Notable dates in Croatian history (March)

Trpimirova darovnica - Croatia
Image by KKDS

Most of us learn our country’s history when we were 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 this 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 occurred during the month of March including:

Let’s get started…

March 4, 852 – Trpimirova darovnica (Charter of Duke Trpimir)

Povelja kneza Trpimira or Trpimirova darovnica (Charter of Duke Trpimir) is the oldest preserved monument of Croatian law. It was written in Latin and its estimated date of publish was March 4, 852.

Trpimirova darovnica is important for several reasons.

  1. In this document, a Croatian name was mentioned for the first time. The referenced name was that of knez Trpimir (Duke Trpimir). It was mentioned that he was the duke of Croats (lat. dux Chroatorum). Trpimir also calls the territory ruled by him the kingdom of Croats (lat. regnum Chroatorum).
  2. Trpimirova darovnica is the oldest document from the court of Croatian rulers. It was declared a “birth” or “baptismal” certificate for the Croatian state.
  3. In Trpimirova darovnica, Trpimir confirms the property of the Archdiocese of Split on the territory of Croatia to the Archbishop of Split. He also gives them 1/10 of his territory in Klis in thanks for the silver that the Archbishop gave him for the construction of the monastery in Rižinice.
  4. Trpimirova darovnica is an important testament because it contains important information about the Croatian state as early as the 9th century. It proves the existence of Croats even before Duke Trpimir. Trpimir acknowledges the grant of his father, Duke Mislav, to the archdiocese. There are no Christian names in the document, which means that Christianity was not yet widespread in the territory at the time.
  5. The document also shows that a feudal state was only just beginning to form. Trpimir disposes with the state territory and owns his own feudal domains. He has his own court modeled by the Frankish court. It can also be concluded that Trpimir was an independent leader who nominally recognized the authority of Lotar I, the ruler of the Roman Empire and king of Italy.

March 11, 1712 – Hrvatska pragmatička sankcija (Croatian Pragmatic Sanction)

On March 11, 1712, Croatian Parliament voted for article VII. called “Hrvatska pragmatička sankcija” (Croatian Pragmatic Sanction). It was the decision of the Parliament to accept that a Habsburg princess could become hereditary Queen of Croatia. This created a defined regulation for inheritance of the Croatian throne.

According to the existing law from 1687, only males from the Habsburg family had the right to inherit the throne. Hungarian-Croatian king Charles VI. didn’t have a son and wasn’t married, so he wanted to ensure this right to females as well. He was supported by the Croatian-Slavonian classes who raised this issue in the Parliament.

By accepting this proposal, Croatian Parliament retained the support of the Habsburg dynasty in resistance to the Hungarian nobility. Hungarians wanted to reduce Croatian municipal rights and impose Hungarian predominance within the Croatian-Hungarian community.

Three years after bringing the Croatian Pragmatic Sanction, the Hungarian Parliament officially accepted Croatia’s right to separate legislation. King Charles VI. acknowledged that Croatian parliaments have always had the right to bring their own law for their territory.

These acknowledgements improved Croatia’s position and became an important foundation for creating an independent Croatian state a quarter of a millennium later.

March 14, 1835 – Croatian anthem published

The text of Croatia’s official anthem was published for the first time on March 14, 1835. Originally, it was a poem called “Horvatska domovina” (Croatian homeland) by the author Antun Mihanović, a Croatian writer and lawyer. Mihanović was a Croatian nobleman with roots from Hrvatsko zagorje.

The poem was published in “Danica”, the first Croatian literary and cultural paper edited by Ljudevit Gaj – a Croatian politician, linguist, journalist, and writer. Danica was a relatively new paper with only 10 editions under its belt.

The poem “Horvatska domovina” originally had 14 sections. In 1848, Josip Runjanin took 4 sections of the song and composed them. In 1864, the song appeared under the name “Lijepa naša domovino” for the first time.

By the end of the century, this name replaced the official name of the song. The song was performed as the Croatian national anthem for the first time at the exhibition of the Croatian-Slavonian Economic Society in 1891.

Over time, the anthem’s name was shortened to “Lijepa naša”. Lijepa naša became the official anthem of the Socialist Republic of Croatia on February 29, 1972. In 1990, the song became the anthem of the independent Republic of Croatia.

