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Croatia (Croatian Hrvatska), country in southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Formerly one of the six republics of Yugoslavia, Croatia declared its independence in 1991. Zagreb is the capital and largest city.

Croatia is located on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, across from Italy. The nation is shaped like the letter V lying on its side. Inside the V, to the southeast, is the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina (often called Bosnia); Croatia’s northern border faces Slovenia and Hungary; to the east lie Serbia and Montenegro.

Croatia has a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. More than 1,000 small islands fringe the coast and form part of Croatia’s territory. The scenic beauty of the Adriatic coast and the country’s rich cultural traditions attract more than 6 million tourists every year.

In addition to tourism, the Croatian economy is balanced between industry, manufacturing, and agriculture. The country is rich in mineral resources, including petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

The people of Croatia are mainly ethnic Croats. Until 1991 about 10 percent of the population was ethnic Serbs, along with a much smaller percentage of Hungarians and Italians. In mid-1991 fighting broke out between Croatian forces and Serb forces aided by the Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army. Thousands of people died and much of the country was heavily damaged. A peace accord reached in late 1995 ended the war. Since then, Croatia has worked to rebuild its economy and infrastructure.


Dornberg, John. Central and Eastern Europe. Oryx, 1995. A good read for those who have only a bare knowledge of Eastern and Central Europe.

Dyker, David A., and Ivan Vejvoda, eds. Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair and Rebirth. Longman, 1996. Fourteen essays on the disintegration of the Yugoslav federation and the politics of its successor states.

Glenny, Misha. The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan war. 3rd ed. Viking Penguin, 1996. A gripping eye-witness account of the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Mertus, Julie, and Jasmina Tesanovic, eds. The Suitcase: Refugee Voices from Bosnia and Croatia. University of California Press, 1997. Personal stories of survivors of refugee camps.

Pavkovic, Aleksandar. The Fragmentation of Yugoslavia. Nationalism in a Multinational State. 2nd ed. St. Martin's, 1997, 2000. Pavkovic seeks to explain the causes of Yugoslav disintegration and the Balkan Wars.

Tanner, Marcus. Croatia: A Nation Forged in War. Yale University Press, 1997. A history based on Croatian sources.


Rusinow, Dennison, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Late Adjunct Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh. Author of The Yugoslav Experiment and other books. Editor of Yugosla via— A Fractured Federalism.

Hayden, Robert M., 3.0., Ph.D. Director, Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh. Author of Blueprints for a House Divided: The Constitutional Logic of the Yugoslav Conflicts,Social Courts in Theory and Practice: Yugoslav Workers’ Courts, and Imagined Communities and Real Victims: Self-Detennination and Ethnic Cleansing in Yugoslavia.

Dyker, David, M.A., D.Phil. Professor of Economics, University of Sussex. Author of Yugoslavia and After,The Technology of Transition, and The European Economy.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

Balkan Peninsula, Adriatic Sea, Adriatic coast, letter V, mineral resources, Zagreb, peace accord, southeastern Europe, Italians, northern border, scenic beauty, largest city, Montenegro, coal, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, war, Hungary, population, infrastructure, economy, independence, nation, fighting, tourists, country, tourism, addition, Herzegovina, industry, year

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