Croatian nobility

The nobility in Croatia as a social stratum developed from the stratum of the social elite , possibly from tribal elders. Noble families arose in the Middle Ages , and the twelve Croatian noble families stand out, as they allegedly concluded a contract with King Koloman , according to which they recognize him as the Croatian king in exchange for numerous privileges. Some of the most famous Croatian noble families were Šubići , Svačići , Gusići , etc., but Hungarian noble families such as Hahót and Héder also played an important role . Numerous noble families later developed from noble families , for example the Zrinski family from the Šubić family, the Krbavski family from the Gusić family, etc. There was also a layer of lower nobility, and its members gained this status due to, for example, the office they held in the state. In Dalmatia and Istria, the urban nobility developed , the so-called patriciate , which also consisted of members of the social elite. Some of the most famous noble families from the Republic of Dubrovnik were the Gundulići and Držići .

The nobility was a privileged class in society because they did not pay taxes and had large and numerous land holdings in their hands. In addition, the nobles held important political roles in the state, for example they were bans who managed certain parts of the kingdom or were the king's representatives. Members of the nobility in the Middle Ages were also knights and military leaders . Some of them participated in the crusades and in the battles against the Mongols, for example the members of the Babonić family , or in later centuries in the defense of the country against the Turks. The Erdödy family is originally from Hungary, but it is also the family that gave the most Croatian bans . Among the most prominent members is the famous Ban Tom Erdödy , who defended Sisak and Croatia from the Turks. One of the most famous Croatian bans who also distinguished himself in the battles against the Turks was Nikola Šubić Zrinski, who died in 1566 defending Siget. Šubići , i.e. Bribirski , came from one of the autochthonous old Croatian tribes, and their most famous branch is the Zrinski , who got their name from the Zrin fortress. This family is connected with the famous Zrin-Frankopan conspiracy . It is about the movement of the Hungarian and Croatian nobility against the absolutism imposed by the Habsburgs. The conspiracy was named after its prominent members Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsti Frankopan, who were executed for this conspiracy. Ana Katarina Zrinski , born Frankopan, is the most famous member of this family who was involved in literary creation (the work Putni tovaraš ), translation, and diplomacy. The Frankopan family from which she came was originally called Krčki . The Frankopans are the only noble family from the island that managed to achieve power and influence at the European level. The Zrinski and Frankopani are the most famous and significant noble families in Croatia from the 11th to the 17th century. One of the great families of German origin were the Celjskis . In northern Croatia, they are remembered for Barbara Celjska , the wife of the Hungarian-Croatian King Sigismund of Luxembourg, who was popularly known as the Black Queen , possibly the most famous owner of Medvedgrad. The Jelačić family was also known as Bužimski after the settlement of Bužim. Members of this family also fought against the Turks, but the family is best known for Josip Jelačić , who became a Croatian ban. Ban Jelačić played a key role insuppression of the revolution in Hungary , and serfdom was abolished during his ban .

The Croatian nobility was remembered in history not only for their heroism, warfare, politics and art, but also for the many beautiful castles and palaces in which they lived. Trakošćan Castle is one of the most beautiful, largest and most famous Croatian castles, which was owned by the Drašković family . The Ratkaj family once owned Veliki Tabor and Miljana Castle in Hrvatsko Zagorje. The Lužnica castle in the vicinity of Zaprešić with a large garden was owned by the Rauch family . The Oršić family also owned exceptional castles such as the one in Gornja Stubica , as well as the palace on Grič whose owners, in addition to Oršić, were the Rauchs, Vojkovići and Kulmeri . Today , the Croatian Historical Museum is located in that palace .

After the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the entry of Croats into the new state with Slovenes and Serbs, the nobility did not disappear, but due to new social, political and economic changes, it faced great challenges. Since the feudal system was abolished, the nobles lost their previous source of income and had to adapt to economic changes. Also, their social and political position changed because they found themselves in a state with different borders and which was no longer ruled by the Habsburgs. Eventually, the nobility in Croatia disappeared with the coming to power of the communists who took away the estates, castles and other property of the nobles, which is why many nobles left the country.

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