Military Life and Warrior Images in Croatian Borderlands from the 16th Century until 1918

Did you know?

The popularity of pandours
Trenck’s Pandours, thanks to the newspapers, gained such a reputation during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 – 1748) that some ships in the American Colonies were named after them.

Z49OJCAn add published in The Pennsylvania Gazette, no. 982, 8th October 1747. Benjamin Franklin was the chief editor and often a columnist of these newspapers considered as one of the most successful papers in the American Colonies.

“Language soup”

During the 16th century on the Croatian borderlands a special type of warfare developed. In order keep up with the enemy’s tactics, intelligence gathering was crucial. Thus, the soldiers of Senj Captaincy, grouped in 10 to 20, captured Ottoman subjects deep inside the Ottoman territory (during their patrols the soldiers went as far as the river Neretva) while on a reconnaissance mission. A case in point happened in 1559. On 20th March, the town of Senj sent 25 foot soldiers on a reconnaissance patrol led by Juraj Daničić. They scouted the purlieu of Plavno and Popovina for ten days, and upon return to Senj they reported the concentration of Ottoman forces on the said locations to the Senj Captain. The prisoners were brought in front of the Frontier Captains in Senj or to Carniola for interrogation. Most of the available documents refer to such actions as “catching the tongues” (Ger. Zungen zu fachen). For example, in 1541 the Senj infantry of the Captain Ivan Lenkković caught the son of an Ottoman castellan (dizdar) of Ostrovica along with two other Ottoman subjects, which were then subjected to interrogation in Senj about Ottoman forces.

Haps and mishaps of Emperor Joseph II.

Even though his diary does not mention it directly, an inscription carved in stone on the old road from Modruš to Otočac claims that the Emperor Joseph II. fell of his horse there. The Emperor noted in his diary under the 3rd May 1775 date, that, after setting off from Modruš, the road was so bad on one part that not even the horses know where to put their hooves “dass die Pferde nicht wissen, wo sie die Füsse hinsezen sollen”. This assertion could be hiding the mishap and fall. Even the stony inscription itself is only a discrete reminder of the event. It says only that this is the difficult road the Emperor trod for the first time: “Arduae Viae vestigia, quibus anno, MDCCLXXVIII. Maji. Romanorum Imperator Josephus II Patriae Pater primo venit”.


The cravat on Austrian or French way
Everyone surely knows by now that the name cravat stems from Croatians that served under the French king Louis XIII. But, did you know that the Croatian troops fought for both (opposing) sides during the final phase of the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648)? For the French as well as for the Habsburgs.

Klovićevi dvori

The unified Ban-Varaždin-Karlovac General Command was set in the building of the disbanded Jesuit collegium in Zagreb in 1786 (today the building houses the Gallery Klovićevi dvori).


Dutch card game
Dutch card game “Pandoeren” comes from Trenck’s Pandours who were renowned for their courage and daring in military actions. This complex card game demands precisely such courage and daring and you can read its rules here.


Maria Theresa and Bjelovar
The Empress Maria Theresa never visited Bjelovar, but her son, the Emperor Joseph II., has, and he did so on three occasions. First time was in 1775 and the Emperor noted his observations in his diary: “Den 19ten und den 20ten April Bellowar. In der Früh schriebe Ich Ihro Mayestät der Kayserin durch Estafette, dictirte mein Journal, hierauf machte Ich mit den Generals Siskovics und Tillier, un meinen 2 Reysegefehrden den ganze Marche aus, und die Stations durch gesammte Generalate, zu welchen ein Officier mit der Karte gekommen war; hernach giengen wir herum zu Fuss in dem ganzen Ort Bellowar, so ganz hübsch und regelmässig en quarré gebaut ist, und in welchem alle Staabs-Officiers beeder Regimenter samt dem General Commando, bey den Profosseyen, und Brigadier-Quartier angebracht ist, so wie auch eine Piaristen-Kirche und deren Schulen, samt einigen Häusern von Bürgern und Arbeitsleüten; Von dannen giengen wir die Exercier-Scheüren sehen, und das kleine Laager, wo 16. Compagnien, 8. von Kreützer und 8. von S. Georger-Regiment campirten en ordre de bataille; (…) “. Published in: Ivan Erceg, “Dnevnik Josipa II o prilikama u Hrvatskoj i na jadranskoj obali god. 1775.”, Starine, 53., Zagreb, 1966., str. 228, 229.


hrzz_logoProject IP-2014-09-3675 Military Life and Warrior Images in the Croatian Borderlands form 16th Century until 1918 is financecd by Croatian Science Foundation 

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