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The Republic of Croatia is a crescent-shaped country in Europe bordering the Mediterranean to the South, Central Europe to the North and the Balkans to the Southeast. Its capital is Zagreb. In recent history, it was a republic in the SFR Yugoslavia, but it achieved independence in 1991. It is a candidate for membership of the European Union and has observer status in La Francophonie.
Republika Hrvatska
Republic of Croatia
Flag of Croatia Coat of arms of Croatia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: none
Anthem: Lijepa naša domovino
Location of Croatia
Capital Zagreb
45°48′ N 16°0′ E
Largest city Zagreb
Official language(s) Croatian1
Government
President
Prime minister
Democratic republic
Stjepan Mesić
Ivo Sanader
Independence
June 25, 1991
Area
• Total

• Water (%)

56,542 km² ( 124th)
{{{areami²}}} mi²

0.01%
Population
• July 2004 est.
• 2001 census

• Density

4,496,869 ( 117th)
4,437,460

83/km² ( 116th)
{{{population_densitymi²}}}/mi²
GDP ( PPP)
• Total
• Per capita
2005 estimate
,638 million ( 72nd)
,364 ( 56th)
HDI ( 2003) 0.841 ( 45th) – high
Currency Kuna (kn) ( HRK)
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
CET ( UTC+1)
CEST ( UTC+2)
Internet TLD .hr
Calling code +385
1Locally also Italian in Istria county.


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Contents

Name
History
Counties
Geography
Politics
Economy
Demographics
Culture
Famous Croats
Literature



Name - Contents

Croatia is the Latinized version of the native name of the country: Hrvatska. The letter "r" in the first syllable "hrv" is rolled or continuant, which is a linguistic trait strange to languages such as English, making the word seemingly impossible to pronounce by some of those speakers.However, instead of the Latinized version, many languages use a form more similar to the native one. Various forms are listed in Wiktionary.The country code for Croatia is HR (per ISO 3166), so Croatian Internet domains end with .hr.


History - Contents

Croatia's predecessors, the Principalities of Dalmatia and Pannonia were founded by White Croats in the 7th century. Ruled by various Croatian Princes, Dukes since 852, Dalmatia evenutally absorbed Pannonia and after periods of nominal Eastern Roman and then Frankish Imperial rule, Croatia eventually became a strong independent Kingdom in 924. In 1102 the Croatians ended a decades-long dynastic struggle with the by agreeing to submit themselves to Hungarian Royal authority.By the mid-1400s, the Hungarian kingdom was gravely hurt by the Ottoman expansion as much of the mountainous country now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina fell to the Turks. At the same time, Dalmatia became mostly Venetian. Dubrovnik was a city-state that was firstly Byzantine (Roman) and Venetian, but later, unlike other Dalmatian city-states, it became independent as Republic of Dubrovnik, even if it was often under the suzerainty of neighboring powers.The Battle of Mohács in 1526 led the Croatian Parliament to invite the Habsburgs to assume control over Croatia. Habsburg rule eventually did prove to be successful in thwarting the Ottomans, and by the 18th century, much of Croatia was free of Turkish control. The odd crescent shape of the Croatian lands remained as a mark, more or less, of the frontier to the Ottoman advance into Europe. Istria, Dalmatia and Dubrovnik all eventually passed to the Habsburg Monarchy between 1797 and 1815.
Map of Croatia
Map of Croatia
Following World War I, Croatia joined the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (comprising what is today, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia). Shortly thereafter, this joint state in turn formed a union with Serbia to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (which eventually became Yugoslavia in 1929). Yugoslavia was invaded during World War II and Croatia was turned into a fascist puppet-state named Independent State of Croatia. When the Axis powers were defeated, Yugoslavia became a federal socialist state.Along with Slovenia, Croatia declared her independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991, which triggered the Croatian War of Independence. Belgrade rejected the new country and the ensuing months saw combat between various Croatian armed forces and the Belgrade-based YNA (Yugoslav National Army). In early 1992, Germany recognised Croatia, with many other influential countries following suit; finally the remainder of Yugoslavia was compelled to recognise the newly independent states, and as such, the Yugoslav security forces withdrew.A Serb poplation living in some areas of Croatia then revolted and proclaimed their own state - Republic of Serbian Krajina. They were supported by the Yugoslav army. In 1995, the Croatian Army successfully launched two major offensives to retake the rebel areas by force, leading to a mass exodus of the Serbian population. A few months later, as a result, the war ended upon the negotiation of the Dayton Agreement. A peaceful integration of the remaining Serbian-controlled territories was completed in 1998 under UN supervision.Croatia is currently in the process of joining the European Union, accession negotiations started in December 2005.


