Diet of Dalmatia

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Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Dalmatia Wappen Konigreich Dalmatien.png
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Dalmatia

The Diet of Dalmatia (Serbo-Croatian : Dalmatinski sabor, Italian : Dieta della Dalmazia) was the regional assembly of the Kingdom of Dalmatia within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was founded in Zadar in 1861 and last convened in 1912, before being formally dissolved in 1918, with the demise of the Empire. [1]

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Kingdom of Dalmatia second kingdom, crown land of the Austrian Empire (1815-1867) and the Cisleithanian half of Austria-Hungary (1867-1918)

The Kingdom of Dalmatia was a crown land of the Austrian Empire (1815–1867) and the Cisleithanian half of Austria-Hungary (1867–1918). It encompassed the entirety of the region of Dalmatia, with its capital at Zadar.

Zadar City in Zadar County, Croatia

Zadar is the oldest continuously-inhabited Croatian city. It is situated on the Adriatic Sea, at the northwestern part of Ravni Kotari region. Zadar serves as the seat of Zadar County and of the wider northern Dalmatian region. The city proper covers 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi) with a population of 75,082 in 2011, making it the second-largest city of the region of Dalmatia and the fifth-largest city in the country.


Since the founding of the Dalmatian diet, the pro-Italian Autonomist Party held the parliamentary majority until 1870, when the (Croatian) People's Party won the parliamentary election. Croatian then became the official language of the diet in 1883. [2]

Peoples Party (Dalmatia) Political party in the Kingdom of Dalmatia (1861-1905)

People's Party was a political party in the Kingdom of Dalmatia. It was founded in 1861 after the failure of Bach's absolutism, as branch of the People's Party in Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. Its members were known as narodnjaci, aneksionisti or puntari.

Croatian language South Slavic language

Croatian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

The premises

Under the constitutional reforms promoted by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, under an imperial decree dated 20 October 1860, the Empire underwent a form of "federalization", following the majority opinion of the Board Empire. According to these determinations, many legislative and judicial powers were conferred onto every province in the kingdom through the reconstitution of the powers—or the creation of new powers—as part of the formation of a proper Diet.

Franz Joseph I of Austria Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary

Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria along with his wife: Empress Elizabeth of Austria, Queen of Hungary. He was also King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, and monarch of many other states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from 2 December 1848 to his death. From 1 May 1850 to 24 August 1866 he was also President of the German Confederation. He was the longest-reigning Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, as well as the third-longest-reigning monarch of any country in European history, after Louis XIV of France and Johann II of Liechtenstein.

In Croatia, the imperial law, accompanied by the first convocation of the local diet, was warmly welcomed. An imperial autograph in Vienna on 5 December 1860 created: a 'courtly department' (ministry) for Croatia-Slavonia; introduced the Croatian language in the administration of these territories; and declared that the demands of rebuilding the ancient tiara-Slavonia-Croatian Dalmatian be accommodated, thereby postponing a final decision, when Dalmatia—still lacking a provincial assembly—was able to express its political will. An agreement was also made, whereby a political representation of Dalmatia was sent to Zagreb to discuss the issue at a conference chaired by the Ban of Croatia, the highest political authority in the territory of Croatia-Slavonia.

Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia administrative division that existed between 1868 and 1918 within the Austro-Hungary

The Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia was a nominally autonomous kingdom and constitutionally defined separate political nation within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, created in 1868 by merging the kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia following the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement of 1868. It was associated with the Hungarian Kingdom within the dual Austro-Hungarian state, being within the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen, also known as Transleithania. While Croatia had been granted a wide internal autonomy with "national features", in reality, Croatian control over key issues such as tax and military issues was minimal and hampered by Hungary. It was internally officially referred to as the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, also simply known as the Triune Kingdom, and had irredentist claims on Dalmatia, which was part of the Austrian Cisleithania. The city of Rijeka, following a fraud in the 1868 Settlement known as the Rijeka Addendum, became a corpus separatum and was legally owned by Hungary, but administrated by both Croatia and Hungary.

The imperial autograph produced various representations in Dalmatian cities. It was particularly the city of Split congregation—led by Antonio Bajamonti—that was distinguished by the bitterness of protests. The protestors appealed to Francis Joseph to convene the provincial assembly of Dalmatia before taking a decision on the constitutional arrangements of the province within the Empire.

Antonio Bajamonti Dalmatian politician

Antonio Bajamonti was a Dalmatian Italian politician and longtime mayor of Split. He is remembered as one of the most successful mayors of the city, occupying the post almost continuously for twenty years (1860–1880). He was a medical doctor by profession. Bajamonti's parents were Giuseppe Bajamonti and Elena Candido of Šibenik.

