Croats - History and Cultural Relations

After settling into today's homeland in the seventh century, Croatians organized a state. From the beginning of the twelfth century, after the demise of the national royal dynasty, the Croatian state unified with Hungary (linked by the same ruler); after 1527, the Austrian royal family of Habsburg ruled Croatia. With the consolidation of the Republic of Venice on a large section of Croatian coast (only the Republic of Dubrovnik kept its independence) and with the Turkish conquests since the fifteenth century, Croatian lands were Divided and to a certain extent the ethnic structure was changed (emigration of Croatians and immigration of Balkan and central European peoples). Subsequently, Croatian History has been marked by a struggle for national and cultural survival, for maintenance of state independence, and for territorial integrity. Following the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in World War I the Croatians removed themselves from it, proclaimed independence, and joined the new South Slav state (the Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians, and Slovenes, renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929). After the liberation struggle in World War II and socialist Revolution, Croatia became a federal state (Socialist Republic of Croatia) in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1991, following the fall of Communist rule and a bloody civil war, Croatia became an independent state, the Republic of Croatia.

In the course of developments since the mid-nineteenth century, Croatia has lived through political, social, and Economic change. Since the time of Christianization in the early centuries after settling the region, Croatians have belonged to the Western-European cultural milieu. The organizational foundation of the contemporary scientific and artistic life is a branchlike system consisting of institutions of higher education (e.g., University of Zagreb since 1669; universities in Split, Osijek, and Rijeka); scientific institutions (e.g., the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts since 1867, renamed the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1991; the Archive of Croatia and the National University Library in Zagreb); museums, galleries, and theaters (e.g., the central Croatian National Theater in Zagreb) ; and academies of arts. The cultural life is expressed also in literary and fine arts, films, and radio and television programs.

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