What Should I Know About Croatia?

Matthew F.

Croatia is a country located mostly in the Balkan peninsula along the Adriatic Sea. With around 4.5 million people, it is populated by Croats and a large Serbian minority. The people of Croatia are predominantly Christian and Muslim, and have been plagued by war and conquests for much of their history. The country was settled by Croats in the seventh century, was a part of Yugoslavia for most of the 1900s, and declared its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, after the fall of the Communist Soviet Union.

Osjek City Center is in Slavonia.
Osjek City Center is in Slavonia.

Bordered by Hungary and Serbia to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Croatia features a full border with the Adriatic Sea on its west. With an area of 21,851 square miles (56,594 sq km), the country is traversed by the Dinaric Alps, and is comprised of three regions: Croatia-Slavonia, Dalmatia, and Istria. The country features many important seaports on its Western coast, two prominent rivers, the Sava and the Drava, and allows easy access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Italian coast.

Ninety percent of the population of Croatia is Roman Catholic, with an official language of Croatian and a parliamentary republic government. The country is ran by a president, a prime minister, and a president of parliament. For its economy, Croatia relies on the service industry, most notably shipbuilding, food processing, and the chemicals. The agriculture of the country features wheat, grains, seeds, and fruits, and lumber is also prominent as much of the country is blanketed in forests.

Croatia was founded by its native Croats in the early part of the seventh century, and became a medieval duchy in the year 852, before being recognized by the Roman Catholic Pope in 879. The country was elevated to a kingdom in 925 and united with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, after the Battle of Mohacs, Croatia was joined with the Habsburg Empire of Hungary in a common defense union, where they remained until gaining independence from Austria-Hungary after World War I in 1918.

After 1918, Croatia became a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991, though, the country held its first democratic elections and in doing so freed themselves of the rule of the former Yugoslav states, and officially became the Republic of Croatia. For the next four years, the Croatian War of Independence ravaged the country as Croats fought Serbs living in the country, killing many of their population and forcing many others to flee the country. Since, Croatia has been recognized by both the United Nations and the European Union.

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Discussion Comments


Croatia belongs to the so-called Southeast Europe. Geographically, the Balkans stop at the river Sava in the part of Zagreb called Novi (New) Zagreb.

Yes, it has a Croatian majority which is Catholic and a Serbian minority which is Orthodox Christian - in your text it looks like. It has also a Muslim population. There are also Jews who practice the Jewish religion (not Catholic not Muslim). It has an Albanian population who are cca. Ten percent are catholic and 90 percent are Muslim. There are Czech, Hungarian, Austrian, German, Ukrainian and,Macedonian minorities who also practice Christianity. Hope this will help. --Lea


Croatia is a beautiful country with a spectacular coast. The coast is rugged, full of bays, islands and beaches.

Croatia tourism is flourishing just because of its beauty and nice, friendly people.


From some of this article, one might think that Croats were the ones who started the war.

In 1991, Serbian president Milosevic wasn't pleased with Slovenian and Croatian independence so he started a huge war by which he wanted to take over much of Croatia. Many people in Croatia were killed in the war from 1991 to 1995. The war finally ended in 1998 when all occupied regions were returned to Croatia.

What is interesting is that if you visit Croatia today, you would have a hard time recognizing that there was so much destruction in 1991.

And one other thing: even though the world politics tend to place Croatia in the Balkan region, culturally and geographically Croatia is a typical Central European and Italian-Mediterranean country.


Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, formed in 1943, until its separation in 1991. Until 1980 the country was ruled by a communist philosophy with Tito in charge, but not under any direct rule of another country.

After Tito died, Yugoslavia managed to survive for a few years, but nationalistic tendencies of different republics started to surface more and more. The country dissolved, and not in a peaceful way.

Each republic is now an independent country, one of which is Croatia.

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