Counties - Contents

City of Korčula, Island of Korčula
City of Korčula, Island of Korčula
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Amphitheater in Pula, Istria
Amphitheater in Pula, Istria
Croatia is divided into 20 counties (Croatian: županija) and the city district of the capital, Zagreb*:
  1. Zagreb county (Zagrebačka županija)
  2. Krapina-Zagorje county (Krapinsko-zagorska županija)
  3. Sisak-Moslavina county (Sisačko-moslavačka županija)
  4. Karlovac county (Karlovačka županija)
  5. Varaždin county (Varaždinska županija)
  6. Koprivnica-Križevci county (Koprivničko-križevačka županija)
  7. Bjelovar-Bilogora county (Bjelovarsko-bilogorska županija)
  8. Primorje-Gorski Kotar county (Primorsko-goranska županija)
  9. Lika-Senj county (Ličko-senjska županija)
  10. Virovitica-Podravina county (Virovitičko-podravska županija)
  11. Požega-Slavonia county (Požeško-slavonska županija)
  12. Brod-Posavina county (Brodsko-posavska županija)
  13. Zadar county (Zadarska županija)
  14. Osijek-Baranja county (Osječko-baranjska županija)
  15. Šibenik-Knin county (Šibensko-kninska županija)
  16. Vukovar-Srijem county (Vukovarsko-srijemska županija)
  17. Split-Dalmatia county (Splitsko-dalmatinska županija)
  18. Istria county (Istarska županija)
  19. Dubrovnik-Neretva county (Dubrovačko-neretvanska županija)
  20. Međimurje county (Međimurska županija)
  21. Zagreb (Grad Zagreb)*

See also: List of cities in Croatia


Geography - Contents

The Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO-World Heritage Site
The Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO- World Heritage Site
Hell's Islands (Pakleni otoci) near Hvar
Hell's Islands (Pakleni otoci) near Hvar
Brela, Southern Dalmatia
Brela, Southern Dalmatia
Croatia is situated between central, southern, and eastern Europe. It has a rather peculiar shape that resembles a crescent or a horseshoe which helps account for its many neighbours: Slovenia, Hungary, the Serbian part of Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Montenegrin part of Serbia and Montenegro, and Italy across the Adriatic (disputed, see Slovenia-Croatia border dispute). Its mainland territory is split in two non-contiguous parts by the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.Its terrain is diverse, containing:
  • plains, lakes and rolling hills in the continental north and northeast (Central Croatia and Slavonia, part of the Pannonian plain);
  • densely wooded mountains in Lika and Gorski Kotar, part of the Dinaric Alps;
  • rocky coastlines on the Adriatic Sea ( Istria, Northern Seacoast and Dalmatia).
The country is famous for it's many beautiful national parks.
Croatia has a mixture of climates. In the north and east it is continental, Mediterranean along the coast and a semi-highland and highland climate in the south-central region.


Politics - Contents



Political system
Since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution, Croatia has been a parliamentary democracy.
Croatia is a member of:
United Nations
Council of Europe
OSCE
Partnership for Peace
Other organizations
The President of the Republic (Predsjednik) is head of state and elected for a five-year term, and the Prime Minister is Head of Government. In addition to being the commander in chief of the armed forces, the president has the procedural duty of appointing the Prime minister with the consent of the Parliament, and has some influence on foreign policy.The Croatian Parliament (Sabor) is a unicameral legislative body of not less then 100 and not more then 160 representatives, all elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The plenary sessions of the Sabor take place from January 15 to July 15, and from September 15 to December 15.The Croatian Government (Vlada) is headed by the Prime minister who has 2 deputy prime ministers and 14 ministers in charge of particular sectors of activity. The executive branch is responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies of the republic.Croatia has a three-tiered judicial system, consisting of the Supreme Court, county courts, and municipal courts. The Constitutional Court rules on matters regarding the Constitution.

