Sunday, October 5, 2014

Statement of Leopold Vaccaro on Fiume

Here we have the statements of Dr. Leopold Vaccaro, who spoke before the United States senate on September 5, 1919, on how the people of the free city of Fiume chose to be part of Italy, but their right to self-determination was rejected:
Leaving to others the task of discussing the historical, geographical, ethnological, and practical reasons whereby Fiume and Dalmatia should be incorporated in the Italian kingdom, I would like only to say a few words about the right of self-determination which some statesmen would deny to the inhabitants of Fiume.

It has been said that Italy asked for Fiume only after the fall of the Hapsburg dynasty, but the truth of the whole matter is this: It has been Fiume itself that has expressed its desire to be annexed to Italy, exercising its right of self-disposition in full accord with the declaration made by the President of the United States. Moreover, Fiume placed itself under the protection of the people of the United States in the event that some opposition might be made in the exercise of such a sacred right and finally by public proclamation declared herself annexed to Italy, when rightly or wrongly, the people of Fiume thought that their right of self-determination was becoming a matter of bargain for some of the peace conference delegates. The question now arises was Fiume entitled to exercise the right of self-determination as such right was understood by the President of the United States? If there ever was a State, a community in Europe, which knew what self-determination meant, and how to exercise such a right, that community or State was Fiume.

The citizens of the free community or free municipality of Fiume decided on July 20, 1530, to place themselves under the protection of Ferdinand I, under certain conditions, accepting certain duties but without renunciation to the personality of the community, whose historical boundaries were recognized by imperial patents issued by Emperor Ferdinand himself. On the force of that patent Fiume was annexed to the crown, but as a separate body, corpus separatum and its status was confirmed by Maria Theresa in 1789, and by the Hungarian Parliament in 1868. In plain words, up to October 30, 1918, the empire of the Hapsburgs was formed by three States, viz, Austria, Hungary, and Fiume. With the collapse of the Hapsburgs, the compact stipulated between them and Fiume became void and null, and the citizens of Fiume, free again of any ties or obligations, decided to annex themselves to Italy. This decision was a bona fide one and was taken through the proper and right channels and in a politically legal form.

Now if we were to trust what has been said here and there, it would appear that when Fiume proclaimed her annexation to Italy on the basis of her right of self-determination, a sort of a dilemma was put to Italy by her allies: If you take Fiume, then the treaty of London shall be considered void and null, because Fiume was excluded from the pact; if you want the fulfillment of the Treaty of London, then Fiume must go to Croatia. I must candidly confess that I am not able to follow the argument.

Let us suppose that Fiume was excluded from the pact of London for unselfish reasons, for the reason that Austria-Hungary could not be deprived as a nation (republic or empire does not matter) of an outlet to the sea. At that time nobody hoped that Italy would be able to completely crush the Austrian dynasty, and perhaps it was right to leave Fiume to Austria. But now, with the break-up of the Austrian Empire, we have Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, who have become inland powers and who consequently have as much right to Fiume as Switzerland has to Genoa or Marseille. Fiume is an independent body, and as such, exercising its right of self-determination, chooses to be annexed to Italy. How could and why should Italy lose the rights acquired by the treaty of London in accepting the decision of the free state of Fiume?

We have been told that it is because the new State called Jugoslavia needs an outlet to the sea. But what do they mean when they say Jugo-Slavia? If it is a question of Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Serbia as a whole, it is clear that Fiume is not the natural outlet to the sea of any of them. The future of Serbia points "toward the south" will be our motto from now on, wrote Prof. Ciwije, of Belgrade University, in 1913, and he was thinking of Saloniki.

On August 6, 1916, the Serbian Premier Pasic said. "We can not deny the incontestable right of Italy to the hegemony of both sides of the Adriatic. We are only looking for an economical outlet," and such an outlet was considered more than sufficient in a strip of territory between Ragusa and Cattaro 3 miles long. And again, another Serbian official said. "The harbors of Dalmatia are useless to us, because they are eccentric to Serbia." And so they are, especially Fiume, which is the most eccentric of them all. What has been said of Serbia can be applied to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which lie between Serbia and the Adriatic.

Then Fiume would be the natural outlet of Croatia. But it is not, since only 7 per cent of all the trade passing through Fiume is Croatian and only 13 per cent of the import and export commerce of Jugoslavia pass through Fiume. Then it appears clearly that the Croatians want Fiume not for their trade, but to acquire a predominance over Hungary, the Bohemians and Germans, substituting themselves for the detested Hapsburgs. It is for the reason that the Croatians want to resuscitate another powerful Austria that the people of Fiume protest against being forcibly annexed to Jugoslavia: that the Italians naturally can not suffer their brethren to be again subjected to the gallows of their oppressors, and Italy wishes to insure her security on the Dalmatian coast. It should be born in mind that Croatia already has natural outlets, e. g. Buccari, Porto Re, Carlo Pago, and Segna; Serbia and Herzegovina have [annexed] Trau and Spalato, Marcassa, Gravosa and Ragusa, Castelnuovo, Cattaro, Antivari and Metcovitch...

