The Croats arrived in the area in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom, which retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, in the final days of World War I, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918 it was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of the Croatian territory was incorporated into the Nazi-backed client-state which led to the development of a resistance movement and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia which after the war become a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully for four years following the declaration.
Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system and a developed country with a very high standard of living. It is a member of the European Union (EU), the 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. Since 2000, the Croatian government has constantly invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.
The present-day republic is composed of the historically Croatian regions of Croatia-Slavonia (located in the upper arm of the country), Istria (centred on the Istrian Peninsula on the northern Adriatic coast), and Dalmatia (corresponding to the coastal strip).
Official language: Croatian
Religion: mostly Christians
Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Total area: 56,594 km2
Population (2017 estimate): 4,154,200
GDP (2017 estimate) total: $106.548 billion
GDP (2017 estimate) per capita: $25,807
Time one: UTC+1
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