European Union



Economy - Contents

Cathedral of St. Jakob in Šibenik
Cathedral of St. Jakob in Šibenik
Croatia has an economy based mostly on various services and some, mostly light industry. Tourism is a notable source of income. The estimated Gross Domestic Product per capita in purchasing power parity terms for 2004 was USD 11,200 or 41.6% of the EU average for the same year.The Croatian economy is post-communist. In the late 1980s, at the beginning of the process of economic transition, its position was favourable, but it was gravely impacted by de-industrialization and war damages.Main problems include massive structural unemployment followed by an insufficient amount of economic reforms. Of particular concern is the gravely backlogged judiciary system combined with inefficient public administration, especially involving land ownership.The country has since experienced faster economic growth and has been preparing for membership in the European Union, its most important trading partner.In February 2005, Croatia implemented the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU and is advancing further towards full EU membership. The country expects some major economic impulses and high growth rates in the following next years (currently Croatia suffers most from its high export deficit and considerable debt). Some big trading companies have already taken advantage of the liberalization of the Croatian market. Croatia is expecting a boom in investments, especially greenfield investments.


Demographics - Contents

Girl wearing costume from Konavle near Dubrovnik
Girl wearing costume from Konavle near Dubrovnik
The population of Croatia has been stagnating over the last decade. The 1991-1995 war in Croatia had previously displaced large parts of the population and increased emigration. The natural growth rate is minute or negative (less than +/- 1%), as the demographic transition has been completed half a century ago. Average life expectancy is approximately 75 years, and the literacy rate is 98.5%.Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.6%). There are around twenty minorities, Serbs being the biggest one (4.5%), others having less than 0.5% each. The predominate religion is Catholicism (87.8%), with some Orthodox (4.4%) and Sunni Muslim (1.3%) minorities.The official and common language, Croatian, is a South Slavic language, using the Latin alphabet. Less than 5% of the population cites other language as their mother tongues.


Culture - Contents

St. Donatus' Church - the monumental building in the pre Romanesque style from 9th century Zadar
St. Donatus' Church - the monumental building in the pre Romanesque style from 9th century Zadar
Croatian culture is based on a thirteen century long history during which the country has attained many monuments and cities, which gave birth to a good number of brilliant individuals. The country includes six World Heritage sites and eight national parks. Three Nobel prize winners came from Croatia, as did numerous important inventors and other notable people — notably, some of the first fountain pens came from Croatia.Croatia also has a place in the history of clothing as the origin of the necktie (cravat). The country has a long artistic, literary and musical tradition. Of particular interest is also the diverse cuisine.


Famous Croats - Contents

Alka in Sinj
Alka in Sinj
For a full list see List of Croats.
Nobel Prize winners Literature
  • Miroslav Krleža - novelist
  • Antun Gustav Matoš - poet
  • August Šenoa - writer
  • Marko Marulić - writer
  • Ivan Dživo Gundulić - poet
Science
  • Ruđer Bošković - physicist and Jesuit
  • Faust Vrančić - philosopher, thinker
  • Nikola Tesla - inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer
Sport
  • Davor Šuker - football player, Top scorer Football World Cup 1998
  • Zvonimir Boban - football player
  • Dario Šimić - AC Milan defender
  • Dražen Petrović- basketball player
  • Toni Kukoč- basketball player
  • Goran Ivanišević - tennis player, Wimbledon winner
  • Ivan Ljubičić - tennis player, Davis Cup winner
  • Janica Kostelić - World ski champion, gold Olympic medal winner
  • Ivica Kostelić - World ski champion, silver Olympic medal winner
  • Mirko Filipović - kickboxer and mixed martial artist
Politics
  • Ban Josip Jelačić - politician, soldier
  • Ante Starčević - politician
  • Stjepan Radić - politician
  • Josip Broz - Tito - politician and guerilla leader
  • Franjo Tuđman - politician
  • Don Mihovil Pavlinovic - politician, priest, writer



Literature - Contents

  • Agičić et al. (2000): Povijest i zemljopis Hrvatske (History and Geography of Croatia), priručnik za hrvatske manjinske škole (handbook for croatian minority schools), Biblioteka Geographica Croatica, 292 p., Zagreb, ISBN 953-6235-40-4 (croatian)
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