Andrija Hebrang

 History – An Outline of Croatian History

Croats are one of the oldest peoples in Europe. They have been living for more than thirteen and a half centuries now within the present borders of Croatia, between the Adriatic Sea in the south and the rivers Drava and Danube in the north. After settling in a region that was then claimed by two large countries, Byzantium and Franconia, the Croats initially recognized their sovereignty. However, they gradually emancipated themselves and established an independent state. The Croats adopted Christianity quite early on, largely during the pontificate of Pope Agaton (678 – 681). As a Catholic nation, they have remained faithful to their religion and to the Vatican to the present day.

The Croats lived in clans and zupas (basic administrative units) and began to unite in an attempt to found an independent state. As early as in the last decade of the 8th century they established two principalities: Primorska Hrvatska on the Adriatic coast and Posavska Hrvatska in inland Croatia. Croat princes ruled from 791 to 924. The year 925 marks the beginning of the Croatian kingdom which lasted until 1102, when Croats were forced to enter into a union with Hungary and to recognize the Hungarian king as their own. Several hundred years later both Hungary (1526) and Croatia (1527) formed a state union with Austria for better protection against the Turks. From that time the Austrian emperors were also crowned as kings of Hungary and Croatia. This arrangement lasted until 1918.

Having been united first with the Hungarians and then with the Austrians, Croats were determined to regain their independence. In the 19th century, the old nation–building aspirations of the Croats were found an especially strong impetus in the ideology and political activities of the Croatian Party of Rights.

In 1918, shortly after the collapse of the Austro–Hungarian monarchy and as a result of a number of unfortunate circumstances, Croatia formed a union with most of the other South Slavic peoples. In the new state, initially called The Kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats and the Slovenes and subsequently the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, ruled by a king of the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty, the Croats were subjected to Serbian hegemony, exploited and deprived of their rights. Upon the capitulation of the odious Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, Croats established the Independent State of Croatia, consisting of Croatia and Bosnia–Hercegovina. That state’s great misfortune was that it had to recognize the authority of the occupying forces, Germany and Italy. With the Italian regime on its knees the Independent State of Croatia put all its cards on Germany and thus collapsed along with it in 1945.

Many Croats took part in the anti–fascist war of 1941 to 1945. During the war they founded the Federal State of Croatia (1944), as a member state of the second Yugoslavia which had already been proclaimed. Since the second Yugoslavia, which in the late autumn of 1945 changed its original name from the Federal Democratic Yugoslavia to the Federal National Republic of Yugoslavia and eventually in 1963 to The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, became a socialist country with a communist dictatorship, the Croats were bound to experience all the hardships of the communist one–party idology. They found it particularly difficult to come to terms with the centralism of the federal state, the curbing of their ethnic rights, Serb hegemony and the stifling of human rights.


Chronology until 1990


about 614 The Avars, aided by the Slavs (Croats), venture into Dalmatia, destroying the towns of Salona and Epidaurus. This marks the beginning of Croat settlement on the east coast of the Adriatic.

about 810 Two Croat principalities get new rulers. Prince Borna (“dux Dalmatiae atque Liburniae”) becomes the ruler of Primorska Hrvatska and prince Ljudevit Posavski rules Posavska Hrvatska from his capital Sisak.

852 Duke Trpimir, successor to prince Mislav and founder of the Trpimirović dynasty, issues a document donating St George’s church at Putalj to the archbishop of Split. In this Latin document Duke Trpimir refers to himself as the Duke of Croats (Dux Chroatorum) and to his country as the state of the Croats (regnum Chroatorum).

887 On 18 September Croats from the Neretva region defeat Venetians near the town of Makarska, killing the Venetian doge Pietro Candiano. Venetians start paying prince Branimir, the ruler of Primorska Hrvatska, an annual tribute for the right to travel and trade in the Croatian part of the Adriatic.

925 Croatia becomes a kingdom. After uniting Primorska and Posavska Hrvatska, Prince Tomislav crowns himself a king. King Tomislav presides over the First Split synod which subordinates the Nin diocese to the Split archdiocese and bans ordination of Glagolitic monks.

1091 In an attempt to conquer Croatia the Hungarians launch a military campaign. They invade and capture the Croatian territory between the Drava river and the Gvozd mountain.

1094 The Hungarian King Ladislav I Arpadović, called “the Saint”, founds the Zagreb diocese. He appoints the Czech priest Duh as first bishop.

