Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Dalmatia, an Austrian territory lying along the Adriatic Sea, and having on the N. Croatia, on the S. Montenegro and the sea, on the E. Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the W. the sea. It contains 4,940 square miles with a population of 510,372. The coast is steep and rocky, and is studded with picturesque islands and bays. Inland are mountains and moors, with streams and lakes which dry up in the summer. Parallel chains from the spurs of the Julian and Dinaric Alps traverse the country, and rise to a height of 6,000 feet. Half the land is in pasture, and there is some good ship timber. Wine, oil, brandy, hides, wool, wax, honey and fruit are among the products of the district. The climate is uncertain, with an average temperature of 60 and a rainfall of 28 ins. The inhabitants are good sailors and fishermen, but do not care much for agricultural pursuits. The Dalmatians were subdued by Augustus, and then fell successively into the hands of the Goths, Avars, and Slavs. In the 11th century the country was partly Hungarian and partly under Venetian protection. After other vicissitudes it finally was assigned to Austria in 1814. The present inhabitants of Dalmatia are almost exclusively Slavs of the Serbo-Croatian branch, who occupied this region about the year 620, after expelling and partly absorbing the Avars, themselves intruders since the close of the fifth century. These had been preceded by the Goths (Moeso-Goths), who had occupied the country after the fall of the Western Empire, reducing and apparently imposing their language on the original Illyrian populations. The Slavs retained their political independence till the beginning of the eleventh century, when Dalmatia was dismembered, one section being conquered by Ladislaus, King of Hungary, while the rest accepted the protection of Venice against the Turks. In consequence of these historical vicissitudes the peoples of the coastlands (Venetian Dalmatia) have been gradually Italianised, and Italian is now universally current along the seaboard from Istria to Montenegro. But the Morlaks, as the inhabitants of Upper Dalmatia are called, still retain their Servian speech, and are regarded as pure Slavs, though really a mixture of Slavs, Goths, Avars, and Albanians (Illyrians). The Morlak peasantry are amongst the rudest peoples of Europe, though physically a fine race, tall and shapely, betraying their diverse descent in the occurrence of blue eyes and fair complexion in association with dark or olive skins and chestnut hair. Of the present population (528,000 in 1890), about 430,000 are Roman Catholics of the Latin rite, all the rest Orthodox Greek, except a few hundred United Greeks and Jews. (See Ch. Yriarte, L'Istrie et la Dalmatie in Tour du Monde, xxix., 1874; A. Schmidt, Das Konigreich Dalmatien, Stuttgart, 1842; J. Gardner Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro, London, 1848; A. Paton, Highlands and Islands of the Adriatic, London, 1849.)