White Croats

White Croats

Constantine Porphyrogenitus (905-959), a Byzantine emperor and writer, mentions the state bearing the name of White Croatia. His description shows that it occupied a wide region around its capital Krakow, in parts of Bohemia, Slovakia, and Poland. The state disappeared in 999. St. Adalbert (Vojtech, 10th century) was a descendant of the White Croats, son of the White-Croatian prince Slavnik. He was spreading Christianity, education and culture, and to this end founded the benedictine monastery in Brevnov in 993. Also St. Ivan Hrvat, who died in Tetin in Bohemia in 910, was a son of White-Croatian King Gostumil. It is interesting to add that according to some American documents from the beginning of the 20th century there were about 100,000 immigrants to the USA born around Krakow (Poland) who declared themselves to be Bielo-Chorvats, i.e. White Croats by nationality. See US Senate-Reports on the Immigration commission, Dictionary of races or peoples, Washington DC, 1911, p. 40, 43, 105.

White and Red Croatia in the new homeland, described in in one of the earliest known Croatian historical and literary texts – Ljetopis popa Dukljanina.

Even today the descendants of the White Croats live in Bohemia. The surname Charvat is still rather widespread there. For example a director of the National Theatre Opera in Prague in 1990’s was Mr Premysl Charvat. An outstanding person in part of Prague called Nove Mesto was Jan Charvat (+1424). In the same quarter of Prague there is a street called Charvatska street even today. Villages in Bohemia like Harvaci, Harvatska gorica reveal its early Croatian inhabitants.

According to the Prague Telephone Book 1999/2000 there are as many as 516 individuals having names of possible Croatian root:

  • Charvat and Charvatova (380, several pages…),
  • Chorvat and Chorvatova (10),
  • Chorvatovicova (1),
  • Horvat (21),
  • Horvath and Horvathova (79),
  • Horvatik and Horvatkova (14),
  • Horvatovic and Horvatovicova (2),
  • Krobath (1),
  • Krobot and Krobotova (8).

CONCLUSION: Since the capital of Bohemia today (in 2000) has about 1,250,000 inhabitants, than assuming that each telephone subscriber has at least three closest relatives in the mean, we obtain that in a random set of 800 Prague citizens there will be at least one with Croatian name. Many thanks to my dear friend Mr. Vlatko Bilic for painstaking counting ­čÖé

Croatian national name Horvat
in the Vienna Telephone Book, Austria

The above table represents only one page from The Vienna Telephone Book (2007). Its four columns contain the following second names: Horvarth, Horvat, Horvath All of them are variations of the standard Croatian name that we use today: Hrvat (HR), the English version of which is Croat or Croatian. Please, note that we do not claim that all these persons from the book are Croats by nationality. But it is without any doubt that the source of their second names is Croatian. The next page in the Vienna Telephone Book is almost entirely, throughout more than three columns, filled with other versions of Croatian name: Horwath, Horwarth, etc. We have counted more than 100 such names per column, which makes altogether about 700 explicit Croatian second names in the book! But many names in the telephone book correspond to a family. If we take two or three members per family in avarage, then we see that in Vienna only there are probably between 1400 and 2000 persons (if not even more), bearing the Croatian second name. For the entire Austria the corresponding number is, of course, much larger. Similar is the situation in Prague (Czechia), Budapest (Hungary), Bratislava (Slovakia), and in Ljubljana (Slovenia). Why is the Croatian name so frequent in the mentioned countries? A part of the story is related to White Croats, and another part is here. For comparison, in The Zagreb Telephone Book (Zagreb is the capital of Croatia) the second name of Horvat and its various derivatives Horvacic, Horvat, Horvatec, Horvatek, Horvath, Horvaticek, Horvatic, Horvatin, Horvatincic, Horvatinec, Horvatinovic, Horvatovic, Horvatus, Hrvacanin, Hrvat, Hrvatic, Krobat, Krobot appear more than 2,800 times! See the flag of Croatian defensive forces in 1526 during the tragic battle with the Turks on the Mohac Field, and another Croatian flag from 1529 during the first Turkish seige of Austria’s capital Vienna. During the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, a Croatian village called Krowotend├Ârfel, placed immediately near the city walls, has been destroyed, and since then it does not exist any more. The meaning of its name is precisely Croatian Village! Its position corresponded to contemporary Spittelberg near the Hofburg palace. For more details see [400 Jahre Kroaten in Wien]. Other names of Krowotend├Ârfel can also be encountered in the literature: Crabathen Derffel Crabatend├Ârfel Croathnd├Ârfel Krowotend├Ârfel Crabatendoerfel Krawattend├Ârfel Croatend├Ârfel Kroatend├Ârfel … Among defenders of Vienna in 1683 was a renowned Croatian theologist and ecumenist panslavist Juraj Krizanic, who was assasinated during the Turkish seige.

