/kroh ay"sheuh, -shee euh/, n.
a republic in SE Europe: includes the historical regions of Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia; formerly a part of Yugoslavia. 5,026,995, 21,835 sq. mi. (56,555 sq. km) Cap.: Zagreb. Serbo-Croatian, Hrvatska.

* * *


Introduction Croatia
Background: In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became an independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands. Under UN supervision the last Serb- held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. Geography Croatia -
Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia
Geographic coordinates: 45 10 N, 15 30 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 56,542 sq km water: 128 sq km land: 56,414 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries: total: 2,185 km border countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina 932 km, Hungary 329 km, Yugoslavia 254 km, Slovenia 670 km
Coastline: 5,835 km (mainland 1,777 km, islands 4,058 km)
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: Mediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast
Terrain: geographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m highest point: Dinara 1,830 m
Natural resources: oil, some coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 23.55% permanent crops: 2.24% other: 74.21% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes Environment - current issues: air pollution (from metallurgical plants) and resulting acid rain is damaging the forests; coastal pollution from industrial and domestic waste; landmine removal and reconstruction of infrastructure consequent to 1992-95 civil strife Environment - international party to: Air Pollution, Air
agreements: Pollution-Sulphur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: controls most land routes from Western Europe to Aegean Sea and Turkish Straits People Croatia
Population: 4,390,751 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.3% (male 411,847; female 390,797) 15-64 years: 66.3% (male 1,461,305; female 1,448,973) 65 years and over: 15.4% (male 252,970; female 424,859) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.12% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 12.8 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 11.31 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 9.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/ female total population: 0.94 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 7.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.13 years female: 77.96 years (2002 est.) male: 70.52 years
Total fertility rate: 1.93 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.02% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 350 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Croat(s), Croatian(s) adjective: Croatian
Ethnic groups: Croat 78.1%, Serb 12.2%, Bosniak 0.9%, Hungarian 0.5%, Slovene 0.5%, Czech 0.4%, Albanian 0.3%, Montenegrin 0.3%, Roma 0.2%, others 6.6% (1991)
Religions: Roman Catholic 76.5%, Orthodox 11.1%, Muslim 1.2%, Protestant 0.4%, others and unknown 10.8% (1991)
Languages: Croatian 96%, other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 97% male: 99% female: 95% (1991 est.) Government Croatia
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Croatia conventional short form: Croatia local short form: Hrvatska local long form: Republika Hrvatska
Government type: presidential/parliamentary democracy
Capital: Zagreb Administrative divisions: 20 counties (zupanije, zupanija - singular) and 1 city* (grad - singular); Bjelovarsko-Bilogorska Zupanija, Brodsko-Posavska Zupanija, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska Zupanija, Istarska Zupanija, Karlovacka Zupanija, Koprivnicko-Krizevacka Zupanija, Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija, Licko-Senjska Zupanija, Medimurska Zupanija, Osjecko- Baranjska Zupanija, Pozesko- Slavonska Zupanija, Primorsko- Goranska Zupanija, Sibensko-Kninska Zupanija, Sisacko-Moslavacka Zupanija, Splitsko-Dalmatinska Zupanija, Varazdinska Zupanija, Viroviticko-Podravska Zupanija, Vukovarsko-Srijemska Zupanija, Zadarska Zupanija, Zagreb*, Zagrebacka Zupanija
Independence: 25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia)
National holiday: Statehood Day, 25 June (1991)
Constitution: adopted on 22 December 1990
Legal system: based on civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (16 years of age, if employed)
Executive branch: chief of state: President Stjepan (Stipe) MESIC (since 18 February 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Ivica RACAN (since 27 January 2000); Deputy Prime Ministers Goran GRANIC (since 27 January 2000), Zeljka ANTUNOVIC (since 27 January 2000), Slavko LINIC (since 27 January 2000) cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the prime minister and approved by the House of Representatives elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 7 February 2000 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister nominated by the president in line with the balance of power in the Assembly note: government coalition - SDP, HSLS, HSS, LP, HNS; a fifth party, the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS), withdrew in June 2001 election results: Stjepan MESIC elected president; percent of vote - Stjepan MESIC (HNS) 56%, Drazen BUDISA (HSLS) 44%
Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly or Sabor (151 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - House of Counties was abolished in March 2001 election results: Assembly (then referred to as the House of Representatives) - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - HDZ 46, SDP 44, HSLS 24, HSS 17, HSP/ HKDU 5, IDS 4, HNS 2, independents 4, minority representatives 5 elections: Assembly - last held 2- 3 January 2000 (next to be held in the fall of 2003)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; judges for both courts appointed for eight-year terms by the Judicial Council of the Republic, which is elected by the House of Representatives Political parties and leaders: Alliance of Croatian Coast and Mountains Department or PGS [Luciano SUSANJ]; Croatian Christian Democratic Union or HKDU [Marko VESELICA]; Croatian Democratic Union or HDZ [Ivo SANADER]; Croatian Party of Rights or HSP [Dobroslav PARAGA]; Croatian Peasant Party or HSS [Zlatko TOMCIC]; Croatian People's Party or HNS [Vesna PUSIC]; Croatian Social Liberal Party or HSLS [Drazen BUDISA]; Croatian True Revival Party or HIP [Miroslav TUDJMAN]; Independent Democratic Serb Party or SDSS [Vojislav STANIMIROVIC]; Istrian Democratic Assembly or IDS [Ivan JAKOVCIC]; Liberal Party or LP [leader NA]; Social Democratic Party of Croatia or SDP [Ivica RACAN] note: the Social Democratic Party or SDP and the Croatian Social Liberal Party or HSLS formed a coalition as did the HSS, HNS, LP, and IDS, which together defeated the Croatian Democratic Union or HDZ in the 2000 lower house parliamentary election; the IDS subsequently left the governing coalition in June 2001 over its inability to win greater autonomy for Istria Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization BIS, CCC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, ECE,
participation: FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ivan GRDESIC FAX: [1] (202) 588-8936 consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York telephone: [1] (202) 588-5899 chancery: 2343 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
US: Lawrence G. ROSSIN embassy: Andrije Hebranga 2, 10000 Zagreb mailing address: use street address telephone: [385] (1) 661-2200 FAX: [385] (1) 661-2373
Flag description: red, white, and blue horizontal bands with Croatian coat of arms (red and white checkered) Economy Croatia -
Economy - overview: Before the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Croatia, after Slovenia, was the most prosperous and industrialized area, with a per capita output perhaps one-third above the Yugoslav average. The economy emerged from its mild recession in 2000 with tourism the main factor, but massive structural unemployment remains a key negative element. The government's failure to press the economic reforms needed to spur growth is largely the result of coalition politics and public resistance, particularly from the trade unions, to measures that would cut jobs, wages, or social benefits. As a result, the country is likely to experience only moderate growth without disciplined fiscal and structural reform.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $36.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,300 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 10% industry: 33% services: 57% (2001 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 3.7%
percentage share: highest 10%: 23.3% (1998) Distribution of family income - Gini 29 (1998)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 1.7 million (2001) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate: 23% (December 2001)
Budget: revenues: $8.6 billion expenditures: $9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries: chemicals and plastics, machine tools, fabricated metal, electronics, pig iron and rolled steel products, aluminum, paper, wood products, construction materials, textiles, shipbuilding, petroleum and petroleum refining, food and beverages; tourism Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2001) Electricity - production: 10.578 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 44.76% hydro: 55.22% other: 0.02% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 12.638 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 900 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 3.7 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: wheat, corn, sugar beets, sunflower seed, barley, alfalfa, clover, olives, citrus, grapes, soybeans, potatoes; livestock, dairy products
Exports: $4.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: transport equipment, textiles, chemicals, foodstuffs, fuels
Exports - partners: Italy 24%, Germany 15%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 12%, Slovenia 9%, Austria 5.8% (2001 est.)
Imports: $8.4 billion (c.i.f., 2001)
Imports - commodities: machinery, transport and electrical equipment, chemicals, fuels and lubricants, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Italy 17%, Germany 16.9%, Slovenia 7.9%, Russia 7.5%, Austria 7% (2001 est.)
Debt - external: $11 billion (2001) Economic aid - recipient: $NA
Currency: kuna (HRK)
Currency code: HRK
Exchange rates: kuna per US dollar - 8.452 (January 2002), 8.340 (2001), 8.277 (2000), 7.112 (1999), 6.362 (1998), 6.101 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Croatia Telephones - main lines in use: 1,721,139 (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.3 million (2001)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: reconstruction plan calls for replacement of all analog circuits with digital and enlarging the network; a backup will be included in the plan for the main trunk international: digital international service is provided through the main switch in Zagreb; Croatia participates in the Trans-Asia- Europe (TEL) fiber-optic project which consists of two fiber-optic trunk connections with Slovenia and a fiber-optic trunk line from Rijeka to Split and Dubrovnik; Croatia is also investing in ADRIA 1, a joint fiber-optic project with Germany, Albania, and Greece (2000) Radio broadcast stations: AM 16, FM 98, shortwave 5 (1999)
Radios: 1.51 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 36 (plus 321 repeaters) (September 1995)
Televisions: 1.22 million (1997)
Internet country code: .hr Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 9 (2000)
Internet users: 200,000 (2001) Transportation Croatia
Railways: total: 2,726 km standard gauge: 2,726 km 1.435- m gauge (NA electrified) (2000)
Highways: total: 28,009 km paved: 23,695 km (including 330 km of expressways) unpaved: 4,314 km (2001)
Waterways: 785 km note: (perennially navigable; large sections of Sava blocked by downed bridges, silt, and debris)
Pipelines: crude oil 670 km; petroleum products 20 km; natural gas 310 km (1992)
Ports and harbors: Dubrovnik, Dugi Rat, Omisalj, Ploce, Pula, Rijeka, Sibenik, Split, Vukovar (inland waterway port on Danube), Zadar
Merchant marine: total: 49 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 681,465 GRT/1,076,315 DWT note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Hong Kong 1 (2002 est.) ships by type: bulk 14, cargo 13, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 5, container 1, multi-functional large-load carrier 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 4, short- sea passenger 3
Airports: 67 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 22 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 8 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 45 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 7 under 914 m: 37 (2001)
Heliports: 1 (2001) Military Croatia
Military branches: Ground Forces (Hrvatska Vojska, HV), Naval Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,086,578 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 860,497 (2002 est.)
service: Military manpower - reaching males: 30,037 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $520 million (2002 est.)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 2.39% (2002 est.)
GDP: Transnational Issues Croatia Disputes - international: Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue discussions on the disputed boundary in the Una River near Kostajnica, Hrvatska Dubica, and Zeljava; Bosnia and Herzegovina also protests Croatian claim to the tip of the Klek Peninsula and several islands near Neum; Hungary opposes Croatian plan to build a hydropower dam on the boundary stream Drava; Slovenia and Croatia have not obtained parliamentary ratification of 2001 land and maritime boundary treaty which cedes villages on the Dragonja River and Sveta Gera (Trdinov Peak) to Croatia, and most of Pirin Bay to Slovenia, but restricts Slovenian access to the open sea; Croatia and Yugoslavia continue to discuss disputed Prevlaka Peninsula and control over the Gulf of Kotor despite imminent UN intention to withdraw observer mission (UNMOP); Croatia and Italy are still trying to resolve bilateral property and ethnic minority rights dating from World War II
Illicit drugs: transit point along the Balkan route for Southwest Asian heroin to Western Europe; has been used as a transit point for maritime shipments of South American cocaine bound for Western Europe

* * *

officially Republic of Croatia

Country, west-central Balkans, southeastern Europe.

Area: 21,831 sq mi (56,542 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 4,405,000. Capital: Zagreb. The people are mainly Croats, with a large Serbian minority. Language: Croatian (official). Religions: Roman Catholicism (Croats), Serbian Orthodoxy (Serbs). Currency: kuna. Croatia includes the traditional regions of Dalmatia, Istria, and Croatia-Slavonia. Istria and Dalmatia, in the southwest, cover the rugged Adriatic coast. The northwest, known as the central mountain belt, contains part of the Dinaric Alps. The northeast is a fertile agricultural area; cattle breeding is important. The central mountain belt is known for fruit, and the farms of Istria and Dalmatia produce grapes and olives. The most important industries are food processing, wine making, textiles, chemicals, and petroleum and natural gas. Croatia is a republic with a unicameral legislature; its head of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. The Croats, a southern Slavic people, arrived in the 7th century AD and came under Charlemagne's rule in the 8th century. They converted to Christianity soon afterward and formed a kingdom in the 10th century. Croatia retained its independence under native kings until 1102, when the crown passed into the hands of the Hungarian dynasty. Nonetheless, even under dynastic union with Hungary, institutions of separate Croatian statehood were maintained. The area associated with the name Croatia shifted gradually north and west as its territory was eroded, first with the loss of Dalmatia to Venice by 1420 and then as a result of Ottoman conquests in the 16th century. During the 16th century the remainder of Croatia came under the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs. In 1867 it became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with Dalmatia and Istria ruled by Vienna and Croatia-Slavonia a Hungarian crown land. In 1918, after the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, Croatia joined other southern Slavic territories to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which was renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. In World War II an independent state of Croatia was established by Germany and Italy, embracing Croatia-Slavonia, part of Dalmatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina; after the war Croatia was rejoined to Yugoslavia as a people's republic. Croatia declared its independence in 1991, sparking insurrections by Croatian Serbs, who carved out autonomous regions with Yugoslav army help; Croatia took back most of these regions by 1995. With some stability returning, Croatia's economy began to revive in the late 1990s and early 21st century.

