The name Illyrians is a common name for a group of tribes that lived in the area of​the eastern Adriatic coast from Istria to Albania and in the hinterland of these areas from the Bronze Age and during antiquity. Some of the tribes from today's Croatian territory are: Histri, Japodi, Delmati, Liburni, Daorsi, Jasi, etc.

The Illyrians were engaged in agriculture and hunting, but the most lucrative branch of the economy was piracy, because of which they clashed with the Romans and this led to the Illyrian Wars. After three wars from 229 to 168 BC. Kr. The Romans ruled the eastern coast of the Adriatic and its hinterland, and the conquered area was called Illyricum. Probably the most famous Illyrian ruler was Queen Teuta who ruled during the first war with the Romans. After the conquest, the Romans Romanized the Illyrians, and from Illyricum came some of the Roman emperors, such as Diocletian.

The Illyrians lived in forts - fortified stone settlements on the hills. Remains of forts can still be found in Croatia, for example in Istria and Kvarner. In addition to the forts, Illyrian items for everyday use were found, such as military equipment and fibulae (buckles). The language of the Illyrians remains a mystery because records from their period have not been preserved from that period. The Written stone, an inscription in the rock in the area of Kosinjski Bakovac on Velebit, testifies to the establishment of the border between the Illyrian tribes Ortoplina and Parentina, but it is written in Latin. An Illyrian sanctuary with numerous statues from the 5th to the 4th century BC was discovered in the Illyrian town of Nesactium (Vizače near Pula) with extremely recognizable Illyrian tombstones, for example Liburnian cipus.

The Illyrian name remained in this area despite Romanization and the arrival of the Slavs. When Napoleon conquered Croatian territory in 1809, the Illyrian provinces were founded. The national movement in the 19th century in Croatia is called the Illyrian movement.

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