List of rulers of Croatia

The seal of the Kingdom of Croatia and Dalmatia was affixed in 1527 to the Cetin Charter that confirmed the Habsburg to be the rulers of Croatia
Coat of arms of the House of Habsburg. The Habsburgs ruled the Kingdom of Croatia for just under 470 years, longer than any other dynasty


The details of the arrival of the Croats are scarcely documented: c.626, Croats migrate from White Croatia (around what is now Galicia) at the invitation of Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius. Between c. 641 and c. 689 Radoslav converts Croatia to Christianity.

Dukes of Croatia

Main article: Duchy of Croatia
Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Porga or Porin c.660 c. 680
Višeslav (?) 800 810
Borna c. 810 821 Vassal of Frankish Emperor Charlemagne; son of Višeslav
Vladislav February 821 c. 835 son of Klonimir
Mislav c. 835 c. 845
Trpimir I c. 845 864 Founder of the Trpimirović dynasty
Zdeslav 864 864 son of Trpimir I
Domagoj 864 876 overthrows Zdeslav
Iljko (?) 876 878 Iljko's name is disputed, an unnamed son of Domagoj succeeded to the throne, later killed during a civil war
Zdeslav 878 May 879 restored, overthrows unnamed son of Domagoj
Branimir May 879 c. 892 killed Zdeslav in May 879
Muncimir 892 910 son of Trpimir
Tomislav 910 925

Kings of Croatia

In his letter from 925, Pope John X refers to Tomislav as Rex Chroatorum - King of the Croatians. All Croatian rulers after Tomislav held the title of king.

House of Trpimirović

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Tomislav 925 928 Probably son of Muncimir. After his death civil wars weakened the state and some territory, including Bosnia, was lost. His rank of "king" (rex) is based on two contemporary documents; a correspondence dated 925 where the Pope John X addresses him with that title and the transcript from the Synod conclusions in Split where he is also referred to as "rex". He was also addressed as "Princeps" ("Prince") and Duke (Dux) on other occasions. Nevertheless, in Croatia he is traditionally considered the first Croatian king.
Trpimir II 928935 Younger brother or son of Tomislav
Krešimir I
(Krešimir Stariji)
935945 Son of Trpimir II
Miroslav 945949 Son of Krešimir I
Michael Krešimir II
(Mihovil Krešimir II)
Helen I
(Jelena Zadarska)
949969 Younger brother of Miroslav. Michael Krešimir II ruled jointly with his wife Queen Helen I. Upon the King's death in 969 their son Stephen Držislav immediately took the throne alone, while the Queen Helen I died seven years later on 8 October 976. During their reign, the Croatian Kingdom regained previously lost territories, including Bosnia.
Stephen Držislav
(Stjepan Držislav)
969997 Son of Michael Krešimir II. Queen Jelena of Zadar ruled as a regent for Stephen Držislav 969 - 8 November 975. He received royal insigia as an act of recognition from the Byzantine Emperor and was crowned by the Archbishop of Split in Biograd in 988. Thomas the Archdeacon's Historia Salonitana names him as the first King of Croatia (rex), regardless, he is considered the first crowned Croatian King.[1]
Svetoslav Suronja 9971000 Son of Stephen Držislav. Detroned by his brothers Krešimir III and Gojslav
Krešimir III
10001020 Younger brothers of Svetoslav Suronja
Krešimir III
10201030 Younger brother of Svetoslav Suronja
Stephen I
(Stjepan I)
10301058 Son of Krešimir III
Peter Krešimir IV the Great
(Petar Krešimir IV Veliki)
10581074 Son of Stephen I. During his reign the Croatian Kingdom reached its peak.
Demetrius Zvonimir
(Dmitar Zvonimir)
10751089 Cousin of Peter Krešimir IV. C. 1063 marries Princess Helen, daughter of King Bela I of Hungary.
Stephen II
(Stjepan II)
1089 December 1090 Son of Častimir, who was younger brother of King Peter Krešimir IV.
Helen II
(Jelena Lijepa)
10901091 Widow of King Demetrius Zvonimir and daughter of King Bela I of Hungary

House of Árpád

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Ladislaus I of Hungary
(Ladislav I. Arpadović)
10911092 Son of Hungarian king Béla I and brother of Croatian Queen Jelena Lijepa
Duke Álmos
(herceg Almoš)
10911093 Nephew of Ladislaus, rules as his proxy.