We know that Jugo-Slavia has plenty of harbors for its present and future commerce. The statement often made by Jugo-Slavs that Italy wants to block forever Jugo-Slav commercial expansion by taking over the Dalmatian coast is absolute falsehood. The Serbians wanted only 3 miles and instead they have now more than 600. Italy has claimed no more than 200 miles, excluding for instance Spalato, which makes its living almost exclusively on Italian trade. In fact, Spalato has an electric plant for the production of 60,000 horsepower, built by the Italians with Italian capital, and from Spalato 400,000 tons of cement were yearly exported to Italy.

Italy wanted a part of Dalmatia which had retained its Italian character and some Dalmatian islands which constitute a tremendous danger to her. These islands can hide and protect by a system of mine laying the navy of Jugo-Slavia or any other allies, which could attack at will the occidental coast of the Adriatic, studded with beautiful cities, and return safely to their abodes before the Italian Navy might be able to defend the coast. The recent war has confirmed Italy in her conviction that she needs protection on that side. Unable to confute such military reasons the Jugo-Slavs say it was all right to seek protection in the past, but now we have the league of nations. It is fine rhetoric and fine philosophy, but a league that has to hang on another league of three nations to be of any value arouses great suspicion of its own protective value. I can not blame the Italians if they demand a more tangible form of protection.

The last argument used by the Jugo-Slavs is that the majority of the population in Dalmatia is Slavic. Therefore these lands fall to Jugo-Slavia on the principle of nationality. Now, the question of nationality has nothing to do with the question as to how many Slavs will be included within Italy's frontiers or to how many Germans will be included within the French frontier on the Rhine.

Dalmatia is claimed by Italy as unredeemed land, just as Transylvania is claimed by Roumania and Alsace-Lorraine by France.

In Transylvania there are 1,472,021 Roumanians and 1,206,346 Magyars and Germans. In Alsace and Lorraine before the war there was the following proportion between Germans and French:

Lorraine—481,460 Germans, 73 per cent; 146,097 French, 27 per cent.

Upper Alsace—481,375 Germans, 93 per cent; 31,771 French, 6 per cent.

Lower Alsace—671,425 Germans. 96 per cent; 26,394 French, 3.7 per cent.

In all, 1,634,260 Germans, 87 per cent; 204,662 French, 10 per cent.

I don't care to belittle the sacred aspirations of France, but wish to demonstrate that the proportions existing in Dalmatia between Italians and Slavs is more or less equivalent to that existing between the French and Germans in Alsace and Lorraine, two provinces which were restored to France without discussion. This shows that the principle of nationality can not be defined by the simple process of counting heads, by taking the individual out of his surroundings, out of his national traditions, out of his political and social ties, with his forerunners and the people living around him at present. If you take him out of the whole series or interdependent national relations you make the individual universal. You make of him an antisocial and antipolitical being. You do, in other words, what the Bolsheviks have done in Russia and elsewhere. The Slavs in Slavia and Dalmatia, as well as the Germans in Alsace and Lorraine, can not be separated from their environment and considered as individuals. The Slavs find themselves in territory which is Italian historically, geographically, and by right of strategic necessity. They must bow to this condition, because it is more important to the world that a great nation should be made secure than the liking of a few thousand individuals should not be thwarted.

... That is not the case of Fiume, however, whose people are entitled to the principle of self-determination, nor the case of that part of Dalmatia which was assigned to Italy by the Treaty of London that is indispensable to the security of a nation of 40,000,000 inhabitants, a nation which has paid the full price in blood, suffering, and wealth to acquire that security. Because that part of Dalmatia was under the yoke of the Hapsburgs, it has been possible for the Austrian fleet, a few hours after the declaration of war, to pour upon cities and destroy churches and schools, to kill women and children, and fly away, refusing, up to the last, the challenge of the Italian sailors. Should a new war break again, in spite of all our efforts, in five years or in a century, the Italians do not want a repetition of what happened in the past. They want that the churches and cities be spared that the priests might pray and women toil and children grow in safety at least. It is for the assurance of such a future that more than 500,000 Italians died on the battle fields, more than 900,000 were severely wounded, and millions and millions of men, women, and children suffered cold and hunger and swallowed silently their bitter tears. They hoped for the justice of Italy's allies, and especially America, and they must not have hoped in vain.
—Dr. Leopold Vaccaro, Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Sixty-Sixth Congress, September 5, 1919

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Statement of Ernest Papich on Fiume

We have here the statements of a native of Fiume—Mr. Ernest Papich—who spoke before the United States senate on September 5, 1919:
Mr. Chairman and honorable Senators, I am an American citizen. I was born at Fiume. My family has belonged for generations to the city of Fiume. I left Fiume, as many others did, refusing to be under Austrian military rule, and came to this country to become a good and faithful citizen.