1097 The last Croatian king, Petar (traditionally called by his last name Svačić), whose seat was in Knin, is killed in a battle with Hungarians on Mount Gvozd. The mountain is later named Petrova gora (Peter’s mountain) in his honour.

about 1100 Baščanska ploča – a stone tablet which represents the oldest document written in the Croatian language using the Glagolitic script – dates back to this time. The monument was named after the village of Baška on the island of Krk.

1102 The Croats enter into a union (Pacta Conventa) with Hungary. The document grants the Croats possession of their tribal land and exemption from tax or tribute. Croat tribes agree to send ten armed horsemen to war, as far as the Drava river at their own expense, and beyond that at the king’s expense. Hungarian King Koloman crowns himself the king of Croatia in the town of Biograd na Moru.

1189 The Bosnian Ban (Governor) Kulin issues a document granting the people of Dubrovnik free passage and exemption from tribute throughout Bosnia.

1204 The 4th Crusade captures Constantinople, bringing an end to the Byzantine Empire. From this time Dubrovnik is free from Byzantine rule.

1205 Dubrovnik recognizes Venetian sovereignty, which will last until the Zadar peace treaty of 1358. During this period Dubrovnik pays the Venetians an annual tribute. In addition it has to accept a Venetian as the town’s prince and archbishop.

1242 On 16 November King Bela IV of Hungary and Croatia issues a special document, named the Golden Bull after the golden seal it bears. The document proclaims the burg of Gradec ( present–day Zagreb) a Royal Borough.

1288 A commission consisting of 42 delegates from nine municipalities of the Vinodol region (Novi Grad, Bribir, Ledenica, Grižani, Drivenik, Hreljin, Bakar, Grobnik and Trsat) passes the Vinodol Codex, the oldest legislation written in the Croatian language and the Glagolitic script.

1358 Having become a free city–state, Dubrovnik seeks protection from the king of Hungary and Croatia. In return it pays an annual tribute of 500 ducats, sings a quarterly mass in the king’s honour at the town cathedral and displays the flag and shield of the Kingdom of Hungary and Croatia. (This agreement continues until 1526).

1409 Having realized he will not be able to last as the king of Hungary and Croatia, King Ladislav of Anjou, the son of Karlo of Durres, decides to sell Dalmatia to the Venetians for 100,000 ducats. (Thus ceded to Venice, Dalmatia remains under its rule until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797).

1493 About 8,000 Turk soldiers under the command of the Bosnian Sandžak–beg foray into Styria through Croatia. Their main intent is to pillage. On their return from Styria they ransack and plunder their way across Croatia. On 9 September the Croatian army commanded by Ban Emerik Derenčin intercepts them on Krbavsko Polje field and fierce fighting ensues in which the Turks prevail. Many Croatian soldiers and noblemen are killed. A number of Croatian soldiers and noblemen including Ban Derenčin are captured by the Turks and taken away for ransom.

1527 On 1 January at the town of Cetingrad in the region of Kordun Croatian noblemen choose Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty as their king. (One year earlier, after the battle of Mohacz, the Czechs and Hungarians also chose Ferdinand I as their king).

1593 The Bosnian Beglerbey Hasan–pasha Predojević tries unsuccessfully to recapture the fortified city of Sisak. He is defeated on 22 June after fierce fighting. For the first time in the hundred years since the battle at Krbavsko Polje the Croats establish a balance of power at their border with the Turkish Empire.

1671 The Habsburgs’ centralism and Germanic chauvinism provoke resistance amongst the Croatian and Hungarian nobility. The most vocal Croatian dissenters are Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan. When they realize that their pleas for help from France, Poland and Turkey have gone unheeded, the two noblemen start preparing an armed rebellion in Croatia. Learning of their plans, Emperor Leopold I orders them to be arrested and put on trial. They are sentenced to death and executed at Wiener Neustadt on 30 April.

1779 By order of the Austrian emperor, the Hungarian government assumes authority over both Hungary and Croatia. That arrangement will last until 1848.

