Due to the favourable climate, water, fertile soil and position people settled early on the area that today is Split-Dalmatia County.

During the Palaeolithic era, man was a nomad and hunter. His successor, Neolithic man, who found the village, worked the ground and began a sedentary way of life. According to historical and archaeological science, this way of life was founded in the Middle East and areas of Asia Minor in the 9th and 8th millennia BC. Sites from this period of development of human civilization can be found in areas of our county. These are some of the most famous sites in the county.

Archaeological findings from the period of the Paleolithic (CAVE) Old Stone Age were discovered in the area around the upper and middle river Cetina. Also, ceramic bowls from the Neolithic Late Stone Age (about 7000th BC) were found on several sites: in Gospodska Cave at the source of the Cetina River, in a Tamnica Cave in Ruminate, on Sibenica in Glavice, on the bed of the river Cetina near Trilj and Bilokapic Gradina, in Udovicici and the Poljanice plateau in Bisko.

In the late Enclitic and early Bronze Age, a new cultural group, called by historians the Cetina culture, was formed in the Cetina region. So far, the features of this group are known only from the findings discovered in burial mounds (detected at Upper Cetina karst plateau: Lukovaca, Sparevine, Preocanska kosa).

Cetina culture: According to discoveries, an unknown prehistoric cultural and ethnic group was formed about 1,900 years before Christ, and developed and lasted throughout the Early and the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age up to about 1,600 years before Christ. Creators of Cetina culture lived, besides caves, in settlements in the open, in dugouts, in sinkholes and in specially fortified forts, They built their pile dwellings over the water. They used to bury their dead alongside the tombstone chests or burn them, and they would bury the ashes preserved in ceramic urns under stone cairns. Among the metal remains Cetina culture has, the most characteristic are half-shovel bowls and jugs, flat and decorated with incised zig-zag lines. Among the metal objects there were mostly triangular bronze daggers and halberds, and single blade bronze axes. Of the few cases of jewellery findings, most were gold and bronze spiral pendants, sometimes arranged in lines which also contained amber beads. The finding of a manual grindstone in a pile near a thomb in Bisko testifies that the Cetina culture carriers were dealing not only with livestock breeding but also with farming.

Even in prehistoric times the island of Hvar was populated. Material findings dating back to the Neolithic era and 4th millennium BC testify to the existence of a culture on the Adriatic east coast. The most significant findings were discovered in the caves of Hvar - Grapceva Cave, Pokrivenik and Mark Caves. Residents of Hvar of this period were engaged in agriculture, livestock breeding and hunting. They used clay dishes and tools and weapons made of hard stone or bone. They practiced the cult of the dead as witnessed by numerous burial mounds of conical shape in which the dead were buried in a contracted position, along with food, weapons and utensils.

Hvar culture, unique, beautiful three-colour ceramics decorated with spirals introduced in the island of Hvar, can be found in all archaeological books in the world and witness to life on our shores and islands back in the time without a script - known to the human race only from ancient myths. The oldest boat drawing in Europe, found on cave Grapceva, tells us that a man sailed even in prehistoric times.

Remains of gold objects (copper age) were discovered in the area of Split - Gripe and the remains of prehistoric forts in the Kasjuni area. In the Imotski area in the village of Grabovac, stone axes, molds, scratchcards, and graves (Neolithic Age) have been excavated. Some ceramic findings derived from the Late Neolithic phase, were discovered near Klis, and in areas near Kapina and Krcina. The Klis fortress walls, visible even today on the south and west slope beneath the fortress, were built with megalithic techniques.

With the arrival of the Indo-Europeans (Illyrians and Pre-Illyrians) at the beginning of the II. millennium the old population and its culture vanish. Settlers from the northeast - Indo-Europeans or Aryans, as science calls them and their origin is one of the most complex problems that history seeks to clarify. These steppe warriors come from the area of present-day Russia and the Ural Mountains to the Caucasus, riding horses and bringing metal, copper and bronze, submitting the old Neolithic sedentary population. They build fortified settlements on the hills. These are those famous ones and well-known hill-forts, spread across almost the entire county. 

The hill-fort Tor south of Jelsa is worth pointing out. Old construction technique of large blocks of treated stone is admired even by constructors today. It was built at a time of powerful Illyrian rulers Pleurat, Agron, Teuta and Demetrius testifying that a powerful community stood behind its construction.

The largest hill-fort settlement on the island of Brac is Skrip - a unique example of a well preserved Illyrian fort in Dalmatia. It is an amazing fortress, the enormous stones piled in defensive walls. Next to the hill-forts there are burial mounds, which testify to the cult of the dead. The excavation of the graves has shown that the Delmats were burying their dead in many ways. Over some of the graves large piles of stones several meters high and over 30 meters in diameter were erected. These piles of stones have been found in Lovrec, Zezevica, Cista. One of the most typical ones is Glavan - the pile above Krivodol. The remains of a variety of clay pots and human skeletons have been found in it. In Gorica the remains of crematoria have bbn found, testifying that the Illyrians burned their dead also. In the village of Postranje the Illyrian cemetery and a large amount of weapons have been found.

