History Of Split Croatia From
My Old Notebook

This short overview of history of Split originates from my old history notebook narrating all historical facts of my native town from the Stone Age to the day of independent Republic of Croatia.

It's wrong considering that Split history has started when Emperor Diocletian has decided to build his retirement palace. Few were the invaders that did not put their signs on Split even before Romans.

Illyrian tribes and Greeks were the first to populate Split and Dalmatian islands although little has remained of their existence particularly in Split area.

If you didn't know! Greek word for brnistra flower is Aspalathos, after which the Split was named! Find out more about the meanings behind the names of Croatia towns!

It all started when I accidentally happened to come across of my old history notebook  (somewhere in a remote corner of my basement) from 8th elementary class (I was thirteen years old).

I was so excited to find this short and concise overview of my native town history. Each period is written in a simply and easy language to follow historical events from the earliest history of one of the oldest cities in Croatia.

List of rulers of Croatia from arrival of the Croats (626) from White Croatia (Galicia, Eastern Europe, today Ukraine) at the invitation of Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius.

Reading the content of this long forgotten notebook, I found some interesting facts about the city's history.

History Of Split From The Very Beginning

Prehistory  - Stone Age

Split County was settled in the Stone Age which proves some of the findings of stone tools and weapons near Klis settlement (only 8 miles from Split) , Grapceva cave on the island of Hvar, village Radosic near Sinj and near Imotski (54 miles from Split).

Bronze Age

Approximately 4000 years ago people from this area have begun to use the first objects made of copper. Near Solin were found some metal weapons and jewelry. In this period appeared  the first Illyrians tribes and among them Illyrian tribe  Dalmatae or Delmatae (Dalmatia).

Ancient Age

This period in history of Split began around 400 BC when the Greeks founded the town of Issa - Vis island, Pharos - Stari Grad (Hvar island), Tragurij  - Trogir and Epitium - Stobrec. In the south bay of the Split peninsula, about 400 BC was founded the first Greek-Illyrian settlement Asphalatos (the first known name of Split ).

Diocletian Palace listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

Roman period

This period is one of the most important part of history of Split town. The Romans ruled the area for five centuries, making Salona (now Solin) their administrative headquarters. Diocletian's Palace, built from 295 AD to 306 AD , in the form of a fortified camp, where the Emperor spent the last years of his life and on 311 AD was buried in it.

Post Roman period

In history of Split this period was characterized by decadence of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476, when Split became a part of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantium.

In this period another town grew in its vicinity, the much larger Salona. However, around AD 639 Salona was hit by Avars and Slavs attacks.

Middle Ages

The Medieval period in Split history was marked by the  Byzantine Empire rulers and by the struggle against Venetian Republic influence.The arrival of the Croats in the 7th century profoundly influenced the area. It's a period of Croatian state creation.

Coronation of King Tomislav!

Croatian kingdom:

  • The first King Tomislav (910 to 928) - Read more!
  • Miroslav (945 to 949)
  • Stephen I (1035 to 1058)
  • Petar Kresimir IV (1058 to 1075)

Venetian period

After a state union with Hungary (1390–1414), Ladislaus of Naples ( King of Hungary and Croatia) sold Dalmatia to the Venetian Republic for 100.000 ducats in 1409. Split remains under Venetian rule for 377 years (1420–1797).

Napoleonic period

Split became part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1805. It was included directly in the French Empire in 1806. The same year, the general Auguste de Marmont was named military commander of Dalmatia. 

During this short period in history of Split, large investments were undertaken in the city, new streets were built like Marmont street that leads from Split National Theater to Riva Promenade. After the fall of Napoleon, the city was officially ceded to Austria (1815).

20th century - Split and Croatia from 1918 to 1945

  • After the fall of Austria-Hungary Empire in 1918 Dalmatia is united with the rest of the Croatian territory.
  • Italy occupied the area from Istria to Split.
  • The Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was formed.
  • In the II World War Split was occupied by Italy.
  • Split was repeatedly bombed and heavily damaged.
  • Tito's partisans have liberated Split in 1944.

Period from 1945 to 1991

  • The creation of the new state SFRJ  (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).
  • The new state consists of six republics and two autonomous provinces.
  • Communist leaders.
  • President Josip Broz Tito.
  • Split became the capital of the southern Croatia.

Independent Republic of Croatia

  • The disintegration of Yugoslavia and the creation of an independent republic of Croatia.
  • The establishment of new political party HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union).
  • Patriotic War from 1991-1995.
  • President Franjo Tudjman.
  • Declaration of Croatia independence on June 25, 1991.

I hope you'll find interesting how this young boy have elaborated this history of Split and the origin of the Split name from the Greek colony of Aspálathos, in Latin became 'Spalatum', Italian version Spalato, 19th century name Spljet , all the way to its nowadays name Split.

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