The lands that today comprise Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia.
Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO.
Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands, along with a majority of Croatia's ethnic Serb population. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. The country joined NATO in April 2009 and the EU in July 2013
Split is a city in the Croatian region of Dalmatia, on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centred on the structure of the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its bay and port.
While it is traditionally considered just over 1,700 years old counting from the construction of Diocletian's Palace in AD 305, archaeological research relating to the original founding of the city as the Greek colony of Asp?lathos (Asp??a???) in the 4th century BC, establishes the urban tradition of the area as being several centuries older.
At the end of the third century AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace on the bay of Aspalathos. Here, after abdicating on the first of May in A.D. 305, he spent the last years of his life. The bay is located on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast into the Adriatic, four miles from the site of Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.
After the Romans abandoned the site, the Palace remained empty for several centuries. In the 7th century, nearby residents fled to the walled palace in an effort to escape invading Slavs. Since then the palace has been occupied, with residents making their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly in its walls. Today many restaurants and shops, and some homes, can still be found within the walls.