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Coordinates: 45°10′N 15°30′E / 45.167°N 15.500°E / 45.167; 15.500

Republic of Croatia
Republika Hrvatska (Croatian)[a]
Anthem: "
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Zoran Milanović
Andrej Plenković
Gordan Jandroković
Establishment history
• Duchy
7th century
• Kingdom
• Joined Habsburg Monarchy
1 January 1527
• Secession from
29 October 1918
4 December 1918
25 June 1991[5]
22 May 1992
12 November 1995
• Joined NATO
1 April 2009
1 July 2013
• Total
56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi) (124th)
• Water (%)
• 2021 census
Neutral decrease 3,871,833[6] (128th)
• Density
68.4/km2 (177.2/sq mi) (152nd)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $161 billion[7] (83rd)
• Per capita
Increase $40,484[7] (51st)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $73 billion[7] (83rd)
• Per capita
Increase $18,451[7] (66th)
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 28.3[8]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.858[9]
very high · 40th
CurrencyEuro () (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Date formatdd. mm. yyyy. (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+385
ISO 3166 codeHR
Internet TLD

Croatia (

maritime border with Italy to the west and southwest. Its capital and largest city, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, with twenty counties
. The country spans 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), and has a population of nearly 3.9 million.

The Croats arrived in the late 6th century. By the 7th century, they had organized the territory into two duchies. Croatia was first internationally recognized as independent on 7 June 879 during the reign of Duke Branimir. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. During the succession crisis after the Trpimirović dynasty ended, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Austria to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918, it merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of Croatia was incorporated into a Nazi-installed puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia. A resistance movement led to the creation of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, which after the war became a founding member and constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, and the War of Independence was successfully fought over the next four years.

Croatia is a republic and a parliamentary liberal democracy. It is a member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the World Trade Organization, and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. An active participant in United Nations peacekeeping, Croatia contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force and filled a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.

Croatia is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy and ranks 40th in the Human Development Index. Service, industrial sectors, and agriculture dominate the economy. Tourism is a significant source of revenue for the country, which is ranked among the 25 most popular tourist destinations. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides social security, universal health care, and tuition-free primary and secondary education while supporting culture through public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.


Croatia's name derives from Medieval Latin Croātia, itself a derivation of North-West Slavic *Xərwate, by liquid metathesis from Common Slavic period *Xorvat, from proposed Proto-Slavic *Xъrvátъ which possibly comes from the 3rd-century Scytho-Sarmatian form attested in the Tanais Tablets as Χοροάθος (Khoroáthos, alternate forms comprise Khoróatos and Khoroúathos).[11] The origin is uncertain, but most probably is from Proto-Ossetian / Alanian *xurvæt- or *xurvāt-, in the meaning of "one who guards" ("guardian, protector").[12] The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of the variable stem, attested in the Baška tablet in style zvъnъmirъ kralъ xrъvatъskъ ("Zvonimir, Croatian king"),[13] although it was archaeologically confirmed that the ethnonym Croatorum is mentioned in a church inscription found in Bijaći near Trogir dated to the end of the 8th or early 9th century.[14] The presumably oldest stone inscription with fully preserved ethnonym is the 9th-century Branimir inscription found near Benkovac, where Duke Branimir is styled Dux Cruatorvm, likely dated between 879 and 892, during his rule.[15] The Latin term Chroatorum is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir I of Croatia, dated to 852 in a 1568 copy of a lost original, but it is not certain if the original was indeed older than the Branimir inscription.[16][17]


Vučedol dove, a sculpture from 2800–2500 BCE
Right: Croatian Apoxyomenos, Ancient Greek
statue, 2nd or 1st century BC.


The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the

Palaeolithic period were unearthed in northern Croatia, best presented at the Krapina site.[18] Remnants of Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures were found in all regions.[19] The largest proportion of sites is in the valleys of northern Croatia. The most significant are Baden, Starčevo, and Vučedol cultures.[20][21] Iron Age hosted the early Illyrian Hallstatt culture and the Celtic La Tène culture.[22]


The 1st century-built Pula Arena was the sixth largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire

Much later, the region was settled by Illyrians and Liburnians, while the first Greek colonies were established on the islands of Hvar,[23] Korčula, and Vis.[24] In 9 AD, the territory of today's Croatia became part of the Roman Empire. Emperor Diocletian was native to the region. He had a large palace built in Split, to which he retired after abdicating in AD 305.[25]

