Triplex Confinium Sub-Project

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Drava Valley Multiple Borderlands



Hrvoje Petrić, MA, 

Prof. Dr. Mira Kolar-Dimitrijević, Professor Emeritus, 




Mira Kolar-Dimitrijević - Hrvoje Petrić







The paper presents the research of Podravina multiple-bordered region, as a territory from the mid-flow of River Drava and wide spatial regions on Drava’s left and right river banks. In historic context, this area alongside Rivers Drava, Mura and their affluent streams have never been studied or researched as a whole, or a compact territory, yet numerous influences, particularly in environmental and historical standpoint, intertwined here. The authors planned the research of Podravina multi-bordered region as an “intermediate level” between micro-history and macro-history. While in general micro-history aims to research relatively homogenous human societies and/or settlements, the micro-history of Podravina multiple-bordered region from the very start aims to research relatively or extremely heterogeneous human societies/settlements. On the other hand, the border on River Drava (except for period mid-16th until the end of 17th century, when Drava was an imperial river borderline between the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires) in most cases represented the uniting - not dividing - line. This is why this research aims at linking all research potentials of all Drava banks (left and right, upstream and downstream – including the banks of Drava joining affluent streams) and the widest linking of nations, people, settlements and environment, in hope that it can help build a joint European comparative history of Podravina.


Key words:  River Drava, Comparative History, Environmental History


What is Podravina multiple-bordered region?

Podravina multiple-bordered region[1] should primarily envelop the mid-stream of River Drava (with affluent streams - Dravinja, Pesnica, Mura and their affluent streams, Bednja, etc.) and the gravitating areas: Southern Styria (around Maribor, a region in Slovenia called "Spodnje Podravlje s Prlekijo" - around Ptuj, Ormož and Ljutomer), southern parts of the then Hungarian counties – Vas-Željezno (with Mura region), Zala (with Međimurje and Prekomurje), Somogy (with Prekodravlje), northern part of  Croato-Slavonnian counties - Križevačka (later on, Bjelovarsko-križevačka) and Varaždinska, the area of Slavonnian Military Border, i.e. Varaždin Generalate – primarily Đurđevačka, Križevačka, Koprivnička and Ivanićka Captaincies, later on Đurđevačka and Križevačka Regiments, as well as the areas under the Ottoman Empire – Požeški, Pakrački (Cernički, Čazmanski) and Kaniški sandjak, sub-provinces  (in earlier, and in later periods as well, Virovitička and Baranjska counties).      

Beside the areas mentioned, the term ‘Podravina multiple-bordered region’ in some aspects could be extended to the region of River Drava lower stream (what we today call Slavonija and Baranja in Croatia, and eastern parts of Hungarian TransDanube-Prekodunavlje). This is where Drava flows into the Danube with an array of specific characteristics, relating to what we call Podravina multiple-bordered region (which nevertheless gravitates to mid-stream of River Drava and its affluents). This is why we should pay special attention and dedicate separate research to this Danube multiple-bordered region as well (focused on Baranja, Croatian and Vojvodina’s Danube region).

We need to stress out that certain research tasks within Podravina multiple-bordered region will sometimes need to be compared to processes  undergoing along upper Drava flow, that belongs to Tirol (around Lienz) and Corinthia (towns Spittal an der Drau, Villach/Beljak, Ferlach, Völkermarkt/Velikovec, Dravograd etc.) on the Austrian side, and areas around Drava source (with colorful town of Toblach/Dobbiaco and an old Benedictine abbey and an urban core Innichen /San Candido) today situated in Italian province of Trentino - Alto Adige. A research should be directed at River Drava affluent streams – just like midstream of Mura – all the way to areas around Graz, Austria.

