Croatia is located in Southern Europe . Its shape resembles that of a crescent or a horseshoe, which flanks its neighbours Serbia , Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro . To the north lie Slovenia and Hungary ; Italy lies across the Adriatic Sea . Its mainland territory is split in two non-contiguous parts by the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Population: 4,555,000 Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.9%). There are around twenty minorities, Serbs being the largest one (4.5%) and others having less than 0.5% each. The predominant 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 . The verses for the Croatian national anthem Our Beautiful Homeland (Lijepa nasa domovino) were written by a Croatian poet and diplomat Antun Mihanovic (1796-1861). The music was composed by Josip Runjanin (1821-1878). It is interesting that many Croats who sang it during the former Yugoslav regime (for example on country weddings), risked to be imprisoned. There was a jail not far from Zagreb, nicknamed as &quot;Jail for Singers''
Croatia Hervatska June 2007
1815 to 1839: After the Congress of Vienna The Ottoman Empire, having emerged from the Middle Ages predominant in the Balkans, controlled Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at its northern fringes.
1914: Eve of the First World War The Turks were driven from most of the Balkans in the 19th century and were replaced by rivalrous European powers. With Russian patronage, an independent Serbia was born alongside an Austrian-controlled Bosnia, where a Serbian nationalist ignited World War I by assassinating the Austrian crown prince.
Between the Two World Wars The Versailles conference created a unified kingdom of the south Slavs -- Yugoslavia. It encompassed Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians, with the capital in Belgrade and the lion1s share of influence held by Serbs. Bosnia's Muslims were not recognized as a distinct group.
Nov. 1942: Height of Axis Occupation The Axis powers occupied Yugoslavia, creating a puppet state in Croatia ruled by local fascists who fought and butchered Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. Yugoslav Communist partisans led by Tito, as well as Serbian royalists known as Chetniks, fought the Nazis, and Tito emerged in control.
1945 to 1990: Cold War Stability Under Tito, Yugoslavia held together as a federation of six autonomous republics, although Serbs retained great influence, notably in the military. As Communism collapsed, Serbia's President, Slobodan Milosevic, hastened Yugoslavia's disintegration with a blatantly nationalistic appeal to Serbs.
1991 to 1995: Open Warfare ( Rat u Hrvatskoj) Fighting broke out in 1991 when Slovenia and Croatia seceded, then spread to Bosnia in 1992. After three years of bitter warfare characterized by atrocities and the creation of hundreds of thousands of refugees, a U.S.-sponsored peace accord for Bosnia was signed in Dayton, Ohio, in late 1995 .
This huge water tower, built in 1960s, was shelled day by day. As the months of siege (87 days) of Vukovar went on, it became the symbol of its destruction. Vukovar grad heroj Vukovar 1991 Exodus Vukovar 1991
At the end of the three-months siege in 1991 there was no single house in Vukovar that had a roof.
12 years after the war, the town and surrounding area are still heavily mined.
Fill up your gas tank; don’t take a walk behind the station. It is a minefield!
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Croatia: A Nation Forged in War by Marcus Tanner ISBN: 0300091257 $18.00