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Presenting / Institutions / Croatian State Archives

Croatian State Archives

Croatian State Archives

The Croatian State Archives is central archival institution in Croatia and perform archival services relating to archival and current records created by state bodies, state and public institutions and enterprises, and by corporate bodies, families and individuals whose activity covers the whole or a greater part of the Croatian territory, or is of State interest. In order to make the memories of Croatian nation available to public as much as possible, Croatian State Archives provide access to its documents under equal conditions for all researchers.

Development of Croatian State Archives as a central Croatian archival institution went along with the development of the system of preservation of the national archival heritage.
In the middle ages instruments and documents of the Croatian Kingdom were kept by different officials - governors, vice-governors and the Zagreb capitulary. Since the 17th century Croatian Parliament has been more systematically making inventories and preserving the most valuable records of the Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia. On the basis of the Parliament resolution of 1643 terrestrial treasurer Ivan Zakmardi de Diankovec gives orders to make a special chest of Kingdom privileges financed by the state. Terrestrial acts, charters, laws and privileges, accompanied with the inventory, were kept in there, so it established the foundation of the present CSA. Since the governors, vice-governors and the protonators used to keep the official documents with them, the Parliament eventually brings series of regulations about the delivery of official documents to the Kingdom Archives and also in 1744 a resolution of Ladislav Kiraly’s nomination as the first terrestrial archivist. In 1745 the Parliament gives him a special instruction, the first known in our country, concerning arranging, disposing, cataloguing, listing and preserving of the Kingdom records. Since the Chest of privileges was kept in the sacristy of the Zagreb cathedral, the Parliament in 1752 demands that it should be removed and placed in the Parliament chamber on the Saint Marko square, which was done in 1764. In 1770. Croatian parliament inaugurates special protection measures for those rooms, in which together with Chest and Kingdom Archives, County of Zagreb and the Judicial Table documents were kept. In the time of the Croatian Royal Council (1767-1779) in Civil Croatia begins a systematic separation of current office records from those having a historical significance. Archives of the most important branches of administration, capitulary archives and the Kingdom Archives were being arranged and listed. During 1791-1797 period the first elenchus and repertories of the particular series of documents (Parliament, Governor’s documents, Protonator’s documents, Conferences) were composed. Ivan Zrnčić was the first permanent archivist of the Royal archives, established 1800.

From the middle of the 19th century begins a process of the Royal archives developing into an autonomous institution for keeping and processing archival records. Governor Josip Jelačić has appointed Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski administrator of the Archives in 1848. Thanks to the new approach to the archives as an integral part of the cultural legacy of a certain state by the first restitution of the archival records from abroad (1849-1853) some documents of Croatian provenance were returned to the Archives from Budapest. Among them were documents of Croatian nobiliary families (Zrinski, Frankopani), proceedings of the destroyed Jesuit, Paulist and other monasteries in Croatia, which were treasured in Hungarian Chamber, proceedings of the Croatian Royal Council and also Croatian proceedings of the Royal Hungarian Regent Council etc. By orders of the Hungarian Government, governor Khuen-Hédervary returned once again older and more important mentioned documents in Budapest in 1885. In the time of Ivan Kukuljević systematic publishing of the archival records as a historic source started.

After the Croatian-Hungarian settlement (1868) Royal territorial archives became an auxiliary office to the Royal Croatian-Slavonian-Dalmatian territorial Government which in 1870 carries out the Law about Territorial archives in Zagreb with ordinances about the use of the records. By that, the Archives became open to the public, especially scholars. Historian Tadija Smičiklas received from the Territorial Government a licence for the students to work in the Archives. In 1899 the Archives also began issuing its paper – Bulletin the archives. In the same period important records of the military foundation and several counties were transferred to the Archives. In 1913 the building designated for University Library and the Territorial archives, where the Archives is presently situated, was built. In December 1918. proceedings of the Croatian Minister, together with materials of the Croatian Royal Chamber and Croatian documents from Austrian ministries were brought from Budapest. Proceedings which were moved to Budapest by the governor Khuen-Hédervary in 1885, were returned to the Archives in 1958 and 1960. The status of the Archives as an autonomous institution has been formally certified in the period between the two world wars when it was in 1923 under the name Royal State Archives separated from administration. In the second half of the 20th century it became Croatian central archive and has gradually been developing by founding separate units which take over specific roles of the archival service (laboratory, film archives etc.).