Dalmatia, 1797-1805

When reports of the fall of the Venetian Republic reached Dalmatia, public sentiment was clearly anti-French, the latter labeled atheists and regicides. When emissaries from Venice called upon the Dalmatians to recognize the new Venetian municipal administration, tumults broke out. Publications anti-French in tenor were read out, in Slavic. The authorities in Dalmatia, foremost provveditore Andrea Quirini, transferred Dalmatia's allegiance to Austria, of whom it was hoped that Dalmatia and her Catholic church would receive the necessary protection. Austrian troops entered Dalmatia unopposed (July 1797); only the hinterland of Cattaro had been occupied by Montenegrin forces, but the latter withdrew upon arrival of their Austrian counterparts.
In the Peace of Campo Formio 1797, Napoleon granted Venice with Dalmatia to Austria, as a compensation for Belgium which Austria ceded to France. As western Croatia, Gorizia, Carinthia and Krain were already Austrian, the area shared the same ruler.
The Venetian administration was left intact by the Austrians. In 1802 Dalmatia was granted the same status as the Habsburg Empire's other Italian provinces (contrary to the sentiment among Dalmatia's nobility and clergy which favoured the annexation of Dalmatia into Hungary, as they longed for the privileged status clergy and nobility enjoyed there). Within the Austrian administration, an Italian Department was established, a branch of which Istria, Dalmatia and Albania (Cattaro) formed (1802); the governor of which resided in Zara.
Printing shops were opened in Zara and Cattaro, the first newspapers appeared. A first secondary school. meeting the standards of the Austrian education system, was opened in Zara in 1804.

In 1805 Austria ceded Dalmatia to the Kingdom of Italy.

REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Giuseppe Praga, History of Dalmatia, Pisa : Giardini 1993

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 14th 2003, last revised on November 7th 2004

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