1790 Croatian representatives in the joint Hungarian–Croatian parliament in Budapest energetically oppose the Hungarian request that Hungarian be made the official language of Croatia. They believe that keeping Latin as the official language will protect the Croats from both Germanization and Hungarization. The most prominent Croatian delegates are Maksimilijan Vrhovec, the bishop of Zagreb, Nikola Skrelecz, the župan of Zagreb, and Ivan Erdody, the Croatian Ban. In defense of Croatia’s autonomy and equality with Hungarians, Ban Erdody said in the joint parliament in Budim: “Regnum regno non praescribit leges” (One Kingdom does not prescribe laws to another).

1797 After the abolition of the Venetian Republic, a movement arises in Dalmatia for Dalmatia’s integration with Croatia. (The matter is pressed again in 1848 and in 1861).

1808 By his order of 31 January the French Marshal Marmont proclaims the abolition of the Republic of Dubrovnik.

1809 France establishes the Illyrian Provinces, comprising Croatian and the Slovak lands under its authority. The Illyrian Provinces, as an administrative unit of the French Empire, exist until 1813.

1835 The Croatian National Revival begins, led by Ljudevit Gaj. The movement will go down in history as the Illyrian Movement.

1848 Several important developments occur in Croatia: Josip Jelačić is nominated Croatian Ban, feudalism is abolished, the Croatian Parliament becomes a representative body rather than an assembly of the privileged feudal classes, Croatia gets an independent government (The Ban’s Council).

1867 As a result of an agreement between Hungarians and Austrian Germans, the Austrian Empire is restructured as a dualistic state called the Austro– Hungarian Monarchy. Dualism further reduced the chances for the unification of Croat lands. Dalmatia and Istria belong to the Austrian part of the Monarchy and Croatia proper to the Hungarian part. This arrangement will remain in place until the disintegration of the Monarchy in 1918.

1871 In an attempt to win independence for Croatia, Eugen Kvaternik tries to foment an armed insurrection. His “Rakovačka buna” rebellion is stopped dead in its tracks. Kvaternik and two other leaders are killed in an ambush in Rakovica. An Austrian court martial sentences another ten insurgents to death.

1918 On 29 October, shortly before the end of First World War, the Croatian Parliament proclaims all Croatia’s administrative relations with Austria and Hungary void. On the same day South Slavic peoples from the former Austro–Hungarian empire proclaim the state of the Slovenes, the Croats and the Serbs, with the seat in Zagreb. On 1 December the state unites with the Kingdom of Serbia, forming the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

1920 The Croatian People’s Peasants’ Party, lead by Stjepan Radić, refuses to acknowledge the monarchy. On 7 December it calls itself the Croatian Republican Peasants’ Party. The party leads the struggle for the ethnic and political emancipation of the Croatian people.

1928 Croatian MPs Pavle Radić and Đuro Basariček are killed in an assassination attempt in the Parliament in Belgrade on June 20 and Stjepan Radić, Ivan Prenar and Ivan Granđa are wounded. Sjepan Radić dies from the wounds on August 8. The new leader of the Croatian Peasants’ Party (which got that name in 1925) is Vladko Maček.

1932 Croats most persistently and adamantly resist Serb hegemony in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Their resistance leads to the Zagreb uprising of 7 November denouncing Serb hegemony in Yugoslavia and calling for constitutional changes that would guarantee equality of all of its regions and peoples.

1939 Pursuant to an agreement between Cvetković and Maček, on 26 August a Croatian Banovina is declared with a large degree of autonomy.

1941 Germany, Italy and their European allies attack and occupy the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (6–18 April). During the disintegration of the Kingdom the Independent State of Croatia is proclaimed (10. April).

1944 A large number of Croats take part in an armed antifascist resistance movement. During the war they found a high–level representative body called the Regional Antifascist Council for the Liberation of the People of Croatia. On 9 May in the village of Topusko the Council proclaims the Federal State of Croatia as a member of the Democratic Federation of Yugoslavia.

1945 The Independent State of Croatia lasts until 8 May. Its armed forces and a large number of civilians retreat towards Austria in an attempt to surrender to the Allies. On 15 May they are stopped by British troops at the Austrian village of Bleiburg and handed over to Tito’s partisans. After the handover many POWs are killed. An even larger number are murdered on a forced march from camp to camp through Yugoslavia, from the Austrian border to Romania and Bulgaria. Tens of thousands of Croats die from the atrocities committed by the Partisan communists.

