This essay focuses on the political and economic history of Croatia. I discuss the peoples, kingdoms, and empires that occupied the eastern Adriatic region during the past 2200 years – the Illyrians, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Kingdom of Croatia, the Venetian Republic, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro- Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia, and Croatia. I wrote these lectures for a Stanford Travel/Study’s Croatia Walking Trip, October 7-18, 2009.
I first discuss how the Roman and Byzantine Empires exploited the area that is now Croatia, a Croatian Kingdom survived for two centuries, and invasions by the Crusaders and Mongols weakened the region. I next contrast the Hungarian, Ottoman, Austrian, and Venetian rule of parts of Croatia during the 13th-19th centuries. I then look at how Balkan crises led to World War I, Yugoslavia spawned extreme Croat nationalism, and the Nazi Ustashe ruled Croatia during World War II. Lastly, I examine why Communist Yugoslavia imploded, how ethnic conflicts led to war in the Balkans during the 1990s, and what challenges face Croatia as a member of the EU. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in Croatia.Kingdom of Croatia, Hungarian Croatia and Serbia, Ottoman and Habsburg Croatia, Ottoman Expansion, Ottoman Croatia and Dalmatia and Royal Hungary, Habsburg Expansion, Habsburg and French Croatia, Republic of Dubrovnik, Croatia and the Two World Wars, Bosnia-Herzegovina and World War I, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Ustashe Communist Yugoslavia, Sibenik, Croatia, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Split, the Central Dalmatian Coast, and Mostar, The Southern Dalmatian Coast, Narona, Cavtat,