The College of Hereditary Nobility of Hungary

Istria | Fiume

Fiume

Fiume gained autonomy for the first time in 1719 when it was proclaimed a free port of the Holy Roman Empire in a decree issued by the Emperor Charles VI. In 1776, during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa, the city was transferred to the Kingdom of Hungary and in 1779 gained the status of Corpus separatum within that Kingdom.

From then until 1924 Fiume existed for practical purposes as an autonomous entity with elements of statehood.

The city briefly lost its autonomy in 1848 after being occupied by the Croatian ban (viceroy) Josip Jelacic, but regained it in 1868 when it rejoined the Kingdom of Hungary, again as a corpus separatum.

In the 19th century, the city was populated by Croats, Italians, Hungarians, and other nationalities. National affiliation changed from census to census, as at that time nationality was mostly defined by the language a person spoke. The special status of the city, being placed between different states, created a local identity among the majority of the population. The official languages in use were Italians, Hungarians, and German. Most business correspondence was carried out in Italian, while most families spoke a local dialect, a blend of Venetian with a few words of Croatian. In the countryside outside the city, the Croatian Chakavian dialect was spoken.

The "Free State of Fiume" was an independent free state which existed between 1920 and 1924. Its territory of 28 km² (11 sq mi) comprised the city of Fiume (known as Rijeka since the end of World War II) and rural areas to its north with a corridor to its west connecting it to Italy.

With the surrender of Italy in World Warr II, the Rijeka issue became topical again and in 1944, a group of citizens issued the "Liburnia Memorandum" in which it was recommended that a confederate state be formed from the three cantons of Fiume, Susak and Ilirska Bistrica. The islands of Krk (Veglia), Cres (Cherso) and Losini (Lussino) would enter the common condominium as well. President Zanella of the government-in-exile still sought the re-establishment of the Free State. The Yugoslavian authorities, who liberated the city from German occupation on 3 May 1945, objected to these plans. The leaders of the autonomists - Nevio Skull, Mario Blasich and Sergio Sincich - were killed. With the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, Rijeka and Istria officially became part of Yugoslavia.

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