Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Map of Croatia
The Republic of Croatia is a crescent-shaped country
in Europe bordering the Mediterranean, Central
Europe and the Balkans.
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.
Name: Republika Hrvatska
Anthem: Lijepa nasa domovino
Official languages: Croatian (locally also Italian)
Independence: June 25, 1991
Area: 56,542 km˛
Population: 4,496,869 (2001 census)
Currency: Kuna (kn) (HRK)
Time zone: CEST (UTC+2), Summer (DST) CET (UTC+1)
Internet TLD: .hr
Calling code: +385
The Croats are a largely Slavic people who lived
in the area of what is today Galicia
(in Ukraine and Poland).
From there they migrated further south to
present-day Croatia during the 7th century.
Croatia became one of the most powerful kingdoms
in the region, but in 1102 the Croatians ended
a decade-long dynastic struggle by agreeing to
submit themselves to Hungarian authority.
By the mid-1400s, the Hungarian kingdom was
gravely impacted by the Ottoman expansion while
Dalmatia became mostly Venetian.
The Republic of Dubrovnik was independent.
The Battle of Mohács in 1526 led the Croatian
Parliament to invite the Habsburgs, under
Ferdinand I, 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.
Istria, Dalmatia and Dubrovnik all eventually
passed to the Austro-Hungarian
Empire between 1797 and 1815.
Following World War I and the demise of Austria-Hungary,
Croatia joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes (which became Yugoslavia in 1929).
Yugoslavia was invaded during World War II and
Croatia was made into a fascist puppet-state
named the Independent State of Croatia.
After the defeat of the Axis powers, Yugoslavia
became a federal socialist state under
the strong hand of Josip Broz Tito.
Although Croatia declared its independence from
Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic
and often bitter fighting with the Serbs before
the end of the war in 1995.
Peaceful reintegration of all rebel territories
was completed in 1998 under UN supervision.
Croatia applied for European Union membership in
2003 and the EU leaders accepted it as an
official candidate country in 2004.
As of March 2005, Croatia's candidacy was put
on indefinite hold due to Carla del Ponte's assertion
that Zagreb had not fully cooperated with the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia with regards to the apprehension of the
fugitive alleged war criminal and
former General, Ante Gotovina.
Since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution,
Croatia has been a parliamentary democracy.
The President of the Republic (Predsjednik) is head
of state and elected for a five-year term.
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 up to 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.
Counties of Croatia
Croatia is divided into 20 counties
and the city district of the capital, Zagreb:
Zagreb county, Krapina-Zagorje county,
Sisak-Moslavina county, Karlovac county,
Varazdin county, Koprivnica-Krizevci county,
Bjelovar-Bilogora county, Primorje-Gorski Kotar county,
Lika-Senj county, Virovitica-Podravina county,
Pozega-Slavonia county, Slavonski Brod-Posavina county,
Zadar county, Osijek-Baranja county,
Sibenik-Knin county, Vukovar-Srijem county,
Split-Dalmatia county, Istria county,
Dubrovnik-Neretva county, Medimurje county and
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,
Serbian part of Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Montenegrin part of Serbia
and Montenegro, and Italy across the Adriatic.
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).
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.
Croatia has an economy based mostly on various
services and some, mostly light industry.
Tourism is a notable source of income.
The Gross Domestic Product per capita in purchasing
power parity terms for 2002 was
USD 9,800 or 42.7% of the EU average.
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.
The population of Croatia has been stagnating
over the last decade.
The natural growth rate is minute or negative
(less than +/- 1%), as the demographic transition
has been completed half a century ago.
Life expectancy rate is around 75 years, and the
literacy rate is at 98.5%, both of
which are reasonably high.
Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.6%).
Minority groups include Serbs (4.5%), Bosniaks (0.5%),
Hungarians (0.4%) and others.
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.
Other languages are spoken by less
than 5% of the population.
Croatian culture is based on 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.
Interestingly enough, Croatia also has a place
in the history of neckwear 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.
This page was retrieved and condensed from
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License (see
Copyrights for details).
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