With the arrival of Greek colonists who built their settlements on the mainland and islands, in the early fourth century BC the first urban centres were created. The most important settlements were Salona, Tragurion, Epetion. However, one of the gems of our county, which was founded by Greek colonists, was Stari Town on the island of Hvar. 

After having conquered southern Apennine peninsula and established strongholds in Sardinia and Elba, Dionysius was focused on conquering positions on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. Dionysius occupied Vis (Issa), and entered into negotiations with the inhabitants of the island of Paros in the Aegean Sea who, because of the overpopulation had been seeking a suitable place for the relocation of a part of the residents. After completing successful negotiations the inhabitants of the island of Paros came and settled on the island of Faros (Pharos), founding the city of the same name on the site of the present day Stari Town. A favourable location was not determined only by a well protected bay but also by a spacious field on the east of the bay.

Aspalatos was the first Greco-Illyrian settlement founded 400 years before Christ in the south bay of the present day Split peninsula. Later, at Roman times, Aspaltos became Spalatum and the Croats made Spalatum into Split. 

The Romans left their mark on this area rich in history. The most famous is definitely the Diocletian palace, Diocletian's Imperial Palace. Historians take the year 305 AD as the year when the palace was finished - it was a fortified but also a sumptuous castle, with space for the apartment of the Emperor and his family, honour guard, servants, and the garrison. Inside the palace the religious cult buildings were also built, one of which would be the Emperor's final resting place. All this in an area of about 30,000 square metres was created by the builders, who are only known to us by their names - Filot and Zotikos.

The walls of the palace are thick 2.10 metres on average, 24 metres high on the south side, and 17 metres on the north. The quality of white limestone building stone from Brac and stone from a quarry near Seget, which they were built with has contributed to a good preservation of walls. Some structural and decorative parts were shipped from distant parts, so the sphinx and granite columns were taken from ancient Egyptian buildings

Roman merchants and soldiers showed a great interest in Salona. Roman general Caecilius Metellus decided (in 119 BC) to winter there with the army. Also, this is the year when for the first time the name Salona is mentioned in the literary sources. Roman influence in the city became crucial when Gaius Cosconius defeated Delmats who held Salona as the main access to the sea. During the war between Caesar and Pompeius Salona was on the winning side of Caesar who, probably as a sign of gratitude gave it the location of Roman colony 'Colonia Martia Julia Salona.' Roads and waterworks were built, and Salona became one of the trading centres. According to some theories, the original town was located in the area of Glavicina (now there are the remains of the theatre and the forum). City core was surrounded by walls of which some parts, stone blocks and Porta Caesarea have been preserved until today.

In Salona there was a well-organized Christian district. In the beginning, Christians gathered in private houses of rich believers, as documented by the archaeological evidence. During Diocletian's persecution Syrian Domnio, Anastasius of Aquileia and four soldiers of Diocletian guard died martyrs. Worship of these martyrs developed on their graves, which together with the basilicas and other Church buildings are the most important monuments of Salona from this period. In Salona Christianity became the main religion after the Edict of Milan. Church buildings were built. At the beginning of the fifth century Bishop of Salona became Metropolitan of the entire Dalmatia.

But the Roman conquest did not go so easily. Illyrians lead long and difficult wars (229 BC - 9 AD) with the Romans. Their persistent and heroic struggle is astonishing because even though they were repeatedly defeated they found strength and fought the Romans again. The first attempts of the Roman army to break into the Delmati area went from the southeast (the Neretva estuary) where the penetration and withdrawal of troops was easiest. Natural paths through what is now Imotska krajina ran one way over Krivodol and Lovrec through Cista up to Trilj, the other over Posusje to TomislavTown (Delminium), seat of the Delmats.

