Kingdom of Croatia (Habsburg)

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Kingdom of Croatia

Kraljevina Hrvatska
Regnum Croatiae
Horvát Királyság
Königreich Kroatien
Map of Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Istria and the Republic of Ragusa in the 18th century
Map of Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Istria and the Republic of Ragusa in the 18th century
StatusIn Personal union with Kingdom of Hungary
(within the Habsburg Monarchy and from 1804 the Austrian Empire)
CapitalZagreb (1557–1756)
Varaždin (1756–1776)
Zagreb (1776–1848)
Common languagesOfficial:
(until 1784; 1790–1847)
Roman Catholic
GovernmentMonarchy[clarification needed]
• 1527–64
Ferdinand I (first)
• 1835–48
Ferdinand V (last)
• 1527–1531
Ivan Karlović (first)
• 1845–1848
Juraj Haulik (last)
Historical eraEarly Modern period
1 January 1527
26 January 1699
15 March 1848
ISO 3166 codeHR
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Croatia in union with Hungary
Triune Kingdom of Croatia
Today part of Croatia
 Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Kingdom of Croatia, Croatian Kingdom or (later) Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia (Croatian: Kraljevina Hrvatska; Latin: Regnum Croatiae Hungarian: Horvát Királyság German: Königreich Kroatien) was part of the Habsburg Monarchy that existed between 1527 and 1848 (also known between 1804 and 1867 as the Austrian Empire), as well as a part of the Lands of the Hungarian Crown, but was subject to direct Imperial Austrian rule for significant periods of time, including its final years. Its capital was Zagreb.

Until the 18th century, the Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia included only a small north-western part of present-day Croatia around Zagreb, and a small strip of coastland around Rijeka that was not part of the Ottoman Empire or part of the Habsburg Military Frontier. Between 1744 and 1848 the Kingdom of Croatia included a subordinate autonomous kingdom, the Kingdom of Slavonia. The territory of the Slavonian kingdom was recovered from the Ottoman Empire, and was subsequently part of the Habsburg Military Frontier for a period. In 1744 these territories were organized as the Kingdom of Slavonia and included within the Kingdom of Croatia as an autonomous part. In 1848 both were merged again into the newly formed Triune Kingdom of Croatia.

History and government[edit]

Habsburg rule[edit]

Following the Battle of Mohács, in 1527 the Croatian and Hungarian nobles needed to decide on a new king. The bulk of the Croatian nobility convened the Croatian Parliament in Cetin and chose to join the Habsburg monarchy under the Austrian king Ferdinand I von Habsburg.[1][2] Some nobles dissented and supported John Zápolya, but the Habsburg option still prevailed in 1540, when John Zápolya died.

Territory recovered by the Austrians from the Ottoman Empire was formed in 1745 as the Kingdom of Slavonia, subordinate to the Croatian Kingdom. In 1804 the Habsburg Monarchy became the Austrian Empire which annexed the Venetian Republic in 1814 and established the Kingdom of Dalmatia. During the revolutions of 1848, the Sabor proclaimed a new constitution ending the crown union with Hungary.

Ottoman incursion[edit]

The change of leadership was far from a solution to the war with the Ottomans, in fact, the Ottoman Empire gradually expanded in the 16th century to include most of Slavonia, western Bosnia and Lika. Croatian territory under Habsburg rule was 25 years later reduced to about 20,000 km². In 1558, the parliaments of Croatia and Slavonia were united after many centuries into one. The centre of the Croatian state moved northward from coastal Dalmatia, as these lands were conquered by the Ottomans. The town of Zagreb gained importance, as did nearby Varaždin.[3]

Taking advantage of the growing conflict between King Sigismund II of Poland and Emperor Maximilian II, Suleiman the Magnificent started his sixth raid of Hungary in 1565 with 100,000 troops. They successfully progressed northwards until 1566 when they took a small detour to capture the outpost of Siget (Szigetvár) which they failed to capture ten years previously. The small fort was defended by Count Nikola Šubić Zrinski and 2,300–3,000 men. They were able to hold their ground for a month, and decimated the Ottoman army before being wiped out themselves. This siege, now known as the Battle of Szigetvár, bought enough time to allow Austrian troops to regroup before the Ottomans could reach Vienna.[4][3]

Nikola Šubić Zrinski by Oton Iveković. The work depicts Croatian Ban Nikola Šubić Zrinski defending against the Ottomans at the Battle of Szigetvár
An old map of Croatia from the end of the 16th century (1593)

By orders of the king in 1553 and 1578, large areas of Croatia and Slavonia adjacent to the Ottoman Empire were carved out into the Military Frontier (Vojna krajina or Vojna granica) and ruled directly from Vienna's military headquarters. Due to the dangerous proximity to the Ottoman armies, the area became rather deserted, so Austria encouraged the settlement of Serbs, Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Rusyns/Ukrainians and other Slavs in the Military Frontier, creating an ethnic patchwork. The negative effects of feudalism escalated in 1573 when the peasants in northern Croatia and Slovenia rebelled against their feudal lords over various injustices such as unreasonable taxation or abuse of women in the Croatian and Slovenian peasant revolt. Ambroz Matija Gubec and other leaders of the mutiny raised peasants to arms in over sixty fiefs throughout the country in January 1573, but their uprising was crushed by early February. Matija Gubec and thousands of others were publicly executed shortly thereafter, in a rather brutal manner in order to set an example for others.

After the Bihać fort finally fell to the army of the Bosnian vizier Hasan Pasha Predojević in 1592, only small parts of Croatia remained unconquered. The remaining 16,800 km² where around 400,000 inhabitants lived were referred to as the "remnants of remnants of the once great and renowned Kingdom of Croatia" (Latin: reliquiae reliquiarum olim magni et inclyti regni Croatiae).[5][6]

17th and 18th centuries[edit]

By the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire was driven out of Ottoman Hungary and Croatia, and Austria brought the empire under central control.

