Croatia is a country at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Central Europe, and the Balkans. Its capital is Zagreb. Croatia borders with Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, Montenegro to the far southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the south. Croatia is a candidate for membership of the European Union and is expecting NATO membership invitation in April 2008. On October 17, 2007 Croatia became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-2009 term.The Croats settled in the Balkans in the early 7th century and formed two principalities: Dalmatia and Pannonia. The establishment of the Trpimirović dynasty ca 850 brought strengthening to the Dalmatian Croat Duchy, which together with the Pannonian principality became a Kingdom in 925 under King Tomislav.
In 1102, Croatia entered into a personal union with the Hungarian Kingdom. After the 1526 Battle of Mohács the "reliquiae reliquiarum" (remnants of the remnants) of Croatia became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1527.
It was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, from 1918-1929, and Kingdom of Yugoslavia, from 1929-1941.
In 1941-1945 an Axis known as the Independent State of Croatia was set up, and after the victory of the Allies, Croatia became a republic within Yugoslavia.
In 1991 Croatia declared independence and a bitter and costly war was fought by the Croatian government against the Serb-led Yugoslav People's Army, Serbian paramilitary forces and rebel Serbs. Later the war mutated into a conflict between independent Croatia and the rebel Serbs, with the support of Serbia proper. The war came to an end with signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995.
Croatia is located in Southern Europe. Its shape resembles that of a crescent or a horseshoe, which flanks its neighbours Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. To the north lie Slovenia and Hungary; Italy lies across the Adriatic Sea. Its mainland territory is split in two non-contiguous parts by the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.
The country is famous for its many national parks. Croatia has a mixture of climates. In the north and east it is continental, Mediterranean along the coast and a semi-highland and highland climate in the south-central region. Offshore Croatia consists of over one thousand islands varying in size.
Quick Facts and Figures
Official Name Republic of Croatia
Population 4,397,000 (115 out of 192)
Capital City Zagreb (779,145)
Latitude/Longitude 45° 10'N, 15° 30'E
Official Currency Kuna
Religions Catholic, Orthodox, others
Land Area 56,538 sq km (123 out of 192)
Landforms The land is fertile and mostly flat in the north and northeast, and the far northwest.
The Dinaric Alps and a few smaller mountain ranges (Velebit and Velika Kapela) slice through Croatia. The highest point is 1,831m.
The land is hilly, rocky and steep along the Dalmatian coastline, and on most of its offshore islands
Major rivers include the Sava, Drava and Danube.
Climate Very pleasant Mediterranean conditions along the coastal areas, with mild winters and dry summers. Colder winters and somewhat hotter summers inland.