During the 5th century, the

Croat invasions in the first half of the 7th century and the destruction of almost all Roman towns. Roman survivors retreated to more favourable sites on the coast, islands, and mountains. The city of Dubrovnik was founded by such survivors from Epidaurum.[27]

Middle Ages

King Tomislav


anthroponyms of Croatian people.[28]

According to the work

Principality of Lower Pannonia, at the time ruled by duke Ljudevit who ruled the territories between the Drava and Sava rivers, centred from his fort at Sisak. This population and territory throughout history was tightly related and connected to Croats and Croatia.[38]

According to Constantine VII the

Christianisation of Croats began in the 7th century, but the claim is disputed, and generally, Christianisation is associated with the 9th century.[39] It is assumed that initially encompassed only the elite and related people.[40] The Frankish overlordship ended during the reign of Mislav,[41] or his successor Trpimir I.[42] The native Croatian royal dynasty was founded by duke Trpimir I in the mid 9th century, who defeated the Byzantine and Bulgarian forces.[43] The first native Croatian ruler recognised by the Pope was duke Branimir, who received papal recognition from Pope John VIII on 7 June 879.[15]

Personal union with Hungary (1102) and Habsburg Monarchy (1527)

For the next four centuries, the Kingdom of Croatia was ruled by the

Croatian Parliament met in Cetin and chose Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg as the new ruler of Croatia, under the condition that he protects Croatia against the Ottoman Empire while respecting its political rights.[47][49]

Nikola Šubić Zrinski is honoured as a national hero for his defence of Szigetvár against the Ottoman Empire

Following the decisive Ottoman victories, Croatia was split into civilian and military territories in 1538. The military territories became known as the

The Ottoman wars drove demographic changes. During the 16th century, Croats from western and northern Bosnia, Lika, Krbava, the area between the rivers of Una and Kupa, and especially from western Slavonia, migrated towards Austria. Present-day Burgenland Croats are direct descendants of these settlers.[51][52] To replace the fleeing population, the Habsburgs encouraged Bosnians to provide military service in the Military Frontier.


Queen Maria Theresa
made significant contributions to Croatian affairs, such as introducing compulsory education.

Between 1797 and 1809, the

Croatian National Revival, a political and cultural campaign advocating the unity of South Slavs within the empire. Its primary focus was establishing a standard language as a counterweight to Hungarian while promoting Croatian literature and culture.[56] During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Croatia sided with Austria. Ban Josip Jelačić helped defeat the Hungarians in 1849 and ushered in a Germanisation policy.[57]

The Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia was an autonomous kingdom within Austria-Hungary created in 1868 following the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement

By the 1860s, the failure of the policy became apparent, leading to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. The creation of a personal union between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary followed. The treaty left Croatia's status to Hungary, which was resolved by the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement of 1868 when the kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia were united.[58] The Kingdom of Dalmatia remained under de facto Austrian control, while Rijeka retained the status of corpus separatum introduced in 1779.[46]


federalisation with Croatia as a federal unit, were stopped by World War I.[61]

First Yugoslavia (1918–1941)

Stjepan Radić, leader of the Croatian Peasant Party who advocated federal organisation of the Yugoslavia
, at the assembly in Dubrovnik, 1928

On 29 October 1918 the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) declared independence and decided to join the newly formed

1921 constitution defining the country as a unitary state
and abolition of Croatian Parliament and historical administrative divisions effectively ended Croatian autonomy.

The new constitution was opposed by the most widely supported national political party—the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) led by Stjepan Radić.[63]

The political situation deteriorated further as Radić was assassinated in the

National Assembly in 1928, leading to King Alexander I to establish a dictatorship in January 1929.[64] The dictatorship formally ended in 1931 when the king imposed a more unitary constitution.[65] The HSS, now led by Vladko Maček, continued to advocate federalisation, resulting in the Cvetković–Maček Agreement of August 1939 and the autonomous Banovina of Croatia. The Yugoslav government retained control of defence, internal security, foreign affairs, trade, and transport while other matters were left to the Croatian Sabor and a crown-appointed Ban.[66]

World War II

German dictator Adolf Hitler and the Poglavnik of the Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state created under the influence of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1941. Berghof outside Berchtesgaden
, Germany

