Vacation Tours in Croatia
Get a crash course in Croatia’s history
Coming to Croatia on holiday is an ideal way to get away from it all, see some amazing sites and learn about a magical land that you never knew existed. Of course, you know by now that Dubrovnik, Croatia’s walled city, is the mecca for the filming of the incredible show, Game of Thrones. But there is more to this wonderful country than that. Plan a vacation tour of Croatia!
From Roman occupation of Dalmatia through the post-Bosnian War era, we are going to take you on a crash course through Croatia’s unique history to understand the country’s development and rich culture.
From about 11 BC to about the 5th century AD, Romans ruled the roost. During this era, the territory of what is now Croatia was organized into the coastal area called Dalmatia and the northern area known as Pannonia. The Romans build a network of roads that linked the Dalmatian coast with the Aegean and Black seas.
While the Roman Empire was first thriving and then imploding, Croats and other Slavic tribes were eking out an existence in what some historians think may have been the marshlands of modern-day Ukraine. Historians argue that by the middle of the 7th century, Croat tribes moved into Pannonia and Dalmatia, and powerful clans and rulers emerged.
In 800 AD, the Frankish emperor Charles the Great, the ruler of Western Europe and the first real superpower since the fall of Rome, conquered Dalmatia and swiftly launched a campaign to convert Croat rulers to Christianity. After Charles’ death in 814 AD, the Byzantine Empire controlled most of Dalmatia, while the Pannonian Croats remained under Frankish rule. The spread of Christianity, however, encouraged cultural ties with Rome, which proved to be a factor in forging a future national identity. Today a large majority of Croats are Catholic (about 90%).
Beginning with the crowning of King Tomislav in 925, Croatia the Kingdom was born. Tomislav united Dalmatia and Pannonia into a single kingdom, and under his rule, Croatia became one of the most powerful forces in the Balkans. After his death, his royal successors continued to rule the kingdom until the latter part of the 11th century, when Hungary stepped in.
Mergers and Acquisitions
How and why exactly Croatia merged with Hungary are points of debate among historians but according to research, King Ladislaus of Hungary became the new ruler of Croatia in 1091, after the death of the last Croatian king. In the 1400s when the Ottoman Empire was attempting to take over the Balkans, Croatia was stuck in battles between the Turks and the Hungarians. Croatia would eventually be incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Yugoslavia as Kingdom
In 1918, after the end of World War I and the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Croatia’s loyalties were once again up in the air. A Croatian delegation decided to align forces with the Serbs, forming the “Kingdom of Yugoslavia.” It was a quick failure; declining into the uprising and civil war, with one rebel Croat group, the Ustase, waging a brutal terrorist campaign to exterminate all Serbs and Jews. Another group, the Partisans, led by Josip Broz, or Tito, gained support and after World War II, Tito became the leader of Yugoslavia.
Under Tito’s leadership, Yugoslavia, which included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Serbia, adopted a type of planned market socialism, and privately owned factories and estates were nationalized. Tito transformed Yugoslavia from a largely agricultural nation into an industrialized one. After his death in 1980, however, cracks in the system grew. Finally, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991, a day that is now celebrated as “Statehood Day.” At the same time, Serbs living in the Croatian territory of Krajina proclaimed their independence from Croatia and a civil war was coming.
War and Peace
The Bosnian War, from 1992 to 1995, was a territorial battle among Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians that is characterized as the bloodiest event in Europe since World War II. 100,000 people died, a large number of them civilians, and horrific war crimes were rampant. When NATO finally intervened with airstrikes in 1995, opposing parties were forced to come to the table. The Dayton Peace Accords were signed on December 14, 1995, officially ending the war.
Almost two decades after the end of the war, Croatia is well established as a safe, independent and tourist-friendly country. With a strong economy and stable government (and Game of Thrones!), Croatia is a country worth recognizing.