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Under the Hapsburgs, urban Croats spoke German, and Latin was the official language of government.

A national reawakening in the nineteenth century focused on the establishment of a national language.

It shares borders with Italy, Slovenia, and Hungary to the north and with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia) and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the east and south.

Croats think of themselves as more closely linked with Austria than with the other territories and cultures of the former Yugoslavia.

Stories connect the name "Croat" ( Hrvat ) with a powerful military chieftain in the early Middle Ages and an Alan word for "friend." Regional cultures are considered variations on the larger category of "Croatian," including the cultures of Dalmatia, Istria, Slavonia, and Zagorija.

The region along the Adriatic coast has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers.

The inland region has a continental climate with very cold winters, hot, humid summers, and spring and autumn seasons that are often rainy. The largest portion of the country consists of the Pannonian plain, a flat, fertile agricultural region that extends into Hungary and Serbia.

The capital, Zagreb, is centrally located but was not chosen for that reason.

It is the largest city, and historically the political, commercial, and intellectual center. The population was approximately 5 million in 2000.

In Istria, an Italian minority prefer the Italian language, and identify strongly with Italian culture.