1946 In accordance with the Constitution of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia of 31 January, the Federal State of Croatia changes its name to the People’s Republic of Croatia on 26 February. On 18 October Alojzije Stepinac, the archbishop of Zagreb, is sentenced to 16 years hard labour. The trial and the harsh sentence were motivated by political rather than judicial reasons. The communist regime wanted to get the reputable archbishop out of the way, for he was known for his anti–communist views,. At the end of the staged trial the archbishop said:” ... I don’t need mercy, my conscience is clear”.

1949 The leader of the anti–fascist resistance in Croatia (1941–1944), Croatian patriot and minister in the governments of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia and the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, Andrija Hebrang, is killed in the Belgrade prison of Glavnjača (11 June ?). It is still a mystery how he died and where he was buried. His only “guilt” was that he advocated Croatia’s statehood and the interests of the Croatian people over the dogmatic politics of the Yugoslav communist leadership.

1963 The constitution of 7 April renames the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). The change is reflected in the names of the republics, so that the People’s Republic of Croatia becomes the Socialist Republic of Croatia which passes its new constitution on 9 April.

1967 On 17 March Matica Hrvatska (the central Croatian cultural and publishing society), the Croatian Writers’ Guild and 16 other Croatian cultural and scientific institutions proclaim the Declaration of the Name and the State of the Standard Croatian Language. This was an attempt to fend off Serbian efforts to Serbicize the Croatian language.

1970 On 21 June the blessed Nikola Tavelić is canonized a saint.

1971 The Croatian independence movement later called the Croatian Spring gains momentum. The movement calls for more autonomy for the republics, full ethnic emancipation and economic equality for the peoples forming the Yugoslav Federation. On December 1 to 2 the Yugoslav communist leadership crushes the Croatian spring in a political coup at the village of Karađorđevo in Vojvodina.

1972 Communists retaliate severely against those who participated in the Croatian Spring movement. Many Croats are demoted or fired and many others arrested and sentenced to jail. Economic and political emigration picks up.

1974 The new constitution of the SFRY (21 February) is passed, and contains some confederal elements. The Socialist Republic of Croatia also passes a new constitution (22 February), legalizing the Croatian anthem “Lijepa naša domovino” (Our Beautiful Homeland).

1980 Josip Broz Tito, longtime communist leader and president of Yugoslavia, dies. Born in the Croatian Zagorje, he was brought up in a Croatian Catholic family. As president he built himself a considerable reputation worldwide, mostly through his role as leader of the anti–fascist resistance in occupied Yugoslavia (1941 – 1945). At a personal level and as a leader he had many faults; he was very authoritarian, he had some of his opponents killed and incarcerated, he supported national Unitarianism, opposed plans for Croatia’s independence, favoured atheism, hindered the development of democracy, and contributed to the creation of the cult of personality.

1983 On 16 October Leopold Mandić is canonized a saint.

1989 The first clandestine non–communist political parties begin to be established in Croatia.

1990 On 11 January the Croatian Parliament amends the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Croatia to allow for legalization of the multi–party system. The League of Communists is no longer considered the leading political party (13 February). The amendments also create a legal framework for direct democratic elections at the municipal and parliamentary level (14 February). For the first time since the Second World War Croats vote in democratic local and parliamentary elections. In the two–tier elections held on 22 April and 6 May the non–communist Croatian Democratic Union party wins. On 30 May Croatia constitutes its first multi–party parliament. On 25 July the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Croatia is amended again: the word “socialist” is dropped from the name of the country and the red star is removed from the country’s national flag. The socialist coat–of–arms is replaced by Croatia’s historical coat–of–arms. On 22 December Croatia passes a new constitution. Article 140 stipulates that Croatia will remain within the framework of the SFRJ pending a new agreement between the Yugoslav republics or a contrary decision by the Croatian Parliament.



The Creation of the Independent and Sovereign Republic of Croatia

Chronological Outline 1991 – 1998

The second, socialist Yugoslavia, was also doomed to perish; it was bound to fall apart both because of its nonviable socialist political system and because of a lack of national equality among its nations. Furthermore, Yugoslavia consisted of two quite incompatible worlds, differing in religious, cultural and civilizational terms: the Orthodox one east of the Drina river with Serbia as its main exponent, and which for centuries had been orientated towards the Orthodox eastern Europe; and the Catholic one west of the Drina, represented primarily by Croatia, which for centuries had been orientated towards the Catholic west.

