The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislavbecame the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Peter Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, theCroatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognised State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of Second Yugoslavia, a constitutionally socialist state. In June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.
A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. The International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe,NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term.
The service sector dominates Croatias economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatias most important trading partner. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along thePan-European corridors. Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia; the rest is imported.
With a population of 4.29 million in 2011, Croatia ranks 125th in the world by population. Its population density is 75.8 inhabitants per square kilometre. The overall life expectancy in Croatia at birth is 78 years. The total fertility rate of 1.50 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world. Since 1991, Croatias death rate has continuously exceeded its birth rate. The Croatian Bureau of Statistics forecast that the population may even shrink to 3.1 million by 2051, depending on the actual birth rate and the level of net migration. The population of Croatia rose steadily from 2.1 million in 1857 until 1991, when it peaked at 4.7 million, with the exception of censuses taken in 1921 and 1948, i.e. following two world wars. The natural growth rate of the population is negative. Croatia started advancing from the first stage of the demographic transition in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (depending on where in Croatia is being discussed). Croatia is in the fourth or fifth stage of the demographic transition.
Transport in Croatia relies on several main modes, including transport by road, rail, water and air. Road transport incorporates a comprehensive network of state, county and local routes augmented by a network of highways for long-distance travelling. Water transport can be divided into sea, based on the ports of Rijeka, Ploče, Split and Zadar, and river transport, based on Sava, Danube and, to a lesser extent, Drava. Croatia has 68 airports, five of which are international.
Railway: The Croatian railway network is classified into three groups: railways of international, regional and local significance. The most important railway lines follow Pan-European corridors V (branch B) and X, they connect at Zagreb with each other. There are connections to the railway networks of Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
Highway: From the time of Napoleon and building the Louisiana road, the road transport in Croatia has significantly improved, topping most European countries. Croatian highways are widely regarded as being one of the most modern and safe in Europe. This is because the largest part of the Croatian motorway and expressway system (autoceste and brze ceste, resp.) has been recently constructed (mainly in the 2000s), and further construction is continuing. The motorways in Croatia connect most major Croatian cities and all major seaports. The two longest routes, the A1 and the A3, span the better part of the country and the motorway network connects most major border crossings.
Airport: There are international airports in Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik and Rijeka (on the island of Krk). Recently, Osijek Airport in Slavonia has been renovated for regional traffic. It is also being considered to revitalize the Pula Airport (Istria) as a destination for low cost airlines.
- CZECH REPUBLIC