Croatia is located in southeastern Europe and extends along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. This area makes up littoral Croatia. The Dinaric Mountains extend parallel to the Adriatic coast, and this area is called Dinaric Croatia. In the north, Croatia comprises a large part of the Pannonian plains, and this region is called Pannonian Croatia. All three regions comprise a geographic unity, and the diversity of Croatia is such that the areas complement each other. Today the majority of the Croatian ethnic territory is administratively and politically included in two republics: “Croatia” and “Bosna and Hercegovina”. Both of these republics comprise an entity historically, culturally, linguistically and economically. Their area is 107,667 km2 and their population is 8,692,000, according to the 1981 census. Historians and anthropologist trace the first home of the Croatians to a region called “Harauvat-is” located in present-day Afghanistan. 500 B.C. Croatian name first mentioned on the inscription of Persian ruler, Darius the Great. 375 A.D. Croatians move northward to the Carpathian Mountains in present-day southern Poland. In this area they establish a powerful state called White Croatia with its capital “Hrvat” (present-day Krakow). 620 – 640 Croatians arrive in present-day Croatia and adopt Christianity. 679 First international treaty between Croatian Duke Borko and Pope Agathon. 810 – 823 Duke Ljudevit Posavski establishes powerful state in northern Croatia. 845 Duke Trpimir establishes the Trpimirovic dynasty in southern Croatia. 852 First Croatian state document written in Latin. 925 Croatian Duke Tomislav crowned King. 1058 – 1076 United Croatia under Petar Kresimir. 1102 Representatives of 12 Croatian clans elect Hungarian King Koloman as their ruler (“Pacta Conventa”). Croatia remains independent. 1354 – 1391 Bosnian ruler Stjepan Tvrtko rules over Bosna and Croatia. 1409 Dalmatia (southern Croatia) occupied by Venetians. 1463 Bosna occupied by Turks (Ottoman). Hercegovina falls under Turks in 1482. Croatia in constant battles with Turks. Croatia sustains tremendous casualties while fighting the Turks. 1527 Croatia turns to the Habsburgs for help in her battles with the Turks, and one part of Croatia ruled by the Habsburgs. Massive emigration of Croatians (especially to Burgenland, Austria and Molise, Italy). Croats elect as their King, Ferdinand of the Habsburg Dynasty. 1671 The two most distinguished noble Croatian families Zrinski and Frankopan are extinguished with the execution of Petar Zrinski and Frane Krsto Frankopan in Austria. Croatia falls under direct military rule of Austria. 1797 Napoleon abolishes the Republic of Venice and rules over Dalmatia. 1808 With the arrival of Napoleon’s troops in Dubrovnik (Ragusa), a republic free for centuries loses its independence. 1815 – 1848 All Croatian lands except Bosna and Hercegovina under Austrian autocratic rule. 1835 The beginning of Croatian national, cultural, and political awakening; also a movement for liberation and unification of the Croatian lands, known as the Croatian National Revival. 1841 First political parties are formed. The beginning of modern political life in Croatia. 1842 “Matica Hrvatska” cultural and publishing institute founded in Zagreb, capital of Croatia. 1848 Croatian Ban (viceroy) Josip Jelacic cuts all ties with Hungary and declares war on Hungary; he abolishes serfdom in Croatia. 1867 Habsburg Empire becomes Dual Monarchy of Austria and Hungary. Dalmatia and Istria under direct rule of Austria, northern Croatia under Hungarian rule, and Bosna and Hercegovina under Turkish rule. 1871 Eugen Kvaternik instigates a rebellion in Rakovica for the independence of Croatia. 1878 Ante Starcevic officially proclaims the “Party of Croatian Rights” which practically existed since 1861. 1878 Following the Russian – Turkish wars and the Berlin Congress, Bosna and Hercegovina annexed by Austria. 1883 – 1902 The Hungarians through the “Croatian” Vice-Roy Karoly Khuen-Hedervary use the Serbian minority in Croatia to deny Croatians their right to their language and nationality. 1903 Anti-Hungarian and anti-Austrian riots. Some 50,000 Croatians leave their homeland for America. 1904 Founding of the Croatian Republican Peasant Party by Stjepan and Antun Radic. 1915 By secret treaty in London, the Allies promise a large part of the Croatian territory to Italy for having sided with them during the war. A Yugoslav Committee (Jugoslavenski Odbor) is founded in London. 29.X.1918 Croatian Parliament (Sabor) during an historic session severs all ties with Austria and Hungary and proclaims the independence of Croatia. 1.XII.1918 Pro-Yugoslav faction goes to Belgrade to bring Croatia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes without consulting the Croatian Sabor or the Croatian people. Stjepan Radic referred to them as silly geese not knowing what they were doing. 1918 – 1919 Serbian army by means of murder and terror “pacify” Croatians, Montenegrins and Macedonians. 