In April 1941,

concentration camps (most notably the Rab, Gonars and Molat camps) were established in Italian-occupied territories, mostly for Slovenes and Croats.[71] At the same time, the Yugoslav Royalist and Serbian nationalist Chetniks pursued a genocidal campaign against Croats and Muslims,[70][73] aided by Italy.[74] Nazi German forces committed crimes and reprisals against civilians in retaliation for Partisan actions, such as in the villages of Kamešnica and Lipa in 1944.[75][76]

Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac with the Croatian communist leader Vladimir Bakarić at the celebration of May Day, shortly before Stepinac was arrested and convicted by the communists, he became a symbol of resistance to the communist regime in Yugoslavia


Yugoslav Partisan movement, a communist, multi-ethnic anti-fascist resistance group led by Josip Broz Tito.[79] In ethnic terms, Croats were the second-largest contributors to the Partisan movement after Serbs.[80] In per capita terms, Croats contributed proportionately to their population within Yugoslavia.[81] By May 1944 (according to Tito), Croats made up 30% of the Partisan's ethnic composition, despite making up 22% of the population.[80] The movement grew fast, and at the Tehran Conference in December 1943, the Partisans gained recognition from the Allies.[82]

With Allied support in logistics, equipment, training and airpower, and with the assistance of

persecution in Yugoslavia, and many were interned.[84]

The political aspirations of the Partisan movement were reflected in the

AVNOJ—its counterpart at the Yugoslav level.[85][86]

People of Zagreb celebrating liberation on 12 May 1945 by Croatian Partisans

Based on the studies on

ceded from Italy after the war) died, which amounted to 7.3% of the population,[87] among whom were 125–137,000 Serbs, 118–124,000 Croats, 16–17,000 Jews, and 15,000 Roma.[88][89] In addition, from areas joined to Croatia after the war, a total of 32,000 people died, among whom 16,000 were Italians and 15,000 were Croats.[90] Approximately 200,000 Croats from the entirety of Yugoslavia (including Croatia) and abroad were killed in total throughout the war and its immediate aftermath, approximately 5.4% of the population.[91][92]

Second Yugoslavia (1945–1991)


Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Standard Language demanding equal treatment for their language.[93]

SFR Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1980; Pictured: Tito with the US president Richard Nixon in the White House
, 1971

The declaration contributed to a national movement seeking greater civil rights and redistribution of the Yugoslav economy, culminating in the Croatian Spring of 1971, which was suppressed by Yugoslav leadership.[94] Still, the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution gave increased autonomy to federal units, basically fulfilling a goal of the Croatian Spring and providing a legal basis for independence of the federative constituents.[95]

Following Tito's death in 1980, the political situation in Yugoslavia deteriorated. National tension was fanned by the 1986

Serbs in Croatia left Sabor and declared the autonomy of the unrecognised Republic of Serbian Krajina, intent on achieving independence from Croatia.[100][101]

Croatian War of Independence

As tensions rose, Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991. However, the full implementation of the declaration only came into effect after a three-month moratorium on the decision on 8 October 1991.[102][103] In the meantime, tensions escalated into overt war when the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and various Serb paramilitary groups attacked Croatia.[104] By the end of 1991, a high-intensity conflict fought along a wide front reduced Croatia's control to about two-thirds of its territory.[105][106] Serb paramilitary groups then began a campaign of killing, terror, and expulsion of the Croats in the rebel territories, killing thousands[107] of Croat civilians and expelling or displacing as many as 400,000 Croats and other non-Serbs from their homes.[108] Serbs living in Croatian towns, especially those near the front lines, were subjected to various forms of discrimination.[109] Croatian Serbs in Eastern and Western Slavonia and parts of the Krajina were forced to flee or were expelled by Croatian forces, though on a restricted scale and in lesser numbers.[110] The Croatian Government publicly deplored these practices and sought to stop them, indicating that they were not a part of the Government's policy. [111]

The Eternal Flame and 938 marble crosses on the National Memorial Cemetery of The Victims of Homeland War in Vukovar, commemorates the victims of the Vukovar massacre as one of the symbolic and crucial events in Croatian War of Independence

On 15 January 1992, Croatia gained diplomatic recognition by the European Economic Community, followed by the United Nations.[112][113] The war effectively ended in August 1995 with a decisive victory by Croatia;[114] the event is commemorated each year on 5 August as Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders.[115] Following the Croatian victory, about 200,000 Serbs from the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina fled the region[116] and hundreds of mainly elderly Serb civilians were killed in the aftermath of the military operation.[117] Their lands were subsequently settled by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[118] The remaining occupied areas were restored to Croatia following the Erdut Agreement of November 1995, concluding with the UNTAES mission in January 1998.[119] Most sources number the war deaths at around 20,000.[120][121][122]

Independent Croatia (1991–present)

After the end of the war, Croatia faced the challenges of post-war reconstruction, the return of refugees, establishing democracy, protecting human rights, and general social and economic development. The main law of independent Croatia was established with the Constitution adopted on 22 December 1990, six months prior to declaration of independence.

