Croatia is a central European country on the Adriatic Sea. It was formerly a part of Yugoslavia, but regained its independence in 1991. It borders Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro; the capital city is Zagreb. The country’s population numbers less than 5 million.
Evidence of human settlement in the area goes back to the Stone Age, and there were ancient Greek colonies here. Modern Croatia was settled in the 7th century A.D. by Croats, a Slavic people. A kingdom was formed in 925 under the rule of Tomislav I. Independent for nearly two centuries, Croatia formed an alliance with Hungary early in the 12th century and put a Habsburg on its throne in 1526 during the Ottoman Wars. In 1918, Croatia declared independence from Austria-Hungary and joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, remaining a part of Yugoslavia in spite of Nazi occupation until it broke apart in the early 1990s. Now Croatia is a member of the United Nations and World Trade Organization, and is a candidate for membership in the European Union.
The most famous person from Croatia was probably the inventor Nikola Tesla, known variously as “the father of physics,” “the patron saint of modern electricity” and “the man who invented the 20th century.” The country claims to have shipped some of the world’s first fountain pens and neckties. Visitors to Croatia often tour the walled cities along the country’s Adriatic coast, usually Dubrovnik and Split, which are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.