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Slavonia (Croatian: Slavonija) is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia. It is a fertile agricultural and forested lowland bounded, in part, by the Drava river in the north, the Sava river in the south, and the Danube river in the east.


[edit] Geography

The area is divided in seven counties, total population of 781,454 (2001). The biggest city is Osijek with a population of 114,616 (2001). Other cities are: Slavonski Brod, Vinkovci, Vukovar, Đakovo, Požega, Virovitica, Nova Gradiška, Slatina, Županja, Našice, Valpovo, Belišće.

Map of Croatia with Slavonia highlighted

While generally known as a lowland, Slavonia does actually have a number of hills. The main ones are Psunj, Papuk, Požeška Gora, Ravna gora, Krndija and Dilj, which in turn encircle the valley of Požega.

It should be noted that during the history borders of Slavonia fluctuated. In the early medieval period of the Kingdom of Hungary, Slavonia was a vassal province of the Kingdom, and included only the western part of present-day Slavonia, but also parts of present-day central Croatia (including Zagreb) and the western and northern parts of present-day Bosnia (The eastern parts of present-day Slavonia belonged to Hungary proper). In the late Medieval period Slavonia occupied territories between the rivers Sava, Drava, Sutla and Danube. In the 18th and 19th century, the Kingdom of Slavonia was a province of the Habsburg Monarchy, and included northern parts of present day regions of Slavonia and Syrmia, while the southern parts of these regions were part of the Habsburg Military Frontier (Slavonian Krajina).

[edit] History

The region was originally part of the Roman province of Pannonia. In the 7th century a Slavic state owing allegiance to the Avars was established, soon replaced by the (also Slavic) Croats. Slavonia was defended by King Tomislav of the House of Trpimirović from Hungarian invaders and annexed to his newly-created Kingdom of Croatia in 925. In 1027 a Hungarian Army under Stjepan Svetoslavić of the side branch of the Trpimirović dynasty took Slavonia and made it a Slavonian Banate of the Kingdom of Hungary, ruled by its own dynasty of Svetoslavić. Slavonia was reunified with Croatia in the 1070s under King Dmitar Zvonimir Svetoslavić. In 1091 it separated again and accepted the suzeiranity of the Hungarian crown. 11 years later, the rest of Croatia also accepted the suzeiranity of the Hungarian crown. In the 12th century there was a practice that successor of the throne first became Duke of "whole Slavonia" (like the oldest British prince is prince of Wales), and there were some power grabs since in many cases son waged war against father, trying to establish and confirm its power base. Though Slavonia was originally considered to be part of the Hungarian Kingdom by Hungarian public law, it became more and more separated from Hungary and had more and more ties to the Kingdom of Croatia.

In the 13th century, Croatia was divided into 2 banovinas, one of which was named Slavonia (other keeping the name Croatia). Nobility in Slavonia was more connected to Hungary (because of its proximity) than the nobility of Croatia. In the late 13th century Stefan Vladislav II of the House of Nemanjić became the Ban of Slavonia. The eastern parts of the region were turned into the semi-independent state of the powerful local ruler Csák Ugrin, although the Hungarian King took the area in 1311 after the death of Ugrin.

Ever since the fall of the Serbian Despotate migrations of Serbs under Ottoman yoke were present, including their nobility which made an important political factor in Slavonia. Both Slavonia and Croatia were ruled by separate bans, until 1476, when these two ruling positions were merged into one.

When Ottoman Turks invaded the Kingdom of Hungary and destroyed the Hungarian army at Mohács in 1526, the Croatian Parliament invited the Habsburgs to assume control over Croatia. After many fierce battles Ottomans conquered all of today's Slavonia, but not the whole of the Medieval Croatia (its borders stretching west to Sutla river).

Habsburgs took the region from the Ottomans by the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699). During the Habsburg rule, the Kingdom of Slavonia was a Habsburg province, and it was part of both, the Kingdom of Croatia, and the Kingdom of Hungary. Southern parts of the present-day Slavonia were not included into this province, but into Habsburg Military Frontier (Slavonian Krajina), which Slavonian nobles numerous times tried to integrate into Slavonia, but with no success. Post-1699 Slavonia was a different geographical entity from the medieval Slavonia. Whereas medieval Slavonia incorporated the territories between the Drava and Kupa Rivers, Habsburg Slavonia was extended eastwards to refer to the sparsely populated territories between the Sava and Drava Rivers.

The 1790 Austrian population census for the Kingdom of Slavonia recorded 131,000 (46.8%) Serbs 128,000 (45.7%) Croats, 19,000 (6.8%) Hungarians, and 2,000 (0.7%) Germans. It should be noted that Kingdom of Slavonia in this time also included northern parts of eastern Syrmia mainly inhabited by Serbs, hence the number of Serbs in the Kingdom was larger than the number of Croats.

During the Revolutions of 1848 Slavonia was temporarily united with Croatia under the Ban Josip Jelačić. After 1849, both, Slavonia and Croatia were affirmed as a completely separate Habsburg crown lands. Following the 1868 Settlement (hrvatsko-ugarska nagodba) with the Kingdom of Hungary, Slavonia was joined with Croatia in the single Croatia-Slavonia kingdom, which although it was under the suzerainty of the Crown of Saint Stephen kept a certain level of self-rule. The year 1881 also saw the final dissolution of the Slavonian Krajina and its incorporation into the existing Slavonian Counties.

As a rest of the Croatia-Slavonia, the region became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in December 1918. Between 1922 and 1929, it was a province known as the Osijek Oblast (province), administered from Osijek, and since the 1929 creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, it was part of the Sava Banovina, administered from Zagreb. In August 1939, it became part of the Banovina of Croatia.

During World War II, it was part of the Independent State of Croatia (its northern section controlled by the Nazi Germany). When the Yugoslav federation was formed after the war, Slavonia became part of the Socialist Republic of Croatia.

When Croatia declared its independence in 1991, Serbs of Krajina proclaimed their own state over portions of eastern and western Slavonia. The eastern portion was referred to as the Serbian Autonomous Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia, and it encompassed roughly everything east of Osijek and Vinkovci and northeast of Županja, including the cities of Vukovar and Ilok, as well as all of Baranja. This part of Krajina was ethnically mixed with a Croatian relative majority and had seen bitter fighting during the war (See: War in Croatia). The 1991 Battle of Vukovar was the most important war event in the area. The western portion of Slavonia controlled by RSK included the area around Okučani and most of the Psunj mountain. In May 1995, the western region was restored to Croatian control in the military Operation Flash. In 1996 the east was turned over to the UNTAES, and reintegrated into Croatia by January 1998.

[edit] Miscellaneous

Wheat and maize are the major crops, and the leading industry is food processing. It also has some oil and natural gas resources.

A subspecies of pedunculate (common) oak Quercus robur slavonica is named after Slavonia. The region is home to these and sessile oaks.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] See also

bg:Славония ca:Eslavònia cs:Slavonie de:Slawonien fr:Slavonie hr:Slavonija it:Slavonia lt:Slavonija nl:Slavonië ja:スラヴォニア no:Slavonia pl:Slawonia pt:Eslavônia ro:Slavonia sk:Slavónia sr:Славонија


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