Croatia has a long and colourful history. Originally home to the Illyrians, the country was occupied by the Romans in 229BC for a period of over 700 years, and later adopted by Polish Slavic tribes. It wasn’t until 925 that Croatian tribes united the two provinces of Dalmatian Croatia and Pannonian Croatia, to form a land that remained united until the Tatar invasion of 1242.
Between the 15th and 16th Century, the two provinces once again parted company with northern Croatia passing over to Austrian rule, and the coastal area being occupied first by the Italians and later by the French.
During WW1, the country was liberated and became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats & Slovenes; a name that was later changed to Yugoslavia. Unfortunately conflicts soon arose. After the Serbian city of Belgrade was made capital of the union, Croatian and Macedonian nationalists displayed their anger by executing King Alexander.
More unrest was to come during WW2, when Germany invaded the country and established a new government, known as the Ustashe. Under this regime, all Serbs were ordered to leave Yugoslavia; any that did not abide by this law were murdered along with all ethnic Jews and any Croats who were brave enough to challenge the new law.
After the war, Croatia became a republic state of Yugoslavia and enjoyed a period of significant economic growth under the communist rule of Marshal Tito. Following Tito’s death, and after several years of political instability, a democratic government was elected.
In response to the poor treatment of Albanians in Serbia, the Croatian government introduced a new constitution, which reduced the rights of Serbs residing in Croatia. In 1991, Croatia announced its withdrawal from the Federation, forcing the Serbian region of Krajina to declare its independence from the rest of Croatia. More conflict ensued, with Serb militias occupying Croatia in support of their people, and eventually seizing the city of Vukovar.
Thousands died and many more lost their homes, however it would be another four years before the country would see any signs of stability.
Over the last ten years, the country has experienced good economic growth and has become a member of the World Trade Organisation. It is currently being considered for membership into the European Union.