Petar Svačić


Petar Svačić

Petar Svačić (born in Svač (village near Ulcinj), now Montenegro. Died in 1097), was the last king of Croatia (reigned 1093–1097).

Biography

He assumed the throne amid deep tension throughout the Kingdom. His predecessor, Stjepan II (1089–1091) died without leaving an heir, sparking a major political crisis. The crisis was compounded when it was revealed that Jelena, the widow of King Zvonimir (1074–1089), was plotting the annexation of Croatia by her brother, King Laszlo I of Hungary. The opportunistic Laszlo used his sister's marriage to Zvonimir as justification for his inheritance of the Croatian Crown.

Meanwhile, Croatia's leading dignitaries and clergy elected nobleman Petar Svačić as King, who immediately deployed the military to defend Croatia's borders from Hungarian attack. However it was too little, too late. Laszlo, who had probably devised a military strategy two years earlier, launched an offensive and managed to breach Croatian lines along the Drava River. The well-prepared Hungarians soon occupied the entire province of Slavonia but were halted by the Croats at Mount Gvozd (nears today's Karlovac).

Shortly after his army's success, Laszlo died (1095), leaving his nephew Kálmán to continue the campaign. Svačić's troops maintained their resistance repelling Hungarian assaults for nearly two years. Kalman grew frustrated at his army's impotence and in 1097 assembled an enormous force at the eastern foot of Mount Gvozd. The subsequent offensive was brutal and absolute, resulting in Petar Svačić's death. His heroism was commemorated in the renaming of Mount Gvozd to Petrova Gora (Peter's Mountain).

Five years of negotiations between Croatia's remaining noblemen and Kalman followed thereafter. Finally, in 1102, an historic settlement was reached (Pacta Conventa) by which the Croats agreed to recognise Kalman as King. In return, he promised to maintain Croatia as a separate kingdom, not to settle Croatia with Hungarians, to guarantee Croatia's self-governance under a ban (governor), and to respect all the rights, laws and privileges of the Croatian Kingdom.

He was elected king by Croatian feudal lords in 1093. Petar's seat of power was based in Knin. His rule was marked by a struggle for control of the country with Hungary. During his reign he was able to expel Prince Álmos from Slavonia, and unite Croatia to the river Drava.

His good fortunes turned when Hungarian King Ladislaus died and was succeeded by Coloman in 1095. Coloman soon sought the blessing of Pope Urban II, and led an army into Croatia in 1097. At the battle of Gvozd Mountain, Petar's army was defeated by Coloman. Petar himself fell in battle, leading to the mountain being called Petrova Gora (Petar's Mountain).

Although traditionally attributed the surname of Svačić, it was likely simply a mis-reading of his actual surname, Snačić. He was the last native king of Croatia, who was since that time in a personal union with Hungary.

References

External links

*http://members.tripod.com/royalcroatia/petarsvacic.htm


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