* * *

▪ 2009

56,594 sq km (21,851 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 4,433,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader

      In January 2008 the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which had won 66 of the 153 seats in the November 2007 parliamentary elections, joined forces with the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), the Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS), the Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU), and ethnic minority representatives to form a government. Prime Minister Ivo Sanader continued as head of government and reiterated his commitment to completing accession negotiations with the EU in 2009 and thereby paving the way for membership in 2010 or 2011. That same month, however, Croatia found itself in a dispute with neighbouring Slovenia and Italy when it unilaterally declared its own “ecological and fisheries protection zone” (ZERP) in the Adriatic Sea, which thus prevented Slovenia and Italy from fishing there. The issue prompted renewed tensions between Ljubljana and Zagreb; a series of other disputes were still unresolved. In March the Croatian parliament adopted amendments to the ZERP that gave EU member states an exemption. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed the resolution of the issue and signaled that accession negotiations would accelerate as a result.

      By July 2008 Croatia had opened negotiations on 21 of the 35 chapters of EU law. The European Commission had repeatedly requested that Croatia provide a plan to reform the shipbuilding sector, for which it would be required to cease providing state subsidies upon joining the EU. Shipbuilding accounted for 12–15% of total exports and directly employed more than 11,000 workers. Five of the six state-owned shipyards were operating at a deficit, despite repeated attempts to make them more competitive. In late August the government announced that by early 2009 it would privatize all six state-owned shipyards.

      The EU identified anticorruption efforts as a key area in which Croatia needed to demonstrate progress. In 2008 Croatia took several steps toward these goals, including the establishment of a new Police National Office for Quashing Corruption and Organized Crime, the prosecution of a surgeon for having accepted bribes from patients, and the launch of investigations into the conduct of Interior Minister Berislav Roncevic over a scandal involving the procurement of trucks when he was defense minister in 2004. Police also raided universities in a clampdown on professors who had accepted unofficial payments in return for granting good grades and for enrolling unqualified students. Concerns about organized crime reemerged in early October, however, when Ivana Hodak, the daughter of prominent lawyer Zvonimir Hodak, was shot dead. Zvonimir was representing former general Vladimir Zagorec, who was charged with having stolen diamonds valued at €3.5 million (about $4.4 million) to use as collateral in wartime arms deals. In response to the murder, Sanader fired Roncevic, as well as Justice Minister Ana Lovrin and Zagreb Police Chief Marijan Benko.g

      Croatia's bid for EU membership was strengthened by the fact that it had important allies among the current member states, including Germany and Austria. The EU, however, was not universally popular in Croatia; a Eurobarometer poll in June found that only one-third of Croatians approved of EU membership, while one-quarter believed that it was bad for Croatia (39% were undecided).

      In April Croatia was invited to join NATO, along with Albania. Current NATO member states signed accession protocols for Croatia in July, and the country was expected to formally join in April 2009 on the organization's 60th anniversary. Croatia was also a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2008–09 term.

      According to the IMF, GDP growth was forecast at 4.3%, while the budget deficit was projected at only 1.3% of GDP. Croatia's macroeconomic stability was endangered, however, by its high external debt and accelerating inflation; the IMF forecast that by year's end the current account deficit would reach 9% of GDP, and the Croatian National Bank expected that the average inflation rate would climb to 7%. The global economic crisis was likely to increase the cost and difficulty of maintaining this debt, while foreign investment and exports were expected to decline, exacerbating the country's economic vulnerability.

Liz David-Barrett

▪ 2008

56,594 sq km (21,851 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 4,440,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader

      Croatia continued in 2007 to redress problems stemming from its war of national liberation during the 1990s, and the country's anticorruption strategy, spearheaded by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, bore fruit during the year. In early March retired general Vladimir Zagorec was charged with having embezzled $5 million upon leaving his post in 2000 as assistant minister of defense. He stood accused of having stolen diamonds and jewels that were allegedly given to the Ministry of Defense by German arms dealer Josef Rothaichner as collateral for a 1993 missile-system purchase scheme. Having failed to appear in court, Zagorec was arrested in Vienna on March 13, and the judge at the Vienna provincial court ruled on July 25 that he could be extradited to Croatia. In June Croatian authorities carried out their largest anticorruption sting operation, code-named Maestro. They arrested and indicted eight people, including four senior officials of the Croatian Privatization Fund, for having taken bribes of more than $4 million in exchange for facilitating the illegal sale of several state-owned companies. On September 11 the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime, the country's main anticorruption institution, expanded its investigation to include two new suspects.

      Croatia also continued its progress in prosecuting suspected war criminals. On June 18 retired generals Mirko Norac and Rahim Ademi were charged, on the basis of command responsibility, with the unlawful killing during the 1993 Medak Pocket military operation of at least 29 Serbian civilians and at least 5 captured soldiers. On October 15 Branimir Glavas, a former strongman of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union, along with six other co-defendants, faced trial for having tortured and murdered Serb civilians in 1991 while he held the post of war commander in the besieged city of Osijek.

      Relations with neighbouring Slovenia warmed. Sanader and Slovene Prime Minister Janez Jansa agreed in August to resolve festering border disputes by seeking arbitration before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. They also agreed to resolve their differences over the jointly owned Krsko nuclear plant.

      During the second wave of privatization of the Croatian telecommunication company T-HT on September 17, the government put up for sale 23% of its 35% stake in the firm; a week later it raised the offer to 32.5%. The sale attracted wide interest among Croatian citizens, who were offered shares at a discount price. On October 5 the T-HT shares hit the Zagreb and London stock markets. Croatian GDP growth for 2007 was an estimated 6%; inflation held steady at 2.8%; unemployment dropped to 14%; and the budget deficit was trimmed to 3% of GDP. Tourism, meanwhile, grew an estimated 8% year-on-year and was expected to generate more than $9 billion in revenue, a record.

      Ivica Racan (Racan, Ivica ), former prime minister (2000–03) and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the single largest opposition party, died on April 29. In 1990, as president of the Croatian League of Communists, Racan had cast the decisive vote that prevented then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic from seizing control of the Yugoslav federation and called for multiparty elections in Croatia, a key political development that led to the eventual dissolution of the communist country. On June 2, 2007, the SDP elected Zoran Milanovic party head.

      On June 27 the country lost poet and intellectual Dragutin Tadijanovic (“the Bard”), thought by many to be one of Croatia's greatest 20th-century literary figures. Croatia also mourned the deaths on August 30 of 12 firemen who perished while battling a wildfire on the Adriatic island of Kornat.

      On November 25 Croatia held its fifth parliamentary elections since independence. The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won 66 of the 153 seats in the parliament, while the SDP took 56 seats; smaller parties shared the remainder. On December 15 Pres. Stipe Mesic asked Prime Minister Sanader to form a new majority government, poising the centre-right HDZ to govern for another four years.

Davorka Matić

▪ 2007

56,594 sq km (21,851 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 4,450,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader

      Croatia entered 2006 with great optimism that it would achieve its principal foreign-policy goal, full membership in the European Union, by the end of the decade. Endemic corruption set up a tough obstacle, but the government of Prime Minister Ivo Sanader was determined to make progress in combating it.

      In March EU officials postponed until September the accession screening of Croatia's judiciary. While the government publicly attributed the delay to “technical difficulties,” independent observers cited widespread corruption as the real culprit. In response, in April the government adopted a new anticorruption strategy that consisted of new legislation, stronger enforcement mechanisms, and educational and awareness campaigns. In early September an expert EU study on the state of corruption in the country was leaked to the press; it cited lacklustre investigations into high-level organized crime and corruption cases and a shortage of national political will. The report prompted Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and Pres. Stipe Mesic to call an emergency session of ministers and other senior officials and announce renewed government vigour in combating malfeasance.

      By that time the government's efforts had begun to bear some fruit. In late August Ognjen Simic, the head of the cardiovascular department of Rijeka Hospital, was arrested and indicted on bribery charges. A few weeks later eight people, including a well-known lawyer, were arrested in the same city on suspicion of extortion and money laundering. In mid-September Vlado Zec, a controversial entrepreneur from the eastern region of Slavonia and an alleged protégé of the HDZ, Croatia's ruling party, was arrested for fraud and tax evasion. The large state-owned shipbuilding company Brodosplit also came under investigation. The arrests attracted widespread national media and political attention on the pervasiveness of corruption throughout society.

      In May Croatia's attorney general requested permission to begin a criminal investigation of Branimir Glavas, a former regional HDZ strongman and wartime commander in Osijek, for war crimes against minority Serbs during the early 1990s. On May 10 the parliament lifted Glavas's parliamentary immunity, and an official inquiry into his activities was opened in July.

 Relations with neighbouring Slovenia soured again over unresolved border disputes. On August 28 Slovenian police prevented a Croatian construction company from reconstructing a dike in a disputed stretch of land near the Hotiza border crossing, prompting the involvement of a Croatian police unit. The prime ministers of the two countries visited the site to defuse the standoff and agreed to find a joint position on the construction of a dike on the left bank of the Mura River. A few days later, however, tensions overflowed again, and the Croatian company withdrew from the site.

      Economically, the year was marked by a war between Iceland-based Actavis and American Barr Pharmaceuticals over acquisition of stock in the Croatian pharmaceutical company Pliva, Eastern Europe's biggest drugmaker. On October 20 Barr announced that it had acquired 92% of Pliva and created the third largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world, with annual revenue of some $2.4 billion. In September the government announced its intention to sell 15–17% of its shares in the oil company INA, as well as another 20% of its stock in Croatian Telecom. Proceeds from the Croatian Telecom sale would cover the government's commitments to pensioners incurred during the previous decade.

      Overall, the Croatian economy proved robust in 2006, with GDP growing an estimated 6%, inflation holding at a low 3.6%, unemployment dipping to 15.7%, and the budget deficit dropping to 3.3% of GDP. Growth in foreign debt slowed for the second year in a row but still totaled $34 billion, or 85.5% of GDP. Tourism continued its upward trend, though it grew at 3%, a slower pace than the previous year, and generated total revenues of $7.5 billion.

Davorka Matić

▪ 2006

56,594 sq km (21,851 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 4,440,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader

      Croatia entered 2005 with incumbent Stipe Mesic winning a second five-year term as president on January 16, defeating Jadranka Kosor, the candidate backed by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. The same month, Foreign Minister Miomir Zuzul resigned under fire and was succeeded by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the minister of European integration, which highlighted the government's principal foreign-policy objective of European Union membership.

      On March 16, however, the EU ministers decided to postpone accession negotiations with Croatia following a critical report by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that charged the Croatian government with failing to locate Gen. Ante Gotovina and arrest him for war crimes. The EU decision prompted Prime Minister Sanader to launch more robust efforts, and by May two alleged members of Gotovina's support network had been arrested. In late August, Hrvoje Petrac, considered a major figure in the criminal underworld, was arrested in Greece, thanks to close intelligence cooperation between the two countries. Because Petrac too was considered to be a key figure in the Gotovina support network, his arrest, it was hoped, would satisfy ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte and spur a more favourable EU view later in the year. Indeed, after del Ponte met with officials in Zagreb, she expressed her satisfaction, and talks with the EU began in early October. Gotovina was arrested in the Canary Islands on December 7 and quickly flown to the ICTY in The Hague.

      Attitudes were also changing within the country toward war crimes committed by members of Croatia's security forces during the country's war of independence. On Aug. 19, 2004, the Supreme Court had ordered the retrial of eight men charged with acts of torture and murder while serving as guards at the Lora military prison in Split. In July the chief prosecutor ordered the investigation of crimes committed in Osijek in 1991–92. In September a Zagreb court sentenced five members of a reserve police unit to a total of 30 years in prison for torture and murder committed in an illegally run prison camp in the Slavonian village of Pakracka Poljana.

      Regional relations generally soured. On August 5 Croatia celebrated the 10th anniversary of Operation Storm, the military action that liberated much Croatian territory from Serbian occupation. The event, however, sparked a row with Serbia after its president, Boris Tadic, equated Operation Storm with the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre of thousands of Bosniacs by Bosnian Serb forces. August also saw a deterioration in Croatia's relations with Slovenia after that country's government endorsed a bill claiming sovereignty over disputed waters in the Adriatic Sea.

      The Croatian government came under heavy criticism for having awarded a majority share of the profitable state-owned Liburnia Riviera Hotels chain to two private funds, ostensibly to settle a debt incurred during the privatization campaign of the late 1990s. The government was obliged to overturn its decision after an investigation found that the Croatian Privatization Fund, which was responsible for the preparation of documents pertaining to the case, had conducted itself improperly. Overall, there was little change in the economy from the previous year, but signs of an emerging recovery could be detected. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported that industrial production reached an annual growth rate of 5.4% for the first half of the year. Inflation was expected to stay low at 3.5%, and GDP growth was estimated at 3.6%. Although the rise in foreign debt had slowed, it was expected to reach $26.5 billion—83% of the country's GDP—by the end of the year. Tourism continued its upward trend and achieved its highest level since 1990, growing at 10% over the previous year and generating more than $7 billion in revenues.