The first mention of Delmats (Dalmats) was left by the Roman historian Polybius, describing their conflicts with neighbouring Illyrian tribes: Liburnii (in the north) and Daors (in the south) and the Greek colonies. According to these records warlike Delmats lived in the area from the Neretva to the Krka River so Imotska krajina was their main country. The first armed conflict and the beginning of the war with the Romans was in 156 BC while conflicts and wars of Romans and Delmats lasted until 9 AD. The severity of these conflicts and the resistance of the Delmats is illustrated by the fact that the Roman emperor Octavian August himself waged a war upon the Delmats in 34 and 33 BC. The Roman historian Appiani wrote about this two-year war and bitter battles in Mosec and Svilaja around Promona (present day klanac at Tepljuh on Promina) and Fort Setovia. The first skirmish happened at Promona that Octavian had taken, and to avenge defeat of Caesar's legate A.Gabini in 48 - 47 BC he burnt the city of Sinodium to the ground. After destroying Sinodium he came to Fort Setovia where Delmats provided fierce resistance. During the siege of Setovia August himself was wounded and returned to Rome. Statilius Taurus (33 BC) continued to besiege Setovia. But with no success so Octavian Augustus returned to war. He could not conquer the city by force but Illyrians surrendered only when they were forced to surrender by hunger. Illyrians accepted all the conditions set by the Romans, to undertake military service and the payment of an annual tribute. Octavian triumphantly returned to Rome and delivered to the Senate the province which would then be called Delmatia (Dalmatia), paying hommage to the struggle with Delmats.

The oldest monument related to the Croats in this area is the church of St George in Putalj (now Kastel Sucurac) endowed with lands by Prince Mislav (end of the first half of the 9th century). His successor Trpimir (about 845 - about 865) raised a Benedictine monastery in Rizinice near Solin and by his Charter the Croatian people entered history with their own name Hrvat (Croat). 

Constantine Porphyrogenitus mentioned Croats who were invited by the Roman Emperor Heraclius to fight against the Avars. Croats became real masters of the land they had freed which was tacitly admittted by Byzantium as their ally. Porphyrogenitus, in his book written in the middle of the tenth century mentioned Imotska krajina as Emotha - Imota, the then easternmost southeast early Croatian county. In the age of migration Croats were living in tribal communities, cooperatives related by blood, in which there was personal property. These tribal communities - cooperatives blended themselves in large tribal alliances, which occupied smaller land areas called counties. The goal of the tribal alliance was to defend more easily or attack in order to increase power. Tribal alliances shared power and lived independently of each other because they did not have a common sovereign. In the 8th century two forces, Franks and Byzantium, tried to conquer Croats and their lands, and when peace was ratified in Achen the Franks got power over the Dalmatian Croatia while Byzantium got coastal cities and islands. At the end of the 8th century after merging several independent counties (11 mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus) into a larger whole, major areas of the state of the Croats were created. In the beginning there were Duchy of Pannonia and Duchy of Dalmatia.

Branimir's inscription found in Muc dating from the age of the native Croatian rulers is significant for the history of the Croats, as well as the site - the remains of the old church next to the present day church of St. Peter's in Muc. Branimir's inscription was carved on the hard stone that is not from this region, and was created in a different place in a stonemason's workshop, while the form of the letters and decorations testify the master's skill. Earlier historians stated that the inscription was a lintel of the church, however, today' s experts believe that the inscription was a barrier between the space for the altar and the priest on one side and the space for believers, the nave, on the other side. Today, this reading of the inscription is scientifically accepted:
Today, this reading of the inscription is scientifically accepted:



At the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth century the famous Benedictine monastery of St. John was founded and built on the island of Brac. Benedictines built a sanctuary on the abandoned early Christian church. List of properties of the abbey from 1185 was transcribed and verified 66 years later in the famous Povaljska Charter, the oldest Cyrillic-script charter written in Croatian language. It is the amount of traditional names mentioned in it, toponyms which reflect the spirit of the people who created them that make it one of the most important Croatian historical and language monuments in general. Benedictines made the door on the west wall of the baptistry which became their church and in 1184 Master Radonja carved a threshold lintel for that door engraving in it the content on the return of the monastery lands in Cyrillic script. This famous Povaljska threshold, as it is known in history, was transferred to the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments owing to Father Frane Bulic.

The inscription of the sarcophagus of Queen Helena discovered in Solin is also important for history because it refers to Croatian kings and the way in which they are related. Likewise, the exact date of the death of Queen Helena is given

'In this tomb lies the famous Queen Helena, who was the wife of King Michael (Kresimir), the mother of King Stephen (Drzislav). She raised peace to kingdom. Here she was buried on the day of October 8th, in the year of the Lord 976: indictions IV, Moon cicle V, epact XVII, Sun cicle V. She, who during her liftime was mother of the kingdom, was also mother of the poor and protector of widows. Man, say upon looking here 'God, have mercy on her soul' (Inscription on Helena's sarcophagus as restored by Father Frane Bulic).

Of the eleven counties that Croatia had in the 10 Century, there were three in the area of today' s Split-Dalmatia county: Cetina, Imotska and Coastal. In the presence of King Tomislav the Church Council was held in Split (925 - 928), which confirmed the metropolitan primacy of Split over eastern dioceses.

