REGIONAL HISTORY of VUKOVAR and ILOK

1. Notes on Prehistoric people and Vucedol culture
 

Location of the VUCEDOL archeological site 
30 m above the Danube River's right bank.

Sketches of woman's dresses in the Vucedol culture.

The region around Vukovar reflects an unbroken and continuous succession of various civilizations from the earliest Neolithic into Middle Ages. It reflects in a smaller scale all the movements in Mediterranean, Pannonian and Central European broader regions. Many archeological sites from the Early Stone Age were found and examined at Vucedol, Vukovar, Bapska, Mohovo, Lovas etc. Early hamlets were built on hilltops next to riverbanks or on stable ground near swamps with houses made of turf or built on stilts. The inhabitants gathered fruits and grains, hunted and fished, cultivated land and domesticated animals too. They polished stone tools and made others from animal bones; they were skillful weavers and shaped clay pottery that allows precise definition of various prehistoric cultural periods.
 

Aerial view of excavation sites in Streim's vineyard and fields at Vucedol above Danube river right bank.

K. Roncevic's painting of a model house from Vucedol as reconstructed by Stasa Forenbach.

Soon barter trade started as confirmed by finds of flint stone knives with different blades and amulet pendants of a Spondylus shell. The "Starcevac" culture is the earliest known followed by others like "Vicani" and "Sopot" ones. With the Indo-European migration waves came the cattle breeders from East who set down here by building fortified settlements with dry stonewalls or enclosed by palisades replacing the former open plains villages. These migrations started periods of turbulence and wars of domination; the agglomeration of wealth, goods and products caused too many plunders and devastation as well. New methods of production and cultural changes triggered social differentiation and gradual disintegration of former society leading to new constellation and forms.


Rings asspondylus jewellery from the Copper Age.
(Archeological Museum of Zagreb, photo by M.Colic)

2. Notes about the Antiquity and the Great migrations

The Right Bank of Danube was an important part of Roman fortified borders (limes) after their conquest of the region. Several examined fortifications date back to the Flavian period but there is none around the Vukovar's area because it was not good for any construction due to marshes near the confluence of Vuka River into Danube. Further down river Sotin (Cornacum) was an important Roman stronghold on the Slavonian-Syrmian limes but the whole region was linked economically and administratively to the municipality in Vinkovci (Cibalae). The Roman built road from Osijek (Mursa) via Slankamen (Aumincum) and Zemun (Taurunum) had passed through a Roman cavalry fortress Cuccium at present location of Ilok. The frequent invasions of Barbarians made the life along the Pannonian limes rather tumultuous particularly during the Marcoman invasion around 170 AD and later at times of Diocletian's rule towards the end of 3rd century. Romans finally abandoned the Danube limes after the invasions of Goths, Huns and Alanis.


A Roman military diploma found at Negoslavci (from MGC's photo archive)

After the final of Roman provincial administration late in 4th century the Huns, the Goths and the Gepides ruled in the Vukovar region at various times. So the King Kunimund reigned in Syrmia (Srijem) and eastern Slavonia in the 6th century. The Pannonia' s classic age ended when the Avars and the Slavs besieged the municipalities in this region by the 680's. The Avars set off intense migratory movements at the turn of 7th century and the Slavs came with them to this area too. The Avars were present in wider surroundings of Vukovar for more than two centuries establishing the so-called Avar Khaganate in Baranja with Zmajevac, Osijek and Bijelo Brdo. The downfall of Khaganate, after 220 years of Avars' domination, happened when the Carolinian Empire's eastern border was set on the Danube River during the reign of Ludwig of Germany. The Germans and the Slavs probably colonized the Lower Pannonia after 846 when the prince Pribina, a Franconian vassal, got in possession of some hundred-serf villages beside the river Vuka.