Davorka Matić

▪ 2005

56,594 sq km (21,851 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 4,497,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader

      Croatia entered 2004 with a new, centre-right government that assumed power on Dec. 22, 2003, following the victory of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) over the incumbent centre-left coalition. Despite fears among some domestic and foreign observers that the HDZ would take the country back to the undemocratic and isolationist politics that had characterized its rule during the 1990s, the new government under Prime Minister Ivo Sanader pursued a moderate agenda. One of the government's first actions was to initiate dialogue with political representatives of the country's Serb minority, which resulted in a number of measures aimed at facilitating the return of Serb refugees as well as a cooperation agreement with the Independent Democratic Serb Party.

      Relations between Croatia and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) also saw significant improvement. The government played a key role in securing the voluntary departure of indicted Croatian citizens to The Hague. Under indictment for war crimes allegedly committed during and after Operation Storm, the 1995 military action to regain the Krajina—Croatian territory seized by Croatian Serbs—two retired Croatian generals, Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak, left for The Hague on March 11. On April 5 the Croatian government facilitated the transfer of six ethnic Croat leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In her April report to the European Commission, ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte congratulated the new government for its full cooperation with the tribunal.

      Smoothing relations with The Hague removed an obstacle to key foreign-policy goals. On April 20 the European Commission decided that Croatia had fulfilled the political and economic criteria required for initiating negotiations on accession into the European Union. On June 18 the European Council decided to grant Croatia the status of an official candidate for the EU and scheduled accession talks for early 2005. This decision raised the hope that Croatia's most important strategic goal—membership in the EU—could be achieved by 2007. Optimism regarding Croatia's improved international status was tempered, however, when, at the June NATO summit in Istanbul, Croatia was not invited to join.

      On August 22 a small right-wing group raised an unauthorized commemorative plaque to Mile Budak, a minister in Croatia's World War II fascist puppet government. The event caused domestic and international outrage. The government ordered the plaque destroyed and used the occasion also to remove a monument to another World War II fascist leader, which ironically had been erected during the previous, left-leaning government's tenure. The controversy prompted HDZ leaders to write an open letter calling for an end to the use of fascist symbols, the party's most explicit break with the legacy of Croatia's prewar and wartime ideology.

      Croatia's economic picture proved less optimistic. Measures undertaken by the central bank to ease the mounting foreign debt had little impact. During the first seven months of the year, foreign debt increased by 13.4%, reaching €21.4 billion (about $25.7 billion), or almost 80% of GDP, and exceeding the limits set by the standby loan agreement Croatia had signed with the IMF. The tourist industry continued its upward trend, however, increasing by 4% over the previous year and generating nearly $5 billion in revenues.

      The new government continued with large infrastructure investments. New highways to Rijeka and Split opened in early summer, and Zagreb was finally connected to Istria and the Dalmatian coast. The 2004 Olympic Games gave Croatians reason for national pride as its citizens won five medals, including a gold in handball, the most since the country gained its independence in 1992.

Davorka Matić

▪ 2004

56,542 sq km (21,831 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 4,428,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Ivica Racan and, from December 9, Ivo Sanader

      Croatia's hopes for accession into the European Union by 2007, a centrepiece of the centre-left coalition government's foreign policy, were dashed at the May 6, 2003, EU Enlargement Summit when Brussels announced it was premature to discuss any date for Croatian admission. Early accession was to have been a key achievement in the run-up to national elections held at year's end. The decision highlighted the government's inability to free the country from what it felt were Balkan problems.

      Dealings with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) dominated Croatia's international relations. The death of war hero Gen. Janko Bobetko ended a bitter row with the Hague court; his funeral on May 2 drew 25,000 mourners. Bobetko's indictment the year before was considered unjustified and reflective of the court's moral ambiguity concerning the Yugoslav wars. The Bobetko affair and public opposition to ICTY indictments of other Croatian military leaders resurrected old political divisions regarding the role of Croatian nationalism since World War II. Pres. Stipe Mesic and coalition leaders boycotted the annual Alka games, a traditional equestrian event held in August, after organizers publicly supported the indicted Croatian generals.

      Relations with Serbia and Montenegro improved, as was marked by President Mesic's trip to Belgrade on September 10, the first presidential visit between the former warring countries. Relations with Slovenia soured, however. On August 31 Ljubljana recalled its ambassador after Zagreb announced it would establish an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea that would restrict its neighbour's access to international waters. The unexpected failure to secure EU backing in its dispute sharpened perceptions that foreign policy under Foreign Minister Tonino Picula was in disarray. The signing of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter on May 2 with the United States, Albania, and Macedonia did little to quell pervasive public fears that international powers were bent on relegating Croatia to the Balkans. The decision of Pope John Paul II to mark the 100th trip of his 25-year papacy by visiting Croatia for a third time, starting June 5, gave this mostly Roman Catholic country a rare opportunity for national pride.

      On the economic front, concerns mounted that positive trends—a growth rate of 3.5% and inflation at a low 2.5%—had been achieved at the cost of accelerating debt. The government budget deficit swelled to over 8% of gross domestic product, while foreign debt reached $21 billion, having more than doubled since the coalition took power four years earlier. The government's financial woes reflected increasing wage pressures by unions, which earlier in the year had led widespread strikes of publicly employed doctors and teachers demanding higher salaries. It also revealed lower-than-expected foreign investment revenues.

      On July 17 the parliament approved the sale of a 25% share of national oil giant INA to the Hungarian oil company MOL, bringing $505 million to state coffers. Tourism, bucking world trends, increased by 6% and generated over $4 billion in revenues, reaching record levels. Nevertheless, clashing political views within the coalition on whether to privatize by selling to foreigners some remaining nonperforming state assets set back planned privatizations of the state insurance and electricity companies. The Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), the second largest coalition partner, advocated a more state-centred economic model, while the coalition leader Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) favoured foreign investment as a way to stimulate economic growth and cut into the stubbornly high unemployment rate of 20%. This clash of views came to a head in February when the HSS forced the SDP to overturn a decision by the State Privatization Fund to sell the state-owned tourism company Suncani Hvar to a Slovenian investor.

      The coalition's political and economic shortcomings and the resurgence of Croatian nationalism resulted in a convincing victory (66 of 152 seats) for the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in the November parliamentary elections. HDZ leader Ivo Sanader was named prime minister on December 9, and his cabinet was approved on December 23.

Max Primorac

▪ 2003

56,542 sq km (21,831 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 4,405,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivica Racan

      In 2002 Croatia continued to see its political landscape fragment and the broad-based ruling coalition split further amid slow economic recovery. On July 5 the five-party coalition government of Prime Minister Ivica Racan resigned, only to reconstitute itself absent the second largest party in the coalition, the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), following the latter's refusal to support ratification of a Croatia-Slovenia agreement concerning joint custodianship of the Krsko nuclear power plant. The break between Racan's Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the HSLS, led by Deputy Prime Minister Drazen Budisa, reflected long-brewing ideological differences over basic policy decisions made by the SDP-led government. Disaffected deputies from the HSLS, led by Defense Minister Jozo Rados, who had been soundly defeated by Budisa for party president on February 2, rebelled in support of the SDP and founded a new party, Libra.

      The flap over Krsko, however, was just one of many disputes between the two neighbours. In August and September a squabble over territorial boundaries in the Bay of Piran that pitted Slovenian against Croatian fishermen turned into a full-fledged diplomatic crisis. These and other serious border disputes with Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia highlighted the country's inability to extricate itself from unresolved postsecesionist problems stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia more than a decade earlier. Though Croatia was admitted into NATO's Membership Action Plan and initialed its formal application for full membership on May 14, it was apparent by year's end that the government would fail to deliver on its major electoral promise of securing Croatia's early admission into NATO and the European Union—essential steps in the country's integration into Western Europe. The end of the United Nations' monitoring mission in the strategic Prelavka Peninsula on December 15 restored Croatia's sovereignty over its full territory, however.

      With hopes for early integration dashed, public confidence in the government's ability to resolve the many pressing economic problems—especially an unemployment rate of 22% and the need to face further painful cuts in social welfare spending—also lessened. Revenues expected from the privatization of major energy state enterprises did not materialize, and the foreign investment needed to boost job creation remained weak. The important tourist trade proved resilient, however, increasing 4% and helping the government to register a modest 4% growth in gross domestic product.

      The truncated SDP-led coalition still enjoyed a comfortable parliamentary majority after the split with the HSLS. Growing public dissatisfaction with its performance at home and abroad, however, coupled with the reemergence of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the party that previously had governed the country, as a viable centre-right alternative to the centre-left coalition, raised speculation about early elections. Moderate nationalist Ivo Sanader, a former deputy foreign minister, was elected president of the HDZ on April 22, and the expulsion of the HDZ's hard-line wing a few months later gave new shape and vitality to the Croatian political scene. The prospect of an HDZ-led centre-right coalition with participation by the HSLS and other like-minded smaller parties invigorated the country's political scene.

      Croatian politicians were of a single mind on one issue, however. On September 27 Parliament unanimously backed the government's legal challenge to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which had indicted retired general Janko Bobetko, a wartime military commander and Croatian hero, as a war criminal. This rare broad-based political consensus reflected frustration with recent indictments by the tribunal in The Hague that seemed implicitly to revise and even criminalize Croatia's homeland war for independence.

      Croatia's skiing sensation Janica Kostelic became a national icon in February after winning a record four medals at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. (See Biographies (Kostelic, Janica ).) On March 11 Franjo Cardinal Kuharic, one of Croatia's most influential post-World War II religious leaders, died. (See Obituaries (Kuharic, Franjo Cardinal ).) Kuharic was a symbol of the nation's resistance to communism and an advocate of ethnic and political tolerance.

Max Primorac

▪ 2002

56,542 sq km (21,831 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 4,393,000
Chief of state:
President Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ivica Racan

      Croatia's six-party governing coalition frayed in 2001, revealing deep division over both the country's role during the violent breakup of former Yugoslavia and the government's inability to invigorate a moribund economy.

      On December 5 Parliament approved the Stabilization and Association Agreement, putting the country on track to possible future membership in the European Union. Croatia's relationship with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia dominated foreign policy, however. Two senior military officers, Gen. Ante Gotovina and Gen. Rahim Ademi, were indicted by the tribunal on June 8 for alleged crimes against ethnic Serbs committed during military campaigns in the mid-1990s to recover seized territories. The indictments sparked outrage among Croatian veteran groups, opposition parties, coalition members, and others who considered the officers war heroes. Prime Minister Ivica Racan, an advocate of cooperation with the court, criticized the indictment for its factual errors and reliance on indirect responsibility. In May Croatia had been the first Eastern European country to ratify the International Criminal Court Treaty.

      The ensuing political fracas forced Racan to call an emergency session of the parliament. The government decision to deliver both generals to The Hague prompted Drazen Budisa, leader of the centre-right Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS)—the Social Democratic Party of Croatia's junior ruling partner—to resign his post as party head. Though the coalition survived a no-confidence vote on July 15, Budisa's resignation emboldened local HSLS leaders to seek coalitions with the opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the party displaced by the coalition two years earlier. Many considered this a prelude to a possible HSLS-HDZ-led centre-right bloc. The indictment in September of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes in Croatia and another against four Serbian senior military officers in October for the shelling of Dubrovnik did little to allay public distrust of the tribunal.

      Nationwide local elections on May 20 revealed growing public dissatisfaction with government underperformance; the country had an unemployment rate over 22% and an economy that was growing at a rate of only about 3%. Voter turnout was low, but the coalition won 15 of 20 county governments as well as the capital city, Zagreb. Voters gave more than a quarter of their votes to the nationalist HDZ, confirming it as still the country's largest party. On June 4 the regional Istrian Democratic Party left the coalition after it failed to gain coalition support for a law that would make Italian the second official language in the province. On March 29 Parliament's lower house abolished the upper House of Counties.

      Tourism revenues were one of the few economic bright spots, approaching prebreakup levels with $4 billion in revenues, a 14% increase. Deutsche Telekom purchased 16% of Croatian Telecom, giving it a 51% majority stake and bringing the Croatian government €500 million (about $425 million) in revenues. This deal was an exception to the general reluctance to sell even uneconomical parastatals to foreigners. With limited revenues from privatization and taxes, the government faced chronic budget deficits and was forced to make unpopular cuts in social spending and public-sector salaries and dismiss state employees. Reform of the bankrupt pension system stayed on track, however, as preparations went forward for the introduction of mandatory private pension funds.

      Croatian sports figures helped counter the widespread national malaise. On March 11 Janica Kostelic took the World Cup in women's skiing. Tennis star Goran Ivanisevic received a hero's welcome from 100,000 fans in his hometown of Split after winning at Wimbledon, where three times previously he had suffered losses in the finals.

      Following the deaths in October of 23 kidney-disease patients, owing to faulty dialysis filters, the Minister of Health resigned, and there were public calls for the filing of a class-action lawsuit against the American manufacturer Baxter International. In December a national campaign raised $1 million to purchase special hearing devices for needy children and provided a much-needed sense of national solidarity.

