Croatian History as described in Historic Encyclopedias

Meyer 1902-1909

Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1902-1909, Article : Kroatien-Slawonien
... The Litorale developed out of the port cities of Fiume and Porto Re under Karl VI. as the Inner Austrian Litorale, and out of the estates of the extrinct families of the Counts Frangipani and Zrinyi, which were confiscated in 1746-1748, with Tersat as its capital, and since, as the Austrian Litorale, was placed under the supervision of the Viennese Council of Commerce and the Trieste Maritime Authority. In a more restricted definition this term excluded the territory of Fiume. In 1776 the Austrian Litorale was abolished, the coastal region partitioned in three comitats, and reunited with Croatia. In 1779 Maria Theresia declared the city of Fiume an integral part of the Hungarian crown.
From 1767 to 1777 Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia were called "Illyria" and administrated by the Illyrian Deputation in Vienna. Later, every one of these territories formed a separate kingdom, but the Military Frontier remained separate and maintained its military constitution. From 1809 to 1813 the territory on the right bank of the Sava formed part of the French Empire, formed the two Illyrian provinces Croatie civile and Croatie militaire. The Croats capable of doing military service were drafted into the French army. After the fall of Napoleon (1814), at the initiative of Thugut, Dalmatia was annexed by Austria, while Croatia and Slavonia were reannexed by the Hungarian crown, as "partes adnexae" as the Hungarians say, as "regna socia" as the Croats say, but with separate administration and language and with special municipal liberties, namely the privilege that Croatia only pays half the Imperial tax, and that this tax is collected on behalf of the Diet in Agram [Zagreb]. When Hungary around 1840 attempted to introduce Magyar [Hungarian] as the official language, this embittered the Croats. Count Draskovics was the head of the Croat "National" Party, which wanted to unite Croats, Slovenes and Serbs to one Illyrian nation, the kingdoms of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia to one united kingdom, and he was supported in his efforts by Ludwig Gaj in the area of publication. During the comitat elections of 1842 bloody conflicts between the Magyar and the Illyrian Party occurred.
In the spring of 1848 in Croatia the National Party resumed her activity. Hatred of the Hungarians was preached in a fanatic manner, the unification of the Slavic territories of Carniola, Carinthia and Styria with Croatia added to their demands. On March 23rd 1848 the Croat Jelacic, an active National, was appointed ban; he followed the advice of the National Committee, openly opposed the Hungarian government, even the Imperial court, by, in violation of his instructions, on his own responsibility, in the presence of numerous deputees from other Slavic countries, opened the Diet in Agram on June 5th. But the Dalmatians, the Litorale and Fiume had not sent deputees. Croats and Serbs immediately fought over the borders of their territories. By mid June a Croat deputation was sent to Ferdinand V. to Innsbruck, while the Hungarians already had received from the Emperor the Manifesto of June 10th, which harshly rejected the Croat demands. Excitement among the Southern Slavs continued to rise, and after all attempts of mediation had failed, and after the Croat claims had received kind of sanctioning by the Emperor on August 31st 1848, on September 11th the avantgarde of the Croat Army under Jelacic crossed the Drava, but was repelled by the Honveds near Pakozd on September 29th, so that he [Jelacic] withdrew to Vienna. Still, the Croats maintained their loyalty to the Emperor and supported the Austrian Army in suppressing the Hungarian Revolution. In gratitude the Austrian constitution of 1849 declared the separation of Croatia and Slavonia from Hungary, and the two kingdoms were merged to form a separate crownland, into which also the Litorale and the city of Fiume with environs were integrated, while the Syrmian districts of Ruma and Illok were allocated to the new "Voivodate Serbia".
After ten years of reaction (1850-1860) on October 20th 1860 the "October Diploma" was decreed, which was welcomed by the Croats, as the former national constitution and administration was restored. But the "February Constitution" (of February 26th 1861) with its strong centralization counteracted their strife toward autonomy. The first Croat diet was dissolved because of its strong opposition against the new constitution and its demand of a large South Slav Kingdom only tied to Austria by personal union, and for several years no new diet was convoked. Only on November 12th 1865 a diet was opened, where immediately a dispute broke out between the Magyar Party and the Slavic Party concerning the relation to Hungary. The National Party in Croatia, the leadership of which was taken by Bishop Strossmayer, neither wanted to accept a common constitution nor the renewal of the old union with Hungary, but instead a separate Kingdom of Croatia, including the Military Frontier, Dalmatia and the Quarnero Islands, and an own responsible cabinet. These demands were repeated by the diet assembled in December 1866, which categorically rejected to send a delegation to the Hungarian diet in Pest, and which in response was dissolved on May 25th 1867. Now the Hungarian government resolutely proceeded in submitting Croatia under the Crown of St. Stephen. The finances were placed under the Hungarian cabinet, everywhere Hungarians were appointed as officials, a new ban appointed, the Hungarophil Baron Rauch). The new elections held at the end of 1867 according to a provisional election ordinnance produced a pro-Magyar majority, which on the diet opened in Agram on January 9th, after the National opposition under protest had left the house, in an address on January 29th accepted Dualism and the reunification with Hungary, and elected a new, pro-Magyar Regnicolar deputation. The latter on July 25th in Pest signed the Ausgleich with Hungary, according to which Croatia was to send 29 deputees to the Lower House of the Hungarian diet, and 7 deputees, in addition to the Croat magnates, into the Upper House. Of Croatia's revenues 55 % were to be paid to Pest, 45 % (Hungary guaranteed this sum to be at least 2 1/2 million Florin) Croatia was to maintain for its own affairs. One minister for Croatia