Croats

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Croats
Image:Crts-2.JPGImage:Crts-3.JPG
Total population 6.2<ref>Croatian language on Ethnologue.com</ref> - 9 million<ref name="HWC">Hrvatski Svjetski Kongres (Croatian World Congress)</ref>
Regions with significant populations Croatia:
  3,977,171 <ref>Demographics of Croatia</ref>

Bosnia and Herzegovina:
   643,000 (2006 est.)<ref>CIA World Factbook: Bosnia and Herzegovina</ref>
USA:
   374,241 (2005)<ref>Official Results of United States 2004 census</ref>
Germany:
   236,600 (2003) <ref>(German)Wohnbevölkerung in Deutschland</ref>
Austria:
   131,307<ref>(German) Statistic Bureau of Austria</ref>
Chile:
   130,000 (est.) <ref>(Croatian)Hrvati u Čileu, životopisi, Dane Mataić Pavičić</ref>
Argentina:
  80-130,000<ref>Marko Sinovčić, Hrvati u Argentini i njihov doprinos hrvatskoj kulturi</ref>
Australia:
   105,747 (2001) <ref>Results of 2001 Australia census</ref>
Canada:
   97,050 (2001) <ref>Statistics Canada, Census of Canada, 2001</ref>
Switzerland:
   87.000 <ref>Switzerland</ref>
Serbia:
   70,602 (2002)<ref>(Serbian) Official results of 2002 Census in Serbia</ref>
France:
   50,000 <ref>(German)Croats in France</ref>
Slovenia:
   35.642 <ref>(Slovenian)Official results of Slovenian census 2002</ref>
Sweden:
   26,000 (est.)
Italy:
   20,700 <ref>Italy</ref>
Hungary:
   15,597 <ref>Hungary</ref>
Belgium:
   12,000 <ref>(Croatian)Croatians in Belgium</ref>
New Zealand:
   10,000
South Africa:
   8,000 <ref>(Croatian)Croatians in South Africa and their clubs</ref>
Montenegro:
   6,811
Romania:
   6,786 <ref>(Romanian)Census in Romania</ref>
UK:
   5,000 (est.)
Macedonia:
    2,248 [1]

Language Croatian
Religion Predominantly Roman Catholic <tr>
<th style="background-color:#fee8ab;">Related ethnic groups</th>
<td style="background-color:#fff6d9;">  Slavs

    South Slavs</td> </tr>

Croats (Croatian: Hrvati) are a South Slavic people mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There is a notable Croat diaspora in western Europe, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Croats are predominantly Catholic and their language is Croatian.

Contents

[edit] Locations

Croatia is the nation state of the Croats, while in the adjacent Bosnia and Herzegovina they are one of the three constitutive nations.

Autochthonous Croat minorities exist in:

The population estimates are reasonably accurate domestically: around four million in Croatia and around 600,000 (roughly 17%) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

[edit] Diaspora

A large number of Croats was forced in the course of the time for economic or political reasons to leave the old homeland, thus today there exists quite a large Croat diaspora outside of their traditional homeland of the Balkans.

The first large emigration of Croats took place in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the beginning of the Ottoman conquests in today's Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. People fled into safer areas within today's Croatia, and other areas of the Habsburg Empire (today's Austria and Hungary). This migration resulted in Croat communites in Austria and Hungary.

Image:PuntaArenasCroatianTomb.jpg
One of many Croatian tombs at the Punta Arenas (Chile) municipial cemetery

At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, larger numbers of Croats emigrated, particularly for economic reasons, to overseas destinations. Some destinations included North America, South America (above all Chile and Argentina), Australia and New Zealand.

A further larger emigration wave, this time for political reasons, took place immediately after the end of the Second World War. Here fled both collaborators of the Ustaša regime, and refugees who did not want to live under a communist regime. It is estimated that during and immediately after the Second World War (from 1939 to 1948) about 250,000 Croats had to leave the country[citation needed].

In the second half the 20th century numerous Croats, to a large extent due to difficult economic living conditions, left the country as immigrant workers particularly to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In addition some emigrants left for political reasons. This migration made a lowering of unemployment for communist Yugoslavia possible at that time and created at the same time by the transfers of the emigrants to its families an enormous foreign exchange source of income.

The last large wave of Croat emigration occurred during and after the Yugoslav Wars, when many people from the region (not only Croats but Serbs, Bosniaks and others as well) had to leave as refugees. Migrant communities that were already established in countries such as Australia, the USA, and Germany grew as a result.