Old Christian medieval district Vrh Rika occupied area along the upper and middle part of the river Cetina, from the the last slopes of Dinara to Hrvatacko Field. It was first mentioned in the middle ages, in the conclusions of 1185 Church Council (... parochia ... Verchreca).

From old Croatian district Vrh Rika, the church of St. Saviour, built in the 9th century, during the Croatian prince Branimir at source of the Cetina is preserved. It was built by Knin district prefect Gostiha, his mother Nemira and sons, as testified by the inscription on the stone beams of the altar rail. 

The church of St. Saviour is one of the most valuable architectural elements from the period of native Croatian rulers for many connoisseurs of the earliest old Croatian church architecture and the only church from this period whose walls have been preserved up to the roof. The massive rectangular tower is the oldest preserved bell tower in the early medieval Croatian architecture. The church was dedicated to Christ the Saviour.

As we see, the cradle of Croatian statehood is in the area of our county. Here the Croatian kings were crowned. On Sunday, October 9th, 1076 in St Peter' s Church in Solin Vice-Roy Demetrius Zvonimir was crowned Croatian-Dalmatian King. Solemn event was attended by Archbishop Lawrence together with Bishops Stephen of Zadar, Peter of Knin, George of Rab, John of Trogir and other bishops, as well as district prefects of Cetina, Sidro, Knin and Abbot Gebizon, legate of Pope Gregory VII.

King was sworn in and on this occasion there were a multitude of documents that the king Zvonimir used to confirm the old rights and privileges of the nobility and clergy. Of all the documents only the one stating that the king confirmed the request of Archbishop Lawrence at the church of St. George in Putalj with its lands has been preserved.

In the 12th century Split and other Dalmatian cities (Trogir), emtered a new period of history - status of the free municipality under the authority of the Hungarian-Croatian kings (shorter periods of Venetian or Byzantine rule). Split chronicler Thomas Archdeacon says that the Hungarian king Koloman entered Split in 1102 (later analysis of the works of Thomas corrected the year of Koloman's entry to 1105) and gave the privilege of freedom to the cities (with Split, Trogir and Zadar).
In the 13th century Diocletian's Palace was visited by the Hungarian-Croatian kings - Andrew II on his way to the crusades. In 1241 his son Bela IV with his wife Mary took refuge in the city running away from the Tartars. Their daughters Catherine and Margaret died and were buried at the western entrance to Diocletian' s mausoleum. In the 13th century, 'Historia Salonitana' , the most important work of the early Croatian historiography was created, written by Thomas (1200-1268), Archdeacon of the Church of Split.

At the Cathedral - formerly Diocletian' s mausoleum - a Romanesque bell tower was built in the 13th century. In the late 14th Century the tower had already had the Gothic upper floor because it was drawn as such in the miniatures of Duke Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic. Some works of art also date from the 13th century. Certainly the most famous ones are those by painter and sculptor Andrew Buvina - wooden doors of the Cathedral from 1214, then reliefs on the bell tower of the cathedral belonging to the artistic circle of master Radovan.

The Statute of Split (1312) is from the 14th century, proving its status as an autonomous city as well as the oldest municipal coat of arms of the City (stone coat of arms on the wall of the old City Hall at People' s Square). The autonomy of the City is testified by its own money, which Split issued in that period. Autonomous status had a beneficial effect on the cultural and economic development of the city. Transformation of the Palace and its gorgeous halls and wide streets into the medieval town with Romanesque and Gothic houses was completed. The only open hall in the palace - the Peristyle - became the city square. Medieval Split of that period had four boroughs named after main churches: St. Domnius, St. Martin, St. Mary and St. Michael

In the 15th century, to be more precise, in 1420, Split was occupied by Venetians who recognized certain privileges to it. They ruled the city for 377 years (until 1797). In the 15th and the 16th century, marked by the spirit of Renaissance, Diocletian’s Palace became subject of interest of mariners, humanists, architects and travel writers so that there are numerous data from this period.

Economic development from the medieval free municipality was kept through the first two centuries of Venetian rule. In the cultural life of the city of Split humanists, writers, artists and builders are significant. Bernard of Split, the Franciscan from the Monastery of St. Francis published his lectionary in 1495 which is the oldest Latin-script book in Croatian language.

Marko Marulic wrote his 'Judita (Judith)', the oldest croatian literary work.

Famous artists from that period are Blaz Jurjev Trogiranin and Dujam Vuskovic, and builders and sculptors Juraj Dalmatinac and Bonino of Milan. and little later Albanian master Andrea Alessi and Nicholas of Florence.

The new defensive system is from the 16th century, and the construction of warehouse and toilet complex in the port southeast of the Palace-Lazaretto begins.

In the 17th century with the increasing threat of the Ottomans an even greater emphasis was given to the defense. Two defensive fortification systems were built. East of the city, fortresses were built in two strategically important positions - Gripe, to defend Split from the northeast, Bacvice to defend the southeast access to the port. This defensive system was completed in 1666.

