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 this 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
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.
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.
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. 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! 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.