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Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Croatia

Ethnicity

Nearly everyone living in Croatia claims to be an ethnic Croat or Croatian. In much smaller numbers, there are also Serbs, Bosniaks, and to a lesser extent Slovenes, Hungarians, and Italians. From a genetic standpoint, the Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks are nearly identical, however each group claims they are different ethnic groups; an argument primarily based on religious, cultural, and political differences rather than on genetics. The Croats, as well as the Serbs and Bosniaks, are a southern Slavic group and their closest ethnic relatives are the other Southern Slavic groups, including each other, the Slovenes, and the Bulgarians among smaller groups.

Language

Croatian is the official language in Croatia and, like the ethnic divides, nearly all of the minority Serbs and Bosniaks speak "Serbian" or "Bosnian" both of which are languages that are arguably identical to Croatian (commonly called Serbo-Croatian in English). The Croats write their language in the Latin script, while the Serbs prefer using the Cyrillic script. This language, which is known by many names, is a south Slavic language and is also related to Slovene and Bulgarian among others.

Many Croatians are bilingual as English is becoming a popular language to study in schools and many young people now speak English with at least a basic understanding. As this is a relatively recent change, few older people speak English with any fluency.

Religion

Generally, the defining difference between the Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks is their religious affiliation. The Croats are Catholic, the Serbs Orthodox, and the Bosniaks Muslim. As the overwhelming majority of Croatia's population is Croat, most of the country is Catholic.

Catholicism is a Christian religion that is one of the first Christian religions (founded after the death of Jesus in about 30-33 AD). Catholicism believes that there is a single God who created everything, a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins, and there is the Holy Spirit, which makes up the last part of the Holy Trinity. Catholics follow the teachings of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments. Much of the faith is based on the life and teachings of Jesus, which is found in the gospels (in the New Testament).

Continue reading on Safari the Globe to Learn the Catholic Church's doctrines, liturgy, symbolism, traditions, & hierarchy

This page was last updated: May, 2014