Zadar is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. It is the centre of Zadar county and the wider northern Dalmatian region. Zadar faces the islands of Ugljan and Pašman, from which it is separated by the narrow Zadar Strait. The promontory on which the old city stands used to be separated from the mainland by a deep moat which has since become a landfill. The harbor, to the north-east of the town, is safe and spacious. Zadar is the seat of a Catholic archbishop. The district of present day Zadar has been populated since prehistoric times. The earliest evidence of human life comes from the Late Stone Age, while numerous settlements have been dated as early as the Neolithic. Before the Illyrians, the area was inhabited by an ancient Mediterranean people of a pre-Indo-European culture. They assimilated with the Indo-Europeans who settled between the 4th and 2nd millennium BC into a new ethnical unity, that of the Liburnians. Zadar was a Liburnian settlement, laid out in the 9th century BC, built on a small stone islet and embankments where the old city stands and tied to the mainland by the overflown narrow isthmus, which created a natural port in its northern strait. 

After the fall of Venice (1797) with the Treaty of Campo Formio, Zadar come under the Austrian crown and once again became united with the rest of Croatia. In 1806 it was briefly given to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, until in 1809 it was added to the French Illyrian Provinces. In 1813 all Dalmatia was reconquered and brought back under the control of the Austrian Empire.

During this time, it maintained its position as the capital of Dalmatia.
During the Napoleonic era, the first Dalmatian newspaper, “Kraglski Dalmatin – Il Regio Dalmata” (“The Royal Dalmatian”), was printed in the city.

After 1815 Dalmatia (including Dubrovnik) came under the Austrian crown. After 1848, Italian and Slavic nationalism became accentuated and the city became divided between the Croats and the Italians, both of whom founded their respective political parties. There are conflicting sources for both sides claiming to have formed the majority in this period; in general the era saw Slavs grow more than Italians throughout Dalmatia, fostering a distinct national spirit.

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Text from Wikipedia

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