In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Croatia

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Historiographies
  • Data Sources
  • Journals
  • Society, Social Revolts, and Social Banditry
  • Everyday Life
  • Demography, Migrations, Family Structures
  • Environmental History, Human Geography
  • Croatia in Wider Regional Context

Renaissance and Reformation Croatia
Nataša Štefanec
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 October 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 October 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0068


Croatian early modern territory (c. 1520–c. 1800) was a collage of lands under numerous jurisdictions. The Croatian-Slavonian Kingdom was part of the lands of the Hungarian Crown (from 1102). After 1527 they were ruled by the Habsburgs, who prevailed in an ensuing civil war with Jànos Szapolyai who was backed by the Slavonian nobility. The kingdom was governed by a royal governor, the Ban (prorex), and the Croatian-Slavonian Diet (separate diets until 1558). In the 18th century, it was officially titled the Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia (in short, Ban’s Croatia). The Republic of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) was an autonomous entity (until 1808) paying a yearly tribute to the Ottomans from 1481. Coastal Dalmatian territory was under Venetian rule from the 1420s, while parts of the Dalmatian hinterland came under the rule of the Ottomans by the end of the 1530s, areas that were contested in the following centuries. Istria was divided into the County of Pazin (Graffschaft Mitterburg), a hereditary Habsburg possession, and territory under the rule of Venice. Međimurje (Muraköz) formed part of the Hungarian county of Zala. Today’s eastern Croatia, also called Slavonija, included the Hungarian counties of Požega, Vuka, and Srijem, which were taken by the Ottomans by the 1550s and acquired by the Habsburgs only in 1699. The direct submission to Habsburg civil and military authorities ensued, which provoked incessant dissatisfaction in the Croatian Ban and the Croatian Diet. Finally, the Military Border, or Military Frontier (Vojna krajina, Militärgrenze), was ruled by the Aulic War Councils (Hofkriegsrat) from Vienna and Graz. Three border districts were formed in the 16th century, the Croatian Border (later Karlovac District/Karlstädter Generalat), the Slavonian Border (later Varaždin District/Warasdiner Generalat), and the Ban’s Border. In the 18th century a new district was formed in reconquered Slavonija titled the new Slavonian Border. Only the Ban’s Border was ruled by the Croatian Ban and the Croatian Diet. The Habsburgs methodically enhanced the military potential of the Military Border (abolished in 1881) through numerous regulations, and they also used frontiersmen in European wars. The intricate mixture of local administration and imperial superstructures governing a small territory was further complicated by a variety of socioeconomic systems, including a feudal society of the eastern European type together with a specific socioeconomic system of the Military Border in continental areas, a governing system incorporating communal and republican traditions along the coast, a centurial Ottoman rule, a special case of half-nomadic communities along the Velebit-Dinara mountain range where imperial rule was often absent, among others. Archival sources scattered in Budapest, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Zadar, Zagreb, and elsewhere are written in a number of languages and scripts. Thus, specialization along imperial or regional lines is characteristic of both Croatian and foreign historians (Hungarian, Italian, Slovene, Austrian, Serbian, English, German, etc.). Consequently, while various regional syntheses exist, Croatian historiography still awaits a systematic interpretation of the early modern processes that eventually led to the unification of separate lands into one country (today’s Republic of Croatia). Key works and resources that provide access to wider scholarship are found in this article.


In-depth retrospective historical bibliographies, such as those published by the Institute of Lexicography (Catalogue of the Retrospective Bibliography of Articles) in the 20th century or those historical bibliographies of several hundreds of works compiled on regional, chronological, and disciplinary bases and issued sporadically, are complemented, more recently, with several online resources. The online resources provide reliable overviews of recent historiography (and scholarship in general) and easy access to bibliographies and publications (often full-text sources). Databases are also being rapidly expanded to include earlier periods. Especially valuable are the database CROSBI, administered by the Institute Ruđer Bošković, and the portal of Croatian scientific journals HRČAK. See also Data Sources. Šarić 2003 is a compilation of one of the most recent bibliographies in early modern studies that focuses on the central Croatian region, while Bracewell and Drace-Francis 2008, a highly useful three-volume source, represents the results of a demanding task of compiling data and interpreting travel writings related to both eastern and western Europe. Tadić 1955 and Šidak 1978–1979 provide insight into comprehensive bibliographies of studies on Croatian early modern history written between 1945 and 1975. Wessely and Zivkovic 1973 offers one of the most comprehensive regionally unrestricted bibliographies on the Military Border. Šišić 1935 is one of the first exhaustive studies on early modern historians/chroniclers in the area encompassed by today’s Croatia.

  • Bracewell, Wendy, and Alex Drace-Francis, eds. Orientations: An Anthology of East European Travel Writing on Europe. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2008.

