The Croatian people, commonly known as Hrvati in their native language, form a distinct South Slavic ethnic community. While a majority reside in Croatia, there are significant numbers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in other neighboring nations as well. Inside the borders of Croatia, approximately 4 million individuals identify as Croatian. Additionally, there are as many as 4.5 million people of Croatian descent dispersed globally. Various socio-political and economic factors have led to a large-scale migration of Croatians, contributing to a substantial Croatian diaspora worldwide.
Demographics and Geographical Distribution
Table 1: Geographical Distribution of Croatians
|Bosnia and Herzegovina
Within Croatia, the ethnic Croatians make up about 91% of the population. Besides Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina hosts a significant number of Croatians, constituting about 15.4% of the population. Other countries with a notable Croatian population include Germany and the United States.
Historical Migration and Diaspora
Various push and pull factors have contributed to the migration of Croatians throughout history. The phenomenon of Croatian diaspora has its roots in different historical epochs, impacted by political, social, and economic changes. For instance, during the Austro-Hungarian rule and subsequent Yugoslav period, there was a shift in population due to governance and economic circumstances. Furthermore, the 1990s Croatian War of Independence led to a mass exodus, forcing many to seek refuge in other countries. As a result, Croatian communities have been established in various corners of the world, ranging from Europe to North America and Australia.
Table 2: Factors Leading to Croatian Migration
|Governance, Economic Disparities
|Political Instability, Economic Factors
|1990s War of Independence
|War, Political Turmoil
|Mass Exodus, Refugee Status
Language and Culture
The official language is Croatian, which is a South Slavic language written in the Latin script. The Croatian culture is a blend of Mediterranean, Central European, and Balkan influences, enriched by its long and complex history. Folk music, dance, and art are integral aspects of Croatian cultural identity. Additionally, Croatians have made significant contributions to literature, science, and the arts.
Table 3: Aspects of Croatian Culture
|Folk and modern
|Various regional forms
|Rich and varied
|Marko Marulić, Ivan Gundulić
|Contributions in various fields
|Nikola Tesla (ethnic Serb born in Croatia), Lavoslav Ružička
|Naïve Art, Edo Murtić
Croatia has a diverse economy that encompasses sectors like tourism, shipbuilding, and agriculture. As a member of the European Union, it maintains strong economic ties with other member states. Croatians in the diaspora also significantly contribute to the country's economy through remittances.
Table 4: Economic Sectors in Croatia
|Major source of income
|Significant for local consumption
In summary, Croatians form a unique South Slavic ethnic group predominantly settled in Croatia, but with a notable presence globally. Historical events shaped by various factors have led to the formation of a significant Croatian diaspora. The community is culturally rich, economically diverse, and linguistically unified through the Croatian language. With roots deeply embedded in a blend of Mediterranean, Central European, and Balkan influences, Croatians maintain a distinct identity in the global landscape.