However, as far as the other parts of the County are concerned, the situation is different. In the 12th century, after the weakening of Byzantium and decline of its political power, Venice became rival to Croatian-Hungarian kings and fought them for dalmatian cities and their hinterland. During the 12th and 13th century Hungarian-Croatian rulers often conquered and lost Hum (Imotska krajina then became a part of that area).

Dalmatian cities fought among themselves for the successor of King Bela Stephen VI (1270 - 1272), and the situation became even worse in 1272 at the time of Ladislaus III when Dalmatia was under the protectorate of King Charles of Naples. The Subices, Croatian aristocrats, especially viceroy Pavao, took advantage of these dynastic riots. He was the coastal viceroy (1275) and in 1283 he became Croatian viceroy. During the dynastic struggle between Andrew III, the last of the Arpad dynasty and Charles Martel of Anjou, viceroy Pavao Subic got a present from Charles - Dalmatia and Croatia. In order to win Pavao for himself and to keep him from the Anjou, King Andrew bequeathed him Dalmatia and Croatia. He also bequeathed him the viceroy' s honour. Viceroy Pavao ruled the entire Croatia. In 1299 Pavao became the Lord of Bosnia. Thus Pavao ruled a large country (just like Croatia in the time of native Croatian rulers). Pavao made his brother Mladen I Bosnian Viceroy, and his son Mladen II Duke of three fields and the whole of Hum (there is Imotska krajina there as well). After the death of Mladen I in 1304, Viceroy Pavao made his eldest son Mladen II the Viceroy of Bosnia. After Pavao's death in 1312, his son Mladen II, the Viceroy of Bosnia succeeded him as Viceroy. In a document dated April 10th, 1318, Mladen is called 'Viceroy of Croats and Bosnia and main lord of Hum'. In order to take care of the situation in Bosnia Mladen made Stjepan II Kotromanic, the son of Stjepan I Kotromanic (who was the Viceroy of Bosnia), the Viceroy of Bosnia.

After the death of Pavao Subic, the envious Croatian aristocracy, first of all the Nelipices, rose against his son and heir. They were joined by his brother Pavao as well as the Venetians and Hungarian-Croatian King Charles Robert, whose goal was to strengthen the central royal authority. Bosnian lords, the Hrvatinices and Stjepan II Kotromanic took his side. The King recognized his authority in Bosnia, Hum and Dalmatia from the Cetina to Dubrovnik as a reward for his services. Stjepan II Kotromanic relied on the heretics during his rule in Bosnia, because they had a big influence on the people. This is way many Catholics escaped his rule and the Bishop of Makarska ran away to Omis.

The Bosnian heresy of Bogomilism spread across Imotska krajina as well in the time of Stjepan II Kotromanic. On the northeastern boarder of Imotska krajina (County) there is Ledinac where there was a house of Bosnian Christians who were caring for the followers of the Bogomile Church in the former parish of Imotski.

Standing stones of Imotska krajina have their own characteristics that distinguish them from the standing stones in the neighbouring town of Hum (Herzegovina). The years on the standing stones of Imotski parish are marked with numbers. This does not exist in Bosnian standing tombstones, but the years are mentioned following the years of the rule of a Viceroy. Standing stones of Imotski vanished at the turn of the 16th century, which means after the fall to the Ottomans. Standing stones are typical of our people, since such tombstones do not exist in any other country, not even in Bulgaria, where Bogomilism started. Standing stones are tombstones, made of local limestone with relief figures of men, women, horsemen, stars, crosses... There are simple and complex ones.The simple ones are made of a single and complex ones of two blocks of stone. In complex standing stones the lower stone lies horizontally, and the second stone is placed on it in the shape of a sarcophagus. The first stone covers the grave, and the second one is decoration. The greatest number of standing stones can be found in Berinovac, above Krivodol, in Cista, Zagvozd, Lovrec. there is a popular belief that bad weather will destroy everything if standing stones are touched. Thus has this popular belief preserved the stones from destruction through the centuries. The standing stones of Imotski originate from the Middle Ages. Most of them are from the 14th and the 15th century. Until his death (1382). Ludovic rules all Croatian lands, including Imotska krajina which he got from Stjepan Tvrtko, and before that from his father-in-law Stjepan II Kotromanic. After Ludovic' s death riots and rebellions started in Croatia. Croats did not recognize the authority of his wife Elizabeth and daughter Mary. They rose up in arms led by Horvat brothers, Bishop Ivanis, Viceroy Pavao and Ivan of Palizina, prior of the monastery of Vrana. Croatian rebels received support from Bosnian King Tvrtko, who had already been crowned king of Bosnia and Serbia. During these bloody battles Tvrtko won Croatian lands (1387), among them Imotska krajina. When Split, Trogir, Sibenik and the islands of Brac, Hvar and Korcula surrendered to Tvrtko in 1390 he declared himself king of Croatia and Dalmatia.

