Historical references to Croats in the Holy Roman Empire date back to the ninth century.
The religious makeup of the nation reflects this ethnic breakdown.
Roman Catholics constitute 77 percent of the population; Serbian Orthodox, 11 percent; and Muslims, 1 percent.
Herzegovinans generally believe that they should be part of Croatia, not linked to Bosnia.
Croats in the diaspora are represented in the national parliament. Croatia was one of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia.
A small percentage of non-Croat groups identify with a different culture. Slovenes, Muslims, Jews, Albanians, and Roma (Gypsies) generally identify with their own national groups and cultures.
In two cases non-Croats constitute a significant minority in a local population and have maintained group identities as non-Croats.
The Drava and Sava rivers drain into the plain, making it an excellent region for agriculture.
Cultural variations, particularly regional cuisine, are related to geographic variations within the country; traditional economies are also linked to geography.
The region along the Adriatic coast has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers.
The inland region has a continental climate with very cold winters, hot, humid summers, and spring and autumn seasons that are often rainy. The largest portion of the country consists of the Pannonian plain, a flat, fertile agricultural region that extends into Hungary and Serbia.
Croatian and Serbian variants of the language were always recognized as different dialects, and had different alphabets.