Abroad, the count is only approximate because of incomplete statistical records and naturalization, but (highest) estimates suggest that the Croatian diaspora numbers between a third<ref>(Croatian) Hrvati u svijetu, Croatian Radio Television archive</ref> and a half<ref name="HWC"/> of the total number of Croats. The largest emigrant groups are in Western Europe, mainly in Germany, where it is estimated that there are around 450,000 people with direct Croatian ancestry.

Overseas, the United States contains the largest Croatian emigrant group (409,458 in the 1990 census, mostly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California), followed by Australia (105,747 according to 2001 census, with concentrations in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth) and Canada (Southern Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta). Croats have also emigrated in several waves into South America, chiefly Argentina, Brazil and Chile; estimates of their number wildly vary<ref>(Croatian)Croatian Heritage Foundation Većeslav Holjevac in his book Hrvati izvan domovine estimates the number of Croatian emmigrants in South America at 180,000 in 1932.</ref><ref>(Croatian) [2] Croatian Emmigrant Adresary places the total number of Croats in South America as high as 500,000</ref>. There are also smaller groups in Peru, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa. The most important organization of the Croatian diaspora are the Croatian Fraternal Union, Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Croatian World Congress.

[edit] Origins

The origin of the Croatian tribe before the great migration of the Slavs is uncertain. According to the most widely accepted<ref name="Katicic">(Croatian) O porijeklu Hrvata, Radoslav Katičić, re-published on hercegbosna.org website</ref>, "Slavic" theory, in the 7th century, the Croatian tribe moved from the area north of the Carpathians and east of the river Vistula (referred to as White Croatia) and migrated into the western Dinaric Alps. White Croats formed the Principality of Dalmatia in the upper Adriatic, while their subgroup Red Croats created the Principalities of Red Croatia: Zahumlje, Travunia with Konavle and Duklja. Another wave of Slavic migrants from White Croatia subsequently founded the Principality of Pannonia.

According to the "autochthonous" model, mostly promoted by Illyrian Movement in the 19th century and abandoned<ref name="Katicic"/> by the mid-19th century, the homeland of Slavs is actually in the area of southern Croatia, and they spread northwards and westwards rather than the other way round. The "revised" theory, developed by Ivan Muzić <ref name="Muzic">(Croatian) Ivan Muzić, O hrvatskoj historiografiji i autohtonosti u Hrvata, foreword to the book "Hrvati i Autohtonost"</ref> argues that Slav migration from the north did happen, but the actual number of Slavic settlers was small and that the Illyrian ethnic substratum was prevalent for formation of Croatian ethnicity.

The "Iranian" theory suggests that the Croats are descendants of ancient Persia (cf. Alans), this theory is based purely on linguistic correlation and development of the Croatian name. Allegedly the earliest mention of the Croatian name, Horouathos, can be traced on two stone inscriptions in the Greek language and script, dating from around the year 200 AD, found in the seaport Tanais on the Azov sea, Crimea peninsula (near the Black Sea). Both tablets are kept in the Archaeological museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. However, whether the term Hourathos is related to the Croat ethnonym is open to conjecture, as the two words may have separate origins.

[edit] History

See also: Medieval Croatian state and History of Croatia

The earliest Croatian state was the Principality of Dalmatia. Prince Trpimir of Dalmatia was called Duke of Croats in 852. The nationality of the Red Croats was vague at times, with the Neretvians accepting Croatian identity, while the Zachlumians maintained a Croatian identiy for some time.

In 925, Croatian Duke of Dalmatia Tomislav of Trpimir united all Croats. He organized a state by annexing the Principality of Pannonia as well as maintaining close ties with Pagania and Zahumlje.

Since the creation of the personal union with Hungary in 1102, the Croats were at times subjected to forceful Magyarization as well as, since 1527, Germanization. The ensuing Ottoman conquests and Habsburg domination broke the Croatian lands into disunity again—with the majority of Croats living in Croatia proper and Dalmatia. Large numbers of Croats also lived in Slavonia, Istria, Rijeka, Herzegovina and Bosnia. Over the centuries ensued a wave of Croatian emmigrants, notably to Molise in Italy, Burgenland in Austria and eventully the United States of America.

After the First World War, most Croats were united within the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, created by joining South Slavic lands under the former Austro-Hungarian rule with the Kingdom of Serbia, Croats became one of the constituent nations of the new kingdom. The state was transformed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 and the Croats were melted into the new nation with their neighbour fellow-South Slavs—Yugoslavs. In 1939, the Croats received a high degree of autonomy when the Banovina of Croatia was created, which united almost all ethnic Croatian territories within the Kingdom. In the Second World War, the Axis forces created a puppet state—the Independent State of Croatia, led by fascist Ustaše movement, which sought to create ethnically clean Croatian state. In response, many Croats joined the anti-fascist supra-ethnic partisan movement, led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. During and after the war, between 40,000 and 200,000 Croats lost their lives.