Soon after the death of Stjepan Tvrtko in 1391 his heirs - Bosnian rulers lost significance in the struggles for the throne. Until the fall to the Turks these areas would alternately come under the rule of king Sigismund, Ladislaus of Naples and Bosnian kings and their nobles. The strongest and most important nobleman in this area at that time was the Bosnian Duke Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic, duke of Split. Hrvoje became duke of Split in 1403. He dwelt with his wife from the Nelipic family in Imotski. In the time of King Stjepan Dabisa, who succeeded Tvrtko to the Bosnian throne, Hrvoje Vukcic and his brother-in-law Ivanis Nelipic had the last word in Croatian and Bosnian parts. Dabisa was succeeded to the Bosnian throne by his wife Jelena Gruba in 1395, while Queen Mary also died. After the death of Queen Mary, her husband, King Sigismund was busy with his duties in Bohemia and Germany, and payed little attention to Hungary and Croatia. In addition to this, his dissolute life caused resistance against him. In 1403 Ladislaus of Naples was crowned King of Hungary, Croatia and Dalmatia in Zadar. After the coronation Ladislaus left Dalmatia, making Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic his chief governor in Hungary, Croatia and Dalmatia as well as the duke of Split. Thus Hrvoje became actual ruler: he minted money, had court, sent and received emissaries.

Ladislaus sold Zadar, NoviTown, Vrana and the island of Pag with full rights to the whole of Dalmatia for 100,000 ducats to Venice (July 9th, 1409). From this time on destiny of Dalmatia took a different course from that of the other parts of Croatia, all the way to the newer age.

In the battles between Sigismund and Venice Sigismund renounced areas that were annexed by the Venetians for the shameful sum of 10,000 ducats, and pledged almost all of Croatia for 45, 000 ducats to the Frankopans. Thus much of Dalmatia belonged to the Venetians, and the second part from the Cetina to the Neretva became a part of the Bosnian state together with four old Croatian districts of Glamoc, Livno, Duvno and Imota. After the death of Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic most of his estates, together with Imotski, were inherited by his brother-in-law Ivanis Nelipic.

By the end of May of 1463 numerous and strong Ottoman army led by Sultan Muhammad II conquered the whole of Bosnia. That same year the Ottomans invaded the territory of Hum, but they failed to take it, so they plundered the fertile plains and fields around Ljubuski and Imotski. Vrgorac fell to the Ottomans in 1477.

In Croatia, struggles for power among the Croatian viceroys, King of Bosnia, who had already recognized the Ottoman government and his lords took place. In 1404 during these struggles Imotska krajina (County), which at the time was part of Hum came under the authority of Sandalj Hranic, one of the most powerful nobles from Hum, and afterwards his nephew Stjepan Vukcic Kosaca (1435-1466). Stjepan Vukcic was cunning and deceitful, but capable. He ruled Hum (Herzegovina) where there is Imotski, sometimes as a Turkish vassal, and sometimes as a friend of the Venetian Republic. In 1448, wanting all his estates to be independent, he made himself a duke (Herceg). His land was named Herzegovina after that title.

Disputes and quarrels between King Matthias, Duke Vlatko and the inhabitants of Dubrovnik about debts and the maintenance of the army were used by the Ottomans who often broke into, pillaged and looted parts of Herzegovina. Croats suffered tremendously in the Krbavsko field near Udbina in 1493. Historians do not mention the year Imotski fell to the Ottomans. There are those who believe that Imotska krajina fell in 1463, the same year as Bosnia, while others believe that it happened in 1482, the same year as Herzegovina. The historical sources state the year 1503 when Imotski was already under the Ottoman authority. In 1503 Vladislav II, successor to Matthias Corvinus. signed the truce with the Sultan Bayezid reaching agreement that borders remained as before the war, i.e. November 2nd, 1501. The Treaty says ‘… Herzegovina with its cities as well as the neighbouring cities of Prolozac and Imotski is left to the Sultan Bayezid.' Meaning that Prolozac and Imotski were under the Ottoman authority even before the beginning of the war (1501).

Sinj was conquered by the Ottomans in 1516.

In 1686 Venetian governor Girolamo Cornaro organized the siege of the fortress of Sinj. In Solin he gathered 2000 mercenaries, 1,000 men from the galleys, about 600 riders and 3,000 local soldiers. After three days of fighting Captain John Alberti entered first in the fort and the flag of the Republic of St Mark fluttered from the fortress. Thus Venice got an important fortress. After conquering the fortress the governor remained in Sinj for some time because he expected the Ottoman counterattack. The taking of Sinj made taking over the fortress of Cacvina possible.

