1902 Encyclopedia > Croatia and Slavonia

Croatia and Slavonia

CROATIA AND SLAVONIA, a crown-land of the Hungarian kingdom, which extends from 14° 25' to 20° 25' E. long., and is bounded on the N.W. by Carniola and Styria, N. by Hungary, S. by Servia, Bosnia, and Dalmatia, and W. by Dalmatia and the Adriatic, on which it has a coast-line of about 88 miles. Inclusive of the districts belong ing to the Military Frontier, it has a total area of about 16,785 English square miles; and according to the census of 1869 its total population amounted to 1,864,021, of whom 695,997 are assigned to the military portion.

Mountains.—The whole country may be divided into two great natural sections, of which the more important belongs to the basin of the Danube, and is mainly defined by that river and its two extensive tributaries, the Drave and the Save, while the other consists of the highlands of the Adriatic coast. The mountains are partly outrunners of the Alpine system, and partly prolongations of the Karst ; but the line of demarcation has not as yet been clearly defined. The former, known chiefly as the Warasdin Mountains, stretch eastward with gradually diminishing elevation through more than half the length of the country to the neighbourhood of Diakovar, and attain their greatest height of 3483 feet in Mount Ivancica. The latter consist of three more or less distinct chains running north-west and south-east:—the Velebit or Velebitch, with a mean height of 3318 feet, which gives its steep and barren character to the southern part of the coast; the Kapela, with a mean height of 2488 feet, lying further inland, and connecting itself with the mountains of Carniola; and the Plisevica, with a mean height of 3214 feet, which forms the boundary between Bosnia and Croatia. The mean height of the whole of the plateau to which these ranges belong is esti. mated at 2074 feet. Many parts of the mountain regions are richly wooded with pine, beech, and chestnut, and many of the smaller valleys and glens are abundantly fertile. The richest part of Croatia, indeed, is not the valley of the Drave or the Save, but the hilly district between the Kostel, the Ivancica, and the Agram Mountains, called by the natives Zagorye, or the Land behind the Hills. A small group known as the Vrdnik Mountains rises in the east of Slavonia.

Rivers, &c.—From the point where it begins to form the Croatian boundary, to its junction with the Danube below Esseg, the Drave receives only one important tributary, the Bednya; but the Save is the recipient of a large number of considerable affluents :—the Sotla, the Krapina, the Zelina, the Lonya, the Ilova, the Pakra, and the Olyava from the Warasdin Mountains ; and the Kulpa, the Korana, and the Unna from the Karst. The Becina falls into the sea; the Gaska loses itself in swampy hollows ; and the Lika plunges into a rocky abyss not far from Gospich. Exten-sive marshes occur along the main rivers in Slavonia; and there is an interesting cluster of seven lakes—called the Lakes of Plitvica, in connection with the Korana. Warm mineral springs rise at Krapina, at Toplice near Warasdin, at Stubica near Agram, at Daruvar, and at Topusko near Glina ; and there is a sulphurous spring at Lipik near Pakrau.

Climate.—The climate of the lowlands is equable and temperate ; but the Karst district is exposed to very violent and sudden changes. The mean temperature throughout the year for Agram is 52° Fahr., and throughout the hottest month 72°. At Fiume it is very much warmer. The rain comes mainly with the south-west wind, and the annual fall varies from 23 inches in the lowlands to 51 in the Karst. The coast districts are exposed to the violent wind called the Bora, which while it lasts is strong enough to render all locomotion impossible.
Agriculture.—About 16 per cent, of the whole country is unproductive, and in the eastern districts a considerable proportion of the rest is assigned to pasture. The chief crops are wheat, oats, rye, potatoes, flax, and hemp; tobacco is also grown ; and a good deal of attention is bestowed on the vine, though the national beverage is pre-pared from the damson plum. Horse3 are raised in Slavonia ; the oak and beech woods furnish food to great herds of swine ; and the heath districts give excellent op-portunity for the keeping of bees.

Manufactures and Commerce.—With the exception of a few establishments for silk-spinning, two or three glass-works, and the distilleries which are scattered throughout the country, the only manufactories are at the seaport towns of Fiume, Buccari, and Porto Re. Iron-ore is worked at Rude, Ruyevac, and Brod, sulphur at Badoboy, and coal at Pregrada ; but none of the mines are of great importance. The traffic of the country is furthered not only by its 580 miles of navigable river, but by upwards of 2000 miles of regular road and several lines of railway meeting at Agram. Among the roads the most famous are the Maria Louisa, which connects Carl-stadt with Fiume, and the Josephina, which passes inland from Zengg.

