Notable dates in Croatian history (October)

Zagreb flood of 1964 - Poplava
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Most of us learn our country’s history when we’re kids in school. For those of us that didn’t grow up in Croatia and moved here later in life, it can be pretty hard to learn this country’s history.

To help educate foreigners on Croatia’s past, we’ve created a new series to draw attention to notable dates in Croatian history, month by month.

In this post, we’ll cover the following important dates from Croatian history, that all occurred during the month of October including:

The facts are these…

October 8, 1991 – Dan hrvatskog sabora (Croatian Parliament Day)

Starting in 2020, October 8 will be known as “Dan hrvatskog sabora” (or “Croatian Parliament Day”). On this day in 1991, Croatian Parliament (called “Sabor”) passed the decision to sever ties between the Republic of Croatia and the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The official decision was called “Odluka o raskidu svih državnopravnih veza Republike Hrvatske s bivšom državom SFRJ”. This decision was a statement from the Sabor that the Republic of Croatia no longer accepts the former SFRY as legal authorities. Furthermore, they decided not to accept legal acts issued by authorities of the former SFRY as valid legal acts.

[Read: Branches of Croatian government]

October 22, 1878 – Foundation of the Crveni križ (Red Cross)

October 22, 1878 is considered to be the day of the foundation of the Hrvatski crveni križ (Croatian Red Cross). On this day, the first voluntary association based on the international principles of the Red Cross movement was founded in Zadar.

Its name at the time was “Domoljubna zadruga za pomoć stradalnicima” (A patriotic cooperative for helping victims). The purpose of this association was to provide help to the victims of war. The organization didn’t operate under the name Hrvatski Crveni križ (Croatian Red Cross) until 1991.

The Croatian Red Cross had an enormous role in the Croatian War of Independence. They provided people with humanitarian aid, food, and psychological help. They also collected more than a million blood donations to help health institutions.

The Red Cross was awarded the Povelja Republike Hrvatske (Charter of the Republic of Croatia) in recognition of their 120 years of operation on October 15, 1998. The Povelja Republike Hrvatske is a state recognition for significant contribution to the development of the Republic of Croatia.

October 23, 1847 – Croatian language became official

The Croatian Parliament declared the Croatian language as the official language for public use on October 23, 1847. This happened in response to a speech made by Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski who was a Croatian politician, historian, and writer.

On May 2, 1843, Sakcinski gave the first speech in the Croatian language at a session of the Sabor after several centuries. He suggested that the Croatian language should become the official diplomatic language instead of the Latin language.

Croatian Parliament has used the Croatian language as the official language of the parliament’s sessions since 1848.

[Read: Weekly Croatian language lessons]

October 25, 1964 – Zagreb is flooded

On the night of October 25, 1964, Zagreb was hit by its biggest natural disaster so far. The embankment of the river of Sava cracked open and flooded one-third of the city of Zagreb. The flood spread over the city center covering more than 6.000 hectares of land. The homes of more than 180.000 people were in the flooded territory.

The consequences of the flood were enormous. Here are just a few of them:

  • 17 people died
  • 10.000 apartments were completely devastated
  • 40.000 people were left homeless
  • ~3.300 commercial buildings and 61 transformer stations were completely devastated
  • 65% of the building material located in warehouses was lost and 120 companies were damaged.

The total damage was estimated to be more than 10.000 billion Yugoslav dinara (approximately 5 billion euros).

Since 10.000 people were left without homes, Zagreb built apartments and even created some new neighborhoods to house the displaced residents.

  • Dubrava – 7.000 apartments (Retkovec part was formed after the flood)
  • Volovčica – 500 apartments
  • Botinec – 1.500 apartments (This neighborhood was formed after the flood)
  • Gajnice – 1.000 apartments

A new embankment system and sewer “Sava-Odra-Sava” were built in 1971 to prevent future floods. This sewer is activated when the water level in the Sava near Jankomir crosses a certain threshold. The sewer then redirects the water east of Velika Gorica.

You can see a video of the Zagreb flood here. Be careful, it is intense.

October 26, 1944 – Liberation of Split from occupiers

The city of Split was liberated from the fascist regime on October 26, 1944. Partisans defeated the occupiers (ustaše and Germans) and Split became one of the first Yugoslav liberated cities right after Beograd, Niš, and Novi Sad. Half of the citizens of Split were involved in the Narodno oslobodilački pokret – NOP (National Liberation Movement).

Battles were held outside of the city, on the approaches to Split from the direction of Sinj and Omiš. The Germans and ustaše withdrew on the night between October 25 and 26 after their final defeat and loss of their crucial positions east of the city of Split.

[Read: 5 things I love about Split]

October 28, 1906 – First public football game

The first public football game in Croatia was held on October 28, 1906 in Zagreb. The game was held on “Zapadni perivoj”, today’s Trg Marka Marulića (Marko Marulić square).

The rivals were football clubs from Zagreb called “Hrvatski akademski športski klub” – HAŠK (Croatian Academic Sports Club) and “Prvi nogometni i športski klub” – PNIŠK (First Football and Sports Club).

Visitors weren’t introduced to the rules of the game beforehand, so they just watched players running around on the playground. Since they didn’t know what was supposed to happen, visitors gave applause to the player who kicked the ball high into the air. And then, when a player scored a goal, they didn’t react at all.

The game was played according to the English rules. The final result was “nerješeno” (unresolved) with the score 1:1.

Learn about other notable dates


Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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