1918 – 1928 Stjepan Radic struggles for a “neutral Croatian peasant republic”. 1920 Workers’ Socialist Party of Yugoslavia founded in Belgrade. 1923 Stjepan Radic goes to France, Great Britain and Soviet Union to advocate the Croatian cause. 1925 Croatian Peasant Party outlawed. Stjepan Radic, its leader, imprisoned. 20.VI.1928 During a session in the Belgrade Parliament, the radical Serbian representative, Punisa Racic, assassinates Croatian deputies Pavle Radic and Duro Basaricek and fatally wounds Stjepan Radic, the most distinguished Croatian politician. King Alexander Karagjorgevic is behind these assassinations. 8.VIII.1928 Stjepan Radic dies from wounds suffered after being shot in the Belgrade Parliament. 6.I.1929 King Alexander disbands all political parties and proclaims a dictatorship. This same year the country is officially named Yugoslavia. 1929 Dr. Ante Pavelic, member of the “Party of Croatian Rights” and former deputy in the Belgrade Parliament, founds the Ustasa Movement. In Sofia, he signs an agreement with Bulgarian and Macedonian nationalists for a common struggle against Belgrade. Croatian patriots are persecuted, imprisoned, and executed. Intellectuals are particularly the objects of this oppression. Personalities such as Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann as well as organizations such as League of Nations protest against such conduct by Belgrade. “The league should muster all possible aid to protect this small, peaceful and highly civilized people”, said Einstein in his protest against terror in Croatia in his letter to the International League for the Rights of Man. (The New York Times, May 6, 1931.) 9.X.1934 While on a state visit to France; King Alexander is assassinated by Croatian and Macedonian revolutionaries in Marseille. 1934 – 1938 Police brutality and many uprisings in Croatia. Ustasa Movement active in Croatia despite strictest prohibitions and terror by Belgrade. 1938 Opposition parties led by Vlatko Macek obtain more than 1,300,000 votes i.e. absolute majority over the pro-fascist government of M. Stojadinovic, despite government threats and terror. 1939 Just before the outbreak of WW II Cvetkovic – Macek government. Croatians obtain some autonomy with the creation of the so-called “Banovina (Dukedom) of Croatia”. 25.III.1941 Yugoslavia joins the fascist countries within the “Tripartite Pact”. 6.IV.1941 Germany attacks Yugoslavia, which capitulates after only a few days. 10.IV.1941 Proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Dr. Ante Pavelic returns from Italy and takes over the government in Croatia. One part of Croatia under Italian rule; while the other is under German and Hungarian rule. 1941 Serbian nationalists under the leadership of Draza Mihajlovic, so-called Chetniks, carry out horrible massacres in eastern and southern parts of the Croatian state. Throughout that year, they executed tens of thousands of Croatian Catholics and Muslims. 22.VI.1941 Following Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union, Tito’s Partisans rebel against the Germans and the Italians and at the same time against the newly created Croatian state. 1943 Western Allies stop aiding the Chetniks under D. Mihajlovic and supply massive aid to Tito. With the capitulations of Italy, the Partisan Movement in Croatia rapidly grows in strength. 1944 Ivan Subasic, former Croatian Ban (Vice-Roy) during the short-lived Banovina of Croatia, becomes President of the Yugoslav government in exile. Subasic’s agreement with Tito makes it possible for the Communists to take over the government. 6.-15.V.1945 Massive numbers of Croatian soldiers and civilians withdraw from Croatia and march towards southern Austria to surrender and seek protection from the Western Allies. They arrive in the small village of Bleiburg where the British hand them over to Tito’s Partisans. The infamous “Death Marches” result in the most horrible slaughters in the history of Croatia. 8.V.1945 Partisans march into Zagreb. Tito and the Communist Party take over in Croatia. Political and social system based on the Stalinist Soviet model. 1946 Archbishop of Zagreb and later Cardinal, Alojzije Stepinac is sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for criticizing the new Communist government and for his refusal to cut all ties between the Croatian Catholic Church and Rome. (He died in jail in 1960). It is only this year (1985) that his prosecutor Jakov Blazevic admits publicly that Stepinac’s trial was entirely unjust and that his high-ranking ecclesiastic was tried only because he refused to severe thousand year-old ties between the Croatians and the Roman Catholic Church. 1948 Tito and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia formally expelled from the Comintern by Stalin. 1948 Leading Croatian Communist Andrija Hebrang imprisoned and murdered. 