History and Homeland War

After Ljudevit's revolt was quelled (823), the focus of Croatian statehood was transferred to Coastal, or Dalmatian, Croatia, where the Croats established their first port towns (Sibenik, Biograd, Nin), a navy and their first seats of government (Knin, Bijaci). The most notable among the Croatian princes were Trpimir (845-864), Domagoj (864-876) and 382 Branimir (879-892). Trpimir led successful campaigns against the Bulgars and the Byzantine Empire in Dalmatia, introduced the Benedictine order to Croatia and issued the first charter in which he is mentioned as the first Croatian prince (Dux Croatorum). Domagoj defeated the Venetians at sea, and together with the Franks he conquered Bari in Italy from the Arabs. Branimir established firm ties with the Pope and in 879 he obtained recognition of Croatia as an independent state from the Vatican - the first in the history of the Croats.

During his reign the Neretljani Croats defeated the Venetians and imposed a tribute on Venice for free passage along the Croatian coast. In this way the Croats ruled the Adriatic Sea. Priests came into Croatia in Branimir's time, students of the "Slavic apostles", Saints Cyril and Methodius, and they brought with them liturgical books in the Old Slavonic language and in the Slavic script - Glagolitic. From then liturgical services were held in this language, and church books were written in this script, so that this was the beginning of the written word among the Croats in their own language and script. Thus the Croats were the only European nation which held masses in their own language instead of in the Latin or Greek languages.

The Croatian princes left data engraved in rocks in a manner that almost no other nation in Europe did. These are primarily inscriptions with the names and functions of rulers, e.g. pro duce Trepim(ero) for Prince Trpimir. Two notes of Branimir remain, signed as dux Croatorum - the prince of the Croats. Viseslav left behind a special baptismal font, which symbolizes the acceptance of the church, and thereby Western culture, by the Croats. In addition to these items, there are other inscriptions and Croatian stone sculpture, and unique Croatian churches in Nin and in other places.