Croatia declared its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in June 1991. To maintain the integrity of the country, the Yugoslav authorities began hostilities. Dictator Slobodan Milosevic, then president of Serbia, sent his army into Croatia, where 11% of the population was of Serbian origin. The Croats were outnumbered and had few weapons. During four years of war, an estimated 25,000 people were killed and some 800,000 were forced to flee their homes.
In 1992, the conflict then spread to Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was not until the break up of Yugoslavia in 1995 that Croatia could formally re-establish its borders. Today the country is working to rebuild, despite the trauma, loss and destruction of war. The employment situation is particularly difficult, because it takes time to replace the old socialist system with a new economic system. Today, the Croats must strengthen their economy using local resources, and tourism is an important part of that process.