Kingdom of Croatia (including the so-called Turkish Croatia (Türkisch Kroatien), a green marked territory occupied by the Ottomans) on a 1791 map by Austrian cartographer Franz J.J. von Reilly

The Austrian imperial army was victorious against the Turks in 1664 but Emperor Leopold failed to capitalize on the success when he signed the Peace of Vasvár in which Hungary and Croatia were prevented from regaining territory lost to the Ottoman Empire. This caused unrest among the Hungarian and Croatian nobility which plotted against the emperor in what became known as the Zrinski–Frankopan Conspiracy in Croatia, but they weren't powerful enough to actually do something about it, even though they negotiated with both the French and the Ottomans. Imperial spies uncovered the conspiracy and on April 30, 1671 executed four esteemed Croatian and Hungarian noblemen involved in it, Petar Zrinski, Fran Krsto Frankopan, Ferenc Nádasdy III and Erazmo Tatenbach, in Wiener Neustadt.[7][8]

Croatia was one of the crown lands that supported Emperor Charles VI's Pragmatic Sanction of 1713[2] and supported Empress Maria Theresa in the War of the Austrian Succession of 1741–48 and the Croatian Parliament signed their own Pragmatic Sanction of 1712. Subsequently, the Empress made significant contributions to Croatian matters, by making several changes in the administrative control of the Military Frontier, the feudal and tax system. In 1767 she founded the Croatian Royal Council (Croatian: Hrvatsko kraljevinsko vijeće) as royal government of Croatia and Slavonia, with seat in Varaždin, later in Zagreb, presided by the ban, but it was abolished in 1779 when Croatia was relegated to just one seat in the governing council of Hungary (the Royal Hungarian Council of Lieutenancy, also known as the Hungarian Vice-regency Council, headed by the palatine), held by the ban of Croatia. The empress also gave the independent port of Rijeka to Croatia in 1776. However, she also ignored the Croatian Parliament.

With the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, its possessions in eastern Adriatic mostly came under the authority of France which passed its rights to Austria the same year. Eight years later they were restored to France as the Illyrian Provinces, but won back to the Austrian crown by 1815. Though now part of the same empire, Dalmatia and Istria were part of Cisleithania (as the Kingdom of Dalmatia from 1816 and the Istrian Circle, from 1860 the Margraviate of Istria), while Croatia and Slavonia were Transleithania (Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen).

19th century[edit]

In the 19th century Croatian romantic nationalism emerged to counteract the non-violent but apparent Germanization and Magyarization. The Croatian national revival began in the 1830s with the Illyrian movement. The movement attracted a number of influential figures and produced some important advances in the Croatian language and culture. The champion of the Illyrian movement was Ljudevit Gaj who also reformed and standardized the Croatian literary language. Official language in Croatia has been Latin until 1847 when it has become Croatian.[2]

With the revolutions of 1848 in the Austrian Empire a new Diet would form a new Constitution with Croatian Ban Jelačić forming a new government, and the Crown union with Hungary and entering a War with Hungary.


According to the 1802 data, the population of the Kingdom of Croatia included 400,000 (98.8%) Roman Catholics, 4,800 (1.2%) Eastern Orthodox Christians and 40 Protestants.[9]

In 1840, a Hungarian statistician Fenyes Elek analyzed the ethnicity in the countries belonging to the Hungarian Crown. According to the data he collected and processed, 526,550 people lived in the Kingdom of Croatia, out of which 519,426 (98.64%) were Croats, 3,000 (0.56%) Germans, 2,900 (0.55%) Serbs and 1,037 (0.19%) Jews.[10][11] Population data by counties:

Primorje County

Varaždin County

Zagreb County

Križevci County

The first modern population census was conducted in 1857 and it recorded religion of the citizens. Population by religion in the counties of Kingdom of Croatia:[12]


Coat of arms from 1527 until the reign of Ban Toma (Bakač) Erdődy each Crown Land (Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia) crest was used individually, he was the first Ban to officially unite all heraldic representations of Croatian Crown Lands into a single Triune Kingdom coat of arms. Flag Before 1848 there was no unique national flag. Flags used were divided into the Royal Bans Standard (prime flag of the Kingdom), Coronation flags and military flags. They either used a singel or dual color background or were formed as heraldic flags.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milan Kruhek: Cetin, grad izbornog sabora Kraljevine Hrvatske 1527, Karlovačka Županija, 1997, Karlovac
  2. ^ a b c "Povijest saborovanja" [History of parliamentarism] (in Croatian). Sabor. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2010. (in Croatian)
  3. ^ a b Ivo Goldstein: Croatia: A History, Zagreb, 1999, p. 36
  4. ^ Dupuy, R. Ernest and Dupuy, Trevor. The Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. ISBN 0-06-011139-9
  5. ^ Vjekoslav Klaić: Povijest Hrvata od najstarijih vremena do svršetka XIX. stoljeća, Knjiga peta, Zagreb, 1988, p. 480
  6. ^ Ivo Goldstein: Sisačka bitka 1593., Zagreb, 1994, p. 30
  7. ^ The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present, p.87
  8. ^ Ivo Goldstein: Croatia: A History, Zagreb, 1999, p. 43
  9. ^ Mladen Lorković, Narod i zemlja Hrvata, page 86
  10. ^ Elek Fényes, Magyarország statistikája, Trattner-Károlyi, Pest 1842, pages 50-52
  11. ^ Mladen Lorković, Narod i zemlja Hrvata, page 87
  12. ^ Statistische übersichten über die bevölkerung und den viehstand von Österreich nach der zählung vom 31. october 1857, page 120

External links[edit]