Podravina multiple-bordered region is where Peripannonian and Prealps regions meet, one of the areas where the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empires met. Parts of these regions from 16th century formed military border areas (Croato-Slavonnian, Hungarian and Ottoman Military Borders), with all their individual characteristics. There is evidence of closeness between these two empires, the Hapsbrug and the Ottoman, regardless of their mutual hostility. Both empires had their own parallel power structures, which could be compared and distringuished. On one hand, both empires had permanent interests in hegemony within their own borders, creating permanent imperial hostilities in the East (i.e. Persia), and different ones in the West (i.e. France). Whenever it was in their common interest in situations that such conflicts arised, the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empires had understanding for each other, rather than to ignore common interests because of religious, moral values or other principles. This is why their contacts in/at Podravina multiple-bordered region were explored as imperial subordination, but always with complex multi-layered historic reality, either through expressed wish of the population here, or without it, always present in their everyday lives. Beside the contacts of the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empires, the region had been subjected to contacts with other Hapsburg Empire nations, as well as those under the crown of St. Stjepan (Croatian Kingdom on one side, and Hungarian Kingdom on the other side). By withdrawing the Ottoman Empire borderline to the south (after the Karlovac Peace Accord in 1699), the entire area of Podravina multiple-bordred region was included into the Hapsburg Monarchy. From within, it represented itself a contact area between the Military Border, Hungary, civil, non-military part of Croatia and Styria. In any case, Podravina multiple-bordered region, throughout the early New Era, could be considered a greater area of Triplex Conifinium or Triborder of Hapsburg, Ottoman and Venetian border regions, or at least its “northern part”.[2]


Necessary research of Podravina multiple-bordred region

Within the historic context, this area along the rivers Drava, Mura and their affluent streams has never been studied as a whole, a region where many influences intertwined. There is a wonderful opportunity to study this region, especially by taking an environmental- and/or economic-historical approach, not excluding other possible approaches.

Research of Podravina multiple-bordered region[3] aimed at linking all research potentials from all banks of River Drava (left and right, upstream and downstream – including Drava affluent streams), but also the widest connection of nations, people, settlements and environment in order to help build a joint European comparative history of Podravina. However, there are a number of research projects of the wider environment of this multiple-bordered region, especially at Mogersdorf International cultural/historical symposium (Modinci). By getting in touch, additional research, collaboration and co-ordination of research topics and subjects to be presented at international scientific symposiums – we can explore common background of our cultures and integrations, particularly those influenced by religion or the military. Research should include researchers from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia and those from other nations as well (ie. Hungarians, Austrians, Slovenes, Serbs, Jews, Slovaks, Czechs, Macedonians, Italians, Germans etc). For example, in Koprivnica and Varaždin in 18th century we had very strong groups of Orthodox traders, originating from the Europe’s Southeast; the greater area of Koprivnica and Križevci had an earlier coming of relatively numerous rural Orthodox population of Vlach.  Residence and activities of German officers and soldiers from various parts of the Monarchy left a trace in social structures, everday life and some families in the entire area, which is particularly noticeable in family names of people here (for example, Socialist Rep.of Croatia’s Lexicon of names, issue Zagreb, 1976.).

Based on these integrations, it’s possible to explain everyday behaviour of people in this region, being relatively more tolerant to others, not only in culture, but also in customs, most certainly influenced the topography characteristics, and also the fact that the ties did not depend on warring, but on necessity of living together and creating new social values.

Borderline on River Drava (except for the period from mid-16th till the end of 17th century when Drava represented the imperial river border between the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires) all the way to 1918 was being the line that united, not divided people. For example, The Viceroy Jelačić in 1848 had to use all his skills and strength to keep parts of this region from drowning in the Hungarian revolution.  The same applies to Protestantism, which was more deeply rooted in this region than in some other areas. We can trace as easily the influences in lifestyles and economy, when Hungarian, Austrian and Slovenian influences were unstoppable. This can be seen in cultural objects "in situ" and in languages, especially in names of tools and household objects. We can also find isolated "islands" which applied mighty resistance to any foreign influence, keeping their own traditional culture. Also, it’s important to stress that this region was subject of meddle and influences by different cultures at the same time.

Podravina in a strict sense

– a core of Podravina multiple-bordered region

The central research of Podravina multiple-bordered region refers to Podravina in a strict, narrow sense of the word. In contrast to its geographic term, it applies to a narrower area, or rather, areas which gravitate to towns of Ludbreg, Koprivnica and Đurđevac. Varaždin area, more to the west, is called  «varaždinština», and in regional sense – the population there does not feel Podravina people themselves. To the east of Đurđevac, approximately from Pitomača to the east, there is Slavonnia, enveloping a great part of Podravina, yet population there feel and call themselves Slavonnians.     

