The migration of Croats

The early history of Croats includes the origin of Croats, their living in their ancient homeland, migration to their new homeland and baptism. The wide distribution of names in preserved toponyms and old records points to very distant areas of migration of Croats from the oldest homeland to today’s areas, including significant changes in the ethnic substrate in relation to the name. Most supporters have explanations that link Croats (Hrvati) to the name and movement of northern Iranian tribal groups towards the Black Sea. This opinion is supported by toponyms related to the area (Iranian tribe Harahvatis and the area where they live, Harahvaiti ). Also some linguistic expressions related to nomadic cattle breeding (haurvaiti = to guard, fall, stockbreed). Linguistically, geographically and culturally, the parallelism of the development of the Iranian root called the Croatian tribe, with the historically well-known Sarmatian tribe, is legitimate. It is believed that a cattle-breeding (Scythian-Sarmatian) tribe from the area between the Caspian and Azov Seas, as it moved west to the Carpathians, gradually merged into a Slavic environment, giving its name to a certain tribal group, which then under that name, already Slavicized, occurs in Ukraine and southern Poland (White Croatia), and later in the wider area with toponyms from the Carpathians to present-day Poland and the Czech Republic.

Tanay plates with the name Horoatos, 3rd century AD

In the 6th century, large migrations of Slavs to the Balkan Peninsula began. The name of the Croats is associated with the last wave of migration at the turn of the VI. in VII. century. Croatian and Avar tribes inhabit today’s areas of Croatia (then the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia). The old, Roman population retreated towards the Adriatic coast and to the islands, and over time it assimilated and only some towns retained the Roman character.

The arrival of Croats in today’s area should not be seen as a specific event with a clear beginning and end, but also as a mass migration. These are lengthy processes. Also, today’s science believes that the Slavs during the 7th and 8th centuries in this area still lived organized in smaller groups without the desire and need for unification, mixed with the natives. The influence of the supreme Avar authority was probably weak. The Avar center was far to the north, in the area of ​​present-day Hungary. Neither the Avars nor the Byzantines could, and perhaps did not want to, unite the Slavic tribes under some central authority. The first signs of the development of a central government appear at the beginning of IX. century during the wars of Charlemagne against the Avars. In 796, Frankish sources mention the Slavic leader Vojnomir from Istria as a Frankish ally. Slavic groups under Frankish influence seek to be united to fight the Avars and Byzantines more effectively.

It could be inferred that the Croats were initially called members of the military elite who, after taking control of the local population with the help of the Franks, gradually imposed their name as an ethnopolitical term. The Croatian name starts to appear in the sources in the middle of IX. century in the hinterland of Dalmatian cities. From this core, Croatian identity will slowly expand to the north in the following centuries. The penetration of the influence of the Croatian ruler into Pannonia began at the latest from the time of King Tomislav, and the complete administrative and ethnopolitical connection between Dalmatia and Pannonia would occur only in the period after the time of the Croatian kings.

Published by borisbirosevic

Hi! My name is Boris Birošević. I live in Zagreb, Croatia. My father studied history so he passed the love for it on me from my youth ages. He always told me interesting stories from history. I loved listening to him and I was always attracted to that, for me, unexplored and mystical world. I read all six books “History of the Croats” by Vjekoslav Klaić during my elementary school. During high school, I was (I could say) the best in history in my generation, and I further expanded my knowledge in college because we had a lot of history-related subjects. By the way, I have a master of journalism degree. I have been studying and dealing with history for 25 years, on a daily basis. I have a broad and deep knowledge of Croatian, European and worldwide history. My goal is to transfer my knowledge to others in an interesting and even so objective way. On my website and blog, I will try to bring details from Croatian history closer to foreigners because it is still unknown to many and difficult to access. I will also cover some topics that are close and related to Croatian history in a certain way (Western Balkans, Slavs, Austria-Hungary, etc.) I hope that on my page everyone will find something for himself. For me, history is not a job but a calling… Join me on my website "HISTORY OF CROATIA and related history"...

One thought on “The migration of Croats

  1. California usa always everything about chumash people and i am a nature person paddle boat fishing, coast life, so i want to see how dalmatian island people dressed, the tools, hunting methods, shelter homes, etc.


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