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 the 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 February including:
- Prelet za Hrvatsku (Flight to Croatia)
- First Olympics under Croatian flag
- Seljačka buna: Bitka kod Stubice (Stubica battle)
- First music school opened in Zagreb
- Establishment of Zagreb Chamber of Commerce and Crafts
- First Croatian printed book
The facts are these…
One of the most heroic ventures from the Croatian War of Independence (Domovinski rat) was that of Danijel Borović, a first-class pilot. Borović risked his life to provide Croatia with its first fighter plane.
Danijel worked in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina for 10 years. After Croatia declared independence, he wanted to leave the JNA and return to Croatia. He wanted to make sure that he served Croatia and thus the operation Prelet za Hrvatsku (Flight to Croatia) was born. The plan was to take a MIG-21 fighter plane from the JNA and delivery it to the Croatian Army.
Preparations for this flight took months. Although the operation was well planned, they had to wait for the JNA to leave Croatian airports, so that he could land without detection. On the evening of February 4, 1992, the time came to execute the operation which was locally called “Dan D (D-Day)”.
When the JNA withdrew, they destroyed everything they could including Pula airport which was devastated. The runway in Pula was not prepared for a night landing, but brave Danijel was determined to succeed.
From the very beginning, everything went wrong. The weather conditions were extremely bad, and the flight was late, so it was already dark. He had to change the route at the last minute, which put him at further risk. In the end, Danijel successfully landed at Pula airport with only a few drops of fuel remaining. The airport was in a total darkness, marked only with several trucks.
After Croatia procured two more planes, the first Fighter Squadron and the Croatian Air Force were formed.
During the Croatian War of Independence (Domovinski rat), Danijel participated in all actions for the liberation of the occupied territory of the Republic of Croatia. Today, Danijel Borović is a retired colonel of the Croatian Army.
On February 8, 1992, Croatia competed at the 16th Olympic Games as an independent state under the Croatian flag for the first time. The Olympics were held in Albertville, France from February 8 to February 23, 1992. Sixty-five countries participated with 1.801 athletes, including 488 women. Four Croatian athletes participated in the games including ice skaters Željka Čižmešija and Tomislav Čižmešija, a skier Vedran Pavlek, and a runner Siniša Vukonić.
The first competition was held 17 days after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized the Hrvatski olimpijski odbor (Croatian Olympic Committee). The Croatian delegation was led by Sanda Dubravčić Šimunjak, a Croatian ice skater with 2 appearances at the Winter Olympics.
This Winter Olympics in Albertville was the last held in the same year as the Summer Olympics (in Barcelona). Croatia didn’t win any medals.
On February 9, 1573, a key battle of Seljačka buna (Croatian–Slovene Peasant Revolt) called Bitka kod Stubice (Stubica battle) was held near Stubičke Toplice in Hrvatsko zagorje. Seljačka buna is a notable Croatian peasant rebellion. They rebelled against the estate of Croatian lord Franjo Tahy in 1572 due to their deplorable living conditions. Tahy was a royal adviser who stood out in fights against the Ottoman Turks.
In the 16th century, the royal government relied on the nobility in fighting against the Turks, so nobles enjoyed various benefits and political rights. On the other hand, peasants had no rights at all. They had to bear all the tax burdens to the state, church, and nobles. At the same time, they were exposed to the devastation and robberies of the Turks.
The goal of their rebellion was to abolish the political power of the nobility and all feudal levies. They called the revolt Seljačka buna and picked Matija (Ambroz) Gubec as their leader. The Croatian parliament declared the peasants rebels and traitors.
The peasants rebelled against 50-60 manors and noble estates. Seljačka buna became an uprising against the landlords of Hrvatsko zagorje and part of Slovenia. The peasants demanded free trade and the opening of roads, return from natural to monetary rent, and their individual rights. They managed to expel Tahy’s family from Susedgrad, Donja Stubica, and Legrad.
The final fight happened on February 9, 1573, near Stubičke Toplice. Although peasants had no cavalry and they were far less armed, they offered strong resistance. However, they lost the 4-hour battle against the well-armed nobles. Seljačka buna was suffocated.
