chapter  1
Pages 26

The Croats arrived in the Balkans in the seventh century along with other nomadic Slavic tribes and settled in parts of presentday Croatia. They established an independent kingdom located between the Drava river and the Adriatic coast, with its centre at the city of Knin. Mediaeval Croatia, like other European countries at the time, developed a feudal system dominated by a class of landlords who formed a privileged nobility giving allegiance to the Croatian king. Chroniclers of the Crusades, passing through the coastal city of Zadar, reported that the Croats celebrated mass in the Croatian language, a practice indicating a well-developed sense of national identity. At the end of the eleventh century Croatia came under the sway of its powerful neighbour, Hungary, and in 1102 agreed to be ruled by its Hungarian king, who also became king of Croatia. Although remaining an independent state, with her own feudal parliament or Sabor, from that time on the Croatian feudal nobility gave their allegiance to the Hungarian crown.1