The Slavnik family had its coins with inscription Mulin Civitas, issued by Prince Sobjeslav (?-1004), the oldest son of Slavnik. This confirms that the fortress of Mulin near Kutna Hora (west of Prague in Bohemia) was a part of their territory. It is assumed that the Slavnik’s were the leading tribe of the Croats in the 10th century in that region. Their main seat was in the town of Libica, west of Prague (near Kutna Hora). Thus we had two parallel Croatian states in that period: White Croatia in Central Europe and Dalmatian-Panonian Croatia near the Adriatic sea.

In 995, when White Croatian troops led by Sobjeslav were defending their Princedom from pagan tribes, White Croatia was suddenly attacked by the Czech prince Premysl, destroying their capital Libice and killing most of the Croatian population. There are some conjectures that several noble families in Poland (like Paluk’s) are descendants of White Croats, as well as the family of Rozomberk (which seems to be related to the town of Ruzomberok in Slovakia). Sobjeslav was killed in 1004 on a bridge over Vltava river in Prague, when Polish troops tried to occupy the city.
See Ivica Sumic: U potrazi za “Hrvatskom Atlantidom” (In the quest of “Croatian Atlantida”), Stecak, Sarajevo, No 64, 1999.

The following map of Chrobatia (around Krakow, 10th century) is from the Atlas To Freeman’s Historical Geography, Edited by J.B. Bury, Longmans Green and Co. (Third Edition 1903):


Source file at Sun Site – Central Europe.

The name of the Croats is met in many places throughout Ukrainian soil. It is contained in Ukrainian written documents since the 2nd century until the end of the 10th century. The famous Ukrainian chronicler Nestor from Kyiv (in his “Povest vremennyh let”, 1113) mentioned also the White Croats inhabiting early-medieval Old-Ukrainian empire, known as the Kyiv Rus’. According to a very old legend, one of the three brothers who founded the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was Horiv, whose name might be at least hypothetically related to the Croatian name: Horvat. See [Hrvatska/Ukrajina], p. 9, and [Pascenko], p. 105. Even today some of the Ukrainian citizens say for themselves to be the White Croats. There are many proofs that the Croats once lived in common with Ukrainian and Slovak people: their language (very widespread ikavian dialects in Croatia and Slovakia, ikavian language in Ukraine), legends, customs, many common toponyms etc.

In central part of Kyiv there are three hills: Starokyivska gora, gora Shchekovitza and gora Horevitza, and even a street Horev (ulica Horeva). The very beginning of Nestor’s “Povest Vremennyh let” mentions the above legend: I bysha tri brata: Kij, Shchek i Horev, i sestra ih Lybed’. I sotvorisha grad vo imya brata svoego, i narekoshe ego Kyiv.

Ukrainian archaeologist Dr. Orest Korcinski has undertaken an extensive study of White Croatian site from 8th-11th centuries near the town of Stiljsko, not far from Lviv in Ukraine. He estimates that in the 9th century the Stiljsko archaeological site with environinig settlements had nearly 40,000 inhabitants, more than Kiev at that time! See

Stilskyi Grad (in Ukrainian), Volume 1, Lviv 2017, ISBN 978-617-655-173-7, in particular se the following article by Orest Korchynskyi: Archological sites of historical-cultural reserve “Stilske Gorodysche”, pp 125-154 (in Ukrainian),  Summary (p. 154): … It has been established that the sites of Early Middle Ages of the VIII-X centuries, such as Stilske and Iliv hill-forts, cult centers and earth dam in Dubrova village, and cave temples on the outskirts of Mykolaiv, belong to the Eastern Slaves – Carpathian Croats, mentioned in the “Tale of the Past Years”, Arabian-Persian and Byzantine sources of VIII-XI centuries.

