Saturday, July 3, 2010

The National Anthem of Croatia

The National anthem of Croatia is Lijepa naša domovino (Our Beautiful Homeland). The lyrics to the anthem by Antun Mihanovic, were first printed in Danica (The Morning Star) magazine in 1835, under the title "Hrvatska domovina" ("Croatian Homeland"). The music was composed later (1840s) by Josip Runjanin, a Croatian Serb, on the basis of Donizetti's "O sole piu ratto" from the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor". Later, in 1861, the score went through some minor changes done by V. Lichtenegger. In 1891 the song was first sung as the unofficial national anthem at an exhibition held by the Croatian-Slavonian Economic Society in Zagreb. (Croatia, still being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, had that nation's anthem as its official one.) It remained unofficial until February 29, 1972, when the first amendment to the Croatian Constitution declared it official (despite being part of Yugoslavia at the time) with a slight change in the lyrics upon 1990 independence.

Antun Mihanović (1796-1861) was a notable Croatian poet and lyricist, most famous for writing the national anthem of Croatia. Klanjec, his birthplace, holds a monument to him and a gallery of his works.

Mihanović studied law and worked as a military judge. After engaging in diplomacy, he was the Austrian consul in Belgrade, Thessaloniki, Smyrna, Istanbul and Bucharest. He retired in 1858 as a minister counselor, and lived in Novi Dvori until his death.

The poem which would become the Croatian anthem was Horvatska domovina. It was first published in the cultural magazine Danica ilirska, No. 10, edited by Ljudevit Gaj, in 1835. The anthem itself would become known as Lijepa naša (Our Beautiful ), since those are the first two words of the poem.
Mihanović also wrote a small but important book, Rěč domovini o hasnovitosti pisanja vu domorodnom jeziku (A Word to the Homeland about the Benefits from Writing in Mother Tongue), published in Vienna in 1815. The ideas in this book became one of the foundations of the Illyrian Movement.