I asked to come before this committee to assert and to describe the spirit of my native city.

My first words were in the Italian language, and through my childhood I did not hear any other language but Italian, which is not only spoken by the great majority of our population but venerated with pride as our most sacred link with our motherland, Italy.

I will tell you also that my fellow citizens never thought of any other country but Italy, and that the small minority of Slavs at Fiume were never seriously spoken of and never were represented in any municipal activity.

My fellow citizens are ready to die and to defend their world-wide, well-known Italian sentiment. At Fiume not only the hearts of the population but even the stones are Italian.

Buildings, churches, and monuments were built by Italians thousands of years ago. Hard as these stones is the will of Fiume to defend and preserve the Italianity of their city.

My fellow countrymen fought for this sentiment hundreds of battles, and they hope now that this one will be their last struggle.

Fiume, according to history having always been an independent and free city, is entitled as any other free people to recognition and respect. It is simply repugnant to me to think that anybody else shall contest Fiume's own wishes after so much suffering and the many sacrifices of its people.

I was recently informed by a friend of mine, who is a member of the National Council of Fiume, that there is only one watchword: "Italy or death!"
—Mr. Ernest Papich, Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Sixty-Sixth Congress, September 5, 1919

Friday, October 3, 2014

The History of Maraschino

The Marasca cherry, better known in the English-speaking world as the maraschino cherry, is a type of Morello cherry (wild cherry) indigenous to the region of Dalmatia, first attested in the 14th century. It is cultivated especially in Italy and in the former Italian city of Zara.

The world famous liqueur known as Maraschino is derived from the fermented marasca cherry. It was invented in Zara in 1730 by an Italian pharmacist from Bergamo named Barolomeo Ferrari and an Italian cafe owner from Dalmatia named Giuseppe Carceniga (also spelled Calceniga). Their technique was later developed and perfected by the Venetian merchant Francesco Drioli, originally from Istria, who founded the Fabbrica di Maraschino Francesco Drioli in 1759 in Zara, and began bottling and selling the liqueur. This Italian liqueur became the first product of Dalmatia to be exported overseas. It gained international fame, and earned a positive reputation among such notable men as King George IV of England, King Louis XVIII of France, Napoleon and the Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Soon after its popularity spread, many other factories were established around Zara which began producing maraschino liqueur.

Vintage poster of Luxardo Maraschino in Zara
After Drioli, the most popular brand of Maraschino which arose was Luxardo, founded in Zara in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo, an Italian businessman from Genoa. The brands of Drioli (founded in 1759) and Luxardo (founded in 1821), together with the later Italo-Vlach company of Romano Vlahov (founded in 1861), would go on to dominate the maraschino liqueur industry of Zara (called la città del maraschino—the city of maraschino) until the period of the Second World War.

During the Second World War, Allied bombings destroyed much of Zara, including the old distilleries. The Yugoslav bands of Josip Broz Tito, the future Communist dictator, occupied the city in 1944. Two members of the Luxardo family, Pietro Luxardo and Nicolò Luxardo (together with his wife), were murdered by the Yugoslavs. The survivors of the family fled to Italy, where they re-founded the company in 1947. The Drioli family also fled to Italy, together with thousands of other Italians who were driven from Dalmatia by the Yugoslavs at the end of the Second World War. The owners of Romano Vlahov sold their brand to the Italian company of Casoni in Modena.

After the war, the city of Zara was annexed to Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Communists seized all industrial assets and machinery, rebuilt the old Luxardo distillery and re-bottled the liqueur under the new brand name “Maraska”. This brand continues to be sold today in Croatia, and is one of the most popular brands of maraschino liqueur in Croatia.

The “scholars”, “historians” and institutions of the former Yugoslav countries have been known to engage in a historical revisionism which equals – if not surpasses – that of Stalinist Bolshevism in Russia. The Yugolavs not only murdered members of the Luxardo family and drove the remainder of them out of Zara, but they stole the old industries, imitated the recipe, and claimed that the liqueur was their own discovery and invention. Croatia today carries on the Yugoslav revisionist tradition and continues to market maraschino liqueur as a “Croatian” invention, in order to stimulate business, increase exports, and build national prestige—a prestige built on lies, theft and murder.