In late March of 1687 Mehmed Pasha Atlagic, native from the Cetina, who became Bosnian Pasha, was preparing to re-conquer Sinj. He came down to the field of Sinj across Prolog with 13,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry and cannons. The fortress of Sinj was run by the governor Bolani. Cornaro was in Solin with the army, and later went to Klis waiting for food and ammunition from Venice. The Ottoman Army attacked the fortress of Sinj with cannons so that the wall of the well and the walls above the Reef were damaged. But the determination and courage of defenders did not waver. When Atlagic tried general assault on the fortress Cornaro went to Sinj with the army, along with 1,600 local soldiers. Governor' s great army forced the enemy to flee. After this failure at Sinj there were no greater threats to the fortress. Venetians populated the area around Sinj with new settlers, pointed out the need of defense among the population, helped the elders of the clans. In the general Ottoman attack on Dalmatia (1690) the Ottomans were driven back but 19 people were killed, 150 taken prisoner, grain was sacked and livestock taken. The borderers avenged this sudden attack by invading Livno field.

In 1699, the year of ratification of peace, the Ottomans occupied Glavas, Potravlje, the watch at Prolog, Cacvina, tower in Trilj. According to the Peace Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 Venice got Knin, Vrlika, Sinj Zadvarje, Vrgorac and Citluk with Gabela.

Thus after the Morea War (1684 - 1699) the area of Sinj was unnaturally divided between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, and Sinj field itself was split in half. With the final liberation of Sinj most inhabitants who had undergone Islamization fled from Krajina. The people of Sinj region migrated - Christians to the coast, Muslims to Bosnia. Therefore the Venetian authorities began settling. Most of the population moved from Livno, Duvno and Rama, bored with constant border conflicts and conquests, the uncertainty of life. Because of the attacks on the border areas the Turkish authorities took it out on the people and clergy, blaming them for the riots. So the monks from the monastery of Rama decided to leave and go to Sinj region. The documents of Sinj governor Zorzi (June 16th, 1688) Say that 35 Franciscans arrived with people from Bosnia. After leaving Rama, the Franciscans burned the monastery, and by tradition it was done by the guardian Father Stipan Matic himself, so that the enemy would not use it for themselves. The priests carried with themselves books, gothic gilded chalice from 1402, festive vestments, the image of Our Lady of Mercy (later Lady of Sinj) and several big pictures, very valuable. That year dozens of families came from Bosnia, about 350 according to some data, in total about 3,800 people migrated to the area around Sinj, to the villages of Lucane, Hrvace, Bitelic, Glavice, Brnaze, Turjaci and Kosute.

Around 1690 families from Poljica settled here, and later also refugees from Herzegovina. With this migration, struggle to survive the makeup of the population of Sinj region changed. The final insight was provided in 1709 by the first census.

Mletačka vlast stvara svoj vojno-teritorijalni i upravno-politički sustav. Na čelu krajine nalazi se providur sa svjetovnom i vojnom vlašću. On stanuje u palači na južnom dijelu sinjske tvrđave. Uz providura vojskom upravlja i kapetan. Dio vojske bio je smješten u tvrđavi. Redovna vojska dijelila se na ultramarine (prekomorce) i na hrvatsku konjicu (cavaleria croata). Časnici su redovito bili stranci neki su se nastanili u Sinju, ali većina nije u njemu ostajala trajno. Sinjska tvrđava, kao isturena predstraža Klisa bila je popravljena i dobro održavana.

Venetian government created its military-territorial and administrative-political system. At the head of the region there was the governor with secular and military authorities. He lived in a palace in the southern part of the fortress of Sinj. Together with the governor, the army was led by the captain. There was a part of the army in the fortress. Regular army was divided into the ultramarini (the oversears) and the Croatian cavalry (cavaleria croata). The officers were regularly foreigners, some of them settled in Sinj, but most of them did not stay in it for ever. The fortress of Sinj, as the protruding outpost of Klis, was repaired and well maintained.

