Eastern Europe: so many flags, so much history, so many invaders and occupiers. What a tumultuous and confusing past these countries have had. It made me feel sad for the people here. For Croatia's history, I will go back only as far as the 20th century.
This is Croatia's recent history, as told to us by our guide. On October 29, 1918, Croatia declared its independence from Hungary and joined in union with Montegnegro, Serbia and Slovenia to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which changed its name to Yugoslavia in 1929, meaning "Southern Slavs".
When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, Croatia became a Nazi puppet state. After Germany was defeated in 1945, Croatia was made into a republic of the newly reconstituted Communist nation of Yugoslavia; however, Croatian nationalism continued. In 1980 the Yugoslavian leader President Tito died and Croatia's demands for independence increased, resulting in free elections in 1990. The Communists were defeated and a nationalist party, led by Franjo Tudjman, came to power.
In June, 1991, the Croatian parliament passed a declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Six months of intensive fighting with the Serbian-dominated Yugoslavian army followed, claiming thousands of lives and wreaking mass destruction.
Today, the Republic of Croatia is a peaceful country with a fast developing economy and infrastructure. It is a member of the European Union, the United Nations and NATO. (Let's hope it remains peaceful.)
Here are the photos I took in Croatia:
Our ship sailed into Croatia during the night, while we were sleeping. These photos are my first views of Croatia, taken from our state room window first thing in the morning.
In Croatia we visited the towns of Osijek and Vukovar, both of which were heavily damaged during the war against the Serbs in 1991.
I have so many more photos from Croatia. This is getting long so I will post more tomorrow. I was so impressed with what I saw here that I don't want to leave anything out.