At the time of Tito’s death Yugoslavia was experiencing a serious economic and political crisis. One of the effects of the crisis was a large–scale economic and political emigration, especially from Croatia. Both in Yugoslavia and abroad there were people who believed that the Yugoslav crisis could be solved by economic and political reforms. It was in that spirit that Ante Marković, the last Prime Minister of the Yugoslav federal government, tried to reform the country. However, as it turned out, the days of the Yugoslav Federation were numbered and it could be neither reformed nor repaired.

As the process of disintegration was progressing, each of the six republics was making plans for the future. The most anachronistic and unacceptable, and the least viable ideas for the future of the Yugoslav state came from Serbia. Serbian communist politicians were committed to the preservation of Yugoslavia so that “all Serbs could live within the same state”. In order to achieve that goal they advocated the principle of “one person – one vote”. Used to having hegemony both in the first (royal) and in the second (communist) Yugoslavia, the Serbs did not want to relinquish their privileged position. Knowing that they were the single most populous Yugoslav nation they cunningly used the “one person – one vote” model as a trick that was meant to secure their supremacy. Obviously, other Yugoslav republics could not accept Serbia’s proposal. Realizing that their plans might be thwarted, the Serbs threatened the use of force, building their threat on a strong position in the Yugoslav federal army in which Serbs occupied most of the commanding posts.

Serbian expansionism was instilled into Serbs in Serbia and those living in other republics by Serbian propaganda which was orchestrated from Belgrade. After the 1990 democratic elections in Croatia Serbian propaganda began instigating a rebellion amongst Croatian Serbs against the new, non–communist Croatian government. From the beginning of their rebellion the Serbs were armed and aided by the Serbicized Yugoslav army. Since it was still a constituent element of the SFRY, Croatia could not establish an army of its own. Hence, it beefed up its police force, which was within its legal right, in order to protect law and order and improve security. Soon afterwards, the Croatian government took advantage of its legal right to found the Zbor narodne garde (Croatia’s national guard) as a form of territorial defense. Throughout that time Croatia was under threat of attack by the Yugoslav army.

Shortly after Croatia proclaimed its independence and sovereignty in 1991, Croatian Serb rebels, along with infiltrated volunteer units from Serbia and the Yugoslav army, supposedly the Yugoslav People’s Army, as its name read, openly attacked Croatia, perpetrating the most atrocious crimes, including genocide. The Croats, helped by their diaspora, organized a defensive patriotic war and prevented the Serb expansionist aggressor from realizing its ultimate goals.

In 1992 Croatia was internationally recognized as an independent and sovereign state. That year the UN sent its peacekeeping mission to the Croatian territory that had been occupied by the Serb aggressor. Neither the Croatian government nor the displaced persons were satisfied with the peacekeepers’ efficiency. On top of providing for its own displaced persons, Croatia was heavily burdened with refugees from neighbouring Bosnia and Hercegovina, which also came under Serbian attack in 1992. Since the peace talks sponsored by the international community with the Serbian expansionist agressor failed to produce either a stable truce, a reintegration of the occupied Croatian territory or the return of Croatian displaced persons, the Croatian Army was forced to take several liberating actions in spite of reprimands by the UN Security Council. Thus, in 1992 the Croatian army broke the siege of Dubrovnik and liberated the village of Miljevci. In 1993 it liberated the Zadar hinterland from Zemunik to Maslenica, the area around the Peruča power plant and the Medak pocket. In 1995 it liberated the occupied areas of western Slavonia, northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija. The Washington Agreement (1994) and the Dayton Peace Accord (1995) were largely made possible thanks to Croatia’s contribution to the peace process. Committed to peace, Croatia agreed to wait for a peaceful reintegration of the territory that was still under the occupation of the Serb expansionists, i.e. eastern Slavonia, western Srijem and Baranja.

Following are the most notable events that marked the creation and international affirmation of the independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia.


January 1991

9. Irritated by a debate that preceded the vote on the disarmament of illegally armed units in Croatia, Stipe Mesić, Croatian representative in the federal presidency, demonstratively walks out of the session. By simple majority the presidency orders the reserve units of the Croatian police to hand over their arms to the Yugoslav People’s Army (the JNA).

