In the late 7 th century, Croatians were converted to Catholicism. For centuries they fought invasions of Turks and Tartars with such valor that Pope Adrian VI conferred them the title of "Bulwark of Christianity".
In 925 Croatia became an independent kingdom, united by cities in the "cradle of Croatian statehood": Solin, Zadar, Trogir, and Dubrovnik. This beautiful area was devoted to achievements in music and art, with strong family and social structures. All provinces populated with "Croatian" people were now united as the state of Croatia with Zagreb as its capital city.
A period of anarchy led to intervention by Hungary. Except for brief occupation by the Turks and the French, Croatia was an autonomous kingdom under Hungarian rule until 1102, which continued when Austria-Hungary was formed in 1897. The majority of Croatians came to America between 1880 and 1920 to escape economic hardships, political persecution, and interference with individual freedom.
The characteristics of Croatian immigrants emerged: hardworking, honest, strong and reliable. The family was sacred. The Croatian community was important for survival in a country with different customs and language. They were courageous, but suspicious about friends; they had few friends during their history. The Roman Catholic religion was their only untouched privilege and a sign of their identity since birth. Their religion was an integral part of their existence.