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Slovenian-Croatian boundary: backgrounds of boundary-making and boundary-breaking in Istria regarding the contemporary boundary dispute

Author(s): Damir Josipovič

Journal: Geoadria
ISSN 1331-2294

Volume: 17;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 25;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: boundaries | boundary disputes | Triest/Trieste/Trst | Dragonja/Dragogna | Mirna/Quieto | Slovenia | Croatia | Italy | North Adriatic | Istria

Boundary-making in Istria is an old undertaking. It has actually never ceasesed, not even today. Istrian peninsula has thus undergone substantial boundary shifts during the last couple of centuries (especially after the Venetian demise in 1797). But Istria carries its worldwide fame also due to one of probably the harshest disputes on the post-war European grounds – the Trieste territory dispute. In author's perspective, this dispute is one of the four main corner-stones of the current Slovenian-Croatian boundary dispute. The remaining three include the Kozler's boundary around Dragonja (Rokava) River, the ungraspable notions of Austrian censuses in Istria, and the narratives of partisan settlements on military jurisdiction. However, there are other very important aspects which significantly shaped the development of the dispute, but we will focus at assessing the importance of the aforementioned ones. In this sense, the analysis of the effects of the outcome of the Trieste dispute and its implications to the contemporary interstate dispute is set forth. By unveiling its material and consequently its psychological effects upon the contemporary bilateral relations, its analyses simultaneously reveals backgrounds of never answered question, why Kozler's proposed linguistic boundary around Dragonja (Rokava) River turned out to become a boundary of national character. Though nowadays disputed, there is absolutely no chance for both involved parties to substantially draw away from once decisively drawn line of a layman. Despite the fierce battle of words in Slovenian public media on whether should the interstate boundary be placed on Mirna (Quieto) or Dragonja Rivers, it will be argued here that the actual choice of the Valley of Dragonja as a boundary is by all means Slovenian. The arguments are based on extensive analyses of cartographic materials, relevant literature, documents, and statistical data.

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