The ruins of the maraschino factories in Zara

The Dalmatian Dog

The Dalmatian breed originated in Dalmatia

Although its ancestral origins are probably ancient and most likely traced from outside of Europe, the modern breed of dog known as the Dalmatian, with its famous black spots, is believed to have originated in the region of Dalmatia some time in the last few hundred years.

Because it is popular for many Slavs today to lay claim to the history and culture of Dalmatia, and to refer to things of Dalmatian heritage and origins as “Croatian” (simply because the region is today occupied by Croatia), it has become popular for Croats to proclaim the Dalmatian dog as a “Croatian breed” and to market it as a “Croatian dog”. However, in the period in which the dog came into existence, the region of Dalmatia was neither politically, nor culturally, nor ethnically Croatian.

The Dalmatian was first attested in the area of Dalmatia in the 16th century, in the small Italian village of Lussingrande on the island of Lussino, in the Quarnaro Gulf, on an altar in the church of the Madonna degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels), painted by an Italian artist around the year 1600. The breed was prevalent along the Dalmatian coast, and it is believed that they were originally used as guard dogs by the Venetians and inhabitants of Dalmatia. The breed spread to England around the 18th century, where they became associated with coaches and firehouses. It was not until 1955, eight years after the annexation of Dalmatia to Yugoslavia, that the Dalmatian became associated with the Yugoslavs, due to a popular publication of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), and it was not until 1993, after the breakup of Yugoslavia and the creation of the Republic of Croatia, that it became officially recognized as a “Croatian” breed of dog, after initially being rejected.

Unfortunately for Croatia, the idea that the Dalmatian is of “Croatian origins” is yet another case of historical revisionism and shameless marketing propaganda for tourists.

Madonna degli Angeli, Lussingrande
Lussingrande (Dalmatia), c. 1900

How Did Slavs Become the Majority in Dalmatia?

For years it has become commonplace to say that Dalmatia was a region in which “a small minority of Italians ruled over a vast majority of Slavs”. However, this is not historically accurate. Although Slavs have notoriously formed a majority in the hinterland of Dalmatia for many centuries, these hinterlands have always been very sparsely populated in comparison to the cities. Since antiquity Romance-speakers formed the overwhelming majority of the population in all the major Dalmatian cities (Zara, Spalato, Sebenico, Traù, Ragusa, etc.), which, naturally, were always more populous than the hinterlands which surrounded them. Romance-speakers, therefore, formed the majority of the Dalmatian population for nearly two millennia. Slavs did not come to form a majority of the population in Dalmatia until between the 16th to 18th centuries. Prior to this, although Slavs formed a majority in the hinterland, Latins still comprised the majority of the total population of Dalmatia.

Let it be repeated: Latins comprised the majority of the total population of Dalmatia; not merely in the cities alone, which has always been admitted by observers, but in the region as a whole as well. It was not until between the 16th and 18th centuries that Slavs began to surpass the Latin population in number. Prior to this, Slavs never formed a majority in Dalmatia, let alone a vast majority. How, then, did Slavs come to form a demographic majority in Dalmatia?

Slavic Immigration

Based on official censuses taken during the Napoleonic era, in the year 1800 Italians comprised 1/3 (one-third) or 33% of the population in Dalmatia (92,500 Italians out of a total population of 280,300). It must be noted, however, that this was only after a mass migration of Slavs took place in the region. This is not a reference to the original barbarian invasions of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, in which waves of Slavic hordes imposed themselves on the Balkan populations in the first place. The mass migration in question was of a much more recent date. From the 16th to 18th centuries, after the Ottomans had conquered all of the Balkans, the Venetians welcomed into Dalmatia thousands upon thousands of Slavic immigrants and refugees seeking asylum from the Turks, not realizing that within a couple centuries the Slavs would not only significantly outnumber the autochthonous Italian population, but would ethnically cleanse the region of all Italians and claim the land, its culture and its history for themselves.

This mass migration of Slavs was documented by numerous records, letters and chronicles contemporary to the migrations. A modern historian of Yugoslav history, Fred Singleton, in his book ‘A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples’, pointed out the impact these migrations had on the Italian Dalmatian population:
“The Turkish conquest of the Balkans impelled large numbers of Serbs and Bosnian Croats to flee into the neighbouring lands of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia. Many of those who settled in Dalmatia mixed with the existing Croat population. Thus the Slav element in Dalmatia increased at the expense of the Italians.”
In 1650 the whole of Dalmatia only had a population of some 50,000 people. The population was almost entirely Italian and concentrated in the coastal towns. By 1718 the population of Dalmatia doubled to 108,090 people. In 1781 the total population of Dalmatia grew to 263,674, and in 1795 grew to 288,320. This rapid population increase occurred due in large part to the influx of Morlach immigrants and Slavic refugees to the hinterland of Dalmatia. By the turn of the 19th century the Slavs and slavicized Morlachs formed two-thirds of the Dalmatian population.