Max Primorac

▪ 2001

56,542 sq km (21,831 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 4,282,000
Chief of state:
Acting Presidents Vlatko Pavletic and, from February 2 to 18, Zlatko Tomcic; President from February 18, Stipe Mesic
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Zlatko Matesa and, from January 27, Ivica Racan

      In 2000 the defeat of Croatia's ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which had firmly governed the former Yugoslav republic since independence in 1991, was a watershed in the country's relations with the international community and signaled the beginning of real, if difficult, domestic reforms.

      On January 3 a coalition of six opposition political parties led by the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP) and the centre-right Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) swept the parliamentary elections, taking 71 of 151 seats (including 6 seats reserved for Croats living abroad). In the February 7 presidential elections to replace Franjo Tudjman, who had died the previous December, the HDZ candidate failed to reach the second round. The SDP-HSLS joint candidate, Drazen Budisa, a prominent dissident jailed by the communist authorities in the 1970s, ran against the former high-ranking HDZ official Stipe Mesic. (See Biographies (Mesic, Stipe ).) Unexpectedly, Mesic won by a wide margin, 56% to 44%.

      The liberal opposition's victory opened new opportunities for Croatia's integration into Western institutions, a process that had been frozen by international dissatisfaction with the former regime. Changes came quickly. On January 24 the European Union announced that it was putting in place a joint EU-Croatia Consultative Task Force to guide the development of relations. President Mesic's first official foreign visit took place in March to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the stage was set for several agreements on border and customs issues, ending the former frostiness in their relations. In May, Croatia became the newest member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and on November 30 it became the 139th member of the World Trade Organization. Mesic visited Washington, D.C., in August, and U.S. and Croatian naval forces conducted joint military exercises along the Dalmatian coast in September.

      Croatia's new government played a difficult balancing act, on the one hand trying to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which sought justice for crimes committed by Croatian armed forces against minority Serbs during the war, and, on the other, trying to keep veterans organizations happy by not calling into question the legitimacy of the country's war of independence. During early September, Croatian authorities arrested dozens of persons, including military officers, for crimes ranging from wartime atrocities to drug trafficking. President Mesic forcibly retired seven generals for publicly criticizing the government's crackdown on suspected war criminals.

      Living conditions worsened as the government sought to rationalize the economy, shutting down unprofitable state firms and cutting back subsidies to enterprises. Unemployment rose to 22%. While the important tourism revenues increased substantially over the previous year, nearly reaching the prewar level of $4 billion, and although inflation was checked at 6%, the economy as a whole could generate a growth rate of only 3%. In a drive against the endemic corruption, the new government jailed a former minister of tourism, Ivan Herak, for having embezzled ministry funds. In November Nevenka Tudjman, the daughter of the deceased president Franjo Tudjman, was charged with graft, stemming from a $1.1 million scheme. A formal indictment had not been made, however. Nonetheless, hamstrung by a dysfunctional court system and internal political bickering, the government made little headway against other fraudulent privatization schemes, which were estimated to have cost the state nearly $2 billion. This, coupled with an inability to attract new loans and foreign investment, led to increased public frustration with the worsening standard of living.

Max Primorac

▪ 2000

56,610 sq km (21,857 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 4,677,000
Chief of state:
President Franjo Tudjman and, from November 26, power transferred to Vlatko Pavletic
Head of government:
Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa

      The death on Dec. 10, 1999, of Croatia's first and only president, Franjo Tudjman (see Obituaries (Tudjman, Franjo )), marked the end of a decade that started with the nation's centuries-old dream of independence, a brutal war of succession from federal Yugoslavia, and a love-hate relationship with the West. Although there was serious erosion of popular support for Tudjman's ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) during the year, hundreds of thousands of people, regardless of political stripe, paid tribute to this former World War II partisan fighter as the father of modern Croatia.

      The absence of major world figures at his funeral, however, reflected international frustration with Croatia's failure to progress on democratic reform at home and to cooperate more readily with the international community. In September the UN Security Council cited Croatia for not cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. Foreign Minister Mate Granic accused the court of political intrigue, pointing to its failure to convict anyone for the 14,000 deaths committed during the war in Croatia or for atrocities committed against Bosnian Croats. On October 4 a Zagreb court sentenced Dinko Sakic to a maximum 20 years in prison for war crimes committed during World War II. Sakic was the first war criminal to be imprisoned by any of the European postcommunist governments. Such tensions kept Croatia out of the World Trade Organization and the European Union's PHARE program.

      Croatia saw positive developments in bilateral ties with its neighbours. Early in the year it enacted several accords with Bosnia and Herzegovina demarcating borders and permitting the latter's use of the Croatian port facility at Ploce. More intimate political and economic relations were pursued with Hungary, highlighted by the three-day visit to Croatia by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

      Political scandals that were a hallmark of HDZ rule in 1998 continued. On June 8 Miroslav Separovic, until January chief of the intelligence services, was arrested and accused of having leaked to newspapers documents revealing that the secret services were tapping telephone conversations of leading officials and had rigged the national association football (soccer) championship game. Opposition leaders decried as a sham an HDZ-controlled parliamentary investigation that found no justification for allegations of widespread abuses by the services.

      Years of mismanaging state enterprises and the habit of privatizing companies to political cronies helped deepen a recession that had begun in 1998. In early 1999 HDZ tycoon Miroslav Kutle declared bankruptcy of the former state supermarket chain Diona, leaving behind $200 million in debts. In addition, more bank failures and a nonsustainable current-account deficit of 7% of gross domestic product stifled economic growth estimated at less than 1%. The economic downturn was exacerbated by NATO's military actions against neighbouring Yugoslavia, which cut into Croatia's tourism income by an estimated $500 million.

      The grim economic picture was partially offset by important foreign capital inflows and reform of the country's moribund pension sector. In September British-American Tobacco Co. Ltd. bought the Zadar Tobacco Co. after a long and bitter battle, promising over $20 million in new investments. In October Deutsche Telekom bought a 35% stake in the state telecommunications company, Hrvatske Telekomunikacije, for $850 million. International hotel chains, including Park Plaza and Corinthia, bought a string of hotels along the Adriatic coast. Economic reform received a major boost by the enactment in June and October of new legislation for national pension reform that promised privately managed mandatory and voluntary funds into which employees could invest part of their payroll taxes.

      Tudjman's sickness and death led to the postponement of parliamentary elections set for December. Those and presidential elections were scheduled for January 2000. Years of political scandals, corruption, and international pressure eroded HDZ's once formidable popular support; polls showed it winning only 20% of votes. An opposition coalition centred around the Social Democratic Party and the Croatian Social-Liberal Party looked poised to capture a majority of seats and possibly win the two-thirds required for making constitutional reforms. Likely presidential successors include Foreign Minister Mate Granic, from HDZ's liberal wing, and opposition leader Drazen Budisa, a noted former dissident jailed during the Yugoslavia period.

Max Primorac

▪ 1999

      Area: 56,610 sq km (21,857 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 4,672,000

      Capital: Zagreb

      Chief of state: President Franjo Tudjman

      Head of government: Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa

      The year 1998 began well for Croatia with the return of eastern Slavonia to full Croatian sovereignty on January 15, ending six years of Yugoslav military occupation and United Nations administration. UN forces were replaced by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who were mandated to oversee the return of Serbian and Croatian refugees. Though progress was indeed made on Serb refugee returns, Croatia was again denied entry into the European Union's aid program because of the government's failure to liberalize the state-controlled electronic media and to change electoral laws favouring the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

      In January the government sold a controlling stake in the largest daily newspaper, Vecernji list, to a secret owner believed to be close to the ruling party. The appearance on April 6 of the country's first independent daily, Jutarnji list, however, promised to challenge the government's grip over the print media; the paper's circulation approached that of Vecernji list by the year's end.

      Tensions between moderate and authoritarian elements within the ruling party came to the fore on September 25 when Pres. Franjo Tudjman's Chief of Cabinet Hrvoje Saranic publicly attacked presidential adviser Ivic Pasalic for using the intelligence services and the media to attack political opponents. Saranic later resigned in protest against Tudjman's refusal to stop this practice. The collapse in April of the state-controlled Dubravacka Banka, one of the largest banks, exposed the corrupt relationship that existed between the banking sector and party officials and their business allies. The banking scandal brought down the local HDZ-run government in Dubrovnik and initiated a nationwide banking crisis that caused a number of banks to seek government assistance in order to avoid bankruptcy.

      The liquidity problem afflicting the economy was blamed on the government's tight fiscal and monetary policies, highlighted by the introduction at the beginning of the year of a single-rate value-added tax (VAT) that replaced the complicated myriad of customs and other taxes placed on all goods and services. The VAT did succeed in taxing the large informal economy, estimated at between one-quarter and one-third of gross domestic product, and that led to an unexpectedly large government budget surplus that would help decrease by nearly half Croatia's 12.5% current account deficit for 1997. In July the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Croatia to refrain from further wage hikes for government workers and suggested that the government place more restrictions on the surge of bank credits to household and corporate borrowers and hasten privatization of public enterprises. With unemployment stubbornly hovering at 17%, however, the government did not believe it could follow the IMF advice, particularly after February 20, when 10,000 people took to the streets in Zagreb demanding higher wages and condemning the government's authoritarian style. Despite these problems, economic growth reached 4%, far below the string of four years of high growth but still respectable, considering the international financial turmoil and the uncertain banking sector. Inflation remained at under 4%, and currency stability was maintained. Tourism revenues grew a modest 6% over the previous year. Starting in June, the government privatized through vouchers $2 billion in state assets to some 300,000 citizens.

      An agreement signed in early December between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina provided the latter with port access to the sea at Ploce. Soon afterward Yugoslavia opened a consulate in Vukovar, a Croatian town bordering Serbia, further normalizing relations between these former enemies.


▪ 1998

      Area: 56,610 sq km (21,857 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 4,774,000

      Capital: Zagreb

      Chief of state: President Franjo Tudjman

      Head of government: Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa

      In 1997 Croatia continued to struggle out of the morass left by the Balkan conflicts and toward national reconstruction. The reintegration of Croatia's eastern Slavonia region, which had been occupied by Serb forces, claimed a great deal of attention during the year. In April a mixed Croat-Serb Transitional Police Force was formed. On May 1 a state commission was established to reintroduce all Croatian state bodies gradually into the region, and in August the Croatian educational system, with special facilities for Serbs, was reestablished. Communications, postal, and transport services were restored; public enterprises returned; and pensions were paid to about 20,000 Serb residents. Under United Nations supervision but with many irregularities reported, the region participated in the national elections on April 13. The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Independent Democratic Serb Party won a majority of votes cast, and the two ethnic-based parties formed coalition administrations in the main Slavonian towns of Vukovar and Beli Manastir. Serb representatives took their seats in Osijek for the first time since war broke out six years earlier.

      Administrative progress was not matched by smooth repopulation of eastern Slavonia and other areas of Croatia by the hundreds of thousands of Serbs who had fled or had been forced out during hostilities. (Neither were the large numbers of Croats who had been displaced from their homes in Serb-held territories eager to return, however.) The slow pace of repatriation in Croatia and the frequent reports of anti-Serb incidents led to the UN Security Council's decision to extend the UN mandate in the region beyond July 15 and to criticize Croatia formally on September 18.

      In July the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund postponed action on large loans intended to assist Croatia's economic-stabilization program. The action—or inaction—was taken in reaction to what the U.S. State Department called Croatia's "insufficient compliance" with the provisions of the Dayton peace accords, including resistance to the repatriation of Serb refugees and lack of cooperation in bringing persons accused of war crimes to trial at the international tribunal in The Hague.

      In the local elections on April 13 and presidential elections on June 15, the opposition tried to trade on public frustration with perceived widespread government corruption and concerns regarding Pres. Franjo Tudjman's authoritarian style. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the HDZ for misusing government prerogatives, including its control over the state media. Even so, the incumbent HDZ scored impressive victories and regained control of the capital, Zagreb. President Tudjman himself won about 60% of votes cast and earned a second five-year term. Voter turnout was quite low, however, which indicated that opposition parties had failed to offer a meaningful alternative, and their leaders bickered openly instead of focusing their criticism on the HDZ.

      Responding to public pressure, the government initiated a campaign against official corruption. On September 13 the assistant minister of economy and his top aide were jailed for accepting bribes. Five days later in Split, the local commander of the military police and 10 others were arrested for their alleged involvement in a narcotics and stolen vehicles trafficking ring.

      The economy continued its general recovery in 1997, led by a tourism industry that in many places returned to prewar levels. Upgrading the country's transportation system, especially airports and highways, became a key national objective. With much fanfare the Karlovac-Rijeka highway, connecting the country's interior to the Istrian coast, was partially opened in March. On September 20 Karl Habsburg, heir to the Habsburg throne, baptized his son Ferdinand Zvonimir in Zagreb in deference to the last Croatian king, Zvonimir, who ruled during the 11th century.


      This article updates Croatia, history of (Croatia).

▪ 1997

      A republic lying at the southeastern end of central Europe, Croatia is an elongated crescent-shaped country to the north, west, and southwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the north it borders on Hungary and in the northwest on Slovenia. Its extensive Adriatic coastal region on the southwest includes nearly 1,200 islands and islets. Area: 56,610 sq km (21,857 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 4,775,000. Cap.: Zagreb. Monetary unit: kuna, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 5.45 kune to U.S. $1 (8.58 kune = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Franjo Tudjman; prime minister, Zlatko Matesa.