Podravina (in its narrow sense; hereinaafter Podravina) refers to the area between River Drava on the north, foothills of Bilogora, or northern parts of Kalnik hills on the south. As a cultural-historical term, Podravina was created in the late MiddleAges. An older, today completely vanished regional term for Podravina - was Komarnica. Until the mid-14th century, on today’s territory of Podravina, there was Komarnička county, which was later on included into  Križevačka county. What was left of it, was only the name -  Komarnica Archdeaconry, as a part of Zagreb diocese. By the beginning of 16th century, the administrative and cultural term “Komarnica” was turned into Podravina.

For example, a Vienna university student, Stjepan from Struga, in 1516 declared himself as a «Podrawiczs», which indicates a seed of future cultural-historical term of Podravina (region and people); the same term at the same time describes northern territory along Drava of Križevačka County (i.e. the former areas of Komarnica County).

Eastern cultural borders of Podravina formed with the Hapsburg - Ottoman demarcations, defining the term “Podravina” today as areas, are identical to those that were left over in the Varaždin Generalate (its eastern border identical to medieval border between Križevačka and Virovitička Counties). At the same time, a part of Križevačka County alongside River Drava (around Ludbreg) is called Podravina district. This is when the late MiddleAges and early New Era  defined Podravina in today’s sense of the word. In 16th century, it includes Koprivnička and Đurđevačka Captaincy in the military border area, and in its provincial part it included Podravina district of Križevačka County. Even today, the local population of the region feels like Podravina people, almost exclusively here, even though other areas upstream and downstream people have kept strong connection to River Drava.

 In military border area, from 16th century the center of the region were the town of Koprivnca and a fortification / trading place of Đurđevac, with Ludbreg coming up as a provincial center. So, it was more than four centuries ago, when three main financial-functional centers of Podravina were formed, thus today we speak of Ludbreg’s, Koprivnica’s and Đurđevac’s Podravina. After meandering of River Drava in 1710, an important marketplace Legrad was physically moved from Međimurje to Podravina, yet Legrad never developed into the fourth Podravina pillar, slowly lagging behind which eventually resulted in its transition from an urban, into a rural settlement. In 17th century, almost enture Podravina was a borderline area on the outside borders between the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empires, as the eastern areas (around Virovitica) were engulfed by the Ottoman’s Požeška sub-province, or sandjak, with territories north of Drava  (around Nagykanizsa) forming Kaniški sandjak

After the Karlovac Peace Treaty was signed in 1699, Podravina ceased to be a borderline region, but it retained a separate regional identity in relation to neighboring areas. In mid-18th century, Koprivnica ceased to be a part of Slavonnian Military Border (Varaždin Generalate), with remaining military border areas forming Đurđevac Regiment. So it kept a dual cultural, economic and social development and growth of two parts of Podravina – military and civil – all the way up to 1871, when Đurđevac Regiment was disbanned.  After 1871, Podravina continues to grow in the unique, social and economic system of Banska Hrvatska (governed by a viceroy). Podravina seen in this way, from late medieval times until today, has no longer been unique political or administrative entity, as “Podravina regional identity” has been based on cultural-historical-environmental foundations of Podravina lowlands, or rather, areas between River Drava and foothills of Kalnik and Bilogora.


Podravina multiple-bordered region in historiography

The area of greater Podravina multiple-bordered region in historiography, except for Mogersdorf scientific papers, became important factor only after the end of World War Two, when periodical scientific papers were being published first – Koprivnica Museum publication, Varaždin Museum publication, Podravina Anthology Museum bulletin, Podravina historical bulletin, etc., when various publications and monograph books, other than simple calendars, were being published. Although they all were focused on 20th century, more and more earlier history was unstoppably surfacing, to bring eventful, uneven  past. Free royal boroughs, towns with royal charters, like Varaždin, Koprivnica and Križevci, military regiments like Đurđevačka and Križevačka, civil, non-military areas within Križevačka and Varaždinska counties, with large estates in Martijanec, Ludbreg, Veliki Bukovec, Rasinja, vicinity of Varaždin, Trakošćan, in southern Styria,  in Prekomurje, Međimurje, as well as in areas within Hungarian counties -  Željezno (Vas), Zala, Šomođ (Somogy) and Baranja. They all became subjects of numerous studies, research made both by historians and those who were in possession of historic documents.  It resulted in relatively large number of published monograph books of different quality, with too little publicized sources.