The region of historical Pagania around the Neretva river has many common toponyms and hydronyms with Western Ukraine, like Neretva, Mosor, Ostrozac, Gat. Also Sinj, Kosinj, Kostrena, Knin, Roc, Modrus, and many other throughout Croatia and Western Bosnia. Too many to be just an incidence.

There are numerous names of villages, hills and rivers in Slovakia, Czechia (especially in Moravia), Poland and Ukraine, which have their obvious equivalents in Croatia and Bosnia – Herzegovina. Many of them are indeed surprising:

Bac, Bajka, Baska, Bila, Bistrice, Blatce, Bohdalec, Boskovice, Brezovica, Budin, Budisov, Cehi, Chrast, Chvojnica (= Fojnica), Dol. Krupa, Dolni Lomna, Dolni Domaslovice, Doljani, Doubrava, Doubravice, Doubrovnik, Drienovac, Gat, Harvatska Nova Ves, Hor. Mostenice, Hradec, Hvozd (Gvozd), Javornik, Kal’nik, Klenovec, Klenovice, Klobuky, Kninice, Konice, Koprivnice, Kostelec, Krasno, Kuhinja, Lipa, Lomnice, Ljubica, Mali Javornik, Markusovce, Nova Ves, Novosad, Odra, Okruhlica, Parac, Plesivec, Pohorelice, Porin, Raztoka, Rogatec, Ribnik, Rudina, Selce, Slatina, Sopotnia, Stitary, Sumperk, Tabor, Tajna, Travnik, Trebarov, Trzebinia, Tucapy, Veliki Javornik, Vinica, Vinodol, Vrabce, Vrdy, Vrbovec, Zabreh, Zubak, Zumberk.

The once prosperous and rich Ukrainian village of Horvatka near Kyiv (note well: Horvat = Croat) disappeared overnight in 1937, together with all of its inhabitants, during Stalin’s infamous collectivization, sharing the tragic destiny of millions of Ukrainians. The only witness is an innocent brook, called Horvatka, today Hrobatka (Hrovatka), about 70 km south of Kyiv. See “Marulic”, 1998/2, p. 263, and also [Pascenko], p. 293. On the brook of Hrovatka (~30 kms long right confluent of Dnipro) there is a village bearing the same name Hrovatka, personal information (2010) by mr. Djuro Vidmarovic, former Croatian ambassador to Ukraine In the 1990s in Kyiv, Ukraine, a youth organization of scouts was founded, and named – White Croat (Bili Horvat; reported by Croatian ambassador Gjuro Vidmarovic in 2000)!

Khorvatka (Horvatka) river, confluent of Dnipro, near Kyjiv. The map is from [Malicky]

On the north of Croatia’s captial there is a very small village called Velika Horvatska (Great Croatia!), and a small brook bearing the name Horvatska. It reminds us about existence of White Croatia. We find it pertinent to mention that we know of several cases during former Yugoslavia in which young Croatian soldiers were not allowed by Serbian officers to declare that they were born in the village called Velika Horvatska, but were pressed to declare a nearby village Zbilj.

The brook of Horvatska near the village of Velika Horvatska. Another village of Horvatska exists near Klenovik, SW of the city of Varazdin north of Zagreb (many thanks to mr. Nenad Hancic, Duesseldorf, Germany, for this information).According to actacroatica.com/hr/surname/Horvat/, the name of Horvat with its numerous variants (Horvath, Horwath, Thorvat, Horv├íth, Horwat, Horv├ít, Thorwat, Horvatt i Horvaht) can be found in as many as 88 countries worldwide. As of 2018, the second name of “Horvath” have as many as 100,000 persons in Hungary, 40,000 in the USA, and 20,000 in Germany. The second name of “Horwath” is born by 3,000 persons in the USA, 500 in Austria, and 400 in Germany.