3. Historical notes on Vukovar and its surroundings during the Old Croatian period

Important events happened at the end 9th century and during the reign of Pribin's son Kocelj, who were a Slavonic prince and the Earl of Lower Pannonia. Missionaries Constantine and Methodius started the christening work from the revived Syrmian diocese. Between the 9th and 11th century many trading towns and prototypical settlements developed in eastern Slavonic areas on suitable locations above the Danube River. The Medieval Vukovar was an important trading town and a stronghold that drew the attention of the Arpads King Stephen I the Holy as he contributing to peoples' christening living between Drava and Sava by establishing the Pecsz diocese in 1009. The reach inventory from the cemeteries of Bijelo Brdo, Sarvas, Vera, Klis, Dalj, Erdut, Borovo and Vukovar substantiate a complex cultural synthesis of indigenous Slavic population with Old Hungarian, Old Croatian, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures.

During the reign of prince Trpimir (854-864) his Croatia's state border followed the Danube River up to Drina River's confluence in the Sava. The Croatia's eastern border in Slavonia and Syrmia was not well defined because of frequent conflicts between the Franconians and the Bulgarians there. Prince Trpimir, as a Franconian vassal, combated the Bulgarians in northea-stern Bosnia defeating them in 855 at last. The Croatian first King Tomislav (910-928) united the coastal regions and the Sava basin as well as large parts of Bosnia in his kingdom too. The final unification of Croatian lands continued achieving the peak during the reigns of Petar Kresimir IV (1058-1074) and Dmitar Zvonimir (1074-1089). Kingdom of Croatia extended from the Drava River at North to the Adriatic Coast and from the Drina River at East to Istria at West.

The union of Croatia with Hungary started in 1102 when King Koloman (1102-1116) set up a special contract known as the "Golden Chart". The newly established state stretched from Mura and Drava Rivers at North to the Adriatic Sea at South. The Hungarian kings were crowned separately in Hungary and then in Croatia to merit the Croatian State's rights. Croatia retained its lands' unity expressed by appointing a Ban (Banus) as their governor and by a Croatian separate parliament with a proper taxation system and with own money and army. The Franconians domain in this region ended after their defeat by the Hungarians who settled between the rivers Danube and Sava finding there the indigenous Slavic population. The Arpad's King Bela III (1172-1196) seized forts of Zabrag, Pozega and Vukovo on return from his plundering Byzantine territories south of Sava River. It's the first existence record of the fort Vukovo not yet under Hungarian rule then. The Arpad's king squabbled with Byzantine continually over the eastern border and when the Emperor Manuel Comnenus died in 1180 the whole of Syrmia (Eastern Slanovia) came under Arpads' control for a long time. Vukovar was one of the first Croatian towns that got the status of a Royal free town (1231) with privileges and protection to its inhabitants as envisaged by the Golden Chart. Thus Slavonia became the Royal possession and its border shifted from the Drava River near Valpovo (near Osijek) further down to the Bosna River confluence into the Sava.

4. Historical notes on Ilok and its surroundings during the Old Croatian period

The region of Ilok entered into the association with Hungary at same time as the Croatia State on terms of the "Golden Chart" of 1102. The name of "Ilok" that applies to town and fortress as well was first identified as "Vjolk" or "Wylok" in 1267. In 1349 Duke of Ugrin built the Franciscan church in Ilok and the Kont's family took the surname "of Ilochki". A stone pillar from early Romanesque church in Ilok, with its unique figure of the "Agnus Dei", attests the region as an integral part of Catholic Central Europe. The most famous member of Konts was Nikola Ilochki (1410-1477) who was the Banus of Slavonia, Croatia and Machva and as the King of Bosnia (1471-1477) he minted his own money to. At Nikola's time Ilok was at its population peak of some 10.000 inhabitants and had 5 churches of which one exists only today. Nikola built a splendid medieval fortress that stands for the best-preserved defense complex in northern Croatia now. The fortress of Ilok had its own town statute and a coat-of-arms as from 1525. Later Lovro of Ilok, son of Nikola, shaped region's destiny and arranged himself with the Turks (Osmans) whose invasion was well underway towards the southern Europe. However the Croatian King-elect Vladislav II Jagelov (1490-1516) contested Lovro of Ilok and recaptured Vukovar that fell to the Turks soon afterwards by 1526.

