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Trpimir (845 - 864)

Trpimir (dux Croatorum) was one of the most distinguished princes to rule Croatia. His installation in 845 marked the founding of the powerful Trpimirovic Dynasty, which ruled until the end of the 11th century. Numerous historical sources have been preserved from this time and offer a detailed insight to the early Croatian State and its functioning. The most significant source to survive are the writings of a Saxon Benedictine scholar named Gottschalk who spent two years at Trpimir's court (846 - 848). During that time, he chronicled the geopolitical affairs of Croatia in great detail and highlighted that Trpimir's subjects referred to him as King, rather than Prince.

Trpimir accelerated efforts to Croatisize Dalmatian towns under Byzantine administration. Most of the towns were already inhabited by Croats and heavily influenced by Croatian politics and culture. Nevertheless, the Byzantines refused to relinquish control and, according to Gottschalk, Trpimir went to war and defeated them.

The rapidly expanding Bulgarian Empire also tested Trpimir's military prowess. Between 854 and 860 the Bulgars launched incessant attacks along Croatia's eastern border, at times crossing the River Drina and penetrating the province of Bosnia. Trpimir repulsed the attacks and defeated the Bulgar army near present-day Zvornik.

In addition to Gottschalk's chronicles, a number of domestic documents from Trpimir's rule have been preserved. A charter issued by Trpimir on the 4th March 852 records the commissioning of Croatia's first Benedictine monastery near Solin. His decision to bring the Benedictine order to Croatia had an enormous impact on Croatian history and culture, reinforcing its orientation towards Western Europe. Shortly thereafter, monasteries were established in Zadar and Nin. The charter, which is addressed to Petar, the Archbishop of Split, mentions various Croatian zupans, dignitaries and chamberlains.

Trpimir left two heirs, Zdeslav and Muncimir.

Fortress at Klis, where Trpimir held court.

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