Dubrovnik, Thu 28 July 2011

Sun 31 Jul 2011 16:35
42:37.9 N   18:10 E
Dubrovnik, Croatia
I did not even know that Dubrovnik was in Croatia so I have been learning a lot.  Croatia is a boomerang shaped country stretching along the Adriatic coast and up over the top of Bosnia-Hercegovina (BiH) with Montenegro to the south-east.  We have been trying to understand their history, so here is a potted version of the Lonely Planet potted version!  If anyone happens to read this and can email us a clearer insight, please do!!
1797 – Napoleon rules
1815 – Waterloo, Napoleon beaten, Austro-Hungary takes over
Late 1800s – push for independence, but already beginning to divide into Serb and anti Serb factions
1906 – factions join up into Croat-Serb coalition (this also happens in BiH)
1918 – end of WW1 – Austro Hungary empire collapsed and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes formed – but still infighting resulting in coup, and dictatorship by King Aleksandr in 1929
1929 – following coup – King Aleksandr assassinated, and Bosnian Croat Pavelic sets up the Ustase, a Croation liberation movement. He is imprisoned and the Ustase banned
1941 – Nazis invade Yugoslavia and reinstate Pavelic and the Ustase, and then proceed to persecute and murder Serbs, Jews, Roma and antifascist Croats.  Extermination camps spring up, notoriously Jasenovac near Zagreb, where 100,000 Serbs were murdered.  Serbian rerprisals also kill many Croats
1944 – Yugoslav Communist Party gains popularity, consisting of left wing Yugoslav intellectuals, antifascists, and both Serbs and Croats appalled at the massacres
20 October 1944 – Tito enters Belgrade (Serbia) with the Red Army and is made PM
1945 – Germany surrenders, Pavelic’s forces are tricked by the British into surrendering in return for safe haven, but are handed over to partisans and murdered
Postwar – Tito determined to allow no ethnic group to dominate, banning opposition and holding together Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, BiH and Slovenia
1960s – money from the richer Slovenia and Croatia diverted to the poorer regions of BiH, Kosovo and Montenegro, and Serbs are over represented in the Croation govt; Croation unrest builds up
1980 – Tito dies and Yugo left with massive debts, govt and economy fail, and mistrust among ethnic groups is reawakened.  President Tudman now in charge
1989 – Albanian majority in Serbias Kosovo province are repressed, and fears of the Serbs ambitions become widespread
1990 – Croatia splits away, with its own constitution, and changes Serb status to “national minority” with no minority rights granted.  Thousands of Serbs are sacked from govt jobs
1991 – Croatia declares independence – at the same time the Serbian enclave of Krajina declares its independence from Croatia, and heavy fighting occurs.  The Serb dominated Yugo army gets involved and blockades the Adriatic coast of Croatia.  The town of Vukovar is besieged, and a quarter of Croatia falls into the hands of Serbian militias.  During 6 months of fighting in Croatia, 10,000 die
1992 – UN brokered ceasefire, EC recognises Croatia, and Croatia admitted to UN
1993 – further Croation offensive against Serbs in Krajina, Serbs continue to ethnically cleanse Croats from Krajina, leaving 900 of an original pop of 44,000 Croats in Krajina
1995 – Croatian army occupies Krajina and the remaining Serbs flee, months of terror against Serbs follows
1995 – Dayton Accord recognises Croatias borders, and the return of Serb refugees is agreed but it is made very difficult for them
1999 – Pres Tudman dies, and a centre-left govt replaces him.  Croatia gradually opens up to the world again, EU membership is discussed, on condition that 2 generals are handed over to the Hague to face trial for crimes against Krajina’s Serbs