Today, those studies need to be additionally verified and updated, revalued and reinterpreted, and documents written in kaj-dialect, in languages like Slovenian, Hungarian, German and Latin require special research.

In doing so, we probably will be confronted with problems of different language problems, meddle or blending, tampering in language, and the facts those documents speak of, hence, in the very content of these documents.[4]

Modern, contemporary research of demographic changes, based on birth, death and marriage records, is in its early stage, as well as research of cadaster and land registry books. Although some of these sources have been preserved only in fragments, the saved material will no doubt reveal a strong genetic and cultural blending, rooted in the need for practical everyday life.


Research plan

The first stage of research we need to register all known established or researched data, by creating a bibliography of all published papers, works, essays and monograph books.[5] In research of archives, we need to make regestas (copies) of documents, lists of funds and archives, and their contents. It all needs to be publicized to make it available to as many researchers as possible. Besides, it is important to have a consistent popularization of research results, which can be supported by help of historic societies of Koprivnica and Križevci etc.[6]

Taking into consideration the existing structure of researchers, we need to continue with already started research of early New Era (approx. 16-18th century period), as well as the 19th century, not disregarding topics from MiddleAges research already in progress, or the 20th century itself. The group work should be directed towards environmental history, demography, religion, administration, education, agrarian reform, traffic, urban tradition, trading, military, cartography, industry and culture as parts of history.  A part of research could be created along the way. Perhaps it is necessary to mention that in Rep. of Croatia there is more than a hundred individuals, with research that could be linked in some way to this particular research; these researchers should be contacted, connected and directed towards the same scientific goal, if possible.

Beside these researchers, there are potential researchers in Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and other countries.


Podravina multi-bordered region between micro- and macro-history

Podravina multiple-bordered region is a complicated area of research, as each of the problems tied to it is structurally complex. First of all, it takes an approach for “history from below” but at the same time a completely different one “history from above”, while each approach represents multiple crossing of both strategies. History of Podravina multiple-bordered region has to be recognizable in its imperial horizons (loosely, “from the above”), but primarily in its own environment in historic sense of the word (loosely, “from the below”).[7] It should correspond to research of history of the Habsburg and the Ottoman Empires, but also represent the history of nations in Podravina multiple-bordered region - nations like Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, Hungarians and Austrians. A review of researchers’ issues should definitely have the following viewpoints:


1.  Podravina multiple-bordered region and environmental history

This type of research would be occupied with Podravina multiple-bordered region in terms of its openness to Pannonian Valley, towards the Alps, but also towards Dinara Mountain and the Adriatic Sea. Although the Habsburg Monarchy was primarily an alpine and/or mountain area, while the Ottoman Empire was primarily Dinara- and Balkan-based, both empires had reached beyond single identification; this applied even more so for their respective subjects, people in Podravina multiple-bordered region, being a contact area between the Pannonian Valley and the Alps, opened towards Dinara and the Adriatic Sea. Although the environmental history research in this area is in its early, beginning stage, we can already see clear advance in this respect.[8] It’s a great challenge to have a transdisciplinary research of economic history[9] and environmental history of these areas.[10]

2. Podravina multiple-bordered region in between Podunavlje (the Danube region), the Alps and the Adriatic Sea regions

The research here should cover not only the historic-geographic characteristics or features throughout centuries, pointing out to most important directions in development processes, but also diversity and blending of these mezoregions. A special attention should be paid to rivers Drava and Mura and their affluent streams, showing advantages and/or drawbacks, processing all relevant "push" and "pull" factors.

3. History of Podravina multiple-bordered region in view of civilizational and cultural paradigm of the Ottoman Empire and
Habsburg Monarchy

4. Medieval heritage – establishing and reconstruction of medieval toponymy and topography in Podravina multiple-bordered region, as a contribution to historic-geographic research

The rich, historic sources for medieval topography and toponymy of areas along River Drava and its affluent streams are still widely unresearched and unused. Majority of sources is being kept at Croatia’s State Archives, Archbishop’s and Cathedral archives, and HAZU archives in Zagreb, at Regional archives of Maribor, various archives in Ljubljana, at Hungary’s State Archives in Budapest, Austrian archives etc.  A comprehensive analysis of these sources (use of field research with mapping – finding about today’s toponyms through systematic work – (from a village to a village, from a field to a field etc., with using early medieval sources of similar status (especially cartographc), it’s possible to reach a reconstruction of medieval toponymy and topography, which is very important if we want to know spatial environment of this region.

