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Lika

From Academic Kids

Lika is a mountainous region in central Croatia, roughly bound by the Velebit mountain from the southwest and the Plješevica mountain from the northeast.

Missing image
Croatia-Lika.png
Map of Croatia with Lika highlighted

Major towns include Gospić, Otočac, Gračac, Korenica, most of which are located in the karst fields of rivers Ličina, Gacka and others.

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is also in Lika.

Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American physicist famous for his developments in electrical technology, was born in Lika.

Demographic history

Lika's population is a mix of Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs.

According to the 1910 Austro-Hugarian census, the Lika-Krbava county had some 204,710 inhabitants, of those, 104,041 Orthodox (51%), 100,620 Roman Catholics, 14 Greek Catholics, 12 Jews, 6 Lutherans and 2 Calvinists. The Serb population lived predominantly in the eastern and central parts of the region. Their numbers fell significantly as a result of World War II and the mass killing of Serbs by the Croatian Ustase regime.

In 1991, what is today the Lika-Senj county had a population of 85,135. Following the Croatian declaration of independence in 1991, the Serb majority settlements of eastern Lika joined other Krajina Serbs in the Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK). Most of the Croatian inhabitants of the region were expelled in a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" that left the region almost entirely Serb-inhabited.

Lika came to international prominence in 1993, after a September 9 offensive by the Croatian Army on a Serb-held salient known as the "Medak pocket" in the south of the region. Canadian United Nations forces were caught up in the fighting, which lasted - on and off - for about a week. The ICTY raised war crime indictments against several Croatian officers afterwards.

In 1995, the Croatian Army overran the region in Operation Storm, ending the RSK. Some 30,000 Serbs fled Lika, although some have since returned. Overall, the Serb population of what is currently Croatia fell by about 65% from around 600,000 in 1991, to 201,000 according to the 2001 census. Many of the Croats expelled in 1991 have now returned. A great deal of damage was done during the fighting, prompting a major post-war reconstruction programme in the region.

The 2001 census data for the Lika-Senj county shows 53,677 inhabitants (almost 37% less than ten years before), as well as being 86.15% Croat and 11.54% Serb.

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