      In 1996 Croatia achieved key diplomatic breakthroughs that promised a peaceful resolution of the Serb-Croat conflict that lay at the core of the violent breakup of former Yugoslavia. On January 15 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1037, outlining the peaceful integration of eastern Slavonia, the last area under rebel Croatian Serb occupation, back to Croatian authority. The UN initiative came on the heels of the Erdut Agreement, signed at the end of 1995 by the government of Croatia and Serbian officials, in which Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic agreed to give up territorial claims on eastern Slavonia. A newly created UN Transitional Authority for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) was given the task of implementing both military and civilian provisions of the agreement. By June 27 all Yugoslav troops and heavy weapons had been removed, which thus completed the demilitarization of the territory. Full diplomatic relations between Croatia and Yugoslavia were established on August 23. Repatriation remained the principal domestic challenge for Croatia, especially the contentious return of some 120,000 Croats expelled from eastern Slavonia and 150,000 Serbs who fled Croatia.

      As fears of renewed conflict with Serbia subsided, domestic support for the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) waned. Public impatience with government corruption and authoritarian behaviour could no longer be mollified by popular support for Pres. Franjo Tudjman. The HDZ prevented the opposition coalition from assuming the mayorship of Zagreb, the largest city, following the previous year's loss at the polls, relying on a constitutional technicality that allowed the president to reject any candidate for mayor of the capital for "national security" reasons. About 100,000 people rallied on the main square in Zagreb in November to protest the government's efforts to close down a popular independent radio station. Concerns about the government's commitment to democratization delayed Croatia's becoming a member of the Council of Europe, though it finally did so on November 6.

      Croatia's economy showed remarkable resilience. The tourism sector saw more than a million European vacationers return to the Adriatic coastline. An explosion of small and medium-sized businesses helped soak up the ranks of the unemployed. The pharmaceutical company Pliva offered its shares on the London Stock Exchange, the first industrial company from Eastern-Central Europe to do so. Inflation remained one of the lowest in Europe, and foreign exchange reserves grew.

      Croatia's ambivalent relations with Western Europe contrasted with strengthening diplomatic and business ties with the U.S. Retired U.S. general Jacques Klein was chosen to command the UNTAES operation. Pres. Bill Clinton and three Cabinet members visited during the year.


      This article updates Croatia, history of (Croatia).

▪ 1996

      A republic lying at the southeastern end of central Europe, Croatia is an elongated crescent-shaped country to the north, west, and southwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the north it borders on Hungary and in the northwest on Slovenia. Its extensive Adriatic coastal region on the southwest includes nearly 1,200 islands and islets. Area: 56,691 sq km (21,889 sq mi). Pop.: (1995 est.): 4,495,000. Cap.: Zagreb. Monetary unit: kuna, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 5.33 kune to U.S. $1 (8.43 kune = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Franjo Tudjman; prime ministers, Nikica Valentic and, from November 4, Zlatko Matesa.

      In 1995 Croatia achieved significant military victories both against rebel Serbs who had occupied nearly a third of Croatia since 1991 and against Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On January 12 Croatia gave notice that the existing mandate of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Croatia would not be renewed beyond March 31. Under a new UN Security Council resolution, the number of UN forces in Croatia was to be reduced and the name of the unit was changed to United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia (UNCRO). On April 11 Russian Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Perelyakin, who headed UNCRO in eastern Croatia (UN Sector East), was dismissed after being accused of incompetence and corruption, including trading arms with the Serbs.

      On April 13 Serb forces shelled the airport in Dubrovnik, and Zagreb, the capital, was shelled on May 2 and 3, with casualties in both cities. On April 24 rebel Serbs in western Slavonia (UN Sector West), one of the three regions controlled by the Serbs since 1991, blocked the recently reopened Zagreb-Belgrade highway running through territory they controlled. In a 36-hour operation on May 1-2, western Slavonia was retaken by the Croatian army, and on August 4-7, in a similar blitz, the whole of the second Serb-held region, the Krajina, in central Croatia (UN Sectors North and South), including the town of Knin, was retaken. In both areas virtually the entire Serb population, many from families who had settled there centuries ago, left with the Serb forces. Widespread looting by Croatian and Bosnian Croat troops as well as returning Croat civilians was reported, as was harassment of the mainly elderly Serbs who had stayed behind. UN monitors reported that some 120 bodies of elderly residents had been found by early October.

      On October 3 representatives of the Croatian government and the leaders of the rebel Serbs in eastern Slavonia reached an agreement on the principles of peaceful reintegration of this region, the last major Serb-held area, into Croatia. Croatia was disappointed that the U.S.-brokered agreement negotiated at Dayton, Ohio, in November failed to provide a clear timetable for its return to Zagreb's control. The U.S. ambassador to Croatia noted that for this first time in the current conflict, an issue had been resolved "by a signature and not by a bullet." A further hitch occurred at the signing of the Balkan agreements in Paris when Yugoslavia refused to extend diplomatic recognition to Croatia unless it ceded Prevlaka, a strategic promontory dominating the entry to the Yugoslav naval base on the Gulf of Kotor.

      In elections on October 29 for the 127-seat lower house of Parliament, the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of Pres. Franjo Tudjman obtained 45.23% of all votes cast and 75 seats but failed to win the two-thirds majority Tudjman sought in order to change the constitution to give more powers to the president. (For a detailed breakdown of the vote, see Political Parties, above.) The HDZ also lost its majority in several big cities, including Zagreb, where, despite its loss, the HDZ refused to hand over power to the opposition.

      Monetary stability was maintained in 1995, with inflation running at an annual rate of 3.7%. In the January-September period, exports were 21% higher than in the corresponding period in 1994, but imports were 74% higher. Tourist income was sharply reduced because of the impact of military operations in May and August. Industrial output in January-September 1995 was up 1.2% from 1994, but overall growth stagnated. Under an agreement signed on December 14 by INA, the Croatian oil company, and Jugopetrol, its counterpart in Yugoslavia, oil supplies to Yugoslavia were to be restored in the near future. Croatia signed a major ships-for-oil deal with Iran on November 29. (K.F. CVIIC)

      This updates the article Croatia, history of (Croatia).

▪ 1995

      A republic of the northwestern Balkans, Croatia is an elongated crescent-shaped country to the north, west, and southwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its extensive Adriatic coastal region on the southwest includes nearly 1,200 islands and islets. Area: 56,538 sq km (21,829 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.) 4,788,000. Cap.: Zagreb. Monetary unit: Kuna (introduced May 30) with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 5.68 kune to U.S. $1 (9.04 kune=£ 1 sterling). President in 1994, Franjo Tudjman; prime minister, Nikica Valentic.

      In 1994 Croatia achieved an improvement in its international position as well as a measure of stability in its economy. Pope John Paul II's visit to Croatia on September 10-11 raised the country's international profile. It was under strong prompting from the Vatican and the United States that Croatia had agreed at the beginning of the year to underwrite the Croat-Muslim agreement signed in Washington, D.C., on March 1 that ended the fighting between the local Croats and the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and established a Croat-Muslim federation there.

      In November Croatia and the United States signed a military-cooperation agreement. The U.S. also played a part in brokering a cease-fire on March 30 that ended several days' fighting between the Croat forces and those of a Serb-occupied region south of Zagreb. Lengthy talks between the rebel Serbs and the Zagreb government, sponsored by the U.S., Russia, and the European Union, led to an agreement on November 21 providing for the reopening of the Zagreb-Belgrade highway and the Adria pipeline and for the supply of water and electricity to Serbs in rebel-held territory. The attack by Croatian Serbs on Bihac in northwestern Bosnia and its spirited defense by Bosnian government troops caused new Croat-Serb tensions. The Croats responded by sending regular army units to help the Bosnian government forces in northwestern Bosnia. Relations with the government of rump Yugoslavia had been upgraded by the setting up of diplomatic missions in the spring, but full Croatian-Yugoslav mutual diplomatic recognition failed to materialize.

      Opposition to Pres. Franjo Tudjman's authoritarian style and his Bosnia policy before the Washington agreement led to a split in the ruling Croatian Democratic Union and the creation of a moderate Independent Democrat Party led by Stipe Mesic and Josip Manolic, the respective chairmen of the lower and upper houses of the Croatian parliament. Subsequent protests against abuse of parliamentary procedure by the opposition parties led to a walkout lasting several months.

      A visit to Zagreb by the German foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel, in October paved the way for the inclusion of Croatia in the European Union's technical and scientific aid program known as PHARE. In the wake of joint visits by Prime Minister Nikica Valentic and his Bosnian counterpart, Haris Silajdzic, to Malaysia, Pakistan, and Iran, Croatia obtained a $220 million order from Iran in October to build eight 22,000-ton ships in three years.

      The Valentic government's economic-stabilization program, which had begun in 1993, remained on course. Croatia reported zero inflation in 1994. The Croatian national bank's gold and foreign-exchange reserves stood at $1,370,000 in November 1994. The number of foreign tourists increased by 55% in the first nine months of 1994 compared with the same period in 1993, but progress toward privatization continued to be slow. Industrial production fell by 9% in the first half of 1994, and the population's purchasing power dropped by 25% in that period. The unemployment rate stood at 20% during the year, which precipitated a steady increase in emigration by university graduates and skilled workers. In the first nine months of 1994, over 70,000 blue-collar workers emigrated to the West. The new currency, the kuna (initially valued at about $0.17), was introduced on May 30 amid some protests because this had been the name of Croatia's currency under the fascist Ustashi government in 1941-45. (K.F. CVIIC)

      This updates the article Croatia, history of (Croatia).

▪ 1994

      A republic of the northwestern Balkans, Croatia is an elongated crescent-shaped country to the north, west, and southwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its extensive Adriatic coastal region on the southwest includes nearly 1,200 islands and islets. Area: 56,538 sq km (21,829 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.) 4,821,000. Cap.: Zagreb. Monetary unit: Croatian dinar (or kuna), with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 7,181 dinars to U.S. $1 (10,879 dinars=£ 1 sterling). President in 1993, Franjo Tudjman; prime ministers, Hrvoje Sarinic and, from March 29, Nikica Valentic.

       Croatia's main preoccupations in 1993 were the refugee problem (Muslim and Croat refugees arriving from Bosnia and Herzegovina) and concern about the Croat territories—nearly one-third of the whole country—remaining under Serb control. On January 22, Croatian forces recaptured territory near the port city of Zadar and the site of the destroyed Maslenica bridge. Three days later the UN Security Council condemned the action and asked that Croatian troops withdraw; at the same time, the UN demanded that the Serb militia return the heavy weapons they had seized from UN stores to the UN forces stationed in Serb-occupied regions of Croatia. On January 27 Croatian forces began shelling the Peruca hydroelectric dam, and they captured it the next day. Rebuilt by the Croats after the January action, the Maslenica bridge was sunk by Serb artillery fire on August 2, then rebuilt again. On October 4 the Security Council extended by another six months the mandate of the 14,000-strong UN force stationed in Croatia.

      Throughout 1993, talks were held about the reopening of the Zagreb-Belgrade highway, the Zagreb-Split railway, and the Rijeka-Zagreb oil pipeline, all three passing through territory under Serb control, but they led to no agreement. Local cease-fires negotiated with the Serbs in eastern Croatia around Osijek on November 11 and in central Croatia near Karlovac on November 14 held, however.

      In the February 7 local and regional council and parliamentary elections, the ruling right-wing Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party of Pres. Franjo Tudjman won a commanding 37 seats in the upper chamber, but it lost in 7 out of 21 counties and in over half of all towns. During the spring and the summer of 1993, there were a number of challenges to Tudjman's leadership, notably from the increasingly self-confident ultranationalist right of his party. At the HDZ congress in October, however, Tudjman outmaneuvered his critics, imposed a "centrist" leadership on the party, and was himself reelected party leader.

      In a referendum held in the self-declared Serb Republic of Krajina (the Serb-occupied areas of Croatia) on June 19-20, 98.6% of those who voted said "yes" to the idea of a union with the Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with "other Serb states." In the elections on December 12 for the president of the Krajina, Milan Babic, an outright opponent of any reintegration into Croatia, beat Milan Martic, an ally of Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic.

      The Croatian dinar was devalued by 21% and pegged to the Deutsche Mark in October as part of a package of economic-stabilization measures designed above all to bring inflation under control. The strict monetarist measures undertaken by the government of Nikica Valentic, however, led to an overvalued dinar that stifled growth and accelerated the outflow of scarce foreign currency. (K.F. CVIIC)

      This updates the article Croatia, history of (Croatia).

* * *

Croatia, flag of  country located in the northwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is a small yet highly diverse crescent-shaped country. Its capital is Zagreb, located in the north.

 The present-day republic is composed of the historically Croatian regions of Croatia-Slavonia (located in the upper arm of the country), Istria (centred on the Istrian Peninsula on the northern Adriatic coast), and Dalmatia (corresponding to the coastal strip). Although these regions were ruled for centuries by various foreign powers, they remained firmly Western-oriented in culture, acquiring a legacy of Roman law, Latin alphabet, and western European political and economic traditions and institutions. Since the 1960s, the geographic beauty and cultural diversity of Croatia have attracted an increasing number of tourists, enabling the country to survive as a place where cultural intermingling is the norm while adding substantially to its economic development.

