Croatia 1102-1526 1660-1789

Croatia 1526-1660

The BATTLE OF MOHACS in 1526 had decisively altered the political landcape. King Louis II. of the Jagiellon dynasty had fallen in battle; the country lay open to Ottoman raids. Habsburg FERDINAND I. was elected King of Hungary and of Croatia. Dalmatia was held by Venice. The Ottoman Empire supported Johan Zapolya as King of Hungary; the Sabor od Slavonia also recognized Zapolya's claim. In 1529 the Ottoman Turks laid siege to Vienna; they did not succeed in taking the city, but Habsburg rule was limited to the western fringes of Hungary and Croatia; much of Slavonia was beyond Habsburg control. In the 1540es, the Ottoman Empire assumed direct control of the central regions of Hungary, establishing the Beylik of Ofen. Croatia now was split in three entities - Venetian Dalmatia, Habsburg Croatia and Ottolman Lower Slavonia.
In 1558, the Sabors of Croatia and of (what was left of) Slavonia merged.
The Ottoman advance had resulted in both depopulation and migration. In 1553/1578, the MILITÄRGRENZE (military frontier region) was established. The Austrian administration encouraged settlement in depopulated areas; Serbs (in the language of the documents, Vlachs) settled down in the Krajina, and Western Slavonia regions, changing the ethnic landscape of Croatia. The settlements were granted freedom of religion; the Croatian administration had no authority over them. The area which remained under control of the SABOR, Croatia's diet, thus was further reduced. The VLACH STATUTES of 1630 regulated life for the settler communities. The cities of Varasdin and Agram/Gradec were fortified, a newcity fortress established at Karlstadt (1579-).
In 1573 a revolt of Croat peasants was suppressed. In 1593 an Ottoman force was defeated by an Austro-Croat force in the Battle of Sisak, early in the Habsburg-Ottoman War 1592-1606.
In the 16th century, protestantism found believers in Croatia, among them some of the landowning, powerful noblemen. The Croatian bible translation was published in 1562 by STIPAN KONZUL and ANTON DALMATIN. In 1609, the Sabor decided that any confession other than the Catholic faith should be outlawed in Croatia (that is outside the Militärgrenze). The Jesuits and Franciscans were in charge of the Counterreformation; the powerful noblemen reconverted. The Counterreformation had a positive impact on Croatia's cultural development : schools were founded, grammars, a dictionary published.
During the Counterreformation and beyond, the Habsburg dynasty pursued the policy of trying to tie the nobility to both the Habsburg dynasty/court and to the Catholic cause; such attitude paid off. Part of the nobles was of foreign, origin and had acquired their estates by marriage policy or purchase. A number of nobles were able to build lavish Renaissance palaces, at the expense of the peasants whose burden, even in times when not threatened by Ottoman raids, remained at a high level.
The Uskoks, christian refugees from the Balkans who had been permitted to settle in coastal Croatia (near Senj) and whi were regarded useful in the defense of the country against Ottoman raids, not only caused trouble for the Ottoman border territories, but also attacked Venetian shipping. Venetian measures against them escalated in the Austro-Venetian War 1615-1617, after which the Uskoks were resettled into the interior, and their ships destroyed.
In 1607 the Jesuits had opened a gymnasium (high school) in Agram (Zagreb).
During the 30 years war, many Croats enlisted in Wallenstein's army; their trademark was the colourful neckerchief they wore; the French and German words for necktie, Cravatte respectively Krawatte, are derived from the word 'Croat', for it was them who made them popular. The Croat soldiers in the 30 years war were less popular, for they were known to show little mercy.

Croatia, History of, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1914 edition, from Discover Croatia, from , from, illustrated
Dalmatia, History of, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
Yugoslavia, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
Croatian Humanists, Latinists, and Encyclopaedists, by Darko Zubrinic
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Ivo Goldstein, Croatia - a History, (1999) McGill-Queen's UP 2001
Arnold Suppan, Zwischen Adria und Karawanken, Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas (Between Adria and Karawanken Mts., German History in Euope's East), Berlin : Siedler 1998, in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 7th 2004

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