House of Svačić

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Petar Svačić 10931097 Elected by Croatian nobles. Struggles with Hungary for control of Croatia. From 1097 onwards, the Kings of Hungary were also Kings of Croatia, because of the political union of the two crowns.

After 1102

See also: Ban of Croatia

From 1102, the reigning King of Hungary is ruler of Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia and Dalmatia in agreement with the Croatian nobles.[2][3] Croatia is governed on his behalf by a Ban (viceroy) and a Sabor.

House of Árpád

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
11023 February 1116 Battle of Gvozd Mountain (modern Petrova Gora). Coloman, supported by Pannonian Croats, defeats an army of Croatian and Dalmatian nobles allied to Petar. Recognized as King of Croatia by a council (Sabor) of Croatian nobles.
Stephen III
(Stjepan II.)
3 February 11163 April 1131 Son of Coloman
Béla II the Blind
(Bela II. Slijepi)
3 April 113113 February 1141 grandson of Géza I, son of Álmos, Coloman's younger brother
(Gejza II.)
13 February 114131 May 1162 son of Béla II
Stephen IV
(Stjepan III.)
31 May 11624 March 1172 son of Géza II
Ladislaus II
(Ladislav II.)
31 May 116214 January 1163 rebel anti-king, younger brother of Géza II.
Stephen V
(Stjepan IV.)
14 January 1163June 1163 rebel anti-king, younger brother of Géza II.
Béla III 4 March 117213 April 1196 younger brother of Stephen III.
13 April 119630 November 1204 son of Béla III.
Ladislaus III
(Ladislav III.)
30 November 12047 May 1205 son of Emerik, crowned and died as a child
Andrew I
(Andrija II.)
7 May 120521 September 1235 brother of Emerik, in 1222 issued Golden Bull which established the rights of noblemen, including the right to disobey the King when he acted contrary to law (jus resistendi).
Béla IV 21 September 12353 May 1270 son of Andrew II, ruled during First Mongol invasion (1241–42), in 1242 issued Golden Bull and proclaimed Zagreb and Samobor a Free Royal Borough (free and royal city)
Stephen VI
(Stjepan V.)
3 May 12706 August 1272 son of Béla IV.
Ladislaus IV the Cuman
(Ladislav IV. Kumanac)
6 August 127210 July 1290 son of Steven V.; unsuccessful Mongol invasion; lived with the nomad Cuman tribes
Andrew II
(Andrija III. Mlečanin)
4 August 129014 January 1301 grandson of Andrew II, born in Venice; last of the Árpád dynasty

House of Anjou

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Charles Martel of Anjou
(Karlo Martel)
12901295 set up by Pope Nicholas IV and the ecclesiastical party as successor of his maternal uncle, the childless Ladislaus IV. Crowned as the King of Croatia but not as King of Hungary
Charles I
(Karlo I. Robert)
14 January 130116 July 1342 son of Charles Martel, established the royal Angevin dynasty.
Louis I the Great
(Ludovik I. Veliki)
16 July 134211 September 1382 also became King of Poland (1370)
Mary I
(Marija Anžuvinska)
11 September 138217 May 1395 married Sigismund of Luxemburg
Charles II
(Karlo II. Drački)
31 December 138524 February 1386 also King of Naples, in opposition to Mary. Assassinated on 7 February 1386 and died on 24 February

House of Luxembourg

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Sigismund I
(Žigmund Luksemburški)
31 March 13879 December 1437 later also Roman-German King (since 1410), King of Bohemia (since 1419), Holy Roman Emperor (since 1433)

House of Anjou

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Ladislaus of Naples
(Ladislav Napuljski)
5 August 14031409 Son of Charles II. Claimed the Crown of Hungary and Croatia and opposed by King Sigismund of Luxemburg. Ladislas eventually sold his rights to the Venetian Republic for 100,000 ducats in 1409.

House of Habsburg

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Albert I 1 January 143827 October 1439 son-in-law of Sigismund, also Roman-German King, King of Bohemia, Duke of Austria

Jagiellon dynasty

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Vladislaus I
(Vladislav I. Jagelović)
15 May 1440 10 November 1444 also King of Poland

House of Habsburg

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Ladislaus V the Posthumus
(Ladislav V. Posmrtni)
10 November 144423 November 1457 born in 1440 after his father's death, spent most of his life in captivity.

