Cities and Counties

A county, in the territorial and political sense of the building of the Croatian state in the developed stage was first found in the 10th century, thus doing away with parishes, the lowest types of people joining forces based on blood relations. Since then, counties have become the common way of Croat's setting up their state, the only variable element being the number of counties, their size and rights and obligations.

In the mid-10th century today's Dalmatia and Western Bosnia were made up of 11 counties: Livno, Cetina, Imotski, Pliva, Pset, Primorje, Bribir, Nona, Knin, Sidraga and Nin. In the next two centuries they are joined by counties in the area of today's Lika, Gorski kotar and primorje: Licka, Krbavska, Modruska and Vinodolska counties. In the 13th century in northern Croatia there existed Zagreb, Varazdin and Krizevci, Virovitica, Gorica and Gorska counties, while in Slavonia there existed Pozega and Vukovar counties.

At the end of the middle ages, the authorities in the counties had become less powerful and more whither away with the arrival of the Turks. Following the liberation of Slavonia and Srijem from the Turks, in the 18th century, the Virovitica, Pozega and Srijem counties are re-established. The ruler named a prefect who was in charge of all the administrative, military and judicial issues in the region. At the end of the 19th century, after Vojna krajina was made a part of civilian Croatia, eight counties had been formed: Bjelovarsko-krizevacka (Bjelovar), Licko-krbavska (Gospic), Modrusko-rijecka (Ogulin), Pozeska, Srijemska (Vukovar), Varazdinska, Viroviticka (Osijek) and Zagrebacka. However, Dalmacija, Istra, Kvarner islands, Medimurje and Baranja had remained under the direct administration of Vienna or Budapest and had no counties set-up.

Counties had at first remained in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, but were scrapped through the Vidovdan Constitution in 1921. The Independent State of Croatia had some 22 parishes established, while Zagreb, being the capital was a special administration unit. In the socialist Yugoslavia the county set-up was not re-established and the "Christmas" Croatian Constitution of 1990 re-established counties. The parliament had passed the Law on Counties, Cities and Municipalities in 1992 making Croatia a country of 20 counties and the city of Zagreb having the county status.

A Law on Counties, Cities and Municipalities in Croatia (passed on Jan. 30, 1997) had awarded city status to 47 municipalities, 63 settlements were given municipal status, while 13 municipalities became settlements. Today Croatia has 122 cities and 416 municipalities. The city of Zagreb, regulated by the Law on the City of Zagreb, had become a special unified territorial and administrative unit, not a part of the "Zagreb region" which had become a county of its own - The Zagreb County.

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