From the 16th to 18th centuries a mass migration of Slavs had occurred, but when all was said and done the Italians still comprised one-third, i.e. 1/3 or 33% of the total population in Dalmatia, which is admitted also by recent Croatian sources (Šime Peričić, ‘O broju Talijana/talijanaša u Dalmaciji XIX. stoljeća’, 2003). Prior to this Slavic migration, Italians comprised a much larger portion of the population. Towards the end of the the 15th century, prior to these migrations, Italians comprised – at a minimum – approximately three-fourths of the total population in Dalmatia, which at the time was very sparsely inhabited, with only 60,000 people living in the entire region. It was the large Slavic immigration in the following centuries that caused the population in Dalmatia to significantly increase.

Despite the great increase of the Slavic population from the 16th to 18th centuries, the language, culture and heritage of Dalmatia remained Italian, as it always had been, and the politics of the country remained Italian. So long as the destiny of Dalmatia was in Italian hands, its Italianity could not be questioned. This changed drastically, however, after the dissolution of the Venetian Republic in 1797, and the takeover of Dalmatia by the Austrian Habsburgs in 1815, followed by its incorporation into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867.

Slavicization of the Cities

It has commonly been said that Slavs formed a majority in the hinterland, while Italians formed a majority in the cities. And this is undoubtedly true. But in the late 19th and early 20th century, during the Austro-Hungarian period, even in the cities (Spalato, Sebenico, etc.), which always had an acknowledged Italian majority, Slavs began to overwhelm the native Italian population and become a majority also in the Italian cities (with a few notable exceptions, such as Zara).

How did this happen? This happened in three ways:

1) through the well-documented persecution of Italians;
2) through the well-documented manipulation of statistics;
3) through the equally well-documented mass immigration of Slavic peoples, encouraged and fomented by the Austro-Hungarian government, with the expressed purpose of slavicizing Dalmatia and eliminating the vital Italian element of the region.

During this period there was a systematic de-Italianization policy carried out against the indigenous Italians of Dalmatia on the part of the Austro-Hungarian government: Italian schools were closed, while Slavic schools were created in Italian-speaking areas, forcing Italians to attend Slavic schools; Italian politicians were removed from office, while positions of authority were placed in the hands of Slavs; Italian place names were slavicized; support was given to the ideology of Pan-Slavism; and thousands of Slavs from other parts of the Empire were moved to Dalmatia in order to increase the Slavic population and extinguish the Italian population by means of artificial mass immigration. According to Austro-Hungarian statistics, the total number of Slavs in Dalmatia tripled during these years. These newly-arrived Slavic immigrants were also granted special privileges, and were given the power to vote, in order to influence and manipulate local elections.

The purpose of all this was to eliminate the ancient Italian presence in Dalmatia, which was a constant thorn in the side of Hapsburg Austria. For this same reason, similar policies of de-Italianization were implemented also in Istria, Fiume, Trieste, the Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (these latter three areas, fortunately, survived this forced de-nationalization policy of the Hapsburg's and today retain their Italianity, both ethnically and culturally. The same, unfortunately, can not be said of Istria and Fiume).

This policy of de-Italianization was openly promoted by Emperor Franz Joseph in a meeting of the Austrian Council of Ministers on November 12, 1866, in which the Emperor declared that Austria must:
“...decisively oppose the influence of the Italian element still present in some crown lands, and to aim unsparingly and without the slightest compunction at the Germanization or Slavicization – depending on the circumstances – of the areas in question, through a suitable entrustment of posts to political magistrates and teachers, as well as through the influence of the press in South Tyrol, Dalmatia, and the Adriatic Coast.”

Second World War

The Italian city of Zara — the last remaining major bastion of Italianity in Dalmatia by this period — was nearly entirely destroyed by the Allies during the Second World War. Thousands of Italian civilians were killed in the bombing raids, and many Italians from other cities were murdered by Slavic partisans in the Foibe Massacres between 1943 and 1945. Those Italians who remained in Dalmatia were forced to flee and moved to Italy. Their descendants have yet to be compensated or even acknowledged by the post-Yugoslav governments.

Summary

Two great mass migrations of Slavs took place in Dalmatia between the 16th and early 20th century.

The first wave, between the 16th and 18th centuries, was purely demographic, and took place during the Venetian period. In this period thousands of Slavic immigrants and refugees arrived in Dalmatia, fleeing the invasions of the Turks. It was not until the arrival of these Slavic immigrants in the 16th to 18th centuries that Slavs began to surpass the Italian population in number. But the cities remained Italian, the culture of Dalmatia remained Italian, and the politics of the country remained Italian, despite the increase in the Slavic population.

