CroatiaCroatia is a country in southeastern Europe.

Croatia, or Republic of Croatia, a country in eastern Europe. Croatia lies in the northwest part of the Balkan Peninsula and includes all of the historic regions of Dalmatia and Slavonia, and most of the historic region of Istria. The total area is 21,830 square miles (56,538 km2). Croatia has a rocky coastline that gives way to hills and plains in the interior.

Manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, and timber production are mainstays of the economy. Croatia's leading manufacturing center is Zagreb. An important producer of cement and steel, other major products of Croatia include chemicals, petroleum, ships, and textiles. Bauxite and coal are its most valuable mineral resources.

Croatia has trade relations mainly with Austria, Germany, and Italy. Tourism also makes an important contribution to Croatia’s economy. Tourists come chiefly from the United Kingdom and also from Austria, Germany, and Italy. The most famous tourist sites are the resorts along the Adriatic coast and on the islands of Brac, Hvar, and Krk. Another tourist attraction is the historic walled city of Dubrovnik.

The chief crops grown in Croatia are corn, potatoes, soybeans, sugar beets, tobacco, and wheat. Fruits such as apples, cherries, grapes, olives, pears, and plums are among the other crops grown. Cattle, pigs, poultry, and sheep are also raised by farmers.

Croatia has a good system of roads and railways. It also has airports in Pula, Rijeka, Split, and Zagreb. The country's major seaports are Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Sibenik, and Split.

The leading daily newspapers in Croatia are Vecernji list and Vjesnik of Zagreb and Slobodna Dalmacija of Split.

The basic currency unit is the kuna. Croatia's language is Serbo-Croatian. Most Croats are Roman Catholic. Zagreb is the capital and largest city. Croatia's population is 4,760,344. Croatia has a parliamentary form of government with an elected president.

During the seventh century, the Croats, a Slavic people, migrated from the Dnieper River region and settled in the area of their present homeland. For about 300 years part of the region was controlled by the Franks and part by the Byzantines. In 924 the Croats established an independent kingdom. A dynastic dispute in 1089 led the Croats to accept Hungarian kings as overlords. Eventually the Hapsburgs of Austria gained control of Croatia. In 1918 Croatia joined with other South Slavs in proclaiming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia.

Multiparty elections held in 1990 replaced Croatia's Communist government with one dominated by Croatian nationalists. During this time, while it was still a Yugoslav republic, Croatia adopted its first democratic constitution. The new government sought greater independence from the federal Yugoslav government, which was still controlled by Communists, but was unable to attain it through negotiations. In 1991 Croatia declared independence. Armed conflict soon arose between Croats and Serbs living in Croatia.

Several amendments have been made to the Constitution since it was adopted. It guarantees freedom of speech, assembly, press, and religion and also gives the right to form political parties and the right of minority groups to cultural independence.

A president is elected to a five-year term by the people. The laws of the country are framed by a 152-member parliament, who is elected by the people to four-year terms. The parliament is headed by a prime minister.

The Social Liberal Party, the Social Democratic Party (formerly the Communist Party), and the Croatian Democratic Union are the leading political parties in Croatia. The Croatian Democratic Party and the Party of Rights are the other parties.

The highest court in Croatia is the Supreme Court. The members of this court are appointed to life terms by a special committee chosen by the parliament. Croatia also has a constitutional court, whose 11 judges are named by the parliament to eight-year terms.

Facts in brief about Croatia
Capital: Zagreb.
Official language: Croatian.
Official name: Republika Hrvatska (Republic of Croatia).
Area: 21,829 mi2 (56,538 km2). Greatest distances—north-south, 290 mi (465 km); east-west, 290 mi (465 km).
Elevation: Highest—Mount Dinara, 6,007 ft (1,831 m) above sea level. Lowest—sea level along the coast.
Population: Current estimate—4,392,000; density, 201 per mi2 (78 per km2); distribution, 57 percent urban, 43 percent rural. 2001 census—4,437,460.
Chief products: Agriculture—apples, cattle, cherries, corn, grapes, olives, pears, pigs, plums, potatoes, poultry, sheep, soybeans, sugar beets, tobacco, wheat. Manufacturing—chemicals, petroleum, ships, textiles. Mining—bauxite, coal.
National anthem: "Lijepa nasa domovino" ("Our Beautiful Homeland").
Flag: Croatia's flag has horizontal stripes of red, white, and blue (top to bottom). The coat of arms, which has a red-and-white checked pattern, is in the center.
Money: Basic unit—kuna. One hundred lipa equal one kuna.

When the Yugoslav army began to support Serbian rebels in Croatia, a bloody civil war ensued. By 1992 the Serbian rebels had gained control over about a third of Croatia. In 1992 representatives from the United Nations negotiated a cease-fire and UN peacekeeping troops were sent to Croatia. In two offensives during the spring and summer of 1995 Croatian forces recaptured most of the territory held by the Serbian rebels. In December, 1995, the Serbian rebels agreed to return the remaining areas under their control to Croatia.