5. Creation, development and disappearance of late medieval urban settlements in the territory of Podravina multiple-bordered region

Podravina multiple-bordered region in late medieval times had several urban settlements with the same characteristics, ie. townsquare, market-place or free royal borough charter. Research of their creation, development, stagnation and/or disappearance would contribute to research of urban history in its European context. Here we need to question terminology, creation of central functions (through church, trade fairs, non-agrarian activities, fortification – as outer shields and/or town cores), culture and administration, as well as social conflicts and demographic flows, as much as possible, based on available sources. It should research as much as possible the then existing medieval urban societies.

6. Communication and ties of Podravina multiple-bordered region with other regions in late Medieval and early New Era

The communication primarily refers to individual communication of individuals and their relationships, or mobility of individuals. Research of historic sources should be directed at personal ties to surrounding areas within a single social entity, and such ties outside the area of Podravina multiple-bordered region. Particular attention should be paid to intellectual communication(s) of students from Podravina multiple-bordered region, studying at European universities (the subject covered in relatively small scope).  In particular, the universities that should be covered are those in Vienna, Graz, Padua, Bologna, Krakow, Trnava etc. Also, we need to consider marginal groups like pilgrims, travelers, soldiers, etc. We should also include internal migrations and mobilities of different social groups and individuals within the area of Podravina multiple-bordered region.

7. Changes and migrations of population in the 19th and 20th centuries

The focus of this research should be on external migrations, but it should also cover internal migrations between certain micro-groups of Podravina multiple-bordered region as a historic mezoregion. It should cover mass migrations to overseas lands, but also to other European countries as well. Research should, as much as sources would permit, cover individuals and larger groups who participated in changes and migrations of population.

8. Thorough changes in spatial migration density and population of Podravina multiple-bordered region

This research should include history and geography aspects, as well as historic-demographic nature of changes in spatial population density and in structure of population of Podravina multiple-bordered region, based on relatively rich sources preserved. It’s the “long-lasting” aspects, from the period prior to the armed conflicts between the Habsburg and the Ottoman Empires, during the conflicts and into the processes of recuperation and rebuilding, all up to new resettlements  (in the 19th century). In this research we should not forget the fact that it’s a very long period of time – around four centuries long – in which numerous migrations had occurred, affecting  today’s population, settlement charts and structure of inhabitants in Podravina multiple-bordered region.

9. Comparative research of agrarian societies, farming, land and ownership over land in Podravina multiple-bordered region

In the period from 15th to 20th century, the agrarian societies and agricultural production had been exposed to the most different changes. This research should aim at studying and comparing these agrarian societies, their growth and development, their agricultural production in western (civil) and eastern (military) parts of Podravina multiple-bordered region, what differences anmd similarities they had between them, what level of communication they had, how their agrarian relations influenced growth (or decline) of agricultural production, what effects farming innovations had in the east and the west of Podravina multiple-bordered region, what kind of structure of agrarian families they had then, what differences and/or similarities in everday life, in mentalities of people, etc. Before all that, we should undertake a number of microhistroric studies of agrarian history.

10. Urban and "partially urban" societies in early New Era

Research of early New Era urban history  in Podravina multiple-bordered region can contribute to better understanding of border urban societies. In those days, we had towns like Maribor, Nagyanizsa, Koprivnica, Križevci, Varaždin, Ormož, Ptuj etc; market-places like Csurgo, Legrad, Čakovec, Prelog, Kotoriba, Ludbreg etc; a number of rural settlements with certain urban elements with "partially urban" society, with a relatively large number of such settlements. Many comparative studies and research of a number of processes could be undertaken here, as much as the sources and how well they are preserved.

