Pacta conventa (lat. “Agreed agreement” also called Qualiter (lat. “How”, according to the first word it begins with) is an alleged agreement believed to have been made in 1102 between the Hungarian king Koloman and the Croatian nobility, which the Croatian nobility recognized Koloman for his ruler, and in return he promised them certain privileges, but the authenticity and time of the agreement are disputed, which has been the subject of controversy since the mid-19th century.
Namely, the oldest copy of the Pacta Conventa is in the work “Historia Salonitana” by Thomas the Archdeacon from the end of the 14th century. “Historia Salonitana” was a work that was rewritten several times throughout history, and the accuracy and truthfulness of what he writes about should be taken with a grain of salt. Pacta Conventa was included in this work as a subsequently added insert by an unknown author.
The work was publicly presented by Ivan Lučić Lucius in his work “De regno Croatiae et Dalmatiae libri sex” (Six Books on the Kingdom of Croatia and Dalmatia) in 1666.
It reads as follows:
“How and by what treaty did the Croats surrender to the King of Hungary”
“By the grace of God, Koloman, the son of Vladislav, the King of Hungary, ruling in the place of his father, and because he was very brave, decided to subject the whole of Croatia all the way to the Dalmatian Sea under his rule. He came with his army to the Drava River. The Croats, hearing about the arrival of the kings, gathered their army and prepared for battle. When the king learned that the Croats had gathered, he sent his envoys, wanting to negotiate with them in a friendly manner and conclude the treaty they wanted. The Croats, hearing the message of his lord the King, assembled, accepted and sent 12 tribal elders from 12 Croatian tribes, namely Prefect Juraj of the Kačić family, Prefect Ugrin of the Kukar family, Prefect Mrmonja of the Šubić family, Prefect Pribislav of the Čudomirić family , prefect Juraj of the Snačić family, prefect Petar of the Murić family, prefect Pavle of the Gusić family, prefect Martin of the Karinjan family and the Lapčan family, prefect Pribislav of the Poletčić family, prefect Obrad of the Lačničić family, prefect Ivan of the Jamomet family, prefect Mirog of Tugomir familiy. And when they came to the king, they paid him tribute. But the Lord King, receiving them with a kiss of peace, and treating them with dignity, agreed as follows: that he would remember with all his neighbors to enjoy their possessions and property in peace and without hindrance; that none of the said clans or his men are obliged to pay taxes or income to the said royal majesty, except that they are obliged to the lord king, when someone invades his borders, then if the lord king sends for them, they are obliged to go with at least 10 armed cavalry from each mentioned tribe to the Drava at their own expense, thence to Hungary at the expense of the lord king, and as long as the war lasts, they must remain. And so this was arranged in the year of our Lord 1102. “
Why is all this so important? In the 19th century, during the resistance against the Austrian and Hungarian hegemony that they wanted to impose on the Croats, some Croatian historians began to refer to the Pacta Conventa as proof of the way in which relations between Croats and the Hungarian king were regulated and emphasize the rights guaranteed to them by that agreement.
What is certain is that some kind of agreement had to be reached because even after Koloman’s placing Croatia under his rule, the Hungarian kings were always crowned separately as the Croatian king. Also throughout history, there was the title of ban, which meant the king’s representative in Croatia. Throughout this time, Croatian-Dalmatian and Slavonian parliaments (assemblies) were held, and Dalmatian towns retained most of the separate rights they had before Koloman came to power.
Independence in the election of the king was proved when after the death of the Hungarian-Croatian king Louis Jagel in the battle of Mohacs in 1526, when on January 1, 1527 the Croatian nobility chose Ferdinand of Habsburg as their ruler, not Ivan Zapolya, who was supported by most Hungarians.
Since the original document has not been preserved, there were those who were for it and those who disputed its authenticity. Those who dispute it point out that the document was written in the 14th century language, that there are obvious inaccuracies in it (Koloman was not Ladislav’s son but a nephew) and that there is no mention of him in Hungarian historical sources.
It is most likely that a particular document from that time did indeed exist and was more or less similar to the Pacta Conventa we are talking about today. Given everything we know about the period after the signing of the agreement, it would be logical, but precisely because we do not have the original contract, this issue will remain the subject of discussion …