During the reign of Ludwig I d'Anjou (1342-1382) the Tripartite Kingdom of Croatia consisted of Croatia Proper, Dalmatia and Slavonia. Slavonia was administratively divided into the districts of Virovitica, Pozega, Baranja and Vukovar with two royal free towns of Vukovar and Virovitica in these regions. The Hungarian name of "Wolkovar" was used as from the 14th century when Croatia formed a union with Hungary but Vukovar and neighboring Ilok were keeping the Croatian identity in the regions between the Danube and Sava. Vukovar became the center of a large County of Vuka ("Zupanija") that was densely populated and had numerous forts and serf villages. The Roman-Catholic diocese in Pecs (Hungary) was in charge as the religious affairs in Vuka County and several religious orders among them the Franciscans were of greatest influence and had their monasteries there too. The Vukovar region was ruled by a number of noble families in the 14th and 15th century like Banus Ivanis Horvat and Stephan Mosonac.

5. Historical notes on Ilok and its surroundings during Turks advances to Europe

The Turkish advance into Central Europe was somehow eased by the discord and undisciplined noblemen in various states en route where several strong rulers died within a short period of time too. Like on an assembly line first fell Serbia after fights on Marica River (1371) and Blackbird Fields (1389) it had vanished by 1459. Few more states were gone like Bosnia in 1463 ("Bosnia fell at a whisper") and Herzegovina by 1482 to be followed by Bulgaria and Monte Negro around 1493. As the next on the Turkish move forward stood Croatia and Hungary and it was just a matter of time when and where their army would attack. In the meantime Bernardin Frankopan, a Croatian peer and doyen, held a famous speech "Oratio pro Croatia" in Nuerenberg 1522 asking European rulers for help against invading Turks. Everything was in vain and Croatia was left alone to defend herself taking thus the burden protecting the Christian and Catholic Western Europe from the invading Antichrist from the East.

Turkish army took Belgrade fortress in 1521 continuing onwards capturing Vukovar and Osijek building there the famous wooden bridge. Thus Osmans (as Turks were called then) transferred their huge army into southern Hungary where they battled down undisciplined and discordant Hungarians lead by the young King Ludovic II Jagelov on the Mohacs field by end of 1525. The condominium of Croatia and Hungary ended when Osmans subdued the Hungarian State by 1526. Croats bravely resisted all Osmans attempts and with intrepid determination defended their country until it shrunk to what became known as the "Reliquiae reliquiarum Croatiae" (= Remains of remnant Croatia) by 1594. Considerable parts of Croatian Lands were conquered reducing the free territory to one third: from original say 50,000 km2 to 16,000km2 only by end of 16th century.


View of Turkish Vukovar around 1608 by M. Prandstaettern.
From the Croatian Archives in Zagreb.

The 150 years of Ottoman rule caused many changes in the Vukovar region. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent lead Turkish armies attacking the former Hungarian-Croatian State following the Danube passing on his way Ilok, Vukovar and Osijek winning a great victory on the Field of Mohacs in 1525. Thus Vukovar lost its strategic importance but remained as an important trade and craft center on a major traffic route. Vukovar had several town wards, a number of mosques, Turkish baths, inns and schools for about 3,000 of its inhabitants before Turks withdraw. At the same time Ilok became an important Turkish administrative and military center that was predominantly inhabited by Moslems. The indigenous Catholic Croatian and Hungarian population suffered greatly under Turkish rule; the Franciscans had tried hard to keep the Catholics together. The Orthodox Vlachs came to this region in the wake of Turks as their auxiliary troops but remained here after Vukovar was liberated in 1687 and Ilok a year later. However, Vlachs were not of Serb origin and one assumes that they were mercenaries engaged by Romans along the northern Limes. Romans offered land to retired soldiers and they had settled there as farmers and cattle-breeders proving skills as agriculturists similar to those of folks living in North Africa from whom they derived from probably.

During Turkish occupancy Slavonia and Syrmia were divided into three "sanjaks": 1) of Pozega with town Pozega as its center, 2) of Pakrac-Cernik with center in Cernik and 3) of Syrmia with center in Ilok. Turks couldn't keep all the lands they conquered so Banus Toma Erdödi liberated Moslavina forced the Turks to retreat to Kutina and Ilova River by 1591. The frontier lines did not change until 1683 when the Great Liberation War started and ended for the retreating Turks with the Peace Treaty of Karlovac in 1699. Then the whole Slavonia and larger part of Syrmia were set free and later the rest of it with the Treaty of Pozarevac in 1718. There after the outline of Austro-Hungarian Military Frontier Provinces were established at the borders of Slavonia and Syrmia that were again reorganized between 1737-1751. The former Captaincies were abolished and the Military Frontier Province divided into eleben Regiments instead.

