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Temporary Croatization of Parts of Eastern Slovenia between the Sixteenth and Nineteenth Century

Changing Identities at the Meeting Point of Related Peoples

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Boris Golec

This book analyzes the reasons for the emergence and extinction of the Croatian name in four Slovene border regions. The author uses comparative methods and a broad spectrum of sources. In the early Modern Age, the Croatian name established itself in these areas as a temporary phenomenon, replacing the original Slovene name, which at that time had a «pre-national» content and was also used by a considerable portion of today’s Croats. Extending the use of the Croatian name to the Slovene border regions was a component of a broader and long-term process. The author explores how this process was triggered by tectonic geopolitical changes resulting from the Ottoman conquests in the Balkans and the Pannonian Basin.

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This study uses comparative methods and the broadest possible spectrum of sources to elucidate the reasons for the emergence and extinction of the Croatian name in four Slovene border regions: White Carniola, the Kostel region, Prekmurje, and Prlekija. Its main finding is that, in the early Modern Age, the Croatian name established itself in these areas as a temporary phenomenon, replacing the original Slovene name, which at that time had a “pre-national” content and was also used by a considerable portion of today’s Croats. Extending the use of the Croatian name to the Slovene border regions was a component of a broader and long-term process of Croatizing the names of the language and inhabitants of medieval Slavonia. This was triggered by tectonic geopolitical changes resulting from the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Ottoman conquests in the Balkans and the Pannonian Basin. In what was historically Slavonia, since then politically even more closely connected with the remnants of the original Croatia (in the Adriatic), the Croatian name replaced the previous Slovene name by the eighteenth century, first as a political designation referring to the area and its population, and only afterwards also as a designation referring to its language, known as Kajkavian (one of the current Croatian dialects), which for a long time continued to be referred to as Slovene.

The basic questions of this study are as follows: why was the Croatian name also able to become established in part of Slovene ethnic territory in the early Modern...

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