The second wave was both demographic and political, and took place during the Austro-Hungarian period. In this period there was a systematic de-Italianization policy implemented against the indigenous Italians of the region on the part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During this period the number of Slavs in the region tripled, and Slavs began to overtake Italians even in the cities.

Finally, at the end of the Second World War, many Italians were killed in Allied bombing raids and massacres by the Slavs, and the last remaining Italians were forced to flee. The entire region was annexed to Yugoslavia in 1947.

In this way, within the course of a century and a half, Italians — who still formed one-third of the population in 1800 and maintained a majority in all the major Dalmatian cities — were ethnically cleansed from a land in which they had built and inhabited for more than 2,000 years.

Conclusion

Since the 19th century the Slavs and their apologists have pretended that Slavs always formed the majority in Dalmatia, ever since they first invaded the region in the 7th and 8th centuries, and have used this as a pretext to occupy and annex the region away from Italians. But as has been demonstrated, this is not the case at all. It was only through mass immigration in the 16th to 18th centuries that Slavs became a majority in the Dalmatia region; up until this time Romance people comprised the majority of the total population in Dalmatia. The vast majority of Dalmatian Slavs in the 19th century were not descended from medieval invaders who lived in the region for centuries, as they like to pretend, but rather were descended from those more recent immigrants and refugees; desperate guests who fled the Balkans and immigrated en masse to Dalmatia, seeking refuge from the Ottoman Turks, which was granted to them — in hindsight naively — by the Italians. And it was only through mass immigration and the anti-Italian policies of the Austro-Hungarian government in the late 19th and early 20th century that Slavs became a majority in the Dalmatian cities as well.

Up until the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the coastal cities of Dalmatia had remained predominantly and almost exclusively Italian in ethnicity and culture. This is important to remember, as it was from the cities that Dalmatia received its character and civilization; its art, its literature, its language, its governors; the cities were the commercial and cultural centres of Dalmatia, the source of Dalmatia's identity, heritage and character, which for over 2,000 years was indisputably Latin and Italian. But by targeting the cities, filling them with Slavic immigrants, overtaking the Latin population, and persecuting the Italians, the Austro-Hungarian authorities assured that the whole region would become rapidly slavicized. This forced slavicization and intentional ethnic cleansing of Italians was completed by the Yugoslav partisans at the end of the Second World War.

Nearly all of the Slavs who inhabit the cities of Dalmatia today are post-war immigrants who arrived in Dalmatia only after 1947, after the end of the Second World War, after the native Italians were systematically killed and chased from their homes, and the region was annexed to Communist Yugoslavia. It is estimated that there are approximately only 800 Italians still living in Dalmatia today.

See also:
Quotes on the Italianity of Dalmatia
Quotes on the Italianity of Fiume
Quotes on the Italianity of Istria
Quotes on the Italianity of the Quarnaro
Quotes on the Italianity of Ragusa

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Importance of the Cities

Since the 19th century the Slavs and their supporters have never ceased to emphasize the large Slavic presence in the hinterlands of Istria and Dalmatia, as opposed to the large Italian presence in the cities. This Slavic presence was used as a pretext to occupy and annex these territories to Yugoslavia in the 20th century, officially bringing them into the sphere of the Slavic world.

But the importance of the cities can not be emphasized enough.

Up until the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, all the major cities of Istria and Dalmatia (Zara, Spalato, Sebenico, Traù, Pola, Pirano, Capodistria, etc.) had remained predominantly and almost exclusively Italian. This is important to remember, as it was from the cities that the regions received its character and civilization; its art, its literature, its language, its governors; the cities were the commercial and cultural centres of Istria and Dalmatia, the source of their civilization, identity, heritage and character, which for over 2,000 years was indisputably Latin and Italian.

As famous author T. G. Jackson once pointed out:
“It is to the Latins of Dalmatia that we must look for evidences of culture and intellectual progress, and not to the Slavs. ... The architecture of Dalmatia has so much in it that is peculiar and distinctive... it is entirely urban, and confined to the maritime cities, for the sea has in all ages been the parent of Dalmatian civilization; the history of the country is in fact the history of the maritime towns, and it was in them alone that art and letters found a congenial soil and took root.”
In short, it mattered not who lived in the backwards and underdeveloped hinterlands, because the political and cultural direction of Istria and Dalmatia — and indeed the whole story of its history — was to be found in the cities. And this direction had always been, since antiquity, Latin and Italian.