Old Norwegian – Viking travel writers Sigurd, Ohtere, and Wulfstan from the 8th century mention the Kingdom of Krowataland on the territory of today’s Ukraine. It has been investigated by a Czech historian and writer Karel Krocha.

The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610-641) asked the Croats from White Croatia for help in protecting his Empire from the penetration of the Avars. As written by Byzantine Emperor Constantin Porphyrogenetus from the middle of the 10th century, a part of the White Croats, led by two sisters Buga and Tuga,
and five brothers Kluk, Lobel, Muhlo, Kosjenc, Horvat,

moved to the territories of present-day Croatia. This happened in the 7th century. There they came in touch with the Romans and romanized descendants of Illyrians, Celts and others.

Soon after their arrival in the 7th century Croatians were baptised and so accepted Christianity. The Croats were the first among the Slavs who converted to Christianity.

According to Byzantine ruler Constantin Porphyrogenetus, the Croats made an agreement with the Pope Agaton as early as in 679, in which they obliged themselves not to undertake any offensive wars against neighbouring Christian states. This was the first international diplomatic agreement of the Croats with the Holy See. The importance of this event has been pointed out by the Pope John Paul II in his speech held in the Croatian language during his apostolic visit to Croatia in Zagreb in September 1994. The Pope also stressed the importance of more than 13 centuries of Christianity among the Croats.

Pope John Paul II had his second apostolic visit to Croatia in 1998, on the occasion of beatification of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.

An Italian cartographer Allodi in 1730 draw two Croatian Kingdoms: the one is Regno de Croazia on the Adriatic, and another is Belocroati (White Croats) situated between Moravians and Romanians north of the Carpathian Mountains. See Mile Vidovic, Povijest crkve u Hrvata, Crkva u svijetu, Split 1996., p. 29, or [Jolic, p. 117] relying to the same reference, and see also Vicko Rendic.

The Croats, indicated as Crouati, see on the above map (below right). The map is from AD 500, source Irlande, Bretagne, Scandinavie et Germanie Septentrionale.

The Croats, indicated as Crouati, see on the above map (below right). The map is from AD 540, source Irlande, Bretagne, Scandinavie et Germanie Septentrionale. Many thanks to Mr. Stipe Botica from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Zagreb, for his information about this source.

See also [Klaic: Hrvati i Hrvatska…].

The Roman Empire was divided in 395. Later the Croats entered the Western Roman Empire. The historical border between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire was the river Drina. It flows between present Serbia and Bosnia, and in the past it divided in political and cultural sense, two very different civilizations, which had been separated until the penetration of the Turks in the 16th century. Later in 1054 this division also defined the border of the two Churches, one under Byzantium (Constantinople) and the other under Rome. Let us mention that Montenegro and Albania belonged to the Western Church. In 1184 the Serbian Orthodox Church penetrated by military expansion to Montenegro. Until that time the territory of Montenegro was a part of Red Croatia. Serbia, and later Montenegro, developed on the heritage of the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire).

Today the name of Montenegro is Crna Gora (Black Mountain). However, historical evidence shows that the old name of Crna Gora was Crmna Gora, that is Red Mountain, derived from the name of Red Croatia. This is confirmed by the existing mountain of Crmnica in contemporary Cr(m)na Gora. See a very interesting article by one of greatest Croatian historians [Vjekoslav Klaic, Crvena hrvatska… PDF].

According to Bulgarian scientist Gantscho Tsenoff (1875-1952), professor at the university of Berlin, the founder of Bulgarian state in the first half of the 7th century was KROVAT (or KURVAT). Tsenoff points out that this reveals very early and interesting connections between Bulgarians and Croats. The third son of Krovat was Asparuh, a well known name in Bulgarian history. See Ganco Cenov: “Krovatova B’lgaria i pokr’stvaneto na B’lgarite”, Plovdiv 1998, in particular pages 59 and 183 (the first 1937 edition was forbidden during the communist period).

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