On the basis of Split, most of the Dalmatian municipalities refused to send their representatives to Zagreb; instead, these municipalities decided to form a delegation that went to Vienna to argue the case that the annexation of Croatia should not proceed. Meanwhile, the imperial court began to fear that the granting of overly broad powers to the diets would facilitate the unleashing of domestic forces, thereby reducing the authority of the emperor.

In February 1861, several meetings of the Council of Ministers of Austria were held, in which the attendees discussed, at length, the problem of Dalmatia and a possible meeting with Croatia. Ivan Mažuranić, chairman of the department courtly for Croatia-Slavonia, pleaded in support of the cause, supported by Foreign Minister Bernhard von Rechberg; von Rechberg considered the need for the union to counter an alleged "Italian threat" against the Dalmatian as necessary. Rechberg further claimed that such action would strengthen the Slavic element in Dalmatia that was loyal to Austria. The positions of the Dalmatian separatists were supported by Liberal Party politicians, who managed to persuade the emperor to postpone the decision; a provincial Dalmatian assembly was subsequently set up and it would later negotiate with Croatian representatives in regard to the possibility of unification.

The creation of the Diet

On the recommendation of the German-speaking Liberals, Francis Joseph issued a license by 26 February 1861 that created an Imperial Parliament (composed of the House and Senate) with extensive legislative powers—this drastically reduced the powers that were previously planned for the provincial assembly. Within this patent, 15 were approved statutes of the reconstituted provincial assembly, with its Sabor regulations, and this provided for an electoral system that only granted voting rights to those who could pay a minimal fee.

The electoral system was based on four curiae that represented various social bodies (the seat of the Diet was Zara):

The electoral system favoured the bourgeois and aristocratic classes, as well as the urban population over people in rural areas.

The first Diet of 1861

Between 24 March 1861 and 30 March 1861, the first elections for the provincial assembly of Dalmatia were held—the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1861. The separatists won 29 seats out of 41.

Autonomist Party 29
People's Party 12

Elected representatives

Autonomist Party

From Zadar:

From Split:

From Šibenik:

From Makarska

From Dubrovnik:

From Korčula:

From Hvar:

From Skradin:

From Drniš:

From Trogir:

From Sinj:

From Imotski:

People's Party

From Dubrovnik:

From Kotor:

From Benkovac:

From Drnis:

From Vrgorac:

From Cavtat:

From Ston:

From Budva:

President of the Diet: Spiro Petrović (Autonomist Party)

On 18 April 1861, the Diet passed a motion submitted by Baiamonti and Galvani to reject the request for a unification of Dalmatian with Croatia and Slavonia—only two dissenting votes were submitted.

Diet of 1864

Autonomist Party32
People's Party 9

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1864:

Girolamo Alesani (1864–1866), Antonio Bajamonti, Cosimo de Begna Possedaria, Vittorio Bioni, Orsatto Bonda, Giuseppe Descovich (1866–1867), Melchiorre Difnico, Pietro Doimi, Stefano Doimi, Giovanni Fanfogna, Natale Filippi (1866–1867), Antonio Galvani, Giacomo Ghiglianovich (1866–1867), Nicola Lallich, Francesco Lanza, Luigi Lapenna (1864–1866), Giovanni Battista Macchiedo (or Machiedo), Pietro Doimo Maupas, Luigi Mery, Simeone Michieli Vitturi, Andrea Nicolich, Spiridione Petrovich, Giuseppe Piperata, Valerio Ponte, Giovanni Radmilli, Simeone Rossignoli, Luigi Serragli, Antonio Stermich, Giacomo Vucovich, Vincenzo Vuletich, Giovanni Zaffron and Francesco Zanchi.

President of Diet: Spiro Petrović (Autonomist Party)

Diet of 1867

Autonomist Party26
People's Party15

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1867:

Girolamo Alesani (1869–1870), Antonio Bajamonti, Cosimo de Begna Possedaria, Vittorio Bioni, Agostino Cindro, Giuseppe Descovich (1867–1868), Stefano Doimi (1867–1869), Giovanni Fanfogna, Gaetano Frari, Luigi Frari, Giacomo Ghiglianovich, Giorgio Giovannizio, Stefano Knezevich (Croatian People's Party), Luigi Lapenna, Enrico Matcovich, Pietro Doimo Maupas, Andrea Nicolich, Spiridione Petrovich, Giuseppe Piperata, Antonio Radman, Antonio Rolli, Simeone de Rossignoli, Giovanni Salghetti-Drioli, Luigi Serragli, Giacomo Vucovich, Vincenzo Vuletich and Giovanni Zaffron.