The Franciscans and people from Olovo in Bosnia came to the liberated Ilok in 1688. Following the Turkish occupancy all liberated lands in Slavonia and Srijem that were considered as the Austrian Emperor's property. Thus Emperor Leopold I. awarded several estates between Danube and Sava rivers as well as the castle in Ilok to Livio Odescalchi, a nephew of the Pope Innocent XI., for his merits in battles against the Turks. About 50 inhabited houses remained in Vukovar when it was liberated in 1687 by the Christian armies. Beside the most numerous and indigenous Croatian population and so many newcomers were moving into the ravaged region between these some Orthodox Serbs that settled in a few deserted villages. The Empire's administration needed more labor to reside in the liberated area so a considerable number of Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Ruthenians and Slovaks had settled here too.


The Kingdom of SLAVONIA (east of River Ilova) and the Dukedom of SYRMIA
by Franz Johann Joseph von Reilly, Vienna about 1790. This region was given back
to Croatia after wars between 1683 and 1699 in accordance to the Treaty of Karlovac.

6. Historical notes on the regions of Vukovar and Ilok after the defeat of Turks

The Croatian lands ("Three United Kingdoms" of Croatia Proper, Dalmatia and Slavonia) happened to be a part of the Habsburg Empire then. Croatia had the Banus (the Governor) and the Parliament of Civil Croatia that governed the liberated Counties (Zupanije) in Slavonia. At times of the Empress Maria Theresa's large estates in Slavonia were given to or purchased by feudal lords say like the Counts of Eltz of an ancient German nobility. Philip Charles Eltz, the archbishop of Mainz and German Prince Elector, bought a huge estate around Vukovar with some 35 settlements there in 1736. The Princes' Odescalchi family owned large land estates around Ilok then already.

The revolutionary events in Europe affected significantly Croatia during the 19th century too. The Banus Josip Jelacic had convened the Croatian parliament to discuss important issues as to establish the Civil government's control in the whole liberated Croatia - from rivers Drava and Danube at North to the Adriatic at South. The Counties of Slavonia and Syrmia, together with Frontier Province Regiments, were constituent parts of the Croatian State and had to be united to defend themselves on their own. The Hungarian government had other intentions by extending its influence in Slavonia, Syrmia and in the Military Frontier Province of the Sava region where Serbs had some aspiration of theirs too. Banus Jelacic wanted to restore the Croatian Frontier Province of Syrmia with an administrative center at Srijemska Mitrovica and the Regiment of Petrovaradin.

The autumn of 1848 was very tumultuous particularly in the County of Syrmia also due to ambitions of a political movement for the "Great Hungary". Banus Jelacic intended to counteract this tendency by entering into an alliance with the Serbs of Vojvodina about 1848/9. However, Serbs living in Syrmia intention was to split the Syrmia from the Civil Croatia State by force and to "annex" it to "Serbian Vojvodina" thus thrashing Jelacic's efforts. The Military Frontier Provinces were unified with the Civil Croatia in 1881 after all. The three Counties of Slavonia encompassed regions between the rivers Drava, Danube and Sava up to its confluence into Danube. Vukovar became the administrative center of the County of Syrmia that integrated the eastern Slavonia and the whole Syrmia with major towns of Vinkovci, Ilok, Sid, Srijemska Mitrovica and Zemun as its important economic and cultural centers.

The Franciscans initiated the primary schooling in Old Vukovar by 1730 and the New Vukovar community got its own school later too. There were denominational schools for Orthodox and Jewish children next to German and Hungarian schools. A few Franciscans practiced medicine during the rampant plague in Syrmia at the end of 18th century. The first graduate physician started practicing in 1763, the first pharmacy opened in 1791 and the first hospital started working in 1857. The Grammar School opened in 1891 instigating faster progress of the education and the advancement in culture too. During the 18th and 19th centuries Vukovar became the administrative, economic, traffic and cultural center and was considered as the capital of Syrmia. At some times half of Vukovar inhabitants were craftsmen organized in guilds, artisans and tradesmen doing well in thriving crafts, commerce, sericulture and shipbuilding.