11. Traffic alongside rivers Drava and Mura on both sides, the right and the left banks; Rivers Drava and Mura as navigable pathways

Traffic was extremely important component of everday life in this region. Research should include separate studies of road, river and railway traffic, with different transport vehicles, ferries and boats. Also, we should target government authorities and their attitude toward traffic in different periods, with different state goals were aimed to be fulfilled etc.

12. Crafts, trades, industrialization and financial institutions of Podravina multiple-bordered region

Participants in crafts, trades, industrialization and financial transactions are important targets of research, as well as the goods being manufactured and traded with. It should be interesting to research the prices of goods in those days, trade fairs in marketplaces and towns, as well as at feudal estates, reforms in trade fairs, local legislation and regulations. Research should process difficulties in crafts, trades, industry and financial transactions.

13. Military Order administration, functioning of free royal boroughs and towns, rural administration, regions, counties and sub-counties

Here we should target the existing domestic and foreign influences in building administrative systems. We should have a nation-wide analysis of town administration, clerks, regulations, and  guidelines imposed vertically “from the above”, as well as requests and demands “from the below”, plus the efficiency (inefficiency) in those administrative systems.

14. Feudal estates and manors on a greater area of Podravina multiple-bordered region

Research of feudal estates and manors in a greater Podravina multiple-bordered region could provide a wide range of responses on social, demographic and economic changes of vital importance in these areas; we should research their further growth after 18th century as a proto-modernization in these areas. Here we have, in better or worse shape, preserved documents that cover feudal estates and manors. By using a comparative method of ownership structure comparison in Croatian, Styrian and Hungarian regions we can have a multitude of research results.[11]

15. Ethno-confessional changes in Podravina multiple-bordered region in early New Era (Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Protestants, Greek Catholics, Judaism, Islam, Atheism) 

In the second half of 16th century, we had Protestants and Orthodox population arriving at the same time here. In 17th century, an important issue here was the church union and processes of Catholic revival. We should organize systematic research of growth of Catholic and Orthodox Church infrastructures in 17th and 18th centuries, but also the coming of Jews. The role of Catholic Church should be examined and researched. This should lead to better understanding of interrelations between different faiths and churches in this region in early New Era, their “image in the eyes of other denominations” etc.

 In this research, we can apply comparative studies between urban and rural societies, between the east and the west, between lowlands and highlands. This is ethnic confessional history of this region in early New Era’s socio-cultural, socioeconomic, ethnolignuistic and ethnoconfessional integrational and dissintegrational processes of Croats, Serbs, Hungarians, Slovenians, Austrians, Jews and others within the Habsburg and the Ottoman Empires. Also, we should research and process organization of religious institutions, building of churches and networks of church institutions, ideologies, intertwining of economic and religious interests, life of these structures and who changed them etc.[12]

16. Religious conversions in Podravina multiple-bordered region 

This part of research should concentrate on people’s religious attitudes, confessions, state interests and religious identities. Podravina multiple-bordered region is the area where, from early New Era (from a Slav/Balkans side in church relations) there was one of historically deepest penetrations of Orthodox Christianity into the West; from that time onwards, one of historically deepest limited penetrations of Islam (vicinity of Kaniža, Prekodravlje, Virovitica etc).

17. Comparative research of length and changes in sociodemographic and ethnodemographic structures of Podravina multiple-bordered region

Historic demography is very important for having knowledge on processes which were undergoing in the period from mid 17th century until the end of 19th century in Podravina multiple-bordered region. Historic-demographic studies should be based on processing and analysis of registers of births, deaths and marriages. The oldest records preserved date back to mid 17th century. Beside birth, death and marriage records, we should use other available sources – military records listings, cannonic visitations, landlords’ records of feudal estates, documentation of towns and marketplaces.

The focus of these historic-demographic studies shoud be on comparison between the civic and military parts; we could compare demographic processes between urban and rural settlements, different spatial areas within Podravina multiple-bordered region etc.

18. Development of education and literacy, book-reading in population of Podravina multiple-bordered region in comparative research

Although the first data on school system of this region date back to 1480 (Varaždinske Toplice), 1582 (Lepoglava – comprehensive school), 1588 (Varaždin), 1590 (Koprivnica) and around 1640 (Drnje, Ivanec, Štrigova, Prelog, Selnica, Belica, Donji Vidovec, Murska Sobota, Mursko Središče, Nedelišče), 1645 (Ruše nearby Maribor) etc, more historic data on schools (primarily church schools) are from 18th century. Research of these should focus on school infrastructure development, as well as on application of laws, based on comparative research of school systems in civic and military parts of Podravina multiple-bordered region. We could study an increase in school attendance and literacy, and the efforts and methods of growth of educationl systems. We should also analyse the language of documents, and compare education under the church wing to the state-provided education.

