Pacta conventa (Croatia)

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Pacta conventa
Pacta Conventa (Croatia).jpg
Photo of an alleged copy of Pacta conventa or Qualiter[1]
Created 1102; 14th century (manuscript)
Location Budapest[1]
Purpose Agreement concluded between King Coloman of Hungary and the Croatian nobility

Pacta conventa (Lat. agreed accords) was an alleged agreement concluded between King Coloman of Hungary and the Croatian nobility in 1102 or afterwards, defining the status of Croatia in the union with Hungary. The earliest manuscript of the document is of the fourteenth century.

The document titled Pacta conventa or Qualiter (the first word in the document) was found in a Trogir library.[1] Until the 19th century it was considered that it dated to 1102. However, most historians today hold that it is not an authentic document from 1102 and likely a forgery from the 14th century, but that the contents of the Pacta Conventa still correspond to the political situation of that time in Croatia.[2][3] The document is preserved in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.[4]


After Petar Svačić, the last Croatian king of Croat descent, was killed on the battlefield in 1097, the Croats had refused to surrender.[5] To end the war, an agreement was made, probably in 1102. The Croatian nobles allegedly concluded the Pacta conventa with King Coloman before his crowning as the Croatian king in Biograd.[6]

The Hungarian king offered "an agreement as pleases them" to the twelve noble Croatian tribes from the families of Kačić, Kukar, Šubić, Snačić, Polečić, Mogorović, Gušić, Čudomerić, Karinjanin and Lapčan, Lisničić, Jamometić and Tugomerić.[7]


The agreement determined that the Croatian nobles who signed the document with King Coloman would retain their possessions and properties without interference. It also granted the mentioned families exemption from tax or tributes to the king. Each of the twelve noble Croatian tribes were obliged to answer the king's call if someone attacked his borders and send at least ten armed horsemen to war, as far as the Drava River (Croatia's northern boundary with Hungary) at their own expense. Beyond that point, the Hungarian king paid the expenses.[8][9][10]

Validity of the document itself

The document's validity is questionable.[11] While some claim the earliest text concerning the alleged agreement came from the second half of the 14th century[6][12] others call it a late medieval forgery, not a twelfth-century source.[6][13] While various items of the text seem anachronistic to some, other historians say these could be reworkings of a text from an actual agreement.[12]

Since the 19th century, a number of historians have claimed that the Pacta conventa was not a genuine document.

In 1915 and then also in 1925, Milan Šufflay mentioned the document in some of his works, first declaring it an outright forgery, and later saying it was a 14th-century "addendum" to the manuscript of Thomas the Archdeacon.[14] Hungarian historian János Karácsonyi thought it was a 14th-century forgery, Slovene historian Ljudmil Hauptmann dated the document to the 13th century, Croatian historians Miho Barada and Marko Kostrenčić thought it was made in 1102, while later Croatian historian Nada Klaić thought it was a forgery probably made in the 14th century. Croatian historian Stjepan Antoljak in turn said the Pacta was an incomplete historical source, but not a forgery.[14] Nada Klaić elaborated her "lack of opinion" over the matter of 1102 in a 1959 article disputing the Croatian writer Oleg Mandić's earlier work on the matter.[15]

The dispute and uncertainty over the Pacta conventa matches the overall uncertainly and dispute over the relationship between the Croatian and Hungarian kingdoms in the 10th and 11th century, with Croatian historian Ferdo Šišić and his followers assuming Tomislav of Croatia had ruled most of the area inhabited by Croats, including Slavonia, while the Hungarian historians Gyula Kristó, Bálint Hóman and János Karácsonyi thought the area between Drava and Sava belonged neither to Croatia nor to Hungary at the time, an opinion that Nada Klaić said she would not preclude, because the generic name "Slavonia" (lit. the land of the Slavs) may have implied so.[16]

Though the validity of the document is disputed, there was at least a non-written agreement that regulated the relations between Hungary and Croatia in approximately the same way, since from 1102 until 1918 kings of Hungary were also kings of Croatia, represented by a governor (ban), but Croatia kept its own parliament (Sabor) and considerable autonomy.[17]

The source of inspiration for the text of the document must have been the political and social developments that had taken place over a 300-year period following 1102[6] when the two kingdoms united under the Hungarian king, either by the choice of the Croat nobility or by Hungarian force.[17] The Croatian nobility retained its laws and privileges including the restriction of military service that they owed to the king within the boundaries of Croatia.[6]

