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Krajina (pronounced [krâjina]) is a Slavic toponym, meaning 'frontier' or 'march'. The term is related to kraj or krai, originally meaning 'edge'[1] and today denoting a region or province, usually remote from urban centers.


The Serbo-Croatian word krajina derives from Proto-Slavic *krajina, derived from *krajь 'edge', related to *krojiti 'to cut';[1][2] the original meaning of krajina thus seems to have been 'place at an edge, fringe, borderland', as reflected in the meanings of Church Slavonic краина, kraina,[2] and Old East Slavic окраина, okraina.[3]

In some South Slavic languages, including Serbo-Croatian and Slovene, the word krajina or its cognate still refers primarily to a border, fringe, or borderland of a country (sometimes with an established military defense), and secondarily to a region, area, or landscape.[2][4] The word kraj can today mean an end or extremity, or region or area. Archaically extrapolated, it could mean 'army' or 'war';[4] this meaning developed from the earlier meaning of 'borderland' in a manner analogous to the French word campagne.[2] The term is equivalent to German Mark and French marche.[5] In the Habsburg Empire, a large region in modern Croatia was referred to as the Military Frontier (Militärgrenze; Vojna krajina).

In other Slavic languages (including the Chakavian and Kajkavian dialects of Serbo-Croatian), the term has other meanings, either a territorial name (cf. Krajna in Poland, from Old Polish kraina, meaning region, borderland, extremity[2]) or a word meaning 'a land, landscape' (for example in Polish, Slovak, Czech or Sorbian). In Slovenian, the word means both 'landscape' and march.

The name of Ukraine has a similar linguistic origin.

Geographical regions[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia[edit]






Political regions[edit]

Subdivisions of Austria-Hungary:

Political units formed by rebel Serbs at the beginning of the Croatian War of Independence (1991–95):

Political unit formed by Serbs in the prelude (1991) to the Bosnian War (1992–95):

Where the term Serbian Krajina or Krajina alone is used, it most often refers to the former Republic of Serbian Krajina.

In Russia:

In Slovakia:

In the Czech Republic:

In Ukraine:

  • In Ukrainian, krajina (країна) means 'country, land', while Ukrajina is the country's name. See also: Name of Ukraine.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rick Derksen (2008), Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon, Brill: Leiden-Boston, page 244
  2. ^ a b c d e *krajina in Oleg Trubačóv (ed.) (1974–), Этимологический словарь славянских языков [Etymological dictionary of Slavic languages], Moscow: Nauka, volume 12, pages 87-88
  3. ^ Max Vasmer (1986), Etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkogo jazyka [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language], in 4 vols (second edition), Moscow: Progress — Translated from German and supplemented by O. N. Trubačóv
  4. ^ a b Group of authors (1969). "Кра̏јина". Речник српскохрватскога књижевног језика, vol. 3 (in Serbo-Croatian). Novi Sad/Zagreb: Matica srpska/Matica hrvatska. p. 30.
  5. ^ Group of authors (1972). "Krajina". In colonel-general Nikola Gažević (ed.). Vojna enciklopedija, vol. 4 (in Serbo-Croatian). Belgrade. p. 681.
  6. ^ (in Croatian) Excerpt from the book I. Marinović, B. Šutić, M. Viskić: Baćina: Prošlost Baćine, Udruga Pagania, Ploče, 2005, ISBN 953-95132-0-0
  • Karlo Jurišić, Lepantska pobjeda i makarska Krajina, Adriatica maritima, sv. I, (Lepantska bitka, Udio hrvatskih pomoraca u Lepantskoj bitki 1571. godine), Institut JAZU u Zadru, Zadar, 1974., str. 217., 222., (reference from Morsko prase)