Divisions.—The territory of Croatia and Slavonia is divided into eight comitats named after their respective administrative centres,—Agram, Fiume, Kreutz, Warasdin, Bellovar, Esseg, Pozsega, and Bukovar. The city of Agram or Zagrab is the capital of the crown-land, and is rapidly rising in importance. Of the other towns it is sufficient to mention, in Croatia, Sissek, with its grain-trade, Karlstadt, the seat of a Greek Church bishop, Kopreinitz, Buccari, with its free port, St Georgen, and Zengg ; and in Slavonia, Diakovar, the seat of the famous bishop Stross-mayer, and Semlin, one of the most valuable military and commercial ports on the Danube. Sluin, Glina, and Petrinya. were respectively the centres of the 1st, 2d, and 3d banal regiments; and Brod, Gradiska, Likka, Ogulin, Ottocsan, and Peterwardein give their names to the other military districts.

Government.—The united kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia is represented by a separate minister, without a portfolio, and in the Hungarian diet by thirty-four members on the table of deputies, and two envoys from the national diet on the table of magnates. The national diet is composed of the Roman Catholic bishop, the Greek Catholic bishop, the prior of Aurana, the magnates, counts, and barons, and seventy-seven deputies of towns, districts, &c. The kingdom is autonomous in domestic affairs, public worship, education, and justice; and by the law of November 1871 the administrative and the judicial depart-ments are to be kept completely distinct. At'the head of the Government is the Ban or Banus, who also ranks as a privy councillor. The highest court is the so-called septemviral table at Agram; and next in order is the banal table. According to a law of 1873, 55 per cent, of the taxes of the kingdom fall to the Hungarian treasury, and the remainder is assigned to domestic expenses.

The Croats proper form about 74 per cent, of the total population, Serbs about 23 per cent., and the small remaining portion is composed of Germans, Magyars, Jews, Italians, and Albanians. The Croats are Catholics, and employ the Latin alphabet for their Slavonic language, which is closely connected with the Serbian, and breaks up into two main dialects—the Sloveno-Croatian and the Serbo-Croatian. The Serbs are members of the Greek Church, and employ the Cyrillic alphabet. .

The principal educational institution in the country is the university established in 1874 at Agram, where there is also the South Slavonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, founded in 1866, as well as a Society of Agriculture, Literature, and History. Diocesan seminaries for Catholi?. theologians are maintained at Agram, Diakovar, and Zengg; and the priests of the Greek Church have institutions at Carlowitz, Pakrac, and Plaski. General education is still much neglected, and about six-sevenths of the population can neither read nor write.

History.—Croatia and Slavonia were, for the most part at least, included in the ancient Pannonia ; and remains dating from the Roman period are still to be seen at Mitrovitz, Illok, Sotin, and Tovarnik. After the Ostrogoths and the Avars had come and gone, the territory was in 640 taken possession of by the Slavonic races to which it owes its name—the Chrovats, Chorvats, or Horvats, and the Slavs. Temporary recognition of the Prankish kings, and the Byzantine emperors, was followed by the establishment of a more independent kingdom, which included not only Croatia and Slavonia, but also Dalmatia. In 1075, Zwonimir Demetrius, to whom the national party looks back as to the national hero, formally rejected the Byzantine overlordship, and received from Gregory VII. of Rome the title of king. In the 12th and 13th centuries the land was the object of frequent contest between the Byzantines and the Hungarians ; and in the 14th and 15th it was still more harassed by the rivalry of Hungary with Venice. In 1524 the whole country fell into the hands of the Turks ; but in 1526, after the battle of Mohacs, the districts of Agram, Kreutz, and Warasdin were attached to the Austrian crown, and by the Carlowitz peace of 1699, the whole of the country to the north of the Unna was resigned by the sultan. In 1767 the, three kingdoms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia were united under the name of Illyria, but the union was broken in 1777. Croatia and Slavonia continued to be regarded as part of the Hungarian king-dom ; but a strong national reaction took place in 1848-9 against the Magyar supremacy, and in reward for the service rendered against the Magyar revolt by the ban Jellalich, Austria declared the country independent of Hungary. In 1860, however, the policy of Vienna was altered, and Croatia and Slavonia were again obliged, in spite of the strong opposition of a large party, to resume their former connection with Hungary, which was not recognized by the national diet till 1868, and then only after the central administration had interfered with the elections in a most arbitrary manner.

[Further Reading] -- See Csaploricz, Slawonien und Kroatien, 1819; Paton's Highlands and Islands of the Adriatic, 1849; Neigebaur, Die Südslawen und deren Länder, 1851; A. O. Zeithammer, " Zur physicalischen Geographie Kroatiens and Slawoniens" in Feterniann's Mittheilungen, 1859, and " Die Wagrechte und Senkrechte Gliederung Oesterreichisch-Kroatiens," ditto, 1861; u Sugli antichi ghiacciaj della Drava," in Atli di Accademia. di Milano^ 1871; Steinhäuser, Geographie von Oesterreich-Ungarn, 1872 ; Dr P. Matkovic, Kroatien-Slavonien nach seinen physischen und ceistigen Verhältnissen, Agram, i873; and a paper from the same authority on "Die Orographische Gruppirung der Süd-Croatischen Hochebene,"'- in Petermann's Mitth., 1873.

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