By targeting the cities, filling them with Slavic immigrants, and persecuting the native Italians, the Austro-Hungarian government assured that the whole of Istria and Dalmatia would become rapidly slavicized. This slavicization process was completed by the Yugoslavs at the end of the Second World War, when Istria and Dalmatia were occupied and annexed to Communist Yugoslavia, and Italians were systematically massacred and driven from their homes.

See also:
Quotes on the Italianity of Dalmatia
Quotes on the Italianity of Fiume
Quotes on the Italianity of Istria
Quotes on the Italianity of the Quarnaro
Quotes on the Italianity of Ragusa

Dalmatia Before the Venetians

It is common for Slavs to claim that Italians did not exist in Dalmatia before the arrival of the Venetians, or that Dalmatia did not have a Latin culture until the Venetians became the rulers of the Adriatic. While no one could ever deny the impact and influence of the Venetians on the region of Dalmatia (culturally, artistically, linguistically, etc.) the fact remains that the Latinity of Dalmatia and the Italian presence in Dalmatia predates the Venetians by many centuries, and certainly predates the Slavs by several centuries as well. As the 19th century author H. R. Fairclough stated:
“It was in the same century as witnessed the destruction of Salona that the Serbo-Croatians first migrated into the Balkan peninsula. ...but the city-states along the coast still retained their Roman character, as well as their independence, for centuries afterwards. Even today many Roman family names are found in use along the coast, surviving from the Roman period... It should be distinctly understood that however much Venice has left her mark upon the whole coast in her art and architecture, yet the Latin character of these maritime cities is due more to ancient Roman tradition than to Venetian domination.”
Another author, T. G. Jackson, also writing in the 19th century, said:
“Those who have not acquainted themselves with Dalmatian history are apt to think that the Latin fringe which borders the slavonic province has derived its language and customs from Venice, to which it was so long subject. Nothing can be farther from the truth; Zara, Spalato, Traù and Ragusa were Latin cities when as yet Venice was not existent, and they remained Latin cities throughout the middle ages, with very little help from her influence until the fifteenth century.”
The Colonna di Orlando (Orlando's Column) in Ragusa,
constructed in 1418 by Antonio da Ragusa and Bonino da Milano

Dalmatia was home to a flourishing Latin civilization before the Slavs arrived in the Balkans, and even before anyone in Europe knew who the Slavs were. Throughout the centuries Dalmatia remained home to a flourishing Latin civilization. When the Slavs invaded the Balkans in the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, it was in the region of Dalmatia that the Romans and Latin peoples sought refuge, and founded cities such as Ragusa, after being driven out of the interior by the Slavs.

Emperor Constantine VII, writing in the 10th century in his famous ‘De administrando imperio’, said:
“The aforesaid Slavs took the Roman arms and standards and the rest of their military insignia and crossed the river... Once through, they instantly expelled the Romans and took possession of the aforesaid city of Salona. There they settled and thereafter began gradually to make plundering raids and destroyed the Romans who dwelt in the plains and on the higher ground and took possession of their lands. The remnant of the Romans escaped to the cities of the coast and possess them still [today], namely, Cattaro, Ragusa, Spalato, Traù, Zara, Arbe, Veglia and Ossero, the inhabitants of which are called Romans to this day. ... These same Ragusans used of old to possess the city that is called Epidaurum; and since, when the other cities were captured by the Slavs that were in the province, this city too was captured, and some were slaughtered and others taken prisoner, those who were able to escape and reach safety settled in the almost precipitous spot where the city now is... From their migration from Salona to Ragusa, it is 500 years till this day...”
The city of Ragusa represented in the eastern Adriatic what Venice represented in the western Adriatic: the continuation of Roman and Latin civilization. Both cities were founded by Romans who were fleeing barbarians after the collapse of the Empire, both cities were destined to form powerful and influential republics (although Venice, no doubt, was much more powerful and influential), and both cities were compelled to carry on the torch of Roman and Latin civilization against the onslaught of various hordes of Huns, Avars and Slavs.

The Latin and Italian character of Dalmatia was certainly strengthened by the Venetians, but the Latin character of Dalmatia was already an established fact since antiquity, and continued on through the Middle Ages and into the Venetian period, all the way down to the 20th century.

See also:
Quotes on the Italianity of Dalmatia
Quotes on the Italianity of Fiume
Quotes on the Italianity of Istria
Quotes on the Italianity of the Quarnaro
Quotes on the Italianity of Ragusa

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Myth of the “Croatian Renaissance”

Italian sculptor and architect Giorgio da Sebenico,
now renamed “Juraj Dalmatinac” by Croat revisionists

If you browse around the internet, and have searched the subjects of Croatian history, Dalmatian history, or the Adriatic in general, chances are you may have heard of an event called the “Croatian Renaissance”. Most people have never heard of such an event, but for those who have, here is something that may come as a surprise to you: there was no “Croatian Renaissance”.

