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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Languages: Croatian History

Supplementary materials to support first year language program

Geography, People, and Economy






56,594 sq km


Croatian, Serbian


Muslim, Orthodox, Roman Catholic



Life Expectancy:


GDP per Capita:

$ 24,700

Literacy Percent:



Industry: chemicals and plastics, machine tools, fabricated metal, electronics, pig iron and rolled steel products, aluminum, paper, wood products, construction materials, textiles, shipbuilding, petroleum, food and beverages, tourism

Agriculture: Wheat, corn, barley, sugar beet, apples, plum, mandarins, olives, grapes for wine, livestock, dairy products

Exports: transport equipment, machinery, textiles, chemicals, foodstuffs, fuels


Information taken from CIA Factbook.


Croatia was part of the Roman Empire

7th Century - Slavs settled the region

11th & 12th centuries - The nation of Hungary controlled Croatia

1463 - Ottoman Turks conquered the region

1868 - Croatia gained domestic autonomy while remaining under Hungarian authority

1918 -1928 -Following World War I Croatia joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

1929 - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes becomes Yugoslavia

1940-1945 - Croatia was named the Independent State of Croatia

1945 - Establishment of the Communist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito

1991 - Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia and Croatian national flag adopted

1992-1995 - Inter-ethnic Croatian civil strife for three years between the Bosnians, Serbs and Croats

1995 - Peace agreement was signed in Paris on December 14.

1996 - Croatia restores diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia and joins the Council of Europe

2009 - Croatia joins NATO

2010 - In what is seen as significant act of reconciliation between Croatia and Serbia, Serbian President Boris Tadic visits Vukovar, where he apologises for 1991 massacre of 260 Croat civilians by Serb forces.

Timeline information taken from BBC News.



History of Croatia

The Europa World Plus entry for Croatia provides a strong introductory overview to the history of the country, starting in the fifth century.

Additionally, this Encyclopedia Article provides a thorough history of Croatia. The references informing this article are helpfully documented.

History of the Croatian Language

While UCLA’s previously wonderful resource, the Language Materials Project, is unfortunately currently unfunded, the UCLA Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures website provides a wonderful overview of the history of the Croatian language. Beyond history, this page covers linguistic affiliation, language variation orthography, the language’s role in society and provides a linguistic sketch.

Croatian Language


A language of Croatia

ISO 639-3hrv

Population  3,980,000 in Croatia (2001 census). Population total all countries: 5,546,590.
Region  Also in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States.
Alternate names   Hrvatski
Dialects  Kaykavski, Chakavski, Shtokavski (Ijekavski). Shtokavski official dialect, but others recognized as valid dialects, with much literature. Chakavski in western and northern Croatia, Dalmatian coast, and Adriatic Islands; Kaykavski in northeastern Croatia and Zagreb; dialects in other countries, like Burgenland Croatian in Austria, less intelligible.
Classification  Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western
A member of macrolanguage Serbo-Croatian [hbs] (Serbia).
Language use  Official language. Also use English or German.
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: 90%. Fully developed. Bible: 1804–1968.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  Formerly considered part of the Serbo-Croat language. SVO. Christian.

Also spoken in:


Language name   Croatian
Population  19,400 in Austria (2001 census).
Region  Burgenland and Vienna.
Dialects  Burgenland Croatian.
Language use  National language. About 40 primary schools teach bilingually through Croatian and German. Rapid assimilation with the German-speaking population.
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: Low.
Comments  Croatian spoken in Burgenland differs extensively from that spoken in the Republic of Croatia and intelligibility is difficult. Some dialects heavily influenced by German. Christian.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Language name   Croatian
Population  469,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2004).
Dialects  Croatian, Serbian.
Language use  Official language.



Language name   Croatian
Population  14,300 in Hungary (2001 census). Ethnic population: 19,175.
Region  South border area.
Dialects  Croatian, Serbian.
Comments  Christian.



Language name   Croatian
Population  3,500 in Italy (Vincent 1987).
Region  South Molise, Montemitro, San Felice del Molise, Acquaviva-Collecroce villages.
Dialects  Croatian.
Language use  Official in one municipality. There are efforts to revive the use of Croatian literature.
Comments  Descendants of 15th and 16th century refugees. Christian.



Language name   Croatian
Population  6,810 in Montenegro (2006).



Language name   Croatian
Population  114,000 in Serbia (2006).
Language use  Official language.



Language name   Croatian
Population  890 in Slovakia (2001 census).
Dialects  Croatian.
Comments  Christian.


United States

Language name   Croatian
Population  58,400 in United States (2000 census).
Dialects  Croatian.