President of Diet: Spiro Petrović (Autonomist Party)

Diet of 1870

People's Party25
Autonomist Party16

President of the Diet: Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša (People's Party)

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1870:

Vincenzo Alesani, Antonio Bajamonti, Cosimo de Begna Possedaria (1870–1873), Natale Filippi (1870–1873), Gaetano Frari, Matteo Gligo, Stefano Knezevich, Andrea Krussevich (1872–1873 e 1875-1876), Francesco Lanza (1870–1874), Luigi Lapenna (1872–1873), Pietro Doimo Maupas, Luigi Mery, Francesco Milcovich (1874–1876), Giuseppe Mladineo (1871–1874), Luigi Nutrizio (1875–1876), Giuseppe Piperata (1871–1873), Valerio Ponte (1870-1870), Giuseppe Radman (1874–1876), Simeone Rossignoli (1874–1876), Niccolò Trigari (1874–1876) and Vincenzo Vuletich (1871–1876).

For the first time, the People's Party won the Dalmatian election; however, the Croat majority did not recognise the validity of the election of many representatives from the Autonomist Party and this resulted in a series of resignations and replacements, in addition to a tense political environment. The Diets held power over the schools within the Empire and, due to the political situation of the time, closed all of the Italian schools in Dalmatia, with the exception of those in Zadar. It was during this period that Miho Klaic, the head of the National Party (from Dubrovnik), delivered a speech to the Diet in which he spoke of the increase in the population of Dalmatian Italians in Dalmatia.

Diet of 1876

People's Party30
Autonomist Party11

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1876:

Pietro Abelich, Antonio Bajamonti, Cosimo de Begna Possedaria (1878–1880), Giovanni Botteri, Gustavo Ivanich, Stefano Knezevich, Pietro Doimo Maupas, Cesare Pellegrini Danieli, Giovanni Smerchinich and Niccolò Trigari.

President: Đorđe Vojnović (People's Party—renamed "Serb Party" after 1879)

Diet of 1883

Croatian National Party 26
Serbian Party 8
Autonomist Party7

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1883:

Antonio Bajamonti (1888), Gustavo Ivanich (1883–1885), Michele Kapovich (1883-1889), Pietro Doimo Maupas, Giuseppe Messa, Giuseppe Pezzi, Antonio Radman (1885–1886), Luigi Serragli (1883–1885), Leopoldo Stermich and Niccolò Trigari.

President: Đorđe Vojnović (Serb Party) Vice president: Michele Kapovich (Autonomist Party)

The Dalmatian Slavs were divided for the first time in a Diet election and the People's Party became the Croatian National Party known also as the People's Croatian Party (Narodna hrvatska stranka), while Serbs formed the Serbian Party (Srpska stranka).

Diet of 1889

Croatian National Party26
Serbian Party9
Autonomist Party6

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1889:

Antonio Bajamonti (end to 1891), Lorenzo Benevenia, Pietro Doimo Maupas (end to 1891), Baldassarre Podich, Ercolano Salvi (dal 1891), Antonio Smirich, Niccolò Trigari and Niccolò de' Vidovich.

President: Đorđe Vojnović (Serbian Party)

Diet of 1895

People's Party23
Serbian Party9
Autonomist Party6
Party of Rights 3

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1895:

Roberto Ghiglianovich, Giovanni Lubin, Ercolano Salvi, Stefano Smerchinich, Niccolò Trigari and Luigi Ziliotto.

President: Miho Klaić (People's Party—until 1896) and Gajo Bulat (People's Party—from 1896 to 1901)

Diet of 1901

People's Party18
Party of Rights9
Serbian Party6
Autonomist Party6
Pure Party of Rights 2

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1901:

Roberto Ghiglianovich, Natale Krekich, Luigi Pini (dal 1903), Ercolano Salvi, Stefano Smerchinich, Niccolò Trigari (ens to 1902) and Luigi Ziliotto.

President: Vicko Ivčević (People's Party—from 1905 the Croatian Party formed as a fusion of the Croatian National Party and the majority of the Dalmatian Party of Rights)

Diet of 1908

Croatian Party22
Party of Rights8
Serbian Party7
Autonomist Party6

Elected from the Autonomist Party in the Dalmatian parliamentary election of 1908:

Roberto Ghiglianovich, Natale Krekich, Luigi Pini (1910–1918), Ercolano Salvi, Stefano Smerchinich and Luigi Ziliotto.

President: Vicko Ivčević (Croatian Party)

Presidents of the Diet

The first, second and third Diet presidents were Serbian, while latter three were Croatian.


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  2. Gimnazija s hrvatski nastavnim jezikom 1897.-1921.
  3.'Vidovich, Albo d'Oro delle Famiglie Nobili Patrizie e Illustri nel Regno di Dalmazia, Fondazione Scientifico Culturale Rustia Traine, Trieste 2004, pp. 235-236