was to be part of the Hungarian cabinet, in Agram a government responsible to the diet was to reside, headed by a ban, the official language was to be Croatian. By the end of September this Ausgleich was ratified, on November 24th 1868 the Croat deputees, after 20 years of abstinence, entered the diet in Pest. In May 1870 the status of Fiume was clarified in such a manner, that the city fell to Hungary, the litorale to Croatia. The revised Ausgleich of 1873 increased the share of the revenues reserved for Croatia to 3 1/2 million, the number of deputees to the Hungarian diet to 43. By Imperial manifesto of August 15th 1873 the Croatian-Slavonian Military Frontier was provincialized and placed under civil administration. In 1877 a treaty was concluded with Hungary in regard to the usage of the assets of the frontier. Full integration of the Military Frontier into Croatia happened on July 15th 1881, except for the small district of Sichelburg, which was claimed by Carniola. In the meantime the events on the Balkan peninsula since 1876 and the occupation of Bosnia and the Herzegovina (1878) had revitalized Great Croat agitation. In the diet a separate Great Croat faction, the Party of the Right, formed, which strongly attacked Hungary and the ban appointed by Hungary. New Hungarian-language signs in August 1883 formed the cause for unrest, for the calming of which special measures had to be taken. The leaders of the Party of the Right attempted to obstruct the deliberations of the diet by insults and interruptions, but in vain, as the majority, the National Party, remained loyal to the Ausgleich with Hungary. The oppositional Starcevics in 1885 was sentenced to jail (because of an assault on ban Count Khuen-Hedervary). But also the moderate opposition, lead by Bishop Strossmayer and Draskovics, was handed a severe blow by the personal vituperation of the bishop by Emperor Franz Josef in 1888, for the bishop, in a congratulary telegram on the occassion of the jubilee held in Kiev in memory of the introduction of Christianity in Russia, had praised Russia's world mission. The unification of the Military Frontier with Croatia made a revision of the financial Ausgleich necessary. The negotiations of the Regnicolar Deputation in this matter in 1889 produced a result. The percentage Croatia contributed to Austro-Hungarian matters was raised from 5.75 to 5.95 %, the contribution of Croatia to common Hungaro-Croatian expenses from 55 to 56 %. But the Great Croat tendencies had not utterly been silenced; they found many supporters among the Croats of Dalmatia, where mainly the clergy was responsible for agitation.
In Croatia proper the situation deteriorated over the last number of years. Ban Khuen-Hedervary made possible the parliamentary activity of the diet, protected the relation with Hungary and accomplished a lot in the cultural area. But accusations of interference in the elections, complaints against the outdated, narrow-minded electoral system and against strict censorship did not end. Because of the merger of consumption tax and production tax there was a shortfall of tax revenue and in consequence a deficit in the budget, although Croatia and Slavonia according to the law can and may not operate with a deficit. Things developed that far that in 1903 no budget was presented to the diet and [the government] operated with indemnity. Also, because of the ex-lex-condition in Hungary in 1903 the government was not capable to renew the financial Ausgleich with Hungary, and had to be content with its extension. The question of the coat of arms and the quarrel because of the Hungarian-language inscriptions on railway stations of the Hungarian State Railroads also did not permit the situaytion to calm down. In May 1904 in Agram, Susak, Kreutz and at other places, bloody excesses against the "Magyarones" were committed, whit the administration of the Ban only could suppress by declaring martial law and by the incarceration of many. Deputee Biankini on May 18th 1903 raised a sharp interpellation in the Austrian Reichsrat, but Prime Minister Körber categorically rejected any intervention in Hungary's affairs, and the Emperor refused to see the Southern Slav deputees. In the meantime the unrest had been suppressed, but the position of the hated ban now had become untenable. Count Khuen-Hedervary at the end of June was chosen prime minister designate; on July 1st 1903 Count Theodor Pejacsevich was appointed ban, while Erwin Cseh again was made minister for Croatia and Slavonia. The speech held by the new ban on the occasion of the opening of the diet on March 15th had a soothing effect, and as the press now was granted more freedom, and as assemblies of the opposition were permitted, spirits calmed down. The budget for 1904 presented on December 15th shows expenses of 20,601,068 Kronen. The deficit of 3,008,000 Kronen for the moment will be covered by the Hungarian government, but this loan has to be considered when the financial Ausgleich is to be renewed. With the formulation of the latter both Regnicolar Deputations were occupied in April 1904; the new Ausgleich for 10 years (until December 31st 1913) was agreed upon on June 20th. Croatia and Slavonia continue to dispose over 44 % of its revenues, while 56 % are used for common Hungaro-Croat and Austro-Hungarian expenses. In the process of the calculation of Croatia's revenues, Croatia was granted favorable treatment.
The Hungarian government and constitutional crisis (1905) caused vivid movement in the National-Croat circles of Croatia and Dalmatia. At the end of April in Spalato an assembly of deputees of both countries took place, which declared the unification of Croatia and Dalmatia as highly desirable, and which declared Croats and Serbs, despite their different confessions, as one and the same nation. On the other hand, Nikola Tomasic, the leader of the Croat deputees in the Hungarian diet, read a declaration on May 4th 1905, according to which the Croat delegates were unable to accept the draft of an address by the United Hungarian Opposition which demanded the establishment of a separate customs area. Also his party demanded, in case of Hungarian being introduced as the language of the army, for the regiments recruiting in Croatia and Slavonia, Croat as the language of command.
source in German, posted by Retro-Bibliothek


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First posted on August 31st 2009

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