House of Hunyadi

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Matthias I Corvinus
(Matija Korvin)
24 January 14586 April 1490 son of John Hunyadi, also King of Bohemia

Jagiellon dynasty

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Vladislaus II
(Vladislav II. Jagelović)
15 July 149013 May 1516 also King of Bohemia
Louis II
(Ludovik II.)
13 May 1516 29 August 1526 also King of Bohemia; killed in the Battle of Mohács

House of Zápolya

Kingship disputed between Ferdinand of Austria and John Zápolya during the Ottoman invasion

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
John I
(Ivan Zapolja)
10 November 152622 July 1540 Also claimed the throne, with support of Hungarian nobles and later Suleiman the Magnificent.

House of Habsburg

On January 1, 1527 Croatian Parliament met in Cetin to elect Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria as the new king of Croatia.

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Ferdinand Habsburški)
16 December 152625 July 1564 claimed the throne according to the agreement between the House of Jagiellon and the House of Habsburg
(Maksimilijan I.)
8 September 156312 October 1576 ruled during Battle of Szigetvár and Croatian peasant revolt
Rudolf I 25 September 157226 June 1608 ruled during Battle of Sisak, abdicated in favor of his younger brother Matthias
Matthias II
(Matija II.)
26 June 160820 March 1619 brother of Rudolf II
Ferdinand II 1 July 161815 February 1637 In 1630 issued Statuta Valachorum in opposition to Croatian Parliament
Ferdinand III 8 December 16252 April 1657  
Leopold I 27 June 16575 May 1705 Crushed Zrinski–Frankopan Conspiracy and abolished the right of Croatian Parliament to elect king. In 1669 founded University of Zagreb
Joseph I
(Josip I.)
5 May 170517 April 1711  
Charles III
(Karlo III.)
11 April 171120 October 1740 On 9 March 1712 Croatian Parliament voted its Pragmatic Sanction in which the Kingdom of Croatia accepted female inheritance of its crown after extinction of the male line and supporting her to become Queen of Croatia
Maria II Theresa
(Marija Terezija)
20 October 174029 November 1780 Division of Croatia on županije (counties) and in 1767 forms Croatian Royal Council (Consilium Regium) until 1779 when she abolishes it. Queen conducts military and economy reforms and especially serfdom.

House of Habsburg-Lorraine

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Joseph II
(Josip II.)
29 November 1780 20 February 1790 Abolished serfdom. Partial germanization of Croatian lands.
Leopold II 20 February 1790 1 March 1792  
(Franjo I.)
1 March 1792 2 March 1835  
Ferdinand V 28 September 1830 2 December 1848 Being epileptic and mentally ill, abdicated in favour of his nephew, Franz Joseph (son of his younger brother Franz Karl). Died in 1875.
Francis Joseph
(Franjo Josip I.)
2 December 1848 21 November 1916 Longest ruling Croatian monarch, during which reign Croatia was unified in 1848. During the reorganization of the monarchy in 1867 into a dual Austrian and Hungarian part, Croatia was divided. In 1868 the Triune kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia was a autonomous kingdom in the union with Hungary.
Charles IV
(Karlo IV.)
21 November 1916 16 November 1918 In his coronation oath to the Croatian parliament he acknowledged the unity of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia with Rijeka.[4] During the last days of the monarchy he accepted the trialist manifest on creating the Zvonimir's kingdom.[5][6][6][7][8][9] He reigned until 1918, when he "renounced participation" in state affairs, but did not abdicate. The Croatian Sabor (parliament) ended the union of Croatia with Hungary and Austria on 29 October 1918 but never dethroned king Karl IV.[10] He spent the remaining years of his life attempting to restore the monarchy until his death in 1922.

Kings of Yugoslavia

After the World War I and the breakup off of Austria-Hungary, Croatia joined a newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Following a brief period of self-rule, that state became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes under the Karađorđević dynasty. The name of the kingdom was changed in 1929 amid unitarianist reforms to "King of Yugoslavia". During this period, in 1941 Croatia was occupied by the Axis powers along with the rest of Yugoslavia.

House of Karađorđević

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Peter I 1 December 1918 16 August 1921
Alexander I 16 August 1921 9 October 1934
Peter II 9 October 1934 29 November 1945

Independent State of Croatia

House of Savoy-Aosta

During the German occupation of Yugoslavia, a puppet-state under Italian protection called the Independent State of Croatia was created with its leader Ante Pavelić. Soon after the creation of the state its government passed three laws on the creation of the crown of Zvonimir, which made the country a kingdom.[11][12] Three days later the Rome treaties were signed. Italian prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto was designated King of Croatia. He abdicated in 1943.