The high-class soil quality in the Vukovar region was ideal for the agriculture and almost 80% of its population stayed on and lived of it by end of 19th century. The production improvement of Counts of Eltz estates helped to improve the output on smaller landholdings in villages too. Next to the dominant corn and hemp cultivation one had introduced the best cow breeds for meat and milk produce and initiated the famous horse stud on Eltz's estate. Several viticulturists produced high quality wines from vineyards near Vukovar and around Ilok in particular.

The common houses were built of wood framed structure which cavities were filled in with unbaked mud bricks. An open corridor looked at the farmyard at the longer building's side while the shorter one often blank was facing to the road. The men's costume featured a furred overcoat that is characteristic for East Pannonian Croatia. The true richness and imagination shows in the province women's costumes particularly during festivities times. The dresses are richly adorned and embroider with gold thread (so called "zlatara") blouses and headscarves of young women.

By 1840 the steamship traffic came to Vukovar making it the largest transit Croatian riverside port that was linked to Monarchy's railway system in 1878 too. However the industry developed rather slowly in Slavonia and Vukovar regions and the steam engines were used mostly in the agriculture as from the 2nd half of 19th century. The first bank was founded in 1861 bringing the needed capital to Vukovar. The first large industrial enterprise there was a hemp-mill started its production late 1905 that subsequently provided electricity to Vukovar by 1909. The Vukovar first printing press opened in1867 and a number of newspapers were published in German and Croatian.

7. Historical notes on the regions of Vukovar and Ilok from 20th century onward

The biggest Croatian River port of Vukovar was rather valuable for imports and exports of various goods at a large turning rate too. The thriving of urban life and the positive evolution of culture also were influenced by the Port's activities. The significance of Vukovar changed significantly after the First World War after a new state creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Thus Vukovar port became an intermediate stop for Danube navigation line. The new state recognized its importance immediately by taking control over the Danube's whole navigation length that included Vukovar port too. The town of Vukovar became the capital of Srijem County (Zupanija) up to 1924 and later of the District of Srijem until 1929.

The authorities' power drastic changes in the region instigated severe attacks and persecution of respected and old aristocratic families. The best grounds were unlawfully taken from them and would be occupied by newcomers obliged to the new regime. The old owners were not permitted to dispose of the property economically because of Land reform laws passed by the government too. Still a few esteemed families persisted and fought with determination for their rights. Conversely most ones had undersell their properties and started leaving Slavonia and Srijem by 1924 for good. The nobility of Odescalchis stayed on and was active in Ilok region until December 4, 1944 when the clan had left too.

The autocrat Serb King Alexander I. by decree declared the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 and soon introduced his royal dictatorship too. Ivan Palecek, a Vukovar lawyer, was appointed as the Banus for this region but as he was a dedicated supporter of the unitarian and centralist policy so ongoing attacks started on everything what was Croatian. His confirmed membership of the Radical Greater-Serbian part sped up the Croatian population decline and increased the Serb influence with no restrain. Vukovar is sited close to the separation line of Croatian and Serbian interests in Srijem so it was in the authorities' own interest to implement anything that would speed up changes in the region's demographic structure. Soon Vukovar would turn in a prevalently Serbian town and the Government in Beograd would appointed Serbs as commissioners and County Governor (Zupan) only.