 The upper arm of the Croatian crescent is bordered on the east by the Vojvodina region of Serbia and on the north by Hungary and Slovenia. The body of the crescent forms a long coastal strip along the Adriatic Sea, and the southern tip touches on Montenegro. Within the hollow of the crescent, Croatia shares a long border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which actually severs a part of southern Croatia from the rest of the country by penetrating to the Adriatic in a narrow corridor.

       Croatia is composed of three major geographic regions. In the north and northeast, running the full length of the upper arm of the Croatian crescent, are the Pannonian and para-Pannonian plains. To the north of Zagreb, the Zagorje Hills, fragments of the Julian Alps now covered with vines and orchards, separate the Sava and Drava river valleys.

      To the west and south of the Pannonian region, linking it with the Adriatic coast, is the central mountain belt, itself part of the Dinaric Alps. The karst plateaus of this region, consisting mostly of limestone, are barren at the highest elevations; lower down, they are heavily forested. The highest mountain in Croatia, Mount Troglav (6,276 feet [1,913 metres]), is located in the central mountain belt.

 The third geographic region, the Croatian littoral, is composed of the Istrian (Istria) Peninsula in the north and the Dalmatian (Dalmatia) coast extending south to the Gulf of Kotor (Kotor, Gulf of). Wedged between the Dinaric Alps to the east and the Adriatic Sea to the west, its 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of coastline are fringed by more than 1,100 islands and islets.

      Of the 26 rivers that flow for more than 30 miles (50 km) in Croatia, the Sava (Sava River) and the Drava (Drava River), coursing through the Pannonian and para-Pannonian plains, are of particular importance—both because of their length and because, along with the Kupa River, they are in large part navigable. The Sava originates in Slovenia, passes Croatia's capital city of Zagreb, and then forms most of the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina along the inside of the Croatian crescent. The Drava enters Croatia from Slovenia and forms all but a small section of the border with Hungary before joining the Danube (Danube River), which in turn forms most of the border between Croatia and the Vojvodina province of Serbia. The Kupa, which forms part of the frontier between Slovenia and Croatia, and the Una River, which meanders along part of the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, both flow into the Sava. In Dalmatia the Krka and Cetina rivers are of particular importance because of their hydroelectric potential and because they flow into the Adriatic Sea.

      In addition, a great deal of water circulates in underground rivers and pools in the karstic regions of the central mountain belt and the littoral. Although they have not yet been tapped commercially, these waters account for many of the unique geologic formations and the picturesque landscape of central and western Croatia.

      The Pannonian and para-Pannonian plains are enriched with alluvial soil deposited by the Sava and Drava rivers. These plains are the most fertile agricultural regions of Croatia and form the country's breadbasket. The soil of the central mountainous belt is rather poor but offers some cultivable land in the fields and meadows and some grazing land in the plateaus. The Croatian littoral is mostly mountainous and barren, with rocky soil and poor agricultural land.

      Two main climatic zones dominate Croatia. The Pannonian and para-Pannonian plains and the mountain regions are characterized by a continental climate of hot summers and cold winters. In the plains, temperatures average 68 to 75 °F (20 to 24 °C) in June and 28 to 36 °F (−2 to 2 °C) in January—although they range from a low of −4 °F (−20 °C) in the winter to 104 °F (40 °C) in the summer. The central mountain regions of Lika and Krbava have warm summers and cold winters, with a milder climate in the valleys. The average temperature range is from 60–68 °F (16–20 °C) in June to 21–36 °F (−6–2 °C) in January. Considerable rainfall, turning to snow in winter, is characteristic of the region.

      The Dalmatian coast, Istria, and the islands have a mild Mediterranean climate. In southern Dalmatia, where the sirocco winds (known here as the jugo) bring a moderating influence from Africa, summers are sunny, warm, and dry, and winters are rainy. In the north the winters are drier and colder as a result of the cold northeast wind known as the bora (bura). In the summer the mistral wind has a cooling effect on the coast and the islands. The average temperature ranges from 36–46 °F (2–8 °C) in January to 64–75 °F (18–24 °C) in June. Rainfall is moderate and occurs mainly in the winter.


Ethnic groups and religions
 Although more than 95 percent of Croatia's population is Slav, a great variety of ethnic groups coexist within the republic. In addition to the Croats (more than three-quarters of the population) and the Serbs (less than one-eighth), there are Slavic Muslims, Hungarians, Slovenes, and Italians as well as a few thousand Albanians, Austrians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Germans, and other nationalities. The primary distinguishing characteristics for ethnic identification among the Slavs in Croatia are religion and cultural tradition, Croats being Roman Catholic and more Western-influenced than Serbs, who are Orthodox Christians. There is a very close correlation between ethnic identity and religious affiliation.

      Like Serbs and Bosniacs, Croats speak Serbo-Croatian (Serbo-Croatian language), a South Slavic language of the Indo-European (Indo-European languages) family, but this language is now called Croatian, Serbian, or Bosnian, depending on the speaker's ethnic and political affiliation. The first and major distinguishing characteristic between the Croatian and Serbian variants of the Serbo-Croatian language is the script, with Croatian written in the Latin alphabet and Serbian in the Cyrillic. Minor distinctions of grammar and pronunciation and some difference in vocabulary also occur, mostly as a result of the long history of foreign domination. For Croats, this has resulted in a sprinkling of German, Hungarian, and (in Dalmatia and Istria) Italian vocabulary, while the Serbs' speech shows Turkish and Russian influence. A final linguistic distinction, reflecting the legacies of history as well as the effects of geography, can be heard in the colourful medley of regional dialects and subdialects that survive to this day.

      The standard Croatian literary language, based on the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian, emerged in the second half of the 19th century as a result of an effort to unite all South Slavs. Although all three major branches of Serbo-Croatian (Shtokavian, Chakavian, and Kajkavian) were spoken by Croats (as they still are today), the Shtokavian dialect was the most widely heard in Croatian regions of eastern Slavonia, the Adriatic littoral from Makarska to Dubrovnik, and Herzegovina, as well as Montenegro and Serbia; it was therefore adopted by leading Croatian national intellectuals of the 19th century.

Settlement patterns
      While most of Croatia's Serbs live in urban centres, just over one-quarter are scattered in villages and towns, mostly in lightly populated parts of the central mountain belt, in Lika and Banija, and in northern Dalmatia. There is also a smaller concentration in Slavonia. Many of the Serbs in Croatia are descendants of people who migrated to the border areas of the Austrian empire between the 16th and 18th centuries, following the Ottoman conquest of Serbia and Bosnia.

      About one-fifth of the Croats of the former Yugoslavia live outside the borders of Croatia—most of them in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Croats have lived since the Slavs first migrated to the western Balkan Peninsula in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. Although there has traditionally been a yearning for unification with Croatia among the Croats of Herzegovina (a region contiguous to Dalmatia), this sentiment is not generally shared by Croats within Croatia or even by Croats in Bosnia.

Demographic trends
      The major demographic trend of the post-World War II period was rapid urbanization and a consequent migration from rural areas—especially from the less-prosperous karstic regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar in the central mountain belt, from Dalmatia, and from islands in the Adriatic but also from the Pannonian regions of Banija and Baranja. As a result, between 1948 and 1988 the portion of the population employed in agriculture dropped from 66 to 15 percent. Parallel to this rapid urbanization was a sharp decrease in the birth rate, from 22.2 births per 1,000 population in 1947 to 12.8 per 1,000 in 1988. A much larger drop in infant mortality, from 112 per 1,000 in 1949 to 12.4 per 1,000 in 1988, meant that Croatia's population continued to increase—although at a very low rate. The main areas of growth have been the larger cities—especially Zagreb, which more than doubled its metropolitan population to nearly one million people between 1948 and 1991.

      Following the demise of communism in 1990, the Croatian government began a course of restructuring the economy from self-managed socialism to market-oriented capitalism. This required such measures as the sale of state-owned enterprises to private owners, the establishment of functioning markets, and the creation of stable prices, interest rates, and currency. The accomplishment of these tasks proved difficult, largely because of the destabilizing effects of war.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      Agriculture (grazing and tilling) occupies more than half of Croatia's land, although only slightly more than half of that land is arable. About four-fifths of agricultural land is privately held, but the average size of farms is only about seven acres (three hectares); furthermore, the average age of farmers is in the upper 50s. Less than 1 percent of cultivable land is irrigated. Thus, Croatian agriculture is characterized by an aging population, underinvestment, and many landholdings that are too small for profitable production. Agriculture contributes less than one-tenth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

      Slavonia, the granary of Croatia, is the most fertile agricultural region. Farming there is characterized by capital-intensive, market-oriented production and larger landholdings. Most of the land previously under social ownership has been nationalized by the Croatian government and is leased to farmers. The major crops are wheat, corn (maize), barley, oats, rye, millet, rice, beans, soybeans, peas, sunflowers, potatoes, sugar beets, chicory, and tobacco. Pigs, cattle, and poultry are important to the economy of the region, while there is also some beekeeping and silkworm cultivation.

      The hills of the western part of the para-Pannonian region are characterized by smallholdings, mixed farming, and generally low yields. Fruit growing, viticulture, and cattle and pig breeding are the major agricultural occupations.

      The central mountain belt contains some of the poorest land and climate for agriculture; the large areas of meadow and pasture, however, are suitable for raising sheep and cattle, and there is also some cultivation of barley, oats, rye, and potatoes. Fruits grown include plums, apples, pears, sour cherries, sweet cherries, peaches, and apricots.

      The Adriatic littoral of Istria and Dalmatia is characterized by rocky soil and long periods of drought, with small parcels of arable land and poor pasture. Sheep and goats are raised, while grapes, olives, almonds, figs, and other Mediterranean fruits and vegetables round out the agriculture of this region. Beekeeping is also of some commercial importance, especially on the islands.

      Croatia's large forests form the basis of a wood and pulp industry. Some 40 edible species of fish and shellfish are harvested commercially in the waters off the Adriatic coast. Although freshwater fishing has some significance for tourism, almost all commercially sold freshwater fish is raised in ponds.

Resources and power
      Rich deposits of oil and natural gas, sufficient to meet Croatia's needs and provide surplus for export, are found in the Pannonian valleys of eastern Slavonia. There are also bauxite deposits in Istria and Dalmatia, coal in northwestern Croatia, Istria, and Dalmatia, and smaller deposits of zinc, iron, lead, mercury, manganese, and salt throughout the country.

      Other natural resources are the numerous rivers with hydroelectric potential. Croatia's beautiful coastline and its numerous islands supply excellent natural harbours for the shipbuilding and fishing industries; they also form the basis of the country's single most important source of foreign exchange—tourism.

      Already more industrialized (industrialization) than most of its neighbours when the communists assumed power over Yugoslavia in 1945, Croatia continued its rapid industrialization under socialist policies of economic and social development. One unfortunate result was the squandering of a great deal of money through inefficiency and the misallocation of resources through the building of so-called political factories, which served more to enhance the prestige of politicians than to use most rationally the endowments of a specific region. Nevertheless, large investments in industry (as well as transportation and education) ensured the continued growth of that sector and allowed the absorption into an industrial workforce of Croatia's rapidly urbanizing population. On the eve of Yugoslavia's disintegration into war in 1991, industry and mining accounted for more than one-third of Croatia's GDP.

      The most important industries in Croatia are food processing and winemaking and the production of petroleum and natural gas, textiles, leather footwear, and haberdashery, and chemical products such as synthetic fibres, detergents, and fertilizers. Also important are shipbuilding, lumbering, the wood and paper industries, machine engineering, building materials, and metallurgy (particularly aluminum and iron and steel). Most enterprises are concentrated around such urban centres as Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Osijek, Karlovac, Zadar, Slavonski Brod, Sisak, Varaždin, and Vukovar (before its devastation in 1991).

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      On Dec. 22, 1990, the constitution of the Republic of Croatia was promulgated. In addition to such classic civil rights as freedom of speech, religion, information, and association, the equality of nationalities is guaranteed in a number of constitutional articles. Cultural autonomy, along with the right to use one's own language and script (the latter specifically intended for the Serb minority), is also guaranteed.

      The 1990 constitution changed the structure of the Sabor, or parliament, from a tricameral body under the Yugoslav system to a bicameral body consisting of the House of Representatives (or lower house) and the House of Districts (or upper house). The House of Representatives is the more powerful chamber, making decisions on such vital matters as the constitution, the laws of the land, the state budget, war and peace, and international borders. Of its members, 124 are elected by secret ballot every four years; approximately half are seated in numbers proportional to their party's share of the national vote, and half are seated strictly by plurality vote. In addition, national minorities that make up less than 8 percent of the total population have the right to elect at least five representatives, while those that make up more than 8 percent (in effect, only the Serbs) are guaranteed representation proportional to their population.

      The House of Districts has mainly an advisory role, although it can return legislation to the House of Representatives for amendment within 15 days of its passage. It is composed of three representatives elected by majority vote from 20 administrative districts called županije and from the capital city of Zagreb. In addition, five representatives may be appointed by the president.

