» View our vacations to Croatia
Removed from war and now emerging as a key travel destination, Croatia showcases an impressive past that goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The third-century Palace of Diocletian in Split is the most notable remnant of Roman days. After the fall of the Roman Empire, a Mongolian people called the Avars inhabited the area until they were conquered in the seventh century by the ancestors of today’s Croats. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Croats established an independent Croatian nation, but the area later came under Hungarian rule, which oversaw Croatia for the next 700 years. In the 19th century, there was contention between Austria and Italy for control of Croatia’s Adriatic seacoast. Opatija still shows signs of its history as a former vacation spot for Austrian military officers, while Istria reflects its past as part of Italy.
Croatia was later part of Yugoslavia, founded as a kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in 1918, then officially named Yugoslavia in 1929. During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by German and Italian forces, but with the end of the war, Yugoslavia regained its sovereignty. Josip Broz Tito, a leader of anti-Nazi Yugoslav partisans, became prime minister and established a Communist regime that ruled until the end of the Cold War. Croatia gained its independence in 1991, but was the scene of conflict into the 1990s. It has now had several years of greater stability, and its Adriatic coastline is once again popular with visitors of many nationalities.