The Croats

Representing a southern Slavic origin population, the Croats in Romania are a homogeneous community with specific traditions and customs, being preponderantly Roman Catholic. Short history Scholars from Croatia, especially linguists, are very interested in the language of a certain Croatian community in Romania, known as Carasoveni, who in their opinion represent one of the few living testimonies to the old Croatian language. Besides its spectacular aspect, this demonstrates that the presence of ethnic Croatians on today's territory of Romania is a very old one, and that the conservation of the language, and of specific customs, was realized under very favorable conditions. The immigration of the Croats to Romania was the result of three successive waves. The first wave immigrated in the 13th-14th centuries from the north-western part of Bosnia, and they were known as Carasoveni Croats, or the Croats from the "Carasovean basin". They settled in the northern plateau of the CarasRiver, near Resita, in seven villages with compact population, in proportion of 92-98%. Carasova, the oldest of the seven villages, is recorded as an official cartographic fact since the 13th and 14th centuries, and the others beginning with the 16th century. The north-eastern part of the village is guarded by the ruins of the Carasova fortress, known as "the fortress of the Turk" (Turski grad), which was built in the Roman period as a watchtower, consolidated in the period of the Hungarian Kingdom, and rebuilt during the Timisoara pashalik (1552-1717). In the western part of Carasova is the famous Cave of the Socolovat (Sokolovacka pecka), which was used as a refuge in times of distress. The cause of immigration for this particular wave is thought to have been the Ottoman danger that lurked over this area of the Balkans, or religious repression, because for centuries on end the natives had been shepherded by Franciscan monks. The second wave of Croats immigrated in the 16th-17th centuries, during the time of the Ottoman domination in Banat, or at least towards the end of this period. This wave is known under the name of "Raci" or "Sokti". This wave settled in two distinct areas: in AradCounty, near the towns Radna and Lipova, being known as the Lippovan Croats (lipovacki Hrvati ili Sokci), and near Timisoara, in Recas (Rekas), where they lived together with Romanians, Hungarians and Germans. The third wave contains the population which settled at the beginning of the 19th century in Checea, and also in Cenei, in TimisCounty. The origins of this group are to be found in the south-east of Croatia, the Pokuplje area. A part of this group settled on the territory of the Yugoslav Banat and that is why it is known as the "Kikavieni" Croats, the others being called "Sokavieni". This group is a descendant of the lower Croat noblemen. They were transferred through a goods exchange, from their original region to this part of Banat, due to the military reorganization of the Hapsburg Empire, which started during the period of Maria Theresa's reign (the middle of the 18th century). According to the numbers of the 1992 census, the Croat ethnic minority counted 4085 people. Ten years later, the official data registered 6786, which represents an extraordinary – and difficult to explain – growth. The Croats speak a Slavic language, from the southern Slavic languages group. The Croatian script is the Latin one; the Croats from Romania use it in church, in schools, and in their everyday life. The spoken language, the customs and their traditional costumes indicate common features with other Balkan peoples.   Political representation Without having an autonomous presence until the beginning of the 1990's, because they have been traditionally associated with the Serbs, the Croats were able to make their presence felt at a political and cultural level only after 1991. The organization that represents the interests of the Croat minority is the Union of the Croats in Romania, a rightful successor to the "Karaševski ogranak" organization, belonging to the Democrat Union of the Serbs, without being the continuation of its programme. Regarding its symbolism, the flag of the mother country is red, white and blue, and the Union emblem illustrates the tower of the keep on the top of the peak, representing the ruins of the Carasova fortress.

by www.