Croatian tribes during the Great migrations settled the area of today’s Croatian land during the two centuries, from the 7th to the 9th century. The first Croatian king Tomislav was crowned in 925 from the national dynasty Trpimirovići.
During migration national dynasty ruled the tribal establishment and at that time was developed a tribal nobility called Ancient Croatian Nobility. At the same time the Dalmatian coastal cities carved out a small number of prominent families of the city and created a class of gentry – oligarchical nobility.
The dynasty of local rulers became extinct within 177 years and in the 1102 Hungarian King Koloman from the Arpad dynasty was crowned Croatian king. Croatia retained Croatian national subjectivity in the Croatian Hungarian personal union. Arpad dynasty died out in 1301 and was until 1527 ruled in Croatia the Napolitan dynasty of Anjou, the Polish Jagello and German Luxenburg
All these rulers recognized the Ancient Croatian Nobility as legal heirs of Croatian Domestic Dynasty.
From the Arpad dynasty to dynasty of Luxenburg rulers awarded nobility only with deeds of donation ie land holdings, although still was prevalent a large number of tribal nobility. Therefore in that time it was called as period of feudal, or titled nobility.
After King Sigismund Luxenburgškog 1438. rulers awarded nobility only with noble list or armorial patent. That is why it is called Armorial Nobility or Gentry List.
A unique example in the history of nobility is that the nobility of a small Croatian state fought on Hundred Years’ War against the Ottoman Empire for the preservation of Croatian independence and statehood.
Through this centuries-Croatian fight against the Ottomans died many Croatian nobles.
From 1527th to 1918th ruled the Croatian Austrian Habsburg dynasty. Habsburg dynasty, during its reign from 1527th to 1918th, continued with awarding of the sheet of nobility, but also introduced the award noble titles (Duke, Count, Baron, etc.).
In Croatia, in 1848 abolished the feudal social order. Assigning nobility after that year is only a matter of honor.
Dalmatia was 400 years ruled by the Republic of Venice, from 1420th to 1797th, then briefly by Habsburgs and Napoleon. From 1814th to 1918th, was ruled by the Habsburgs again, and after 1918 by the dynasty Karađorđević.
To the entire oligarchic nobility that Venice has caught after the purchase and conquest of Dalmatia in 1420 it recognized the nobility. The nobility was recognized also to Croatian nobles refugees from Bosnia who were fleeing from the Ottomans. Venice granted only two kinds of nobility nobile and conte. In the last hundred years of its rule, that titles weregiven to Croatian heroes in the wars with the Ottomans.
During the first reign of Dalmatia after the fall of Venice Austria recognized to all nobles the rank of nobility. During the short French administration in Dalmatia was abolished the aristocratic privileges. After re-entering in Dalmatia and in Italian provinces in northern Italy after the fall of Napoleon, the Habsburg dynasty recall the general recognition of the nobility and indiscriminately, in the Italian provinces recognizes the all existing nobility, and in Dalmatia recognizes only a small number of families in the cities. Not wanting to equalize it with the existing shematism leaves the titles Count and conte unchanged.
From 1918 to 1941 Croatian was ruled by the Serbian dynasty Karađorđević within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Serbia had its nobility so Karadjordjevic dynasty did not recognize the nobility nor shared the nobility. Within the twentieth years of the 20th century the dynasty introduced land reform, which was particularly affected by the large estates of the nobility. The nobility received minor refund for their land, so after selling off their properties they might have been moved abroad. The emigration of nobility continued even after the establishment of communistic Yugoslavia, when all the nobles automatically were considered anti-establishment elements. The communist rule took away to the nobility the remaining property by nationalization, confiscation and agrarian reform.
Through the Homeland War from 1991 to 1995 Croatia became an independent and democratic state in which the nobility is accepted as a part of the Croatian historical heritage and national identity.
CROATIAN NOBILITY ASSOCIATION
With reference to the Article 43 of the Croatian Constitution (OG 56/90), in 1995 was founded the Croatian Nobility Association as a non-profit cultural and historical association with the aim to gather the descendants of Croatian noble families for the sake of preserving the tradition with reference to military and cultural merits of their ancestors.
The Association does not aim at privileges, because it considers that they are not in accordance with a democratic society. Therefore, the aims and directions of the Association is to serve one’s own country in the same way as the noble ancestors did it in the past.
In its activity the Croatian Nobility Association (CNA) is ready to cooperate with the Croatian state, Church, and cultural institutions. It has to be an open, two-way cooperation, based upon mutual respect and acknowledgment of its independence.
CNA was founded in November 1995 by a group of 13 descendants of noble Croatian families.
The Association was founded as a national association of the Croatian nobility.
The headquarter of the Association is in Zagreb, and it has branches are in Split, Zadar, Opatija and Osijek,.
The main bodies of the Association are:
- Great Nobiliary Council (all members)
- Nobiliary Board (seventeen elected members)
- Supervisory Board (three elected members)
- Senate (special elected members)
- Court of Honor (three elected members)
- Youth Section
Every year CNA has annual sessions of the Great Nobiliary Council:
The Nobiliary Board – the executive body, has meetings every month, except during the summer.
Besides the statute, CNA has rules of membership, code of ethics and rules of branches.
The first president was Nikola de Cindro, and the current president is Marko de Mladineo
Now CNA has about 260 members.
CNA publish from time to time the journal Glasnik with summary in English and organize monthly lectures by eminent experts in the fields of history and culture in cooperation with the Croatian Institute for History. That is made in attempt to draw attention of the younger generation to the turbulent history in which their noble ancestors defended their homeland.
In the new political system of socialism there was no opposition. As the nobility could have been the proper opposition it had to be removed. And this is the real reason for the disappearance of nobility from the political stage.
Social discrimination against nobility in a period of less than a century, has obscured the memory of the merits of the Croatian nobility in the previous millennial period. Those dimmed and distorted images have not yet been cleared up.
It is common knowledge that only by the merit of the Croatian nobility a shield to defend Europe from the Ottoman Empire was created. Unfortunately in these battles Croatian nobility lost a large number of its warrior members whose merits their descendants want to save from oblivion.
In connection with that, the Croatian Nobility Association has as its goal to increase the activity of rectifying the interpretation of the Croatian history. It means that it tries to change the false view about the social role of nobility in the past centuries.
Marko de Mladineo