Croatia – a Successor State to Yugoslavia

By | October 26, 2020

Croatia is one of the successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which declared its independence in 1991. As a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia, armed conflicts developed between the successor states, especially between Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mass exodus from the war zones led to population shifts and increased ethnic conflicts in Croatia. In the former Yugoslavia, Croatia was one of the most economically developed republics. However, the country’s economy suffered great damage as a result of the Serbian-Croatian war. Croatia’s economy has only slowly started to recover since the fighting ended. This also applies to tourism.

Abbreviated as HR by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Croatia is located in south-eastern Europe and borders Slovenia and Hungary in the north, Serbia in the east and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south-east. In the west, Croatia borders the Adriatic Sea. In front of the Adriatic coast are a multitude of narrow, elongated islands, the Dalmatian islands. In the extreme south, Croatia shares a border with Montenegro. The provincial capital is Zagreb.


Important data about the country

Surface: 56,538 km²
Residents: 4.4 million
Population density: 78 residents / km²
Growth of population: -0.2% / year
State capital: Zagreb
Life expectancy: 74 years
Form of government: Republic since 1991
Languages: Croatian, Serbian, languages ​​of the small minorities
Religions: Catholics 76.6%, Orthodox 11.1%, Protestants 1.2%, Muslims 1.4%
Climate: temperate continental climate in the interior, Mediterranean climate in the coastal area
Land use: Arable land 40%, forest, pasture land
Economic sectors:
(share of employees)
Agriculture 7.8%, industry 30.7%, services 61.5%
Export goods: Machines and vehicles, chemicals, food and textiles
Gross domestic product: $ 28,797 million (2003)
Gross National Product: US $ 5,370 / residents (2003)

Surface shape

Croatia is essentially divided into three major landscapes: The Pannonian Basin roughly encompasses the historical landscape of Slavonia around the river basins of the Drava and Sava. It occupies about 50% of the country’s area and consists of fertile plains that are interrupted by island-like hilly lands. The Dinaric Mountains adjoin the Pannonian Basin in the west. It runs parallel to the coast from northwest to southeast and covers about 30% of the area of ​​the country. The mountain range consists mainly of limestone that was formed in the Mesozoic Era. Because of the good water solubility of the lime, the Dinaric Mountains are strongly karstified.

Surrounded by mountain ranges, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is also located here, with 16 larger, step-like karst lakes connected by waterfalls and rapids.

This unique landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Adriatic region of the country takes up around a fifth of the country. It stretches from the Istrian peninsula in the north for around 1800 km to the Montenegro border in the south. Narrow plains and steeply sloping foothills of the Dinaric Mountains characterize the coastal area.

The southern part of the Croatian Adriatic coast is called Dalmatia. The coast around Dubrovnik in southern Dalmatia is a particularly popular holiday destination.

The coast has about 1200, mostly narrow and elongated islands in echelons. The island of Krk is with 410 km² (Usedom 445 km²) the largest of the Dalmatian islands.


The Save, a right tributary of the Danube, has its source in Slovenia in the Julian Alps. It has a length of 940 km. In Croatia it flows through the Ljubljana basin, the Croatian lowlands, and flows into the Danube near Belgrade. It is the longest river in Croatia with a length of 560 km. The Drava is the border river between Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. It is also a right tributary of the Danube. It rises in South Tyrol. The Drautal is an important traffic route.

Croatia Country


The interior of Croatia has a temperate continental climate. Only the Adriatic coastal area has a Mediterranean climate. The highest amounts of precipitation are 3,000 mm annually. They fall on the western flanks of the coastal mountains. In the interior, however, it is much drier.

All parts of Croatia have hot summers with average temperatures between 22 °C and 25 °C. With the exception of the mild Mediterranean coastal areas, the winters in the interior are quite cold (Fig. 4). A special phenomenon is the so-called bora (from Greek Boreas – god of the north winds).

In the period from November to April it often occurs in the Adriatic region as a strong cold fall wind.

The bora “falls” stormily from the cold highlands into the warmer coastal areas. It arises in the Croatian interior east of the mountain ranges. Cold air collects there in winter. The comes under the influence of high pressure and moves west over the Dinaric Mountains. The bora brings either storms or bright but cool weather to the coastal region.


The higher mountain regions of Croatia are forested with mixed deciduous forests. In Slovenia with its fertile plains and in the area between the Drava, Danube and Sava, oak forests are widespread. The natural vegetation of the coastal area are Mediterranean plants. Pine, cedar, agave, cypress and olive trees are widespread here. Today, mainly maquis grows on the deforested karst areas of the coastal mountains.

Economic decline after the end of the war

In the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia was one of the richest and most economically developed republics.

The civil war between Serbs and Croats that broke out in 1991, however, damaged the country very much. Industrial production fell by almost 50%, and war damage of around US $ 23 billion resulted. Croatia’s economy has been slow to recover from the aftermath of the war since the 1992 armistice.

Agriculture and industry

The agriculture is the main industry and can use about 40% of the total. Corn, wheat, potatoes, vegetables, wine, citrus fruits, tobacco and olives are grown on the coast.

The industry of the country is concentrated around Zagreb and the port cities on the Adriatic. The leading branches of industry are the food and beverage, textile and chemical industries. Ships are built on the Adriatic. The country’s limited mineral resources are limited to bauxite, lignite, crude oil and natural gas. The main trading partners of Croatia are Slovenia, Germany and Italy. Machines, metal goods, shoes, textiles as well as chemical and pharmaceutical products are exported.

The service sector, especially tourism, has developed into one of the most important branches of the economy. Tourism declined sharply as a result of the war in the 1990’s and finally came to a complete standstill. Since the end of the fighting in 1995, however, he has been slowly recovering.


Since the 7th century: Immigration of South Slavic Croats from Ukraine to today’s Croatia

1867: Croatia falls to Hungary.

from 1929: Croatia becomes part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

since 1946: Part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

June 26th, 1991: At the same time as Slovenia, Croatia’s declaration of independence from the SFR Yugoslavia

1991/92: The civil war between Croatians and Serbs ends with an armistice.

August 7th, 1996: Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia formed from Serbia and Montenegro agree on mutual recognition as sovereign states.

2009: Croatia’s accession to NATO

2011: EU Commission advocates Croatia’s accession to the European Union.