19. Legal system in between Hungarian and Austrian law

We should process differences in application of different legal systems of Hungarian and Austrian law, as well as the influence it had on different social structures.

20. Wars, military organizations and Military Border defense systems in Podravina multiple-bordered region

This research should, among other things, make a comparison of different defense systems existing in Podravina multiple-bordered region. The studies here should compare Military Border systems within the Habsburg and the Ottoman Empires along rivers Drava and Mura. Also, it should process relations between areas (and human societies and settlements) in immediate vicinity or inside Military Border defense systems, with rear areas and vice-versa.  Besides, it should be researched how military reorganization influenced a choice of work, occupation and interrelations (i.e. friendships, conflicts), on building of settlements etc.

21. Culture and customs of Podravina multiple-bordered region

Studies of customs started in early 20th century, based on guidelines made by Antun Radić, who was secretary of Matica hrvatska at the time). What has been published until today by professional ethnographs or plebeian writers (collectors) is quite an opus, which cannot be neglected in search of a pattern and origins of behaviour for a certain social group. A rich opus of folk tale, songs, dances, often originating in cultures of other nations, rooted in this region, bring attention of ethnography and musicology experts for decades, but should also be subjects of research by historians too, who could find elements of penetration, introduction and creation of a new, wider culture, or simply taking over other nations’ values as their own, with retrograde effect of giving own culture to others. Cultural heritage of this region is vast and very rich, yet not fully researched or recognized as a wholesome European culture, of Central European values. Research should probe into unity and differences in popular culture, religious and regional differences, traditional culture and its various forms, carnivals, myths and customs. Special attention should be paid to changes in popular culture and social changes.

22. Cultural - historical monuments in Podravina multiple-bordered region

This research should cover studies of existing cultural-historical material heritage (i.e. administrative buildings, urban and rural family homes, castles, manors, parks, church and military buildings, etc.), as well as that part of material heritage that no longer exists (i.e. fort  of Novi Zrin, Zrinski mausoleum in Šenkovec etc.). A part of research should be conducted over the original written and visual material, a part in field work. This research is particularly interesting in studies of material leads, providing an insight into interrelations between cultural spheres of influence in Podravina multiple-bordered region, but outside this region too.

23. Marginal groups and Podravina multiple-bordered region

Particularly interesting world of marginal groups is related to population migrations. This research should try to define and classify marginal and other excluded groups, and probe into institutions of social prevention. 

24. Epidemics, diseases, hunger, flooding, earthquakes and fires in Podravina multiple-bordered region

This research should cover these phenomena, which have negative, adverse effects not only on population, but on the regions they affected.  

25. Co-operatives and urbiar relations – changes in legislation and everyday life of peasants up to mid 20th century

A part of agrarian population lived in co-operatives and up to mid 19th century urbiar relations were in place. This research, apart from changes in legislation, should cover everyday life of peasants. A focus should be placed on 19th and early 20th century.

Problems of different approaches to history in

Podravina multiple-bordered region

In the area of Podravina multiple-bordered region, the history of imperial systems, as well as their conflicts, different interests etc., have a history of their own; even today; it’s possible to view it from several viewpoints or with innovative approaches, on the margins of history of the very region, sometimes even without considering the region itself (conditionally). Yet, the history of Podravina multibordered region is, above all, the history of human settlements in this region in socio-cultural and any other sense of the word; either side of the border(s), across and beyond all borders, to the levels of borders’ “trivialities” in everday life of inhabitants here.