The local Serbs had the preference, protection and privileges that also would be given to the immigrants from Serbia, Bosnia and Lika arriving as volunteers and settlers as well as administrative officials and teachers. The Serb Radicals' tendency was isolating the town of Vukovar from other Croatian towns say Osijek, Ilok and Sarengrad by transferring main offices for the land reform, industry and economy to the town Novi Sad in Vojvodina (Serbia). The land expropriation was mainly directed to a few remaining owners of large estates like of the Counts of Eltz of Vukovar who could keep 1.521 out of 33.000 acres of his previous lands. Further progress of their stud farm and the hemp spinning Mill was hindered by the new laws too and the export of hemp dwindled before long.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was divided into nine Banovinas and a special administrative province of the government in Belgrade (including Zemun, Pancevo and Belgrade). Eastern Slavonia with Syrmia and the town of Vukovar were administrated from the Drina Banovina with the seat in Sarajevo. In the meantime the artisan and merchant life in Vukovar subsided quickly and many Croatian and German merchants and tradesmen left Vukovar moving to more prosperous places and of greater political liberty.
Tomasz Bata, from Zlyno in Czechia, opened the largest footwear and rubber factory on Balkans in the vicinity of Vukovar in 1932. Bata's efforts got generous Government's support that enabled him to gain a full control over factory workers' conduct and their political behavior.

By 1935, after several years of enormous political and economic suppression, new strong Croatian national feelings swelled up together with the revival of Croatian culture. The ruling Serbian Radical party was not ready to give up its position easily and they stuck to it until these areas came under the Banovina Croatia new administration in accord with the Cvetkovic-Macek agreement of 25 August 1939. Then the Croats took over the City of Vukovar administration and in the towns Ilok and Sid but the conflicts continued  between Croats and Serbs in Vukovar impairing peaceful life between them. In 1940 Gjuro Szentgyoergy, a Hungarian, was appointed as the mayor of Vukovar and with the help of well organized German minority he managed to increase the town's significance and merits. The port was revitalized for export of wheat, cattle, hemp and wood mainly to Germany. Thus Vukovar gained some of its previous economic and financial strength back also increasing population's consumption power after many years of agrarian crises and Yugoslav dictatorship policy there.

The population subsistence worsened during the Second World War and with the formation of Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in April 1941 Vukovar became the center of the large Vuka County. Jakob Ellicker, a lawyer, became the County's Zupan and Tomislav Bulat was appointed Bata factory manager trying hard to keep factory's production of shoes and other rubber products at a satisfactory level. The Ustasha authorities decided to expropriate all lands given to Serbian volunteers and settlers expelling all that came to the Vukovar region after 1918. Part of the Serb population rebelled against these stringent measures and several Serbs were executed after the murder of Otto Hoyer, who was a Ustasha commissioner, in Bobota on 25 June 1941. New officer's appointments did not improve the situation at all and the national and ethnic relations deteriorated in a surge of terrorism and indiscriminate killings. Armed guards controlled all people's movements around and in Vukovar and Borovo in order to keep the factory production going on.

The Srijem front-line opened in October 1944 and following to it the German Command ordered German families to leave instantly leaving their belongings behind. A significant number of German families left their homesteads whereas the remaining ones were either killed or expelled from these regions after the Srijem front line collapsed in the spring of 1945. The new Yugoslav Communist authorities started new persecution of Croatian population in towns and regions of Vukovar. In part it was revenge for the previous obstructions against the policy for "The Great Serbia" endorsed by the authority in the renewed Yugoslav State again.

8. Notes on the demographic structure in the Vukovar region

In 1857 the first modern Croatian census was carried out and the last one before World War I. in 1910. In towns of Vukovar and Ilok and in the group of "other villages" changes in the population configuration varied considerably in the number of inhabitants and differed in some towns and villages. The population of Ilok was considerably less numerous than in Vukovar but its growth was a faster one. The group of "other villages" (27 villages), where most of people lived, grew slower than in the two towns. In the same period the increase of population resulted from a high natural reproduction and a surplus of immigrants over emigrants too. In 1910 were 88.3% "autochthonous" inhabitants and the other were citizens of Hungary or of Monarchy's other lands.

The situation at the detached and isolated part of Vukovar's northern region across Vuka River differed having a rigid ethnic and national character in all spheres of life. The six communes of the "Serb enclave" kept themselves separated and were intolerant to other neighboring non-Serb population. By 1910 the Serb population counted to about 90% of total population in the communities of Bobota, Borovo, Brsadin, Trpinja and Vera. As to the contrary Croats, Germans, Hungarians and other smaller ethnic groups in the Vukovar region had strong ties to Central European civilization with respect to the Roman Catholic religion and the cultural evolution there. The differences in various spoken native tongues presented no obstacle for a closer cultural relationship and actually had an integrating effect. Croats and Germans were the two most numerous and significant ethnic groups in the Croatian Danube basin of Srijem and Eastern Slavonia. The bilingual Croatian and German population developed from intense cultural ties and economic cooperation.