Matija Gubec was tortured, crowned with a glowing crown, and executed at the Trg Svetog Marka (St Mark’s square) in Zagreb. Approximately 12.000 to 16.000 rebels participated in Seljačka buna and 4.000 to 5.000 were killed.
My friends from Oroslavje play in a band called Pravica, which means Righteousness. Listen to their song called Anno Domini 1573 inspired by Seljačka buna (with English translation).
The first music school in Zagreb was opened on February 16, 1829, under the name Musikverein. It was named after the Društvo ljubitelja glazbe (Society of music lovers) founded in 1927 by amateur musicians who worked in the Društveni orkestar (Social Orchestra). Društveni orkestar is the oldest ensemble of the Hrvatski glazbeni zavod (Croatian Music Institute), also founded in 1827.
Musicians of the Društveni orkestar noticed the need for systematic music education. They wanted to raise the quality of the orchestra. After they presented the idea to the public, the music school was founded. The school changed its name several times through the years. In 1962, it was called Glazbena škola Vatroslava Lisinskog (Vatroslav Lisinski Music School). Vatroslav Lisinski was a Croatian composer and founder of modern Croatian opera, solo singing, and choral and orchestral music.
On February 16, 1852, Trgovačka i obrtnička komora (Chamber of Commerce and Crafts) was established in Zagreb. It was a part of the chamber system of the Austrian empire. In 1852, the same chambers were also established in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Osijek.
The Zagreb Chamber advocated for the construction of the railways Zidani most-Zagreb, Zagreb-Sisak-Karlovac, and Karlovac-Rijeka. They also supported the regulation of the river Sava, construction of the important Karolina road, organization of economic and craft exhibitions, and establishment of technical schools in Zagreb.
Today, the Chamber is called Hrvatska obrtnička komora – HOK (Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts). Together with HOK, 20 regional chambers and 112 associations of craftsmen work on the promotion and protection of interests of Croatian crafts called obrt.
Misal po zakonu Rimskoga dvora (Missale Romanum Glagolitice; Missal by the Law of the Roman Court) is the first Croatian-printed incunable/book. Incunable or prvotisak (first print) is the name for the first books printed after the invention of the printing machine, from 1455 to 1500.
Misal po zakonu Rimskoga dvora was printed on February 22, 1483. The printing location is unknown but it is assumed to be Venice or somewhere in Croatia.
Misal is printed only 28 years after the completion of Gutenberg’s Bible, the first printed book in the world. Misal is the first Slavic incunable that was printed in two colors – black and red. The book consisted of 219 sheets organized in 2 columns. Each sheet had 36 lines. Some copies of the book were printed on parchment.
Misal is as well the first missal in Europe that is not printed in Latin. It was written in glagoljica (Glagolitic script), the oldest known Slavic alphabet, created in the middle of the 9th century and used until the 19th century. Glagoljica is one of the national symbols of Croatia. Misal is preserved in 11 incomplete copies of which 6 copies are preserved in Croatia.
[Read: National symbols of Croatia]
In Croatia, copies are preserved at:
- Knjižnica Samostana franjevaca trećoredaca (Ksaver Monastery of Third Order Franciscans) in Zagreb (2)
- Knjižnica Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti (Library of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) as a part of collection (1)
- Knjižnica Dominikanskoga samostana (Library of the Dominican Monastery) in Bol, Brač (1)
- Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica (National and University Library) in Zagreb as a part of Manuscripts and Old Books Collection – shelfmarks RI-4°-62 a and RI-4°-62 b (2).
Outside of Croatia, copies are preserved at:
- Vatican Library in Rome (2)
- Library of Congress in Washington (1)
- National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg (1)
- Austrian National Library in Vienna (1)
The most preserved example with 218 leaves is the one kept in the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg.
View a digital version of Misal here.
Learn about other notable dates in Croatian history
- Notable dates in Croatian history (March)
- Notable dates in Croatian history (June)
- Notable dates in Croatian history (September)
- Notable dates in Croatian history (October)
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.