Contributed by Jocelyn M.B. Hicks, PhD, FRCPath, President, IFCC
Croatia is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering on Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its population is about 4.5 million.
Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918, when the Croatians, Serbs and Slovenians formed a Kingdom known as Yugoslavia, followed by profound social and political turmoil, and finally World War II bloodshed that generated the formation of communist Yugoslavia. Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, but it took four more years of war until peace was established. In 2005, Croatia started negotiation for its joining the European Union.
Croatia's natural resources include oil, bauxite, calcium, gypsum, silica, mica and hydropower. About 26% of the land is arable. Despite these resources, Croatia's unemployment rate is presently high, but the government is aggressively moving to correct this problem, greatly relying on expansion of science and the prospects offered by thoughtful development of tourism and closely related manufacture of healthy food.
Life expectancy is high, being about 71 y for men and 78 y for women. The fertility rate is about 1.39 children per woman.
The major ethnic groups are Croatians (89.6%), Serbs (4.5%), Bosnians (0.5%), Hungarians (0.4%) and others. The religion is predominantly Roman Catholic (87.9%), Orthodox (4.4%), Muslim (1.3%), and other Christians (0.4%). The literacy rate is very high (98%).
The government form is democratic, with a President elected by popular vote, a Legislature and a Judiciary.
The unit of currency is the kuna.
I am sure that the President of the Croatian Society would love to have you attend one of their Congresses and follow it up with a vacation in her beautiful country.