This week, we’re highlighting the European country of Croatia. Croatia lies on the Adriatic Sea and is part of the Balkan Peninsula.
Croatia’s history was strongly influenced by its location, which bridges the central European and Mediterranean worlds. It lay near the border of the two halves of the Roman Empire, later between the Byzantine and Frankish empires, on the edge of the Ottoman Empire, and then on the outskirts of the Habsburg territories. From 1918 to 1991, Croatia was part of Yugoslavia. Croatia declared itself independent in 1991. It became part of the European Union in 2013.
While Croatia was under Hungarian rule in the mid-19th century, Croatian nationalists attempted to revolt in 1848. The revolutionaries chose the red, white, and blue flag to symbolize their cause. While they were unable to gain independence at that time, the flag remained a symbol of hope. In 1941, Ustaša took advantage of the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia to declare Croatia independent, adding the historical shield of Croatia to the flag.
Croatia’s varied history and its location at a global crossroads influenced the country’s culture. The food, for example, has influences from Turkish, Central European, and Italian cuisine. The population of Croatian is predominantly Roman Catholic. Croatians are also passionate about football (soccer) and were proud to make the World Cup finals in 2018
The country is also well-known for its striking natural beauty. Croatia’s islands, mountainous terrain, coastline, rivers, and waterfalls have been preserved in natural parks and reserves. Plitvička Lakes National Park features an extensive waterfall system.
Plitvička Lakes National Park
The Adriatic Coast of Croatia