|Pola, Istria — Old Italian City|
During the Middle Ages the city of Pola was part of the Kingdom of Italy (476-538), Exarchate of Italy (584-751), Kingdom of Italy (751-952), Patria del Friuli (1077-1148), Republic of Venice (1148-1291), Patria del Friuli (1291-1331) and the Republic of Venice (1331-1797). In the early 19th century Pola was briefly part of the Kingdom of Italy, but fell under Habsburg rule in 1815 and was annexed to the Austrian Empire. After World War I and the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Pola once again returned to the Kingdom of Italy. Pola officially remained under Italian sovereignty until 1947.
After World War II Istria was occupied by the Yugoslav Communists and annexed to Yugoslavia. The native Italians were terrorized, persecuted, murdered and forced to flee in a series of events known as the Foibe Massacres and the Istrian Exodus. Between December 1946 and September 1947, the city of Pola was emptied of nearly its entire population: an estimated 32,000 of 34,000 Italians (94% of the population) were forced to abandon their homes and property in Pola and emigrate to Italy and other countries due to fear of persecution, torture and death under Yugoslav rule. Later, new Slavic immigrants arrived to repopulate the deserted city. Like the rest of Istria, Pola lost its 2,000 year old heritage and cultural identity; the city became croatized and was renamed “Pula”.
In 1991 Yugoslavia broke up and Croatia declared its independence; the city of Pola was then incorporated into the new country of Croatia, where it remains today. The Italian Exiles are still awaiting the return of their homeland of Istria.
Full version: The History of Pola