This order prompts a session of the Croatian Council for the People’s Defense and Protection in Zagreb. Under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, Franjo Tuđman, the Council concludes that illegally armed groups in Croatia can be disarmed only by the Croatian Ministry of the Interior and that the JNA should under no circumstances be transformed into a police force lest it be used to topple the democratically elected government. Hence, Croatia will use all available resources to prevent interference by the JNA in the affairs of the Croatian Ministry of the Interior. The Council also concludes that there are no illegally armed groups in Croatia other than those in Knin and some other municipalities under the influence of the Chetnik leaders from Knin. The Croatian Ministry of the Interior, the Council points out, would be able to disarm those terrorist Chetnik groups were it not for opposition by some influential individuals from the Serbian and federal governments and, of course, the JNA. / 25. In a prime time slot the Croatian TV, inter alia, airs the film “The Truth About the Armament of the Croatian Democratic Union in Croatia” shot at the instructions of the JNA Intelligence and Control Service. The film, largely forged, was meant to be used as a pretext for armed intervention by the JNA in Croatia. / 26. People from all over Croatia and Croatian expatriates send telegrammes of support to the Croatian leadership pledging determination and readiness to defend the Croatian homeland in case of an attack. On the same day a rally of support in Zagreb’s Ban Jelačić square attracts 100,000 people.


February 1991

21. The Croatian Parliament amends the constitutional law to the effect that as long as Croatia remains a member of the SFRJ it will recognize only those federal laws and provisions of the federal constitution that do not run contrary to the laws and Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.


March 1991

16. Several hundred Croats from Kijevo, Kruševo, Lovinac and other places arrive in Zagreb to complain to the Croatian leadership about worsening harassment at the hands of Serb rebel bandits. / 31. Catholic Easter. A special unit of the Croatian Ministry of the Interior arrives in Plitvice to restore law and order disrupted by a Serb terrorist attack. Serb terrorists, armed by weapons from a JNA storage facility, ambush the Croatian policemen, killing Josip Jović, the first Croatian policeman to die in the defense of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia.

April 1991

6. Belgrade TV programmes openly discuss Serbian expansionist plans for the creation of a Greater Serbia. The topic is broached in an evening propaganda programme by Vojislav Šešelj, a Chetnik leader and president of the Serbian Radical Party. He describes the rationale of his party as the creation of a Greater Serbia whose western border would run along the line Virovitica–Karlovac–Karlobag. / 11. Once again, the presidents of the six Yugoslav republics fail to reach an agreement on how to arrange their future relations. The Serbian president, backed only by the Montenegrin president, advocates a federation based on the “one person – one vote” model. The Croatian and Slovene presidents propose a confederation. The other two presidents of Bosnia–Hercegovina and Macedonia want a union with elements of both federation and confederation. On 6 April they conclude that by the end of May they will call a referendum on the options that have been tabled – the one proposed by Croatia and Slovenia (a union of sovereign states) and the one proposed by Serbia and Montenegro (preservation of the federation).


May 1991

19. A referendum is held in Croatia. The turnout is 83.56%, with 94.17% voting for Croatia as a sovereign and independent state that can form a union of sovereign states with other Yugoslav republics. / 28. At a parade at the stadium of the Zagreb soccer club in Zagreb the Zbor narodne garde (Croatian national guard) takes an oath of allegiance.


June 1991

25. Acting in accordance with the popular vote manifested by the referendum of 19 June, the Croatian Parliament passes both a declaration proclaiming the Republic of Croatia a sovereign and independent state and a constitutional act that makes that sovereignty and independence effective. (The Republic of Slovenia also declares sovereignty and independence). / 27. The JNA flexes its muscle. Its tanks roll over four cars in the city of Osijek, opening fire on the citizens. In Ormož, Slovenia, the JNA clashes with the Slovene territorial defense. The clash flares into a full–blown war.