See our post on Croatia’s National Anthem “Lijepa naša” here.

March 15 – Dan osnivanja Narodne zaštite (Day of the Establishment of the Croatian National Protection)

March 15 has been a memorial day in Croatia since 2011. It is marked as a Day of the Establishment of the National Protection in the Republic of Croatia. National Protection was a forerunner of the military forces of Croatia, i.e. Republic of Croatia Armed Forces.

On March 15, 1991, a conclusion on the establishment of the National Protection was adopted at the first session of the Inter-Party Council of the Republic of Croatia. A week later, an Inter-Party Council of National Protection was constituted at the second session of the Inter-Party Council. Its main task was to defend the Croatian territory.

After this, the president Franjo Tuđman called on everyone to join the volunteer units of the National Protection. The National Protection was then established on the whole Croatian territory. It was a form of resistance.

National Protection had its own information service, radio connection, and trained units. Its main functions were to block the roads, bridges and railways, protect vital institutions, and seize the barracks of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). National Protection had more than 260.000 volunteers who were in charge of defense.

March 29, 1248 – Usage of Glagolitic alphabet and old Slavonic language is approved in worship in Croatian regions

On March 29, 1248, pope Inocent IV. wrote an important letter to Filip, Bishop of Senj. In this letter, the pope gave him permission to perform worship in the Church-Slavic language and use books that were written on glagoljica (Glagolitic letter).

This is important because it was the first time that a Catholic bishop received permission to serve mass in a non-Latin language. It is proof that the Glagolitic letter and Slavic worship were accepted in the Croatian regions. This letter is the foundation for the period of Croatian Glagolitic culture in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is kept in the secret Vatican archive.

March 31, 1991 – Krvavi Uskrs (Plitvice Lakes Incident)

Krvavi Uskrs (Plitvice Lakes incident) happened on March 31, 1991. On this day, the first Croatian victim of the Croatian War of Independence was killed.

On Easter in 1991, MUP (Croatian police) started an action to break the occupation of Plitvice Lakes by Serbian rebels. Police stations from Gospić and Karlovac sent their forces to Plitvice early in the morning. Serbian rebels threw fire on vehicles from a number of barricades. This action was performed secretly and it ended quickly. They forced the Serbian rebels on the run towards Titova Korenica.

This event confirmed that Croatia couldn’t avoid a defensive war with Serbia and the Yugoslav People’s Army. Yugoslav People’s Army pulled out heavy weapons and armors during Krvavi Uskrs. This made impossible to the Croatian police to break up the rebellion towards Korenica.

During the Serbian occupation of Plitvice, Croatian citizens who traveled towards the sea or within the region of Plitvice were exposed to danger. More than 400 tourists who visited Plitvice at the time were also endangered.

Nine Croatian police officers were wounded and one man – Josip Jović from Aržano near Imotski – was killed. Some Serbian rebels were arrested.

Sources: 

https://laudato.hr/Novosti/Zanimljivosti/Najstariji-sacuvani-spomenik-hrvatskog-prava.aspx
https://informator.hr/strucni-clanci/vremeplov-trpimirova-darovnica-4-ozujka-852
https://www.sabor.hr/hr/o-saboru/povijest-saborovanja/zanimljivosti/hrvatska-pragmaticka-sankcija-iz-1712-godine
https://www.zagreb.info/ritam-grad/kultura/danasnji-dan-183-godine-prvi-put-objavljen-tekst-hrvatske-himne/176643/
https://www.sabor.hr/hr/o-saboru/povijest-saborovanja/zanimljivosti/lijepa-nasa-domovino-put-od-stotinu-godina-do-statusa
https://www.sabor.hr/hr/o-saboru/povijest-saborovanja/vazni-datumi/15-ozujka-dan-osnivanja-narodne-zastite-u-republici
http://ihjj.hr/iz-povijesti/pismo-pape-inocenta-iv-senjskomu-biskupu-filipu/3/
https://daniponosa.hrt.hr/dani-ponosa/3/krvavi-uskrs

If there are any significant events you’d like to see us cover in the future, let us know in the comments.

Learn about other notable dates from Croatian history

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

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