    Based on a noteworthy and inventively imagined project, this work provides a comprehensive treatment of the topic. Volume 1 of three volumes in the series East Looks West. See also Volume 2, Under Eastern Eyes: A Comparative Introduction to East European Travel Writing on Europe, 1550–2000, and Volume 3, A Bibliography of East European Travel Writing on Europe.

  • Catalogue of the Retrospective Bibliography of Articles. Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography.

    The institute has a unique catalogue of approximately 10 million leaflets on scientific articles published in the area of the former Yugoslavia from the end of the 18th century to 1945. A selected bibliography (Bibliografija rasprava i članaka), consisting of 15 percent of the catalogue material, was published in seventeen encyclopedic volumes (1956–2004). Volumes 8–11 (1965–1973) deal with history, auxiliary historical sciences, and archaeology. Leaflets of the catalogue are scanned and available for search online.

  • CROSBI: Croatian Scientific Bibliography. Institute “Ruđer Bošković,” Zagreb.

    This project started in 1997. It is administered by the Library of the Institute “Ruđer Bošković.” It provides a comprehensive bibliography of all types of scientific publications produced by Croatian scientists to date. Search options are plentiful in Croatian and English (keyword, title, author). Croatian historians enter the data (keywords, summaries, sometimes full-text papers) and regularly update their bibliographies. CROSBI is highly valuable and easy to use.

  • HRČAK: Portal of Scientific Journals of Croatia.

    The portal offers open access to the majority of Croatian scientific journals and it is rapidly expanding its database. Initiated in 2007 following the Open Access Initiative it is developed and maintained by the Hrčak Project Team of SRCE (University Computing Centre). Articles are digitalized about six month after the appearance of the printed edition and can be downloaded as PDF files. Search options in English are abundant.

  • Šarić, Marko. Zapadna Hrvatska: Prilozi za bibliografiju. Zagreb: Prosvjeta, 2003.

    The book and the accompanying CD-Rom contain more than 6,000 bibliographical units on the region of western Croatia (in the early modern period it consisted of the territory of the Croatian Kingdom and parts of Dalmatia) from various time periods and disciplines (history, ethnology, anthropology, history of art, archaeology, etc.). Various search options are available.

  • Šidak, Jaroslav, ed. “Historiografija od 1965–1975: Za hrvatsku povijest do g. 1918.” Historijski zbornik 31–32.1–4 (1978–1979): 1–122.

    Complete bibliography of historical studies on Croatian history until 1918 published by Croatian and foreign researchers from 1965 to 1975 as an improved version of bibliography, Historiographie Yougoslave, 1965–1975. (Belgrade: 1975). Sections covering the 16th to the 18th centuries were written by Tomislav Raukar, Josip Adamček, and Jaroslav Šidak. Jaroslav Šidak has also published an article on Croatian historiography in Encyclopaedia Yugoslavia 4 (Zagreb: JLZ, 1960).

  • Šišić, Ferdo. “Hrvatska historiografija od XVI do XX stoljeća: XVI i XVII stoljeće.” Jugoslovenski istoriiski časopis 1 (1935): 22–52.

    Along with his second article (“Hrvatska historiografija od XVI do XX stoljeća: XVIII i prva polovica XIX stoljeća,”Jugoslovenski istorijski časopis 2 (1936): 16–48), this is one of the first detailed studies on early modern historians and chroniclers from the area of Croatia writing between the 16th century and the 1850s. Though more bio-bibliographic than critical in their approach, Šiši’s articles served as a strong starting point for later generations of scholars.

  • Tadić, Jorjo, ed. Ten Years of Yugoslav Historiography, 1945–1955. Belgrade: National Committee for Historical Studies, 1955.

    Comprehensive bibliography of studies published between 1945 and 1955 on the history of Yugoslav lands. The bibliography includes an extensive list of studies on Croatian early modern history. Jaroslav Šidak later published material on Croatia in a similar survey, “Hrvatska historiografija 1955–65, I. dio,” Historijski zbornik 18.1–4 (1965): 1–46.

  • Wessely, Kurt, and Georg Zivkovic. “Bibliographie zur Geschichte der k. k. Militärgrenze.” In Die K. k. Militärgrenze: Beiträge zu ihrer Geschichte. Edited by Franz Kaindl and Johann Christoph Allmayer-Beck, 291–324. Vienna: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, 1973.

    A growing interest by Austrian historians in the Military Border in the 1970s resulted with this book. It includes surveys of relevant archival collections along with this meticulous survey of studies on the Military Border made by Zivkovic and Wessely. The supplement followed a year later. See Kurt Wessely, “Supplementär-bibliographie zur österreichischen Militärgrenze,” Österreichische Osthefte 16 (1974): 280–328.

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