Image:SFRYugoslaviaetno2.jpg
Croats in Yugoslavia in 1981 (pink)

Post-war Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia became a federation consisting of 6 republics, and Croats became one of two constituent peoples of two—Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (in the latter one of the three since 1968). Croats in Serbia, in autonomous province of Vojvodina never reached that status. Following the democratization of society, accompanied with ethnic tensions that emerged in post-Tito era, in 1990 the Republic of Croatia declared independence, which was followed by war with its Serb minority, backed up by Serbia-controlled Yugoslav People's Army. In the first years of the war, over 200,000 Croats were displaced from their homes as a result of the military actions. In the peak of the fighting, around 550,000 ethnic Croats were displaced altogether during the Yugoslav wars.

During the Bosnian War, which followed the one in Croatia, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Croats attempted their own independent state inside Bosnia and Herzegovina—the Croatian Community/Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, but subsequently joined into the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Post-war government's policy of easing the immigration of ethnic Croats from abroad encouraged a number of Croatian descendants to return to Croatia. The influx was increased by the arrival of Croatian refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and from Vojvodina (Bačka and especially Srijem). After the war's end in 1995, most Croatian refugees returned to their previous homes, while some (mostly Croat refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Janjevci from Kosovo) moved into the formerly-held Serb apartments.

[edit] Culture and traditions

Main article: Culture of Croatia

The area settled by Croats has a large diversity of historical and cultural influences, as well as diversity of terrain and geography. The coastland areas of Dalmatia and Istria were subject to Roman empire, Venetian and Italian rule; central regions like Lika and western Herzegovina were a scene of battlefield against Ottoman Empire, and have strong epic traditions. In the northern plains, Austro-Hungarian rule has left its marks.

Despite that, Croats have maintained a strong, distinctive culture and sense of national identity. The most distinctive features of Croatian folklore include klapa ensembles of Dalmatia, tamburitza orchestras of Slavonia. Folk arts are performed at special events and festivals, perhaps the most distinctive being Alka of Sinj, a traditional knights' competition celebrating the victory against ottoman Turks. The epic tradition is also preserved in epic songs sung with gusle. Various types of kolo circular dance are also encountered throughout the Croatia.

Croatian language has the longest written tradition of all South Slavic languages, with documents like Baška Tablet dating as early as 1100. The modern standard language is based on ijekavian shtokavian dialect (like Serbian and Bosnian, with which it's mutually intelligible). There are two other dialects, chakavian (spoken in Istria and Dalmatia) and kajkavian, (spoken in Zagorje and wider Zagreb area), which to an extent have been influenced and superseded by the standard, yet they still color the respective vernacular speaches. Despite that diversity, Croats take their language as a strong issue of national consciousness and are fairly negative towards foreign influences.

Croats are vastly Roman Catholic, and the church has had a significant role in fostering of the national identity. The confession played a significant role in the Croatian ethnogenesis.

Dubrovnik Republic and Dalmatia are the homeland of Croatian literature. It was developed largely in the renaissance period, with works of Dalmatian and Ragusan authors like Marko Marulić and Marin Držić, and continued through baroque with Ivan Gundulić, romanticism with Ivan Mažuranić and August Šenoa up to the modern days.

[edit] Symbols

Image:Flag of Croatia.svg
The current flag of Croatia, including the current coat of arms
Image:Croatia, Historic Coat of Arms.svg
The šahovnica (traditional shield)

The Flag of Croatia consists of a red-white-blue tricolor, and in the middle is the Coat of Arms of Croatia. The red-white-blue tricolor was chosen, as it was the colors of Pan-Slavism, popular in the 19th Century.

The coat of arms consists of the traditional red and white "chessboard" or "šahovnica". It has been used to symbolise Croats for centuries; some speculate that it was derived from Red and White Croatia, historic lands of the Croatian tribe. The current design added the five crowning shields which represent the historical regions from which Croatia originated.

[edit] Notes

<references/>

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

bg:Хървати ca:Croats cs:Chorvati cy:Croatiaid de:Kroaten es:Pueblo croata fr:Croates hr:Hrvati lt:Kroatai nl:Kroaten ja:クロアチア人 pl:Chorwaci pt:Croatas ru:Хорваты sk:Chorváti sl:Hrvati sr:Хрвати sh:Hrvati fi:Kroaatit sv:Kroater

Croats

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