Croatian Littoral

Croatian Littoral (Croatian: Hrvatsko primorje) is a geographical region of Croatia comprising the area between Dalmatia to the south, Mountainous Croatia to the north and east, and Istria and the Kvarner Gulf of the Adriatic Sea to the west. The term "Croatian Littoral" developed relatively recently, since the 18th and 19th centuries, reflecting the complex development of Croatia in historical and geographical terms. The term Croatian Littoral is also applied to entire Adriatic coast of modern Croatia in general terms, which is then divided into the Southern Croatian Littoral comprising Dalmatia, and the Northern Croatian Littoral comprising Istria and Croatian Littoral in the strict meaning of the term. Croatian Littoral covers 2,830 square kilometres (1,090 square miles) and has a population of 228,725. More than half the region's population lives in the city of Rijeka—by far the largest urban centre in the area.

The foothills of mountains that form the northeast boundary of the region, as well as islands in the Kvarner Gulf, are a part of the Dinaric Alps, making karst topography especially prominent in the Croatian Littoral. The Cres – Lošinj and Krk – Rab island chains divide the Kvarner Gulf into four distinct areas—Rijeka Bay, Kvarner (sensu stricto), Kvarnerić, and Vinodol Channel. The Cres – Lošinj group also includes the inhabited islands of Ilovik, Susak, Unije, Vele Srakane, and Male Srakane, as well as a larger number of small uninhabited islands. Zadar Archipelago extends to the southeast of the island group. Water significantly contributed to the geomorphology of the area, especially in the Bay of Bakar, a ria located between Rijeka and Kraljevica. The most significant inland bodies of water in the region are the 17.5-kilometre (10.9-mile) long Rječina River and Lake Vrana on the island of Cres.

The region saw frequent changes to its ruling powers since classical antiquity, including the Roman Empire, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Empire, and the Croats, some of whose major historical heritage originates from the area—most notably the Baška tablet. The region and adjacent territories became a point of contention between major European powers, including the Republic of Venice, the Kingdom of Hungary, and the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, as well as Austria, the First French Empire, the Kingdom of Italy, and Yugoslavia.

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