Interpretations of the agreement

According to the Library of Congress country study on the former Yugoslavia, King Coloman crushed opposition after the death of Ladislaus I of Hungary and won the crown of Dalmatia and Croatia in 1102.[18] The crowning of Coloman forged a link between the Croatian and Hungarian crowns that lasted until the end of World War I.[18] Croatians have maintained for centuries that Croatia remained a sovereign state despite the voluntary union of the two crowns.[13][18][19] A number of Hungarian historians also accept the view that Croatia and Hungary entered in a personal union in 1102[3][20][21][22][23] and that, whatever the authenticity of the Pacta conventa, the contents of it correspond to the reality of rule in Croatia.[2][3] However, some Hungarian and Serbian historians claim that Hungary annexed Croatia outright in 1102.[13][18] According to Frederick Bernard Singleton, the Croatians have always maintained that they were never legally part of Hungary. In the eyes of Croatians, Croatia was a separate state which happened to share a ruler with the Hungarians. The degree of Croatian autonomy fluctuated from time to time, as well as its borders.[19] According to Daniel Power, Croatia became part of Hungary in the late 11th and early twelfth century.[24] According to the country study on Hungary Croatia was never assimilated into Hungary; rather, it became an associate kingdom administered by a ban, or civil governor.[25] In either case, Hungarian culture permeated Croatia, the Croatian-Hungarian border shifted often, and at times Hungary treated Croatia as a vassal state.[18]

In 1105 Coloman granted privileges to maritime cities in exchange for their submission. These included the election of their own bishops and priors which is later only confirmed by the king, prohibition of Hungarians settling in towns. Also, the cities did not pay tribute, while royal agents supervised the collection of custom duties without interfering in local politics.[26]

While Croatian historian Nada Klaić thinks that some sort of surrender occurred in 1102, giving the Croatians light terms,[27] Slovenian historians Matjaž Klemenčič and Mitja Žagar believe the Pacta Conventa never actually existed, but the story about it was important to support the Croatian position later in the Habsburg Empire of rights on the basis of that agreement.[28] Klemenčič and Žagar think that although Croatia ceased to exist as an independent state, the Croatian nobility retained relatively strong powers.[28] Klaić thinks that the Trogir manuscript, the earliest text of the alleged pact, is not the text of that surrender, but describes contemporary relations between king and nobility and then traced that current 14th century reality back to an initial agreement.[27]

Later references

After the death of King Louis II at the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Croatian parliament met at Cetin and elected Ferdinand of Austria king of Croatia.[29][30] According to the Croatian historical narrative,[31] the Croatian parliament took the opportunity in 1526 to reassert its autonomy from Hungary with the election of Ferdinand by the words:"...we joined the Holy Crown of Hungary by our own free will just as we do now, the rule of Your Majesty".[31] Croatian historians also argue that the struggle for ascendancy to the Habsburg throne at this time provides evidence of Croatia's political autonomy.[31] In the Croatian legal interpretation of the personal union, Louis II didn't leave any heirs and the legal carrier of the union (the king) didn't exist anymore so the right to elect the king belonged once more to the Croatian nobility. Unlike Hungarian historians, the Austrians never claimed they conquered Croatia by force and there appears to be little reason to doubt Croatian claims about the events of 1526.[31]