Velika turska vojska spuštala se 23.srpnja 1715. niz Prolog. Prema nekim podacima turskim vojnika je bilo oko 60.000, a među njima i 5.000 Tatara. Enes Pelidija u svojoj knjizi "Bosanski vilajet" zaključuje da su ove snage predstavljale gotovo četvrtinu svih vojnih snaga tadašnjeg Osmanlijskog carstva. Na čelu vojske nalazio se bosanski namjesnik, serasker Mustafa - paša Čelić inače rodom iz Mostara. Sutradan 24.srpnja Turci pustoše sela Potravlje, Satrić, Lučane, Zelovo, a dva dana poslije napadaju drvenu tvrđavu na otoku usred rijeke Cetine po kojoj se poslije selo prozvalo Otok. Hrabri branitelji izdržali su cijeli dan, da bi idući dan nakon općeg napada neprijateljske čete upale na otok. Otok je branilo 170 ljudi, a opsjedalo ih je 6.000 turskih vojnika. Turci nastavljaju pljačku, a u tim razornim pohodima uništavaju crkve. Zauzeli su Vrliku, a kako je već prije pala Čačvina i kula na Gardunu glavnina vojske krenula je prema Sinju. U sinjskoj tvrđavi branitelja je bilo prema nekim povjesničarima oko sedamsto, a prema drugim podacima oko tisuću i petstotina. Obranu je vodio providur Zorzi Balbi. U tim odličnim i sudbonosnim trenucima Mlečanin-franjevac Bernardo Gornizai izvadio je sliku Majke od Milosti (Gospa Sinjska) i postavio je na oltar u tvrđavnoj crkvi. Turci su opsjedali grad od 7. kolovoza kada je otpravljen turski glasnik koji je nudio ponudu seraskera da se tvrđava preda inače u protivnom da će biti sva gradska posada na kolac nabijena. Glasnik je otpravljen s porukom da predaje nema i da će se grad braniti do zadnje kapi krvi. Turci su napali grad svim raspoloživim oružjem tako da su zidovi tvrđave bili dosta oštećeni, a uništena je i varoš ispod tvrđave. Konačno u praskozorje 14. kolovoza navališe na branitelje pješaci .

"Ovo silno jurišanje trajalo je više od tri sata, ali je navalu odbijala junačka posada koju je krijepila božanska pomoć, a hrabrilo poticanje viteških zapovjednika. Napokon Turci stanu bježati bez obzira." - navodi se u Dnevniku opsade što ga je napisao očevidac, a nalazi se u Arhivu sinjskog samostana. Na Dan Velike Gospe 15. kolovoza vrati se turska vojska u Livno.

"'The Ottoman soldiers could not understand how a relatively small garrison could sustain their strong attacks. Therefore, the answer was suggested that defenders were helped by a mysterious, heavenly power. And it helped. The defenders found a mighty advocation in a beautiful, humble Picture which gave them faith in freedom of their people through the Franciscans and that they were saviours of the entire Dalmatia. That is why they lasted'. - says Father Ante Soldo in his 'Sinjska krajina u 17. i 18. stoljecu (The Sinj Region in the 17th and the 18th century) '- The defenders and the people who gathered firmly believed that the Lady was helping them in the long night of expectation.

Right after driving away the enemy off the fortress, Cacvina was taken, and on August 17th the Ottoman Army left Vrlika. The consequences of the Ottoman plundering were terrible, there was hunger.

Everybody in the fortress of Sinj was convinced that God had given them mercy to defend their homeland upon the advocation of the Lady, and so the officers collected 80 gold coins for a golden crown to coronate the image of the Lady which was done in the 1716.

There is the inscription at the bottom of the crown - IN PERPETUUM CORONATA TRIUMPHAT - ANNO MDCCXV - Forever coronated, she triumphs - the year 1716. To the memory of the heroic victory the people of Sinj founded Sinjska alka, the joust.

Feast of Our Lady of the Angels - August 2nd - is inscribed in golden letters in the history of Imotska krajina. In 1717 on that day the Christian army led by Venetian officers managed to free Imotska krajina from the Ottomans.

The people of kmotski and Sinj stood out particularly in courage. Ante Vrdoljak - a soldier from the compaany of Sinj - was the first to climb the upper walls of the Fortress and bring the flag of St. Mark. On the same day, the guardian of the monastery of St. Francis in Imotski, Father Stipan Vrljic celebrated Mass and collected from the people the money to paint the picture of Our Lady of the Angels. In the lower part of the Fortress the army built a church dedicated to the Mother of God. Every year the people of Imotski remember the great victory. Feast of Our Lady of the Angels is the Day of the City od Imotski.

These are only some sketches from the rich history of cities and municipalities of our County. We hav not written about the events from the relatively newer history, Venetian, French and Austrian government and som events from the history (the fall of Salona, defense and conquering of Klis, the pirates of Omis, the uprising of the island of Hvar, the history of Makarska, Kastela, Brac) because we are limited by space provided. After all, in every issue of our Chronicle there is a column 'From history' where we talk about the past of our cities and municipalities. It is worth remembering that throughout millenia many civilizations and authorities left their mark in this area. Diocletian's palace and the city core of Trogir have been inscribed in the UNESCO register of monuments of world importance.

From anniversary issue of 'The Chronicles of Split-Dalmatia County'
(Marijana Šundov)