White Croatia (also Great Croatia) was the ill-defined homeland of the White Croats in Central and Eastern Europe. After the migration of the White Croats in the 7th century, it gradually lost the primacy under influence by other Slavic states of Czechs and Poles. It is considered that White Croatia ceased to exist as separate ethnopolitic state in the 10th century. According to the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, there existed another White Croatia along Red Croatia in Dalmatia.
The epithets "white" for Croats and their homeland Croatia, as well "great" (megali) for Croatia, is in relation to the symbolism used in ancient times. The epithet "white" is related to the use of colors for cardinal directions among Eurasian people. It meant "Western Croats/Croatia", in comparison to lands where they lived before. The epithet "great" signified "subsequently populated" land, but also "old, ancient, former" homeland for the newly arrived Croats to the Roman province of Dalmatia.
Constantine VII in De Administrando Imperio recounts in 30th chapter "ancient Croatia, also called "white", is still unbaptized to this day, as are also its neighboring Serbs... plundered by the Franks and Turks and Pechenegs...", while in 31st chapter "the Croats at that time were dwelling beyond Bagibareia (usually considered Bavaria), where the Belocroats are now... stayed over near Francia... they are subject to Otto, the great king of Francia, which is also Saxony".
In modern scholarship the widespread opinion is that there's no simple answer on the location of White Croatia.
Initially was considered it was situated on the river Elbe, while later around Vistula and Lesser Poland. Pavel Jozef Šafárik and Lubor Niederle placed megali Croatia in Eastern Galicia to the Vistula in the East. N. P. Barsov situated the Croats in the wide area of Carpathian Mountains, on the slopes of Tatra Mountains to the river Tisa and Prut on the South, to Dniester to the East, and Vistula to the North. Other scholars also placed it in the territory of Galicia.
According to Francis Dvornik, White Croatia extended from Southern Bug and rivers Wieprz and San in Poland-Ukraine border, to slopes of Carpathian Mountains, including Northern part of Slovakia, then from river Netolica and Dudleba in upper Vltava, over Cidlina until Krkonoše Mountains to the North and North-West.
Some scholars considered that White Croatia embraced Nisa and Upper Elbe in the West, to Bug and Upper Prut and Siret in the East. In other words, lands of present-day Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine. In comparison, some scholars placed it on more narrow territory, from North-Eastern Bohemia to Upper Vistula. Nada Klaić considered Croats arrived from Carantania, rather than Lesser Poland.
It is considered that in the 10th century there were only remnants of the Croats, scattered in the West in Bohemia, and another in the East in Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia. This theory would abide with the tradition of using colors for cardinal directions. According to the thesis, L. V. Vojtovič argued that the alleged Great Croatia from the 6th century did not exist anymore in the 10th century, and in the Western part of its territory was formed White Croatia.
Chrobatia in 1000, between Cracow and Sandomir, Gustav Droysen (1886)
- Majorov 2012, p. 52.
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- Hyun Jin Kim (2013). The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 146, 262. ISBN 9781107009066.
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- Majorov 2012, p. 59.
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- Majorov, Aleksandr Vjačeslavovič (2012), Velika Hrvatska: etnogeneza i rana povijest Slavena prikarpatskoga područja [Great Croatia: ethnogenesis and early history of Slavs in the Carpathian area] (in Croatian), Zagreb, Samobor: Brethren of the Croatian Dragon, Meridijani, ISBN 978-953-6928-26-2