The intro of The Hungaro-Croatian Compromise of 1868 (the Nagodba) starts as: "Since Croatia and Slavonia have alike de jure and de facto belonged for centuries to the Crown of St. Stephen..."[32] Although the Nagodba provided a measure of political autonomy to Croatia-Slavonia, it was subordinated politically and economically to Budapest.[33]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Muzej grada Trogira - O muzeju" (in Croatian). Museum Documentation Center. Retrieved 2015-02-08. U Muzeju se nalazi bogata biblioteka obitelji Garagnin-Fanfogna koja čuva knjižnu građu od inkunabula do sredine 20. st., a nastala je zaslugom I. L. Garagnina. Tijekom 19. st. preseljena je u prostorije u kojima se i danas nalazi, s oslikanim stropovima i namjenski izrađenim drvenim ormarima za knjige. U knjižnici se nalaze djela sa svih područja ljudskog znanja, a među njima se nekoć nalazio poznati spis tzv. Pacta Conventa iliti Qualiter (danas se čuva u Budimpešti), koji govori o ugovoru hrvatskog plemstva s ugarskim vladarom. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pál Engel: Realm of St. Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 2005, p. 35-36
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bárány, Attila (2012). "The Expansion of the Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages (1000– 1490)". In Berend, Nóra. The Expansion of Central Europe in the Middle Ages. Ashgate Variorum. page 344-345 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Barany" defined multiple times with different content
  4. Eduard Hercigonja, Tropismena i trojezična kultura hrvatskoga srednjovjekovlja, Matica hrvatska, Zagreb, 2006. ISBN 953-150-766-X
  5. Hrvoje Hitrec; Hrvatska povjesnica; in Croatian
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Curta, Stephenson, 2006, p. 267
  7. Miletić, Jurica (February 2006). "Posljednji kralj hrvatskoga roda". Hrvatski vojnik (in Croatian) (73). Retrieved 5 October 2013.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Jean W. Sedlar: East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, University of Washington Press, 2011, p. 77. ISBN 029580064X
  9. Trpimir Macan: Povijest hrvatskog naroda, 1971, p. 71 (full text of Pacta conventa in Croatian)
  10. Ferdo Šišić: Priručnik izvora hrvatske historije, Dio 1, čest 1, do god. 1107., Zagreb 1914., p. 527-528 (full text of Pacta conventa in Latin)
  11. Fine 2006, p. 71
  12. 12.0 12.1 Fine 2006, p. 70
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Bellamy 2003, p. 37
  14. 14.0 14.1 Antoljak, Stjepan (November 1995). "Milan Sufflay kao paleograf i diplomatičar". Arhivski vjesnik (in Croatian). Croatian State Archives (38): 144–145. ISSN 0570-9008. Retrieved 2012-05-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Klaić, Nada (1958–59). "O. Mandić, "Pacta conventa" i "dvanaest" hrvatskih bratstava" (PDF). Historical Journal (in Croatian). Croatian Historical Society. XI-XII: 165–206. ISSN 0351-2193. Retrieved 2012-05-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Heka, Ladislav (October 2008). "Croatian-Hungarian relations from the Middle Ages to the Compromise of 1868, with a special survey of the Slavonian issue". Scrinia Slavonica (in Croatian). Slavonski Brod: Croatian Historical Institute - Department of History of Slavonia, Srijem and Baranja. 8 (1): 155. ISSN 1332-4853. Retrieved 2012-05-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Croatia (History)". Encarta.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Curtis 1992
  19. 19.0 19.1 Singleton 1985, p. 29
  20. Márta Font - Ugarsko Kraljevstvo i Hrvatska u srednjem vijeku [Hungarian Kingdom and Croatia in the Middlea Ages] "Medieval Hungary and Croatia were, in terms of public international law, allied by means of personal union created in the late 11th century."
  21. Kristó Gyula: A magyar–horvát perszonálunió kialakulása [The formation of Croatian-Hungarian personal union](in Hungarian)
  22. Lukács István - A horvát irodalom története, Budapest, Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, 1996.[The history of Croatian literature](in Hungarian)
  23. Ladislav Heka (October 2008). "Hrvatsko-ugarski odnosi od sredinjega vijeka do nagodbe iz 1868. s posebnim osvrtom na pitanja Slavonije". Scrinia Slavonica (in Croatian). Hrvatski institut za povijest – Podružnica za povijest Slavonije, Srijema i Baranje. 8 (1): 152–173. ISSN 1332-4853. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Power 2006, p. 186
  25. Stephen R. Burant, ed. Hungary: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989
  26. Curta, Stephenson, 2006, p. 266
  27. 27.0 27.1 Fine 1991, p. 285
  28. 28.0 28.1 Matjaž Klemenčič, Mitja Žagar (2004). The Former Yugoslavia's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. ABC-CLIO. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-57607-294-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Seton-Watson, R. W. (1911). The southern Slav question and the Habsburg Monarchy. Constable & Company. Retrieved 2012-05-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Povijest saborovanja" (in Croatian). Sabor. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Bellamy 2003, p. 39
  32. The Hungaro-Croatian Compromise of 1868
  33. Biondich, Mark (2000). Stjepan Radić, the Croat Peasant Party, and the Politics of Mass Mobilization, 1904-1928. University of Toronto Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8020-8294-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>