July 1991

1. Stipe Mesić, Croatia’s representative in the SFRJ collective presidency, is finally elected president. His term would have started already on 15 May had it not been opposed by Serb representatives. / 7. The SFRJ presidency meets on the islands of Brijuni. Also present are the federal prime minister, the president of the Republic of Croatia, the president of the Republic of Slovenia and three representatives of the European Council of Ministers. (Also invited was the president of the Republic of Serbia but he turned down the invitation). The conference ends with the Brijuni Declaration calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Slovenia, a three–month–long moratorium on Slovenia’s and Croatia’s sovereignty and independence, a negotiated resolution of the Yugoslav crisis and the sending of a EU monitoring mission to Slovenia and possibly to Croatia./ 10. Serb terrorists burst into the eastern Slavonian village of Ćelije. Houses are pillaged and burned and the villagers are forced to flee. JNA jets attack a Zbor narodne garde barracks in Ilok. Throughout western Srijem, Slavonia, Baranja, Banija, Kordun, Lika and northern Dalmatia Serb terrorists and the Serbicized “JNA” openly collaborate. / 19. War rages in Croatia. The Serbian expansionist aggressor attacks not only Croatian police stations and Zbor narodne garde barracks but also Croatian villages and towns. / Non–Serbs flee from the ranks of the “JNA”, which has become an aggressor in the service of Serb expansionism. 85 conscripts and officers in Osijek flee from the local JNA barracks.


August 1991

18. The Serbian expansionist aggressor seizes the town of Okučani. / 27. The President of the Republic of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman, orders municipal crisis management committees to be founded and a state crisis management headquarters to be set up. / 28. The Croatian leadership decides to pool all human and material resources for the defense of the homeland. It declares an all–out mobilization. / The government of Croatia founds an office for displaced persons. The office is authorized to found regional diplaced persons offices if and when the need arises.


September 1991

4. The Serbian expansionist aggressor stages fierce attacks on Vukovar. Croats heroically defend the town. The aggressor suffers severe losses. / 7. The Peace conference on Yugoslavia opens in The Hague. The Ministerial Council of the EU appoints the former British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington to be coordinator of the Conference. / 10. EU monitors witness the devastating effects of the most recent shelling of the town of Osijek. / 14. Pursuant to a decision by the President of the Republic, Croats start besieging all “JNA” barracks and institutions in Croatia. The operation proves to be a great success. Many barracks surrender. The Croatian Army seizes a large quantity of arms of all kinds.

The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia appeals to all conscripts and officers to leave the aggressor’s army and to join the Croatian one. / 17. The JNA air force fires rockets at the Croatian TV transmitter on Mount Medvednica in order to prevent the transmission of information to the general public. / 18. The aggression of Serbian expansionists against Croatia intensifies. Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci, Gospić, Šibenik, Zadar and many other towns are shelled.


October 1991

1. Serbs and Montenegrins launch an attack on the Dubrovnik region. / 3. The aggressor’s jets attack a bridge on the island of Pag and an airport on the island of Krk. / 5. The president of the Republic of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman, addresses all Croatian citizens during a prime–time TV news programme. He ends his appeal for the defence of the homeland with these words: “Let us unite in the struggle for the freedom of our Croatian homeland, of our sea and of the sky above our only and immortal Croatia.” / 7. “JNA” jets attack Banski dvori, the presidential palace in Zagreb. / 8. The three–month–long moratorium on the constitutional decision on the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia expires. The truce has not been holding. The Serbian expansionists have stepped up their attacks on Croatia.

The Parliament of the Republic of Croatia decides to put into effect its decision on the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia and to sever all constitutional relations with the SFRJ.


November 1991

18. The Serbian expansionist aggressor razes Vukovar to the ground. The town is now defenceless. Members of the attacking force take away a large number of Croats found in the town, including wounded defenders and other patients from the Vukovar hospital, and kill many of them.


December 1991

6. An unprecedentedly ferocious attack by the Serbian aggressor on Dubrovnik.


January 1992

2. In Sarajevo representatives of the “JNA” and the Republic of Croatia sign an agreement on cessation of all hostilities in Croatia. The agreement is sponsored by Cyrus Vance, a special envoy of the UN Secretary General. / 13. The Holy See recognizes Croatia as an independent and sovereign state. / 15. Members of the EU recognize Croatia as an independent and sovereign state. Many countries throughout the world follow suit.


February 1992

21. The UN Security Council passes a resolution announcing the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in Croatia (short: UNPROFOR). According to a plan drafted by Vance, the mission will be stationed in four different sectors.


May 1992

22. The Republic of Croatia is admitted to the UN.


December 1992

31. As a result of the Serbian expansionist agression against Bosnia–Hercegovina which started in April 1992, more and more refugees pour into Croatia. By now Croatia has accommodated 260,705 displaced persons from its occupied areas and 402,768 refugees. The refugees arrive primarily from Bosnia–Hercegovina, but also from Serbia and Montenegro, where ethnic Croats face harassment and persecution.


