Oton Ivekovic, The arrival of Croats at the Adriatic Sea (Public Domain)

Dragon of the Adriatic Sea ©

The Croats arrived to the northern part of the Adriatic sea in the seventh century (or perhaps earlier!?). The origin of the Croatian tribe has been still a mistery. One likely theory suggests that the Croats are descendants of ancient Persia. And they were worriors. The earliest mention of the Croatian name, Horouathos, is traced on two stone inscriptions in the Greek language and script, dating from around the year 200 AD, found in the seaport Tanais on the Azov sea, Crimea peninsula (near by the Black Sea). ("Crimea" has been the name of the city area of Rijeka for centuries and not by the random choice!).

Croatian duke Trpimir I (845–864) (founder of Trpimirovic dynasty), was fighting successfully against Bulgarians, and against Byzantine strategos in the Zadar town.The first native Croatian ruler recognized by a Roman pope was duke Branimir, whom Pope John VIII called dux Chroatorum in 879. Croatia became a kingdom in the 10th century which lasts for the next 200 years. Soon after he was crowned in 925., the first King of Croatia, Tomislav (rex Chroatorum) of the Trpimirovic dynasty (910–928) united the Pannonian and Dalmatian duchies and created a sizeable state. His army defeated Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I in the battle on the Bosnian Highlands. The Croatian kingdom reached its peak during the reign of King Petar Kresimir IV (1058–1074).

The independence and the kingdom was lost once and forever when Croats have made the union with the Kingdom of Hungary in the 12th century. Hungarians took up arms against Croatia (in their aim to reach the sea), and won a bloody victory at Gvozd Mountain. Forcing personal union, King Coloman of Hungary was crowned as king of Croatia in 1102 (Pacta conventa). The two states were united until 1918. All along the centuries (1527–1918) Croatian land was divided among Habsburg Empire, Venice state and the Ottomans. The only independent state was the Republic of Dubrovnik (south Croatia nowadays) between the 15th and 19th centuries. However, the Republic of Dubrovnik was abolished by the French Empire in 1808.

Croatian romantic nationalism emerged in mid-19th century to counteract the apparent Germanization and Magyarization of Croatia. The Illyrian movement attracted a number of influential figures from 1830s on, and produced some important advances in the Croatian language and culture. Partial Croatian autonomy was restored in 1868 with the Hungarian–Croatian Settlement which wasn't particularly favorable for the Croats. Shortly before the end of the First World War in 1918, the Croatian Parliament severed relations with Austro-Hungary as the Entente armies defeated those of the Habsburgs. Croatia and Slavonia became a part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs composed out of all Southern territories of the now former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy with a transitional government headed in Zagreb. In the meantime, Kingdom of Italy moved rapidly to annex the state's most western territories, promised to it by the Treaty of London of 1915. An Italian Army eventually took Istria, started to annex the Adriatic islands one by one, and even landed in Zadar.

The borders that draw shape of a creature has been finally established after the World War II and the victory over the last colonizationists in Europe. The turbulent Era has finished once and for good, in the last bloody and unnecessary war, between the nations of the former Yugoslavia, 15 years ago. By the end of the 20th Century Croats have defeated their independence and the state has been internationally recognized. Although, not the Kingdom anymore but rather modern and beautiful country.

Adriatic Dragon is reborn and learning to fly, again!