The “Croatian Renaissance” is a modern term – a neologism – applied to the advanced artistic and intellectual currents which took place between the 15th and 16th centuries in the lands which today are part of Croatia. The so-called “Croatian Renaissance” is, in fact, an example of modern Croatian revisionism. There was only one Renaissance which transpired in what is today Croatia, and that was the Italian Renaissance, which took place in the Italian region of Dalmatia, and to a lesser extent Istria. Just because Istria and Dalmatia are today part of Croatia, this does not mean that its history, heritage and achievements belong to Croatia or the Croatian people.

The Croatian revisionists pretend that what transpired in Dalmatia in the 15th and 16th centuries was a “Croatian Renaissance” filled with Croatian artists, Croatian architects, Croatian writers, and overall Croatian genius. But in reality it was nothing of the sort. All the major artists, architects, sculptors, poets, philosophers, writers, musicians, scientists, statesmen and polymaths of the Renaissance in Dalmatia were of Latin heritage, background and culture.

The ex-Yugoslavs are so desperate to prove the worth and value of their new countries, so desperate to demonstrate their right to exist, so desperate to increase their national prestige and create for themselves a glorious history, so desperate to gain worldwide recognition and universal importance, so desperate to attract tourists and stimulate their economies, and so desperate to justify their ongoing occupation of non-Slavic lands (and their previous expulsions and ethnic cleansing against non-Slavs during and after the World War), that they have shamelessly usurped an entire history which is not theirs, and have gone so far as to slavicize all historical Latin and Italian names, and re-write history, making use of the internet and websites such as Wikipedia, using (or rather exploiting) them as political tools and platforms for their nationalistic propaganda, presenting to the unsuspecting English-speaking world the artificial, unhistorical and falsified image of a “Croatian Renaissance” and a “Croatian civilization” in the region of Dalmatia, which in fact never existed.

Even if it were true that the men of Istria and Dalmatia in this time period were all ethnically Slavs (which is not true), to refer to this as the “Croatian Renaissance” is a gross error and exaggeration. The term ‘Renaissance’ is a French word meaning rebirth – a reference to the revival of arts and letters. How can the Slavs, who never had an ancient culture, art, literature or civilization of their own, possibly have a rebirth or revival of culture, art, literature and civilization? In order for something to be reborn or revived, it must exist in the first place. Unfortunately for the Croats, whose ancestors only arrived in Europe between the 6th and 8th centuries, and did not have an alphabet until one was provided to them by Catholic missionaries in the 9th century (known as Glagolitic script), no ancient Croatian civilization existed to be revived, which is one of the many reasons they are now attempting to re-write history and steal for themselves the heritage and accomplishments of other people.

If you truly believe that those Renaissance figures brought forth by Croatian revisionists (such as Giorgio Orsini da Sebenico, Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino and Andrea Meldolla) were actually Croats, and not Latins, then ask yourself this: why did this Renaissance take place in Dalmatia, and to a lesser extent in Istria, but not in the other parts of Croatia? Why did the areas around Zagreb, Osijek, Velika Gorica, and Slavonski Brod (indisputably Croatian areas) not produce the same – or even anything remotely resembling – the spirit, ideas, culture, progress and civilization of the Renaissance in Zara, Spalato, Sebenico, Traù and Ragusa (all well-known Latin and Italian cities)? The fact is that the Renaissance in Dalmatia was an extension of the Renaissance in mainland Italy; it was part of the Italian Renaissance within the Italian-speaking cities of Dalmatia, and was a product of Italian culture, Italian people, Italian spirit and Italian civilization. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Croats or Yugoslavs, despite their shameful and pathetic revisionist fantasies.

To give just two examples of how far and ridiculous this lying and deceptive re-writing of history has gone (which, unfortunately, is very typical of “scholarship” and “education” in the Balkans), Croatia today claims that the Italian explorer Marco Polo and the legendary King Arthur of England were in fact both “Croats”. Franjo Tudjman, the first president of Croatia, on several occasions claimed that Marco Polo was “Croatian”. Stjepan Mesić, the second president of Croatia, even inaugurated a museum dedicated to Marco Polo in China in 2011. Emil Talijancic, the Croatian mayor of Igrane (a small village along the Dalmatian coast), openly asserted that King Arthur's mother belonged to this small village, and therefore was “Croatian”. Does anything more really need to be said?

See also:
Italian Literature in Dalmatia: A Falsified History
Quotes on the Italianity of Dalmatia
Quotes on the Italianity of Fiume
Quotes on the Italianity of Istria
Quotes on the Italianity of the Quarnaro
Quotes on the Italianity of Ragusa