The analysis of economic active population shows a relatively good ratio in the County of Vukovar total population 1931. On one active person was 1.01 dependent only and according to the sex twice as many men as women that compared better than in some other places, although the ratio varied in towns and rural areas. The dominant part of the population was engaged in primary industry or agriculture whereas in the town of Vukovar the active ones were employed in the secondary and tertiary (non-agricultural) industry. Vukovar was the administrative, economic, traffic, educational, cultural, health and institutional center of this region in 1930s. The citizens of Vukovar were independent workers and leaseholders and helping family members that applied to the agricultural branch of economic activities. A considerable number of them were office and administrative workers, workers, trainees or apprentices and household servants. The town's population economic and social structure was relatively well developed in 1931.

The population structure development in the region of Vukovar could be divided in three periods: first one of 1857-1910, second one of 1910-1931, and the 3rd period after World War II between the censuses in 1948 and 1991. The population losses in Word War I and from the emigration of mostly Hungarians caused a small growth at first and increased 4,5 times in from 1921 to 1931 later due to the 1st agrarian colonization of Saloniki frontier volunteers and other colonists here. The population grew considerably owing to the 2nd agrarian colonization (1945-1948) i.e. between last pre-war census in 1931 and first post-war one in 1948. Later the growth surpassed the World War II losses and the exodus of certain national groups particularly of the Germans.

In the period 1948-1991 Vukovar's population increased rather fast mainly due to the industrial development there. Primarily it was the immigration that pushed up the growth in the Vukovar region and in the town particularly. The population structure changed significantly too as the number of Serbs went up considerably compared to the autochthonous populace. The region's population distribution changed notably in the 3rd period too when the town of Ilok took up the 2nd place there. The Croats were in the majority in most villages and in the region's eastern part where as the Serbs dominated in northwest part of it. The Yugoslav governments were replacing the native population with the colonized immigrants of Serb nationality from Kordun, Banija, Lika, Bosna and Herzegovina. The native Croatian population has moved to other areas of Croatia or had immigrated to Western Europe (Germany) or Australia.

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Note 1: Read more about the sojourn at web page titled VUKOVAR and ILOK (Part 1/2) and subtitled VUKOVAR - WOLKOVAR - VUKOVO - CASTRUM WOLCO.

Note 2: Read more about the sojourn at web page titled VUKOVAR and ILOK (Part 2/2) and subtitled ILOK - VJOLK - WYLOK.

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Main sources of data and pictures:

1. VUKOVAR - ETERNAL CROATIAN TOWN ON THE DANUBE by Editor in Chief: Igor Karaman; Editorial Board: Dragutin Feletar, Vlado Horvat, Josip Jurcevic, Zlatko Karac, Nives Majnaric-Pandzic, Ruzia Maric, Filip Potrebica & Zeljko Tomicic.  Publisher: NAKLADNA KUCA "DR. FELETAR" Koprivnica - Croatia, Trg mladosti 8. ISBN: 953-6235-00-5.

2. DVORCI I PERIVOJI U SLAVONIJI (Castles and parks in Slavonia) by Mladen Obad Scitaroci and Bojana Bojanic Obad Scitaroci. Publisher: MLADEN OBAD SCITAROCI, Zagreb 1998.

3. BORDERS OF CROATIA ON MAPS from 12th to 20th century published by The Museum of Arts and Crafts Zagreb.

4. ESSAYS by Prof. Stjepan Srsan published in the newspaper "GLAS SLAVONIJE" in Osijek from 1998 onwards.

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DISCLAIMER : On URL: http://www.cosy.sbg.ac.at/~zzspri/ published pages are originals and authorized by copyright of Zvonko Z. Springer, Salzburg 1999.

Email Zvonko Springer at : zzspri@aon.at