Though it was controlled by Hungary from medieval times and was a part of the Yugoslav state for much of the 20th century, Croatia has a very strong national identity.
Geography: Rocky, mountainous Adriatic coastline is dotted with islands. Interior is a mixture of wooded mountains and broad valleys.
Climate: The interior has a temperate continental climate. Mediterranean climate along the Adriatic coast.
People and Society: Croats are distinguished from Bosniaks and Serbs by their Roman Catholic faith and use of the Latin alphabet. Many Serbs fled Croatia during the early 1990s conflict that accompanied Yugoslavia’s breakup. Minority rights and fighting organized crime are key issues in the quest for EU membership by 2011.
The Economy: The war cost the economy an estimated $50 billion. Unemployment has been persistently high. Corruption deters foreign investment. Tourism is mainly on the Dalmatian coast.
Insight: Croatia only regained control of Serb-occupied Eastern Slavonia, around Vukovar, in 1998
Official Name: Republic of Croatia
Date of Formation: 1991
Population: 4.42 million
Total Area: 21,831 sq. miles (56,542 sq. km)
Density: 202 people per sq. mile
Religions: Roman Catholic 88%, other 7%, Orthodox Christian 4%, Muslim 1%
Ethnic Mix: Croat 90%, other 5%, Serb 5%
Government: Parliamentary system
CURRENCY: Kuna = 100 lipa