      The president of the Republic of Croatia is elected directly by majority vote for a period of five years and is limited to two terms. The powers of the president are so broad as to make him into a “superpresident.” In addition to appointing and dismissing the prime minister and (on the latter's proposal) the cabinet and other members of government, the president is the supreme commander of the armed forces and has the power to institute emergency ordinances that have the force of law.

      As head of government, the prime minister is formally the leader of the executive branch. Nominated by the president and approved by the parliament, the prime minister is nominally responsible to both, but he is actually far more oriented toward the president, on whom he is directly dependent.

Local government
      Aside from the županije, there are two special districts called kotari, where Serbs constitute a majority and where they are granted cultural autonomy and a greater measure of local self-government. Within the županije are 450 opčine, or municipalities.

      During its 45 years in power, the communist Yugoslav regime reduced illiteracy in Croatia from 16 percent of the population over 10 years of age to less than 4 percent. In addition to thousands of elementary schools, secondary schools, commercial and technical institutions, and vocational schools, the emphasis on education led to the founding of universities in Rijeka in 1973, in Split in 1974, and in Osijek in 1975. The oldest university in Croatia is the University of Zagreb, which dates its beginnings to a Jesuit school of moral theology founded in 1632.

Cultural life
      The Yugoslav version of communism—which, following the 1948 break with the Soviet Union and the Cominform, evolved into a more flexible national path to socialism—allowed far greater autonomy and self-expression in cultural and other spheres of life than did most of its socialist neighbours. As a result, Croatian culture has been able to develop in continuity with the Western heritage of which it has long been a part and to which it has contributed for the last thousand years.

The arts
      Croatians take pride in their literary tradition, which dates to the 11th century AD with the dedication of the Baška Tablet. The first printed book in the Croat language is the Hrvoje s Missal, a liturgical text of 1483. Among the modern giants in Croatian literature are the much-translated novelist, poet, essayist, dramatist, polemicist, and critic Miroslav Krleža (Krleža, Miroslav) (1893–1981) and the lyric poet, essayist, and translator Tin Ujević (1891–1955), both of whom treat man's psychological and sociopolitical struggles at both individual and universal levels.

      The monumental sculptures of Ivan Meštrović (Meštrović, Ivan) (1883–1962), whom the French sculptor Auguste Rodin once called “the biggest phenomenon among sculptors,” synthesize a particularly Croatian national romanticism with the entire European tradition. His works include many religious reliefs and figures carved in walnut. Meštrović designed his own house in Split, now used as a museum for his works.

      Croatian visual artists also have been active in several other genres. Hundreds of painters and photographers are represented in galleries throughout the country, and traditional Croatian arts, including fine textile and lacework, can still be seen. Croatian naive painting, through a simple depiction of the timeless concerns of men and women, struck a universal chord in the mid- to late 20th century and brought worldwide fame to its main exponents, Ivan Generalić, Ivan Rabuzin, and Ivan Lacković-Croata.

      Film enjoys a particularly important place in contemporary Croatian culture. The Zagreb school of film animation has acquired world renown and recognition, including an Academy Award in 1961 for Dušan Vukotić's animated film The Substitute; more recently it has produced such works as Dejan Šorak's Garcia (1999), Krsto Papić's When the Dead Sing (1999), and Zrinko Ogresta's Red Dust (1999), which were screened to critical acclaim at film festivals at home and abroad.

      Croatians enjoy music of many varieties, ranging from folk to opera, jazz, and rock. Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik teem with nightclubs that showcase local talent. Tereza Kesovija has received acclaim as a singer of French chansons. Sandra Nasić sang for Guano Apes, one of Germany's most popular rock groups. In both Croatia and the Croatian diaspora, traditional tamburitza (a stringed instrument similar to a mandolin) music has a fervid following.

      Like most Europeans, Croatians are passionate about football (soccer). Since independence, Croatia's national team, made up largely of players from Zagreb and Split, has performed with great distinction. Basketball is also widely popular, with Croatian club teams winning several European championships. The well-known basketball player Dražen Petrović performed for Croatia's Olympic team in 1992 as well as in the National Basketball Association. Croatian tennis players have performed well in international competitions; in particular, Goran Ivanišević won the men's Wimbledon (Wimbledon Championships) championship in 2001.

      Croatian athletes participated on Yugoslavia's Olympic team from 1948. The independent Republic of Croatia formed a national Olympic Committee in 1991, and its athletes competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, where its basketball squad earned the silver medal. Among the country's Olympic strengths have been rowing, water polo, sailing, swimming, handball, wrestling, and gymnastics. In 1996 Croatia won its first Olympic gold medal, for handball.

Dijana Pleština

      The territory of Croatia bridges the central European and Mediterranean worlds, and its history has been marked by this position as a borderland. It lay near the division between the two halves of the Roman (Roman Catholicism) Empire and between their Byzantine and Frankish successors. The Eastern (Eastern Orthodoxy) and Western churches competed for influence there, and, as the frontier of Christendom, it confronted the limits of Muslim expansion into Europe. After World War II, as part of Yugoslavia, it lay between the Soviet and Western blocs. All these competing interests have had an influence on Croatia's development.

Croatia to the Ottoman conquests
      The lands where the Croats would settle and establish their state lay just within the borders of the western Roman Empire. In the 6th and 7th centuries AD, Slavs (Slav) arrived in the western Balkans, settling on Byzantine territory along the Adriatic and in the hinterland and gradually merging with the indigenous Latinized population. Eventually, they accepted the Roman Catholic church, though preserving a Slavonic liturgy. In the 9th century an independent Croatian state developed with its centre in northern Dalmatia, later incorporating Croatia proper and Slavonia as well. This state grew into a powerful military force under King Tomislav (reigned c. 910–928). Croatia retained its independence under native kings until 1102, when the crown passed into the hands of the Hungarian dynasty. The precise terms of this relationship later became a matter of dispute; nonetheless, even under dynastic union with Hungary, institutions of separate Croatian statehood were maintained through the Sabor (an assembly of Croatian nobles) and the ban (viceroy). In addition, the Croatian nobles retained their lands and titles.

      Over the following centuries, the area associated with the name Croatia shifted gradually north and west as its territory was eroded, first with the loss of Dalmatia to Venice by 1420 and then as a result of Ottoman (Ottoman Empire) conquests in the 16th century. The Croatian nobility maintained their claims to lands occupied by the Ottomans, hoping to repossess them once liberated. A Croatian national tradition also survived within these territories, as well as in lands under Venetian rule—an identity that would be further consolidated among the Catholics of Dalmatia and of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the nationalist movements of the 19th century.

      The Austrian Habsburgs (Habsburg, House of), elected to the throne of Croatia in 1527 after the death of King Louis II of Hungary at the Battle of Mohács, defended the “remnant of the remnants” of Croatia by establishing the Military Frontier along the border with the Ottomans. Because it was ruled directly by the Habsburg war council, this Militärgrenze, or Vojna Krajina, further reduced the land under the control of the Sabor and the ban. Furthermore, it was colonized by Orthodox refugees from Ottoman-conquered territories, thus complicating the confessional map of Croatia. Such was the origin of Croatia's minority Serb population.

      Under the pressures caused by the Ottoman invasions and increased obligations to their landlords, the position of the Croatian peasantry deteriorated, leading to a number of rebellions—most notably in 1573. The nobility, too, was under pressure from Habsburg absolutism. An anti-Habsburg conspiracy of Croatian and Hungarian nobles was unsuccessful, and its leaders, including Petar Zrinski, ban of Croatia, were executed in 1671. Their extensive properties in Croatia were confiscated by the crown.

Ragusa and the Croat Renaissance in Dalmatia
      The Adriatic port of Ragusa had been founded by Latinized colonists, but by the 14th century it had been largely Slavicized and had acquired its alternate name of Dubrovnik. The Croat republic of Ragusa maintained a precarious autonomy under the suzerainty of Venice, Hungary, and (after 1397) the Ottoman Empire. Its wealth as a trading power was based on its role as an intermediary between East and West, and it also nurtured a flourishing cultural life. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Ragusa and other Dalmatian cities under the rule of Venice became the centre of the Croat Renaissance, which, in addition to works of art and science, produced an extensive and powerful literature that had a lasting influence on the development of the Croatian literary language. As a city-state, Ragusa retained its autonomy until 1806, when it was occupied by Napoleon's armies, but as a mercantile power it entered a decline parallel to that of Venice, so that by the 18th century it had become little more than an economic backwater.

Croatian national revival
      From the end of the 17th century, the Habsburgs began to regain Croatian crown lands, first from the Ottomans (with the treaties of Carlowitz (Carlowitz, Treaty of) in 1699 and Passarowitz (Passarowitz, Treaty of) in 1718) and then from Venice after the Napoleonic Wars (confirmed by the Treaty of Vienna in 1815). For the most part these territories were not rejoined to Croatia but were either incorporated into the Military Frontier or organized as separate provinces—as in the case of Habsburg Dalmatia. Much of the land was distributed to German or Hungarian magnates and military dignitaries. The Croat nobility was impoverished, largely culturally assimilated, and too weak to withstand the Habsburg centralization and Germanization that began under Maria Theresa and continued under Joseph II. As the best defense of their rights and privileges, they turned to cooperation with the Hungarians, but this in turn exposed them to the rising force of Hungarian nationalism. When Hungarian, rather than Latin, was imposed as the official language in Hungary and Croatia, Croatian resistance took shape in the Illyrian movement of the 1830s and '40s. The Illyrianists—primarily intellectuals, professionals, clergymen, and gentry led by the linguistic reformer Ljudevit Gaj—strove to defend Croatian interests by calling for the unification of all the South Slavs, to be facilitated through the adoption of a single literary language. Though the Illyrianists failed to win over the other South Slavs, they did succeed in integrating the linguistically and administratively divided Croats within one national movement.

      Threatened by Hungarian nationalism in the Revolution of 1848 and hoping for national unification and autonomy within the empire, the Croats, under Ban Josip Jelačić (Jelačić, Josip, Graf), an Illyrianist, sided with the Austrian dynasty against the Hungarians. They received in reward the same central control and Germanization that were dealt out to the Hungarians as punishment. Reaction against these disappointments encouraged the development of the Party of Right, led by Ante Starčević, which emphasized the idea of Croatian “state rights” and aspired to the creation of an independent Great Croatia. The necessity of relying on the other South Slavs in opposition to the Habsburgs and Hungarians also kept alive the Illyrian idea, revived in the 1860s under the name Yugoslavism. The Yugoslavists, under the patronage of Bishop Josip Juraj Štrossmajer (Strossmayer, Joseph George), advocated South Slav unity within a federated Habsburg state as the basis for an independent Balkan state. Croatian separatism and South Slav cooperation (Yugoslavism) thus became the two alternatives that would shape much of Croatian political thought in the future.

Croatia in Austria-Hungary
      The Habsburg monarchy was reconstituted in 1867 as Austria-Hungary, with Croatia-Slavonia placed under the rule of Hungary and Dalmatia, Istria, and the Military Frontier remaining under Vienna. Under an 1868 agreement between Croatia and Hungary, known as the Nagodba, Croatian statehood was formally recognized, but Croatia was in fact stripped of all real control over its affairs. The Sabor requested that Bosnia and Herzegovina, under Habsburg occupation from 1878, be incorporated into Croatia on the grounds that they had been part of the medieval kingdom. The request was rejected, but the Military Frontier was rejoined to Croatia in 1881. In the following decades, Hungarian domination of Croatian politics was maintained by Ban Károly Khuen-Héderváry, a Hungarian magnate, and supported by those in Croatia who favoured cooperation with Budapest. The government also gained support through concessions to the Serbs, who, with the incorporation of the Military Frontier, had become a larger proportion of Croatia's population. This increased Croat-Serb antagonism in Croatia, as did the Croatian opposition's demands for greater Croatian autonomy. But the crisis of Austro-Hungarian dualism and the accession of the Russophilic Karageorgević dynasty (Karadjordjević dynasty) in Serbia in 1903 created a more favourable climate for cooperation, embodied in the Croat-Serb Coalition of political parties launched by the Rijeka resolution of 1905 with a program that emphasized the links between Croats and Serbs. In the following years the Coalition attracted wide support. Discontent with the existing order contributed to the growing belief that the problems of Croatia could best be solved in a South Slav state, either within Austria-Hungary or outside it—although there was disagreement about what shape such a state would take and about the status of its constituent nationalities.

World War I and the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
      New solutions to Croatia's problems became possible with the dissolution of Austria-Hungary during World War I. However, Croatia's postwar future was threatened by the 1915 Treaty of London, which promised Italy extensive Habsburg territories on the Adriatic in return for entering the war on the Allied side. Representatives of the Habsburg South Slavs in exile, led by the former Coalition politicians Ante Trumbić (Trumbić, Ante) and Franjo Supilo (Supilo, Frano), set up a Yugoslav Committee to promote the cause of a new Yugoslav state that was to be based on the national unity of the South Slavs and on the principle of self-determination. In July 1917 the leaders of the Yugoslav Committee and representatives of the Serbian government-in-exile signed the Corfu Declaration, announcing the intention of founding a unified South Slav state at the end of the war as a democratic, constitutional, and parliamentary monarchy under the Karageorgević dynasty. The agreement with Serbia would save Croatia from being partitioned by the Allies as part of vanquished Austria-Hungary, but the declaration did not specify whether the new state would be a federation of equal partners or would merely represent an extension of the Serbian administrative system.

