History

5th Century BC Illyrian tribes build the settlement of Senia, just inland from today’s Senj.

4th Century BC Senj is mentioned for the first time in Greek documents, under the name Attienities.

2nd Century BC Local Illyrian tribes start paying tribute to Rome. The Senj region is increasingly drawn into the orbit of Roman civilization.

39BC Octavian (future Emperor Augustus) defeats the Illyrian tribes just inland of Senj, confirming Roman dominance over the region. Under the Romans, the centre of Senia is moved towards the seashore and it develops as a strategically important port.

1st 4th Centuries AD Senia is a prosperous Roman town complete with forum, temples and public baths. 

5th Century Roman imperial authority breaks down, Senj is sacked by barbarian tribes and abandoned.

7th Century Senj is re-settled by Avars and Croats.

10th Century A Croatian medieval state comes into being, in which the Senj region is included.

1102 Croatia’s monarch dies childless, and the crown falls to the King of Hungary. Senj continues to prosper in the Hungaro-Croatian state.

1116 Hungaro-Croatian King Bela III presents Senj to the Knights Templars.

1239 Senj is sacked by the Tatars and the Templars leave.

1248 Pope Innocent IV writes to Bishop Philip of Senj, confirming that the Croats have permission to use both their own language and their own script, known as Glagolitic. Senj becomes a centre of Glagolitic manuscript production.

1271 Senj is handed over to the Frankopan Dukes of Krk. The Frankopans build churches and fortifications, and cultivate trade.

1388 Duke Ivan Frankopan issues the Senj Statute, codifying the rights and obligations of nobles and townsfolk.

1410 While much of the Adriatic coast falls under the sway of Venice, Rijeka and Senj remain part of the Hungaro-Croatian kingdom.

1463 The Ottoman Turks increase their hold on the western Balkan hinterland by occupying Bosnia.

1469 Hungaro-Croatian King Matthias Corvinus ejects the Frankopans from Senj and  declares it a free royal town. Senj flourishes as a port, exporting timber, wool and furs from the mountainous interior to Italy and the west. Senj’s St George’s Day Fair becomes one of the main events of the Adriatic trading calendar.

1493 Blaž Baromić establishes a printing house in Senj, publishing a unique series of prayer books in the Croatian Glagolitic script.

1527 With the Hungaro-Croatian king killed in battle by Ottoman Turks, Croatia comes under the control of the Austrian Habsburgs. Senj becomes an important frontier fortress in the defence of Central Europe against the Ottomans. The so-called Senj Captaincy is created to coordinate the defence of the northern Adriatic.

1537 The Uskok fortress of Klis near Split falls to the Ottomans. The Uskoks flee to Senj.

1550-58 Due to increasing exposure to Ottoman attacks, Captain of Senj Ivan Lenković supervises the construction of Senj’s Nehaj fortress.

1592 The Ottoman governor-general of Bosnia, Telli Hasan Pasha, launches an offensive against Senj but is thrown back.

1617 After war between Austria and Venice, the Uskoks are expelled from Senj and resettled elsewhere.

1779 Completion of the cross-mountain Jozefinska cesta (“Josephine Road”) provides a direct link between Senj and the cities of Central Europe.

1786 The Vienna-Senj postal service is inaugurated.

1873 A new railway links Rijeka to Central Europe, and Senj gradually loses its importance as a northern Adriatic port.

1833-1869 Bishop of Senj Mirko Ožegović leads a cultural revival in the town

1918 The Habsburg Empire disintegrates, and Croatia - Senj included - becomes part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later re-named Yugoslavia)

1930s The Senj region is economically sidelined by the Yugoslav regime, provoking mass emigration to America and elsewhere.

1941 Germans and Italians occupy Yugoslavia, installing a pro-Nazi puppet regime in Croatia.

1943-45 Senj is repeatedly damaged by air bombardment during the final years of World War II. 

1945 Croatia becomes a federal republic in a communist-controlled Yugoslavia

1948 Stalin ejects Yugoslavia from the Soviet bloc.

1950s-1960s Croatia’s Adriatic coast becomes a major European tourist destination

1980 Yugoslavia’s long-serving President Tito dies. A slow process of political disintegration sets in.

1990 Croatia holds its first free elections.

1991 Croatia declares its independence from Yugoslavia

1991-1995 Serbian insurgents supported by the Yugoslav army take over 30% of Croatia’s territory. The front line is just inland from Senj.

1995 Croatian military victories bring the war to a close.

2000 Croatia’s post-independence tourism boom gets into full swing.

2009 A long-running border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia nears resolution, improving Croatia’s prospects for swift EU accession.

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