Ante Starčević

Ante Starčević, known as the Father of the Nation, was one of the most influential people on the Croatian political scene in the 19th century.

The beginning of his work was marked by his literary work. As a supporter of the Illyrian movement, he published poems and prose works in Danica, Zora dalmatinska and Bačka vila. His poems, feuilletons, critiques, aphorisms and philosophical essays were regularly published in the Official Gazette and Neven. His views on the Croatian language clashed with those of Vuk Karadzic, with whom he often had heated debates.

A major turning point in his career occurred in 1861 when, together with Eugen Kvaternik and Pero Vrdoljak, he founded the Party of Rights. In the same year, he became a member of the Croatian Parliament, where he advocated ideas based on a free and independent Croatia: "Neither under Vienna, nor under Pest, but for a free, independent Croatia." He envisioned Croatia as a liberal state in accordance with the ideas of the French Revolution. He wanted to achieve national unity in a way that the Party of Rights becomes and remains open to all strata of Croatian society and all existing religions. He also advocated reducing the church’s influence in politics, for which he was often condemned.

He started the first political-satirical newspaper in Croatia called Zvekan. He was arrested and imprisoned after the Rakovica uprising in 1871, and the Party of Rights was dissolved. Seven years later, he became a member of the Croatian Parliament again and remained in that position until his death. He left the Party of Rights in 1895 due to internal party conflicts, and in the same year he started the Pure Party of Rights together with Eugen Kumičić, Milo Starčević and Josip Franko.

He died in 1896 in Starčević's home in Zagreb, which was built with folk contributions and handed over to him a year earlier. With his numerous literary works and persistent work in politics, he laid the foundations of a modern independent Croatian state, which is why he was called the Father of the Nation.