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"‘Still Croatia Has Not Fallen’" Topic


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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2019 9:07 p.m. PST

"The prosperous torpor into which Slavonia sank in the eighteenth century and the wretched torpor into which Dalmatia sank at the same time were ended by the whirlwind of reform unleashed by the Emperor Joseph II, and by the subsequent impact of the French Revolution. The programme of reforms of the Habsburg Emperor centred on curtailing the privileged position of the Catholic Church, allowing Protestants freedom of worship, abolishing feudalism, introducing a more equitable system of taxation and promoting German as the lingua franca throughout the empire. The reforms caused uproar in Hungary and Bohemia and aroused the indignation of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the nobles everywhere.

The reforms predated Joseph's coronation, as he had been co-ruler of the empire since 1765; it was under his influence that the Jesuit order had been dissolved throughout the empire and the Jesuit school in Zagreb converted into an academy. But the storm broke only after his mother's death in 1780. In 1785, in one swoop, Croatia was virtually abolished. Zagreb found itself part of a new unit of local government based in Zala, in Hungary, while eastern Slavonia was merged into a region centred on Pecs, also in Hungary. The post of ban was rendered virtually redundant. The Croat nobles and the bishops were astonished. Maria Theresa had tinkered with centralisation through the Croatian Royal Council and its subsequent absorption into the Hungarian Royal Chancellery. But that was nothing compared to this avalanche. The equilibrium of centuries was upset, and in their panic the outraged Croats threw in their lot with the more powerful conservative force of the Hungarian nobility. In a landmark act in 1790 the Sabor surrendered most of its prerogatives to the Hungarian parliament. Henceforth, its jurisdiction was confined to justice and education while all other legislation was entrusted to the joint parliament in Pressburg (Poszony in Hungarian, Bratislava in Slovak), in which Croats had only a few seats. Moreover, the Sabor could now only meet at the same time as the joint parliament. The Croats had decided in haste. They repented at leisure. After 1790 they found that they had made themselves hostages to the rising force of Hungarian nationalism…"
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