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Croatian Political Science Review, Vol.44 No.3 September 2007.

Professional paper


Mirko Đinđić ; HR-23000 Zadar, B. Vranjana 11, Croatia

Fulltext: pdf (260 KB), Croatian, Pages 121 - 144 , downloads: 661 *

The article investigates the historical discourse of the pivotal political
and ideological “turning points” defining the national identity of Dalmatian Italians. Each period is represented by some political
figures from the ranks of Dalmatian Italians such as Bajamonti,
Duplancich and others. Some were (since 1848) nationally aware
Italians opposed to the Austrian rule, e.g. Duplancich, Bajamonti or
Nani. Others, also nationally aware Italians were fond of Austria
more than of Italy e.g. Lapenna or Trigari, and were undecisive in
their unequivocal adoption of the Italian identity. And finally, the
third group, mostly of Slavic extraction e.g. Tommaseo, Marassovich
and a plethora of Slavo-Dalmatians, “took on” the Italian national
identity by gradually adopting Italian culture, usually through education.
The prevalence of the Italian culture and the language, the
domination of Italianists in municipal assemblies but also the systematic efforts and the gradual affirmation of the populist i.e. Croatian component, made for the dynamic political configuration of the then Dalmatia in which about 20,000 Italians were electorally privileged in relation to more than 400,000 Croats, and consequently were able to control the regional Sabor (parliament) and the municipal councils.
The Dalmatian identity was largely identified as a superior urban
civilization as opposed to the despised countryside beyond the city
walls. Unlike the populist autonomism of Split, imbued with a powerful
sense of campanilism, the Zadar autonomism was imposed from
above with the purpose of unifying the elites of ethnic Italians, Germans and Croats. Since Zadar prevailed, its ideology of Dalmatianism led to Italianization, irredentism and eventually to the exodus of those whose Italian identity option was considered dominant and “the only right one”.

national identity; autonomism; Italo-Dalmatianism, Italianism, irredentism, the exiles (Italian exodus)


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