The post-2000 period is characterised by democratisation, economic growth, structural and social reforms, as well as problems such as unemployment, corruption, and the inefficiency of the public administration.[123] In November 2000 and March 2001, the Parliament amended the Constitution, changing its bicameral structure back into its historic unicameral form and reducing presidential powers.[124]

Croatia joined the

Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union,[127] submitted a formal application for the EU membership in 2003,[128] was given the status of candidate country in 2004,[129] and began accession negotiations in 2005.[130]

In December 2011, Croatia completed EU accession negotiations and signed

Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013. A recurring obstacle to the negotiations was Croatia's ICTY co-operation record and Slovenian blocking of the negotiations because of Croatia–Slovenia border disputes.[133][134]

Although the Croatian economy had enjoyed a significant boom in the early 2000s, the financial crisis in 2008 forced the government to cut spending, thus provoking a public outcry.[135]

Croatia served on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term, assuming the presidency in December 2008.[136] On 1 April 2009, Croatia joined NATO.[137]

A wave of anti-government protests in early 2011 reflected a general dissatisfaction with politics and economics.[138]

Croatia completed EU accession negotiations in 2011. A majority of Croatian voters opted in favour of EU membership in a 2012 referendum.,[139] Croatia joined the European Union effective 1 July 2013.[140] Croatia was affected by the 2015 European migrant crisis when Hungary's closure of borders with Serbia pushed over 700,000 refugees and migrants to pass through Croatia on their way to other countries.[141]

On 19 October 2016, Andrej Plenković began serving as Croatian Prime Minister.[142] The most recent presidential elections, on 5 January 2020, elected Zoran Milanović as president.[143]


Croatia is situated in

practical exclave connected to the rest of the mainland by territorial waters, but separated on land by a short coastline strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.[144] The Pelješac Bridge
connects the exclave with mainland Croatia.

The territory covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), consisting of 56,414 square kilometres (21,782 square miles) of land and 128 square kilometres (49 square miles) of water. It is the world's 127th largest country.

a thousand islands and islets varying in size, 48 of which permanently inhabited. The largest islands are Cres and Krk,[145]
each of them having an area of around 405 square kilometres (156 square miles).

Bora is a dry, cold wind which blows from the mainland out to sea, whose gusts can reach hurricane strength, particularly in the channel below Velebit, e.g. in the town of Senj
Karst spring of the Cetina river and Dinara Nature Park in the background, the newest and second largest Croatian nature park. Recognised in 2021[146]

The hilly northern parts of

Plitvice lakes, a system of 16 lakes with waterfalls connecting them over dolomite and limestone cascades. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from turquoise to mint green, grey or blue.[148]


Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) in January and 18 °C (64 °F) in July. The coldest parts of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar featuring a snowy, forested climate at elevations above 1,200 metres (3,900 feet). The warmest areas are at the Adriatic coast and especially in its immediate hinterland characterised by Mediterranean climate, as the sea moderates temperature highs. Consequently, temperature peaks are more pronounced in continental areas. The lowest temperature of −35.5 °C (−31.9 °F) was recorded on 3 February 1919 in Čakovec, and the highest temperature of 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) was recorded on 4 August 1981 in Ploče.[149][150]

Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimetres (24 inches) and 3,500 millimetres (140 inches) depending on geographic region and climate type. The least precipitation is recorded in the outer islands (Biševo, Lastovo, Svetac, Vis) and the eastern parts of Slavonia. However, in the latter case, rain occurs mostly during the growing season. The maximum precipitation levels are observed on the Dinara mountain range and in Gorski Kotar.[149]

Prevailing winds in the interior are light to moderate northeast or southwest, and in the coastal area, prevailing winds are determined by local features. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast, generally as the cool northeasterly

jugo. The sunniest parts are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year, followed by the middle and southern Adriatic Sea area in general, and northern Adriatic coast, all with more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year.[151]


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