Croatia Independence Day is celebrated every year on June 25 to commemorate when Croatia proclaimed its intentions to sever its ties with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Did you know that Croatia became an independent country after breaking away from Yugoslavia in 1991? Croatia is one of the youngest independent countries in the world. Croatia Independence Day is known as ‘Dan neovisnosti’ in Croatia. It was previously celebrated on October 8, which is now marked as the Day of the Croatian Parliament. Once a national public holiday, Croatia Independence Day is no longer an off-day and has become a memorial day purely. Croatia Independence Day was celebrated for the first time in 2002.
History of Croatia Independence Day
Croatia’s main history dates back to 9 A.D. when sections of what is now Croatia were absorbed into the Roman Empire. Diocletian was the first Roman Emperor from the region, and his palace was built in Split. After his abdication in 305 A.D., this palace became his retirement residence, as well as a shelter for the last de jure Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos, who fled Italy in the fifth century. Croats arrived in the Roman province of Dalmatia during the sixth and ninth centuries. They then established the Duchy of Croatia, which spanned parts of modern-day Croatia.
The Croats accepted Christianity between the seventh and ninth centuries, and Pope John VIII recognized Duke Branimir as Croatia’s first ruler on June 7, 879. Tomislav became the first king of Croatia in 925, taking Croatia into its golden age. This golden age ended in 1102 when Croatia was absorbed into the Hungarian empire. Although it still retained its autonomy, the ruler of Croatia (Ban) was appointed by the Hungarian King.
After World War I, in 1918, Croatia declared independence and joined the newly formed States of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. On December 4, 1918, they became the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. In 1921, a new constitution that legally binds the kingdom as a unified state came into effect, and Croatia lost its independence. In 1931, King Alexander changed the kingdom’s name to Yugoslavia. On June 25, 1991, after World War II, Croatia declared its independence. On October 8, 1991, the declaration came into implementation. However, that led to war between the Croatians and the Serbians. The war lasted until August 1995, with the victory going to Croatia.
In 2002, the Government of Ivica Racan moved the Croatia Independence Day to October 8, and June 25 became known as Statehood Day. However, on November 14, 2019, the Croatian Parliament moved Croatia Independence Day back to June 25, and October 8 became the Day of the Croatian Parliament.
Croatia Independence Day timeline
The Croats arrive in the territory of present-day Croatia.
Pope John X recognizes Tomislav as the first king of Croatia.
Croatia breaks away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and joins the States of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs.
On June 25, The Croatian Parliament declares independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Croatia Independence Day FAQs
Which countries recognize Croatia first?
The first countries to recognize Croatia were countries not recognized by the international community at that time. That includes Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Ukraine.
What was Croatia called before Croatia?
Before Croatia became an independent country, it was part of the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
How did Croatia get its independence?
In May 1991, Croatia held an independence referendum, in which 93% of voters supported the move. On June 25, the Croatian Parliament proclaimed the Independence of Croatia. On October 8, Croatia officially cut ties with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
How to Observe Croatia Independence Day
Watch a Croatian movie
Watching a Croatian movie is one of the simplest things you can do to celebrate Croatia Independence Day. You can watch classics like “One Song A Day Takes Mischief Away,” “Roundabout,” “Handcuffs,” “Don’t Look Back,” and “Aleksi.” These movies are available for streaming on IMDb, Netflix, and YouTube.
Learn the complete history of Croatia
While we have given you a short history of Croatia, you can still use this day to deeply research the origin of the Croats and how Croatia became what it’s today. An excellent place to start is Wikipedia or Britannica.
Celebrate with Croatians on social media
Show your excitement by sending good wishes to Croatians on social media on Croatia Independence Day. You can share “Happy Independence Day” graphics on Instagram and Facebook or a short video of you saying “Happy Independence Day” on Instagram or TikTok.
5 Facts About Croatia
“Game of Thrones” was shot there
King’s Landing in “Game of Thrones” is the Croatian town of Dubrovnik.
It has an amphitheater
The Pula Arena in Croatia is one of the few remaining Roman amphitheaters in the world.
It has the world’s smallest town
Hum, a town with about 30 inhabitants in Croatia, is the smallest town in the world.
Rodent name as currency name
The Croatian currency, kuna, is named after martens.
It’s home of the dalmatians
According to tradition, dalmatians originated from the Dalmatia region of Croatia.
Why Croatia Independence Day is Important
It celebrates Croatia as an independent country
An independent country exists when it has the full autonomous power to direct its internal and external affairs. By declaring independence, the Croatians took control of their destiny and future and could shape them however they wanted.
It commemorates the Croatian independence heroes
Croatian independence did not come about without some sacrifices. After the parliament implemented the declaration of independence, the Serbs invaded Croatia and waged war for four years. That led to the death of numerous Croatians, who fought to defend the country's independence. It all culminated in 1995, with Croatia successfully defeating the Serbians.
It’s a day of reflection
On Croatia Independence Day, Croatians reflect on the growth and development of their country, the impact of each government since independence on the country, and the decisions they need to make to ensure a better future for Croatia.
Croatia Independence Day dates