1949 Western powers, particularly the U.S.A., begin supplying massive aid to Yugoslavia “in order that Yugoslavia maintain her independence from Moscow”. Far more than “maintaining her independence from Moscow” this aid to Yugoslavia served to suppress every national tendency for freedom and all desire for human rights and democracy. At the same time, builds up a powerful secret police and well-equipped army. 1953 Tito begins acting the role of the non-aligned leader, siding neither with the East nor with the West, but receiving aid from both sides. The U.S.A. particularly stands out in profusing aid to the Yugoslav dictatorship as, after all, to many other dictatorships. 1956 Tito hands over the Hungarian revolutionaries to the Soviets (even the leader of the revolution in Hungary, Imbre Nagy) denouncing them as “fascists and reactionaries”. 1964 Yugoslavia establishes diplomatic ties with West Germany. Hundreds of thousands of workers from Croatia leave for Western capitalist countries to earn a living. 1966 The most powerful man of that time in Yugoslavia, Alexander Rankovic, is removed from power. Among his many positions, he was chief of the notorious Yugoslav secret police, the UDBA. It was then learned that out of 5 million Croatians, some 1,300,000 were blacklisted by the UDBA 1967 The beginning of the National Movement in Croatia. “Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Literary language” signed by 19 leading scholarly and cultural institutions and some 140 linguists, writers and scholars. 1970 Savka Dabcevic-Kucar and Mika Tripalo emerge as the leaders of the liberal Communist Party of Croatia, which demanded more autonomy and national rights for the Croatian Republic. 1.XII.1971 At a special meeting of the League of Communist of Yugoslavia at Karagjorgjevo, Serbia, Tito strongly denounces nationalism and the “rotten liberalism” in Croatia, which results in the dismissal of the Croatian leadership of the time. 3.XII.1971 Strikes by tens of thousands of students. As police and troops converge on the Croatian capital, Zagreb, the students and workers end their strike, avoiding possible bloodshed. This is the end of the “Croatian Spring”, and thousands of young people, artist, writers, scholars and intellectuals of most diverse profiles are imprisoned. Some get long-term imprisonments; others die under very mysterious circumstances (e.g. the secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Croatia, Pero Pirker, general Viktor Bubanj and one of the leading columnists Neda Krmpotic, for whom it was officially reported that “she died suddenly following a serious illness”). Cultural organizations such as “Matica Hrvatska” are banned. Eighteen newspapers and magazines are forbidden. 1971 – 1972 Between two and three months, over 1,600 people imprisoned. 1972 Guerrilla activities in Bugojno, Bosna and Hercegovina. 1972 Large numbers of prominent Croatian intellectuals escape to Western European countries. Some of them later assassinated (one of the most significant Croatian journalists, Bruno Busic). The same fate will befall some who fled some ten years later to the West, e.g., Stjepan Djurekovic. 4.V.1980 Tito dies in Ljubljana, buried in Belgrade. 4.V.1980 - 1989 Armed insurrection of Albanians in Kosovo. Beginning of the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Time to severe dictatorship, human rights violations, economic recession, and high inflation. Multiparty system introduced in Yugoslavia. 22.IV.1990 First multiparty, democratic elections in Croatia since World War II: Communist Party loses in favor of the Croatian Democratic Union. In Serbia, Communists led by Slobodan Milosevic win the elections. Democratic elections in Bosna and Hercegovina; Democratic National Parties win against the communists (Nov.18). Serbian reaction to democratic changes in Croatia is to import terrorism an ignite unrest among the Serbian minorities living in the Knin area (southern Croatia); the purpose is to destabilize the new Croatian democratic government, bring the Communist back to power and, finally, create a “Greater Serbia” on the Croatian territory. 30.V.1990 Croatian National Day. New, democratic Croatian parliament formally established; a new constitution is proclaimed. 1991 Referendum held at which Croatian citizens voted for transformation of the Yugoslav federation into a loose confederation of sovereign states. 25.VI.1991 Yugoslav Federal Presidency rejects the program for transformation of Yugoslavia. 17.VIII.1991 Military intervention of the Yugoslav Army, Serbian irregulars and Chetniks in Croatia. IX.1991 International peace conference on Yugoslavia, organized by the European community, commences in The Hague. X – XII.1991 War against Croatia gains momentum inspite of the EC peace efforts. Croatia pleads to the world to recognize its independence and stop the bloodshed. X.1991 Despite differing opinions within the European Community, and the open warning from U.S. State Department that recognition of Croatia would only intensify the fighting, Germany and Sweden formally recognize Croatia. 15.I.1992 Twelve European Community countries plus 27 more countries recognize Croatia as an independent, sovereign state.
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