      At the same time, a movement for unification developed among South Slav politicians still living under Habsburg authority in Croatia. With the Habsburg monarchy collapsing, the peasantry in revolt, and the Serbian and Italian armies advancing into Croatian territory, the Croatian Sabor voted in October 1918 to break relations with Austria-Hungary; declared the unification of the lands of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia in an independent Croatian state; announced the incorporation of Croatia into a South Slav state; and transferred its power to the newly created National Council of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs in Zagreb. One dissenting voice was that of Stjepan Radić (Radić, Stjepan), leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, who opposed unconditional unification with no reference to the will of the people of Croatia and with no guarantees of national equality in the future state. In November 1918 representatives of the National Council, the Yugoslav Committee, and the Serbian government signed the Geneva declaration calling for the establishment of a South Slav state with a form of government to be decided by a national Constituent Assembly. On Dec. 1, 1918, delegates of the National Council met Serbia's regent, Alexander I, to affiliate themselves to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Yugoslavia, 1918–41
      In many respects, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Kingdom of) represented an expansion of Serbian hegemony over new territories, and, in Croatia, discontent with this arrangement was demonstrated by the massive electoral success of Radić's Croatian Peasant Party. Radić refused to accept the unification act, calling instead for an independent Croatian peasant republic. In elections to the Constituent Assembly in 1920, his party received the fourth largest bloc of votes, but Radić boycotted the assembly, thus making possible the adoption of a constitution in 1921 that imposed a highly centralized administration on the new state. In the following decades the political system of the kingdom came to be controlled by Serbian centralists, and opposition in Croatia, dominated by Radić and the Peasant Party, focused on demands for a federal system that would allow Croatia autonomy. By 1928, when Radić and four other Croatian deputies were shot on the floor of the parliament by a Montenegrin deputy, national conflict had brought the political system to a standstill. Nonetheless, some progress had been made in agrarian reform, with peasants receiving land expropriated from large estates.

      Under the dictatorship established in 1929, Alexander attempted to override national divisions by introducing a new supranational patriotism symbolized by the new name of Yugoslavia. The internal borders of the country were redrawn, ignoring historical divisions, so that Croatia vanished into several new provinces named after rivers and natural features. However, Croatian nationalism and opposition to the state system were not eradicated by this policy of unitarism—and neither was Serbian hegemony, which simply continued under the name of Yugoslavism. Political repression bred extremism among some opponents of the regime. In 1934 Alexander (Alexander I) was assassinated as the result of a plot hatched by the Croatian Ustaše (Ustaša) (“Insurgents”), a separatist terrorist association founded in 1929 by Ante Pavelić (Pavelić, Ante) and enjoying the support of Italy's fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Unlike the majority of Croats, who still believed in a federal solution, the Ustaše insisted that only the destruction of Yugoslavia could liberate Croatia.

      The new regent, Prince Paul, prevented the restoration of democratic government, though he permitted some relaxation in political life. The desire for political reform led to the formation of a united Yugoslav opposition, which argued for the reinstatement of democracy and for constitutional reform. In Croatia this opposition included the Peasant Party, now led by Vladko Maček (Maček, Vladimir). In the elections of 1938, the Peasant Party (Croatian Peasant Party) received 80 percent of the vote in Croatia and Dalmatia. Faced with such evidence of popular support for the opposition program, Prince Paul encouraged negotiations between the government and Maček. These culminated in the Sporazum (“Agreement”) of Aug. 26, 1939, which created an autonomous Croatia that was self-governing except in defense and foreign affairs. This did not solve the other national problems of the Yugoslav state, of course, and it provoked resentment among the Serbs, even in the opposition.

      War broke out soon after the Sporazum was signed, and Yugoslavia declared its neutrality; invasion, occupation, and partition followed in 1941. In their campaign against Yugoslavia, the Germans exploited Croatian discontent, presenting themselves as liberators and inciting Croats in the armed forces to mutiny. In April 1941 Germans and Italians set up the Independent State of Croatia, which also embraced Bosnia and Herzegovina and those parts of Dalmatia that had not been ceded to Italy. Though in fact this state was under occupation by the German and Italian armies, Pavelić's Ustaše were put into power—a takeover facilitated by the passivity of Maček and of the Roman Catholic archbishop Alojzije Stepinac. Initially, there was enthusiasm for independence, but, once in power, the Ustaše ruthlessly persecuted Serbs, Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and antifascist Croats. The Ustaše planned to eliminate Croatia's Serb minority partly by conversion to Catholicism, partly by expulsion, and partly by extermination. As many as 350,000 to 450,000 victims were killed in Ustaše massacres and in the notorious concentration camp at Jasenovac.

      Sporadic resistance, particularly by Croatia's Serbs, began almost immediately, but it was the communist Partisans, under Josip Broz Tito (Tito, Josip Broz) (himself a Croat), who provided the resistance with leadership and a program. Croatian Serbs joined the Partisans in flight from Ustaše terror; antifascist Croats were attracted by the broad popular front and by the Partisans' emphasis on national self-determination; and both groups supported the proposed reordering of postwar Yugoslavia along federal lines. Mass enlistment in their ranks made the Partisans more successful in Croatia than anywhere else outside their mountain strongholds. By 1944 most of Croatia—apart from the main cities—was liberated territory, and Croats were joining the Partisans' ranks in large numbers. As the war neared its end, however, many Croats, especially those compromised by involvement with the Ustaše regime or those who opposed the communists, fled north along with other refugees toward the Allied armies. British commanders refused to accept their surrender and handed them over to the Partisans, who took a merciless revenge. Tens of thousands, including many civilians, were subsequently slaughtered on forced marches and in death camps.

Yugoslavia, 1945–91
      After 1945, Croatia was a republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This new federation was intended to satisfy the national aspirations of all its peoples, but a centrally controlled Communist (communism) Party and a revived push for Yugoslav unity undermined this structure. The effects were felt in Croatia in such matters as the purge in 1948 of the Croatian communist Andrija Hebrang and others who had supported Croatian national interests; in the Serbian dominance of the party, army, and police; and in the economic centralization that appropriated part of the republic's income for investment in other parts of the federation.

      Beginning in the early 1960s, the Yugoslav government instituted a number of economic reforms and attempts at political liberalization and decentralization. Encouraged in Croatia by a reformist party leadership under Miko Tripalo and Savka Dabčević-Kučar, these reforms contributed to the flowering of a “Croatian Spring” in 1969–71. The movement took the shape of a cultural and national (nationalism) revival, expressed in large part through the activities of the cultural organization Matica Hrvatska, but it soon culminated in calls for greater Croatian autonomy. Warning of the danger of civil war, Tito (Tito, Josip Broz) intervened and reimposed “democratic centralism” through a series of purges and trials that decimated the ranks of Croatian politicians and intellectuals. The political effects were not alleviated by the 1974 constitution, which granted greater autonomy to the republics, because autonomy was limited in Croatia by centralized party control.

      This control began to break apart in the late 1980s, however. In 1989, as communist hegemony was challenged throughout eastern Europe, the Slovene and Croatian communists sought free multiparty elections. The right-wing, nationalist Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica (HDZ; Croatian Democratic Union), led by Franjo Tudjman (Tudjman, Franjo) (a former party member who had been jailed during the suppression of the Croatian Spring), was victorious in the Croatian elections of 1990. The Serb minority was deeply alarmed by the actions of the new government, which purged Serbs from public administration, especially the police. Serbs' fears also were aroused by accusations, especially from Belgrade, that Croatian nationalism meant a return to fascism and the anti-Serb violence of World War II. When independence was declared on June 25, 1991, armed clashes spread throughout Serb enclaves in Croatia. This provided a pretext for the Yugoslav People's Army to launch an attack on Croatia; in the ensuing war, the city of Vukovar in Slavonia was leveled by bombardment, Dubrovnik and other Dalmatian (Dalmatia) cities were shelled, and about one-third of Croatian territory was occupied. Warfare was halted by an agreement whereby foreign troops sponsored by the United Nations were installed in the disputed areas in order to stabilize and demilitarize them. Although Croatia was granted international recognition in 1992, the government's control over its own territories remained incomplete.

C.W. Bracewell
      Early in 1995 the Croatian government regained military control of western Slavonia and central Croatia from rebel Serbs. In 1996 Serbian President Slobodan Milošević (Milošević, Slobodan) agreed to give up claims to eastern Slavonia, withdrew Yugoslav troops under a United Nations mandate, and established full diplomatic relations with Croatia. Croatia recovered full sovereignty over eastern Slavonia in 1998, and, with the withdrawal of UN troops from the Prelavka Peninsula in 2002, Croatia finally had full control of its territory. Tudjman died in December 1999, and Stipe Mesić, who had broken with the HDZ over Tudjman's autocratic rule, was elected president in February 2000. Mesić quickly moved to stamp out corruption and to improve Croatia's relations with its neighbours, but he failed to deliver on promises of early entry to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the European Union (EU). Croatia continued to suffer deep economic and political divisions, particularly over cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which indicted several individuals considered Croatian national heroes.

      With the success of the HDZ in the 2003 parliamentary elections, Croatia's broad-based coalition government fell, and HDZ leader Ivo Sanader became prime minister of a new centre-right government. In 2004 Croatia became an official EU candidate, but negotiations were postponed in 2005 after the ICTY raised concerns about the country's commitment to bringing war criminals to justice. EU officials also questioned Croatia's dedication to eliminating corruption. By the following year, however, several key suspects had been arrested or tried for war crimes, and the government had adopted a strong anticorruption strategy; these developments bolstered hopes that Croatia could join the EU by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, the country's economy, helped by the spectacular growth of tourism, began to improve. The status of ethnic minorities also apparently had improved since the 1990s: the HDZ-led coalition government that came to power in 2008 was the first to include an ethnic Serb in its cabinet.


Additional Reading
The first half of Jugoslavenski Leksikografski Zavod "miroslav Krleža," Enciklopedija Jugoslavije, 2nd ed., vol. 5 (1988), is a comprehensive study of Croatia, covering all aspects of physical and human geography as well as history. Francis H. Eterovich (ed.), Croatia: Land, People, Culture, 2 vol. (1964–70, reissued 1976), is accessible to the general reader and includes coverage of Croatia in the post-World War II period up to 1960. Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics (1984), offers excellent background on Yugoslavia's “national” problems, including the Serb-Croat conflict. Dijana Pleština, “Democracy and Nationalism in Croatia: The First Three Years,” in Sabrina Petra Ramet and Ljubiša Adamovich (eds.), Beyond Yugoslavia: Politics, Economics, and Culture in a Shattered Community (1995), pp. 123–154, is also useful.Dijana Pleština A general survey of Croatian history to 1939 is Stephen Gazi, A History of Croatia (1973). Susan Mosher Stuard, A State of Deference: Ragusa/Dubrovnik in the Medieval Centuries (1992); Gunther E. Rothenberg, The Austrian Military Border in Croatia, 1522–1747 (1960); Elinor Murray Despalatović, Ljudevit Gaj and the Illyrian Movement (1975); and Stella Alexander, The Triple Myth: A Life of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac (1987), are monographic works on aspects of Croatian history.C.W. Bracewell

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Croatia — • Includes history, education, and religion Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Croatia     Croatia     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Croatia — (lateinisch für „Kroatien“) bezeichnet: Croatia (Agram), von 1839 bis 1842 in Agram (Zagreb) herausgegebene deutschsprachige Zeitschrift Croatia (Budapest), von 1906 an in Budapest erschienene Zeitschrift in ungarischer Sprache (589) Croatia,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Croatia —    Croatia was created by the Germans and the Italians on 10 April 1941, from the dismembered Yugoslavia. The new state, which was under the influence of Germany, installed Ante Pavelic, the leader of the anti Semitic and pro Nazi Ustasa, as its… …   Historical dictionary of the Holocaust

  • Croatia — n. A republic in the western Balkans in south central Europe in the eastern Adriatic coastal area; formerly part of the Habsburg monarchy and Yugoslavia; became independent in 1991 [WordNet 1.7] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Croatia — from Mod.L. Croatia, from Croatian Hrvatska, probably related to Rus. khrebet mountain chain (Cf. CRAVAT (Cf. cravat)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • CROATIA — German. Krabaten, Latin. Corbavia, provinc. Europae, a quibusdam in vetere Liburnia, a Cedreno, in regione Corbatum collocata. A Chrovatis, hîc sibi sedem legentibus, dicta, A. C. 886. Sigon. l. 5. Hîc magnus fidelium numerus, circa A. C. 1230.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Croàtia — ž 1. {{001f}}latinsko ime za Hrvatsku 2. {{001f}}pov. uža Hrvatska (bez Slavonije i Dalmacije) ✧ {{001f}}srlat …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • Croatia — (izg. kroácia) ž DEFINICIJA 1. latinsko ime za Hrvatsku 2. pov. uža Hrvatska (bez Slavonije i Dalmacije) ETIMOLOGIJA srlat …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Croatia — [krō ā′shə] country in SE Europe: at one time part of Austria Hungary, it was a constituent republic of Yugoslavia (1946 91): 21,829 sq mi (56,538 sq km); pop. 4,784,000; cap. Zagreb …   English World dictionary

  • Croatia — …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”