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Croatia facts and history in brief


Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Rijeka (Fiume in Italian and Hungarian, Reka in Slovene; R(ij)eka and Fiume both mean river) is the principal seaport of Croatia, located on the Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea.
It has 144,043 inhabitants (2001) and it is the third largest city of Croatia.
Rijeka is the center of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar county.
The city's economy largely depends on sea transport,
shipbuilding (shipyards "3. Maj" and "Viktor Lenac") and tourism.
Rijeka hosts the Croatian National Theatre "Ivan pl. Zajc", first built in 1765, as well as the University of Rijeka, founded in 1632.
The local football (soccer) club is called NK Rijeka.

Though traces of Neolithic settlements can be found in the region, the earliest settlements on the site were Celtic Tarsatica (modern Trsat, now part of Rijeka) on a hill and the Illyrian tribe of mariners, the Liburni in the natural harbour below.
The city long retained this double character.
In the time of Augustus, the Romans refounded Tarsatica as a municipium (MacMullen 2000) on the right bank of the Rijecina, (whose name simply means "river") as Flumen. Pliny mentioned Tarsatica (Natural History iii.140).
After the 4th century the city was rededicated as Flumen Sancti Viti, the city's patron saint.
From the 5th century onwards, the town came under successive Frankish, Croatian and Magyar rule before coming under the control of the Austrian Habsburgs in 1466.
Created a free port in 1723, Fiume was passed during the 18th and 19th centuries among the Habsburgs' Austrian, Croatian, and Hungarian possessions until its attachment to the latter kingdom for the third and last time in 1870.
Although Croatia had a constitutional autonomy within Hungary, the City of Fiume was independent, governed directly from Budapest by an appointed governor, as Hungary's only international port.
There was competition between Austria's Port of Trieste and Hungary's Port of Fiume.
Major port development, the general expansion of international trade and the city's connection (1873) to the Hungarian and Austrian railway networks contributed to rapid population growth from 21,000 in 1880 to 50,000 in 1910.
A lot of major building of the city was built at that time, including the Governor's Palace by the Hungarian architect Alajos Hauszmann.
The future mayor of New York City, Fiorello La Guardia, lived in the city at the turn of the 20th century, and reportedly even played football for the local sports club.
Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary's defeat and disintegration in the closing weeks of World War I led to the establishment of rival Italian and Croatian administrations in the city as both Italy and the founders of the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) claimed sovereignty based on their "irredentist" ("unredeemed") ethnic populations.
After a brief Italian occupation, an international force of French, British and United States troops occupied the city (November 1918) while its future was discussed at the Paris Peace Conference during the course of 1919.
Italy based her claim on the fact that Italians were the largest single nationality within the city.
Croats made up most of the remainder, and were also a majority in the surrounding area, including the neighbouring town of Susak.
Negotiations were rudely interrupted by the city's seizure on September 12, 1919 by a force of Italian nationalist irregulars led by the writer Gabriele d'Annunzio, who established a state (the "Italian Regency of Carnaro").
This happened just two days after the Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed that declared the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy dissolved.
The resumption of Italy's premiership by the Liberal Giovanni Giolitti in June 1920 signalled a hardening of official attitudes to d'Annunzio's coup.
On November 12, Italy and Yugoslavia concluded the Treaty of Rapallo, under which Fiume was to be an independent state under a regime acceptable to both.
D'Annunzio's response was characteristically flamboyant and of doubtful judgment: his declaration of war against Italy invited the bombardment by Italian royal forces which led to his surrender of the city at the end of the year.
Italian troops took over in January 1921.
The election of an autonomist-led constituent assembly for the territory did not put an end to strife: a brief Italian nationalist seizure of power was ended by the intervention of an Italian royal commissioner, and a short-lived local Fascist take-over in March 1922 ended in a third Italian military occupation.
Seven months later Italy herself fell under Fascist rule.
A period of diplomatic acrimony closed with the Treaty of Rome (January 27, 1924), which assigned Fiume to Italy and Susak to Yugoslavia, with joint port administration.
Formal Italian annexation (March 16, 1924) inaugurated twenty years of Fascist rule and a policy of forced Italianisation of the Croatian population, followed by twenty months of German military occupation.
The aftermath of World War II saw the city's fate again resolved by a combination of force and diplomacy.
This time, Yugoslav troops advanced (early May 1945) as far west as Trieste in their campaign against the German occupiers of both countries: Fiume finally became the Croatian (and until June 1991, Yugoslav) city of Rijeka, a situation formalised by the Paris peace treaty between Italy and the wartime Allies on February 10, 1947.
Once the change in sovereignty was formalised, most of the Italian-speaking minority fled the Tito's communist regime and went into exile (Esuli).
The discrimination most of them experienced and the persecution many of them suffered at the hands of the new Yugoslav authorities in the dying days of World War Two and the first weeks of peace were a painful memory for them. Summary executions of hundreds of suspected 'Fascists', Italian public servants, military and ordinary citizens pushed Fiume's Italians to abandon their ancestral home.

External links

The above details were retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rijeka) August 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

Hui Chin and I visited Croatia during our European travels in 2005.

We have enjoyed our stay in the country, but were very disappointed with the train services.

Before our departure from new Zealand, we purchased a rather expensive Regional Eurail Pass with added days to cover any delays or staying longer in any place than we have planned for.

Croatia, - at least between places we intended to visit - have very poor train services.

We arrived from Austria, through Slovenia to Rijeka, and although Rijeka connected by rail to Pula, our next stop, the train service is very slow and sporadic.

To go from Pula to Zadar or Split, or Dubrovnik, we either had to go through Zagreb with the consequent delay or use the bus services, which we did have to use throughout.

The roads are very good, so are the bus services, but it meant extra expenses for us, with already paid for rail passes.

With the good roads Croatia is catering for the neighbouring countries drivers, not for the like of us, with limited budgets, who can't afford a car or hired car in every country we like to visit.

Hui Chin and I were felt lost a bit at our arrival to Rijeka late in the afternoon, until the young man we were talking with on the train told us that his father would like to drive us to the hotel they were recommending us. There were only 3 or 4 hotels in Rijeka we were told and one was closed down.

Nice town.

Friendly people.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


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