. ^ "For Serbs in Croatia, a Pledge Unkept". Retrieved on 2000-01-16. 
  45. ^
  46. ^ " - Croatia: Plight of returning Serb refugees may slow EU bid". Retrieved on 2009-01-03. 
  47. ^ a b c d "World Economic Outlook Database". International Monetary Fund. October 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-09. 
  48. ^ "GDP per capita in PPS". Eurostat.,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&screen=detailref&language=en&product=STRIND_ECOBAC&root=STRIND_ECOBAC/ecobac/eb011. Retrieved on 2008-03-09. 
  49. ^ "Real GDP growth rate". Eurostat.,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&screen=detailref&language=en&product=STRIND_ECOBAC&root=STRIND_ECOBAC/ecobac/eb012. Retrieved on 2008-05-21. 
  50. ^ "Plaće nominalno veće, ali realno u padu" (in Croatian). 2008-11-06. Retrieved on 2008-11-21. 
  51. ^ "Unemployment rate – total". Eurostat.,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&screen=detailref&language=en&product=STRIND_EMPLOI&root=STRIND_EMPLOI/emploi/em071. Retrieved on 2008-03-09. 
  52. ^ "Bulletin 134". Croatian National Bank. February 2008. Retrieved on 2008-03-22. 
  53. ^ a b c "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer". October 2007. Retrieved on 2008-04-23. 
  54. ^ Analysis: Despite debt, Croatia "not under financial collapse threat"
  55. ^ Gallup Balkan monitor:2008 Summary of findings
  56. ^ "EuroTest". Retrieved on 2009-01-03. 
  57. ^ "Brinje Tunnel Best European Tunnel - Croatia - Javno". Retrieved on 2009-01-03. 

[edit] Further reading

  • Agičić et al., Povijest i zemljopis Hrvatske, priručnik za hrvatske manjinske škole (History and Geography of Croatia, a handbook for Croatian minority schools), Biblioteka Geographica Croatica, 292 pages, Zagreb:2000 (ISBN 953-6235-40-4) (Croatian)
  • Branka Magaš. "Croatia Through History: The Making of a Modern European State" Saqi. November 2007, 680pp.
  • Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics Cornell University Press, 1984.
  • Mirjana Kasapović (ed.), Hrvatska politika 1990.-2000. Zagreb: Hrvatska politologija 2001.
  • Pavol Demes and Jörg Forbrig (eds.), Reclaiming Democracy: Civil Society and Electoral Change in Central and Eastern Europe. German Marshall Fund, 2007. ISBN 978-80-969639-0-4
  • Sharon Fisher, Political Change in Post-Communist Slovakia and Croatia: From Nationalist to Europeanist. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006 ISBN 1 4039 7286 9

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