The Croatian Press
GEORGE J. PRPIĆ AND C. MICHAEL McADAMS
The Croatians are one of six South Slavic peoples who have inhabited the western parts of the Balkan peninsula since the seventh century. 1 After the fall of their medieval state, the Croatians lived in personal union with Hungary and then under Habsburg rule until 1918. From 1918 until 1941 Croatia existed within the Serbian-dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following four years of independence during World War II, Croatia was incorporated into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Today, every third Croatian lives outside the Croatian homeland. 2 It is estimated that over 1.5 million Croatians, of all generations, live in the United States.
In America, Croatian immigrants had the opportunity to found their first free press. The first Croatian newspaper in America was Slavenska Sloga (Slavic unity), founded in San Francisco in 1884. 3 In 1892, Vjekoslav Piškulić, a native of Dubrovnik, founded Dalmatinska Zora (Dalmatian dawn), also in San Francisco. In nearby Oakland, California, another early publication was Sloboda (Liberty), followed by Trojedna Kraljevina (The triune kingdom). Most early Croatian immigrants were male Roman Catholics of peasant stock. Since one in three was illiterate, all early Croatian publications were struggling enterprises. 4
In Hoboken, New Jersey, A. G. Škrivanić founded the first Croatian newspaper on the East Coast, Napredak (Progress), on November 21, 1891. In Chicago, where many Croatians settled in the late nineteenth century, Hrvatska Zora (Croatian dawn) appeared on August 4, 1892. Owned and edited by political exile Janko Kovačević, this publication lasted only a year.
A former member of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament), Nikola Polić, founded the weekly Chicago in that city on October 21, 1892. In July 1893 he issued Sloboda-Liberty and later merged the two as Chicago-Sloboda in 1896. Ignoring old country politics, he urged his readers to learn the English language and become American citizens. In 1902 Reverend Nikola GrĆ1ković, formerly a news-