1815-1848 1883-1914

Dalmatia 1848-1883

At the Vienna Congress, the Province of Dalmatia was assigned to Austria. When Hungary was granted far-reaching autonomy in 1867, Dalmatia remained part of the Austrian (CISLEITHANIA) half of the double monarchy; within that, Dalmatia and Lombardo-Venetia (until 1866/1870) were treated as a 'single geopolitical sector' (Praga p.220).
Two events were to influence the position of Dalmatia in the later half of the 19th century : the Unification of Italy (1859-1870), which concerned the administration of Vienna with potential Italian desires for Dalmatia, and the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina - Dalmatia's hinterland, in 1878 and her subsequent annexation in 1908. While Italian desires for Dalmatia made the Viennese administration suspicious of Italian investment in the region, the very same administration neglected attempts to connect Dalmatia with her hinterland by the means of railway lines.
In 1860 the Italo-Dalmatian patriots sympathized with the nascent Kingdom of Italy, while the Croat national movement was loyal to the Habsburg Empire. Emperor Francis Joseph was willing to consider the unification of Croatia-Slavonia and Dalmatia, as demanded by the Croat patriots. The Italo-Dalmatian elite rejected this idea. The unification of Dalmatia and Croatia did not take place; the February Patent of 1861 provided Dalmatia with a parliament of her own, which had 43 members. Of the 41 members elected in 1861, 29 were Italians, 12 Slavs (the majority of the Slavic population was barred from voting). In defiance of an order to meet at Zagreb, the diet met at Zara, the 12 Slav members and the Greek Orthodox bishop (appointed member) supporting the annexation of Dalmatia into a greater Croatia.
During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Italy sided with Prussia. The naval Battle of Lissa, an Austrian victory, was fought off the mentioned Dalmatian island. During the war, Croatian soldiers were stationed in and near the cities of Dalmatia, to prevent the Italo-Dalmatians from coming out in support of Italy. In the end, despite having defeated Italy militarily, Austria ceded Venice to Italy - but not the former Venetian territories of Istria and Dalmatia. The Austrian administration in 1866 limited the use of the Italian language in public offices and required civil servants to learn the Croatian language. In 1867, the secondary school at Zara (the leading school of Dalmatia), hitherto an Italian institution, was by decree declared a Slavic-language school. Teachers and priests had to study the Croatian language.
The Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich of 1867 strengthened the separation of Dalmatia (part of the Austrian half) and Croatia-Slavonia (within the Hungarian half) and thus established new obstacles for the Croatian national dream.
Riots occurred in 1867, Croatian mobs targeting the Italian minority; the Austrian administration undertook little to prevent these attempts from happening, rather seemed to encourage the mob. Institutions of Italianita in Dalmatia were the targets of attacks, such as the Teatro Verdi in Zara (Feb. 15 1870). In the administration, in the courts and schools, hitherto dominated by the Italo-Dalmatians, Croatians gained ground. In 1870 in Dalmatia's parliament and her municipal governments the Italo-Dalmatians still held clear majorities; a military force under General Gabriel Rodic, a Croat nationalist, was appointed governor of Dalmatia; the country's parliament now supported the plan of unification with Croatia. Rodic relentlessly worked for the strengthening of the Croatian element in administration, jurisdiction and education. The 1870 elections returned 24 annexionists (supporters of an annexion of Dalmatia into Croatia) and 16 autonomists, the latter Italo- Dalmatians.

The appearance of steamships in the Adriatic (c. 1870) resulted in a decline of Dalmatian shipping.
In 1869 the population numbered 458,611, in 1880 476,101 (Meyers).

The pressure the Italo-Dalmatians found themselves under only created an echo in the Italian press. Italian nationalists included Dalmatia, or at least parts of it, in their Irredenta demands.

Chronology of Dubrovnik, by Josip Lucic
Split, History of, from dalmacija.net
Dominique Reill, Regionalism and Multinationalism in Dalmatia 1830-1860, in Different Paths to the Nation : National Identity and State-Building in Germany, Italy and the Habsburg Monarchy c.1830-1870, Istituto Storico Italo-Germanico, Trento 2004, abstract; scroll down
DOCUMENTS Article Dalmatia from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
Article Dalmatien, P.1, P.2, P.3, P.4, P.5, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888-1890 edition, in German
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Giuseppe Praga, History of Dalmatia, Pisa : Giardini 1993
Ivo Goldstein, Croatia - a History, (1999) McGill-Queen's UP 2001

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 27th 2008

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