Portrait Ruler Began Ended Remarks
Tomislav II
18 May 1941 31 July 1943 Tomislav II established a Croatian royal office (kraljevski stol) in Florence and later in Rome.[13][14] He had at first refused to assume the kingship in opposition to the Italian annexation of the Dalmatia region,[15] and is therefore referred to in some sources as king designate.[16][17][18][19] He abdicated on 31 July 1943 after the dismissal of Musolini on the orders of Victor-Emanuel III.[20][21][22][23]



See also


  1. Thomas the Archdeacon: Historia Salonitana, caput 13.
  2. Catholic Encyclopedia
  3. (Hrvatska) Krunidbena zavjernica Karla IV. hrvatskom Saboru 28. prosinca 1916. (sa grbom Dalmacije, Hrvatske, Slavonije i Rijeke iznad teksta), str. 1.-4. Hrvatski Državni Arhiv./ENG. (Croatian) Coronation oath of Karl IV to Croatian Sabor (parliament), 28th December 1916. (with coat of arms of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia and Rijeka above the text), p.1-4 Croatian State Archives
  4. A. Pavelić (lawyer) Doživljaji, p.432.
  5. 1 2 Dr. Aleksandar Horvat Povodom njegove pedesetgodišnjice rodjenja, Hrvatsko pravo, Zagreb, 17/1925., no. 5031
  6. Edmund von Glaise-Horstenau,Die Katastrophe. Die Zertrümmerung Österreich-Ungarns und das Werden der Nachfolgestaaten, Zürich – Leipzig – Wien 1929, p.302-303.
  7. Same page 132.-133.
  8. F. Milobar Slava dr. Aleksandru Horvatu!, Hrvatsko pravo, 20/1928., no. 5160
  9. Hrvatska Država, newspaper Public proclamation of the Sabor 29.10.1918. Issued 29.10.1918. no. 299. p.1.
  10. Hrvatski Narod (newspaper)16.05.1941. no. 93. p.1.,Public proclamation of theZakonska odredba o kruni Zvonimirovoj (Decrees on the crown of Zvonimir), tri članka donesena 15.05.1941.
  11. Die Krone Zvonimirs, Monatshefte fur Auswartige Politik, Heft 6(1941)p.434.
  12. Hrvoje Matković, Designirani hrvatski kralj Tomislav II. vojvoda od Spoleta. Povijest hrvatskotalijanskih odnosa u prvoj polovici (Designated Croatian king Tomislav II. Duke of Spoleto. History of Croatian-Italian relationships in first half of the 20th century), Zagreb 2007.
  13. Avramov, Smilja (1995). Genocide in Yugoslavia. p. 238.
  14. Rodogno, Davide; Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War; p.95; Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-521-84515-7
    "Devoid of political experience and ignorant of the Italian government's exact intentions, he [the Duke Aimone] refused to leave for Croatia, saying so in letters to Victor Emmanuel and Mussolini, in which he told them that the question of Dalmatia, 'a land that could never be Italianized', was an obstacle against any reconciliation with the Croats. Never, he declared, would he agree to be a king of a nation amputated from Italy." .
  15. Pavlowitch, Stevan K.; Hitler's new disorder: the Second World War in Yugoslavia; p.289; Columbia University Press, 2008 0-231-70050-4
  16. Massock, Richard G.; Italy from Within; p.306; READ BOOKS, 2007 ISBN 1-4067-2097-6
  17. Burgwyn, H. James; Empire on the Adriatic: Mussolini's conquest of Yugoslavia 1941-1943; p.39; Enigma, 2005 ISBN 1-929631-35-9
  18. Royal Institute of International Affairs; Enemy Countries, Axis-Controlled Europe; Kraus International Publications, 1945 ISBN 3-601-00016-4
  19. "Duke gives up puppet throne". St. Petersburg Times. 21 August 1943. p. 10.
  20. Lemkin, Raphael; Power, Samantha (2005). Axis Rule In Occupied Europe: Laws Of Occupation, Analysis Of Government, Proposals For Redress. Lawbook Exchange. p. 253. ISBN 1584775769.
  21. "Foreign News: Hotel Balkania". Time Magazine. 9 August 1943. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  22. B. Krizman, NDH između Hitlera i Mussolinija (Independent State of Croatia between Hitler and Mussolini,)p.102
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