Croatian Military Frontier

The Croatian Military Frontier (Croatian: Hrvatska vojna krajina or Hrvatska vojna granica) was a district of the Military Frontier, a territory in the Habsburg Monarchy, first during the period of the Austrian Empire and then during Austria-Hungary.

Croatian Military Frontier
Kroatische Militärgrenze
Hrvatska vojna granica
Hrvatska vojna krajina
Horvát határőrvidék
district of the Military Frontier, Habsburg Monarchy

Croatian Military Frontier in 1868
14,903 km2 (5,754 sq mi)
15 July 1881
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Croatia (Habsburg)
Ottoman Empire
Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia
Today part of Croatia


Founded in the late 16th century out of lands of the Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia, it was initially a nominal part of that Kingdom, to be transferred in 1627 to direct imperial rule as part of the Military Frontier. The Frontier was located on the border with the Ottoman Empire. In the Frontier zone, the king-emperors promised free land and freedom of religion to people who came to the area with the majority of the population being Croats and Serbs. In exchange, the people who lived in the area had an obligation to militarily fight for the Empire, and to protect the land. In 1630 Emperor Ferdinand II enacted the Statuta Valachorum laws.[1] It was known that the soldiers had to fulfill military service from the age of 16 until 66. In the end of the 17th century, Habsburg Monarchy expanded its borders and territory of Croatian Military Frontier was also expanded to include some former Ottoman territories in the east. In 1783 it was placed under the unified control of the Croatian General Command headquartered in Zagreb.[2] The Military Frontier was demilitarized on 8 August 1873. Croatian Military Frontier existed until 15 July 1881, when it was abolished and incorporated into the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (like the Slavonian one).

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This part of the Military Frontier included the geographic regions of Lika, Kordun, Banovina and bordered the Adriatic Sea to the west, Venetian Republic to the south, Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia to the north-west, the Ottoman Empire to the south-east, Habsburg Kingdom of Slavonia to the east, and Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary to the north.

It extended onto the Slavonian Military Frontier near the confluence of the Una river into the Sava. Like the rest of the Military Frontier, it ceased to exist as a political entity in the late 19th century.


Croatian Military Frontier included three General Command (Croatian: Generalat) sections which were divided into eight Regiments:


In 1802, the estimated population consisted of:[3]

In 1820, estimated population of Croatian Military Frontier included:[4]

  • 207,747 Catholics
  • 198,728 Orthodox Christians

According to Hungarian statistician Elek Fényes, in 1840 the Croatian Military Frontier was populated by 498,947 people and the ethnic structure was:[5]

The first modern census from 1857 recorded the religion of the populace of Croatian Military Frontier:[6]

74.8% of the active population in Croatian-Slavonian Military Frontier were employed in agriculture, 18.63% were inactive soldiers, while 3.11% were working in industry.[7]

See also


  1. Statuta Walachorum
  2. Gunther Erich Rothenberg: The Military Border in Croatia, 1740-1881: a study of an imperial institution, University of Chicago Press, 1966, p. 63
  3. Mladen Lorković, Narod i zemlja Hrvata, page 86
  4. Dr Tomislav Bogavac, Nestajanje Srba, Niš, 1994, page 196.
  5. Elek Fényes, Magyarország statistikája, Trattner-Károlyi, Pest 1842, page 50
  6. Statistische übersichten über die bevölkerung und den viehstand von Österreich nach der zählung vom 31. october 1857, page 172
  7. Mariann Nagy - Croatia in the Economic Structure of the Habsburg Empire in the Light of the 1857 Census, p. 88

Further reading

  • Rothenberg, Gunther E. (June 1960). "The Origins of the Austrian Military Frontier in Croatia and the Alleged Treaty of 22 December 1522". The Slavonic and East European Review. Maney Publishing. 38 (91): 493–498.
  • Rothenberg, Gunther E. (March 1964). "The Struggle over the Dissolution of the Croatian Military Border, 1850–1871". Slavic Review. American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. 23 (1): 63–78. doi:10.2307/2492376.
  • Fodor, Pál; Dávid, Géza, eds. (2000). Ottomans, Hungarians, and Habsburgs in Central Europe: The Military Confines in the Era of Ottoman Conquest. BRILL.

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