March 1993

22. The Parliament of the Republic of Croatia constitutes the House of Counties (the upper chamber). Thus, pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, the Parliament becomes a bicameral legislative body.


May 1993

30. By now the sovereign and independent Croatia has been recognized by 102 countries, 78 of which have established diplomatic relations with it.


March 1994

1. The Washington Agreement is signed calling for the establishment of a Bosnian–Croat federation in Bosnia–Herzegovina. The federation will cooperate with the Republic of Croatia. / 29. Serbian expansionists occupying some areas of Croatia repeatedly violate the 1992 Sarajevo ceasefire agreement by shelling Šibenik, Zadar, Osijek, Vinkovci, Sisak and Gospić. They first proclaim the occupied areas “Serbian autonomous districts”, then proceed to establish links between them, eventually declaring an independent state, the so-called Republika Srpska Krajina, with the seat in Knin. The international community considers the occupied areas to be legitimate Croatian territory and insists that they should be peacefully reintegrated with the rest of Croatia. The Croatian Government and Serbs from the occupied areas sign a ceasefire agreement in Zagreb together with an agreement on the separation of forces. This agreement will also be frequently violated by the Serbs.


September 1994

10. and 11. Pope John Paul II visits Croatia.


December 1995

2. The Croatian Government and Serbs from the occupied areas sign an international–community–brokered economic agreement on the reopening of the motorway, railways, and pipeline, and on continuing water and power supply. The agreement is signed separately in Zagreb and in Knin.


May 1995

1. and 2. In violation of the ceasefire and economic agreements, Serbs from Okučani cause a number of incidents, including robbing and killing motorists travelling on the Zagreb–Lipovac motorway. This provokes an operation by the Croatian police and the Army. Within two days Operation Flash liberates the occupied areas of western Slavonia.


July 1995

2. In Split the highest–ranking officials of the Republic of Croatia and of Bosnia–Hercegovina sign a declaration of a joint defense against Serbian aggression. Pursuant to the declaration, Croatia intervenes militarily against the Serbian aggressor in Bosnia, to the great benefit of the Croatian Defense Council and the BH Army.

Marko Križevčanin is canonized a saint.


August 1995

3. Following the recomendations of the international community, the Croatian government and the Serbs from the occupied areas meet in Geneva to try to reach a settlement on the third stage of the peaceful reintegration of the occupied areas. The Serbian delegation turns down all Croatian proposals, insisting that “Republika Srpska Krajina” is a state that wants to be united “only with other Serb lands”. It is evident that they want to secede from Croatia and become a part of a Greater Serbia. / 4 – 7 After all attempts to convince the Serbs to accept a settlement proposed by Croatia and supported by the international community fail, the Croatian Army and the police launch Operation Storm. Within four days the occupied areas of Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija are liberated.


November 1995

12. An agreement is signed separately in Zagreb and in Erdut (eastern Slavonia) by the Croatian Government and the Serbs from the remaining occupied areas, stipulating that western Srijem, eastern Slavonia and Baranja will be gradually and peacefully reintegrated with the rest of Croatia under the monitoring of the international community. / 21. Under the auspices of the USA, the highest–ranking officials of Croatia, Bosnia–Hercegovina and Serbia sign in Dayton a peace agreement for the territories of Croatia and Bosnia–Hercegovina.

The agreement is signed at a ceremony held in Paris on 14 December.


January 1996

15. The UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), based in Vukovar.


August 1996

26. Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) are normalized. By agreeing to normalize relations Serbia has virtually acknowledged the failure of its expansionist plans.


November 1996

6. The Republic of Croatia becomes the 40th member of the Council of Europe. / 21. About 100,000 people rally in Zagreb’s Ban Jelačić Square to protest the decision by the Telecommunications Council not to renew Radio 101’s operating license.


January 1997

13. Croatia submits to the UN Security Council a "Letter of Intent Concerning the Completion of the Peaceful Reintegration of the Croatian Danubian Area".


April 1997

13. Elections for the House of Counties and local government and self-government bodies are held.


June 1997

15. and 22. In presidential elections Franjo Tudjman wins 64 percent of the vote, defeating two other candidates.


December 1997

12. The House of Representatives adopts amendments to the Constitution.


January 1998

15. The reintegration of the Croatian Danubian area into the Croatian constitutional and legal system is completed.

(Croatian Almanac 1998/99)