Comparative history of Podravina multiple bordered region

History of Podravina multiple bordered region must be researched by using methods of comparative history. the past history of this region from any view, either civilizational, cultural or any other, has its own horizons. It confronts with the same questions in different ways, however, it’s important to compare them all the time. Having in mind new possibilities in development of contemporary world historiography, it’s obvious that use of comparative methods provides a multitude of open challenges. There are many different triborders, four -borders etc. Each of them is a unique, separate case of its own, yet each with its structural complexity in a long historic period unavoidably includes expiriences competeley comparable. Most European multiple borders were formed in imperial conflicts of considerable length, yet in order that some regions indeed become a multiple-bordered region, it takes its natural environment, socio-economic and socio-cultural structures to integrate and dissintegrate. All these mutliple-bordered regions are so much structurally complex, that in European New Era times each conflict in such a region would, either directly or indirectly, inflict long-lasting consequences in Europe; or, avoiding conflicts in such a region would ultimately mean long-term consequences for those ethnic communities, who share the region with others. In this respect, history of multiple-bordered regions has always had some key issues of European history, at least in Europe’s own view, expanding possibilities to apply a comparative method.[13]  Our “Podravina” scientific magazine for multidisciplinary research, in its own limited scope, aims at achieving this. [14]

Instead of a conclusion – history of Podravina multiple-bordered region: a challenge beyond limits of traditional disciplines

This side of Podravina multiple-bordered history is in many ways a "transdisciplinary" one: on one hand, it means that it cannot be levelled to any individual, traditional historiographic discipline; on the other hand, as a rule it must use methods and research possibilities found in a number of disciplines, from historical demography, h.geography, socio-cultural history, historical anthropology, rural and urban history, military history - all the way to environmental history, etc. With that, we need to perform a number of micro-historic research studies, which will try to discover ( in relatively small space, in the expieriences of relatively small human communities) extremely complex history of events. Unlike micro-history, targeting relatively homogenous human communities, micro-history of Podravina multiple-bordered region is –from the start – aimed at research of relatively, or extremely heterogenous human communities. If such communities are not that in socio-economic sense, then they must be so in socio-cultural or socio-religious sense. Here we don’t have individual disciplines in humanistic or social studies that could absorb such a complex issue. This is why in this research we need to focus on “great topics” of high importance to represent the problem in its entirety; on the other hand, issues innovative enough to start a whole series of multidisciplinary researches.[15] Most parts of material and intellectual heritage that existed throughout the past centuries in Podravina multiple-bordered region; today it represents an important part of cultural-historical foundations of this region; therefore, this research will have a practical value and application in its possible revitalization and/or revaluation.

[1]  At University of Zagreb Institute of Croatian History (Faculty of Philosophy) the authors of this paper, Ret.Prof.. Mira Kolar Ph.D. and Hrvoje Petrić in the period  2001- 2003. had two optional courses of lectures, linked to Podravina multiple-bordered region of early 17th to the late 20th century; the 2001./2002 course aimed at regions alongside rivers Dravu and Mura, while the 2002./2003 course covered regions along Drava and  the Danube .

[2] On project Triplex Confinium, comp. D. Roksandić, Triplex Conifinium, Prilozi, 30, Sarajevo 2001., pp. 43-61. This paper  in part inspired by works of D. Roksandić on project Triplex Confinium and parts of his research included in this paper.

[3] Within the project «Triplex Confinium – hrvatska višegraničja u euromediteranskom kontekstu» in 2001. we had a project «Podravska višegraničja» or rather «Podravsko višegraničje» (Podravina multiple-bordered region)

[4] H. Petrić, On Podravina historiographyi, Podravina, vol. 3, no. 5, Koprivnica 2004.

[5] Part of collected bibliography was published in the book by  D. Feletar, H. Petrić, Bibliographia Podraviana – Selected publications on  Podravini, Koprivnica 2001.

[6] These societies  have their own web pages here;

[7] D. Roksandić, Triplex Conifinium, Prilozi, 30, str. 43-61.

[8] The project «Podravsko višegraničje» (Podravina multiple-bordered region), as a part of an international research project  «Triplex Confinium» in 2003 in Koprivnica organized an international scientific conference «Environmental history of Podravina multiple-bordered region». Exceprts and summaries from the conference are available on the web page

[9] This is why in 2002 the Center for economic/social history at Dept. of Croatian history at Zagreb Univ.School of Liberal Arts was established , see at

[10] In 2005, a Society for environmental and economic history was founded, and a scientific magazine started “Economics and economic history”, see at

[11] Since early 2005, at Ministry for education, science and sports of Croatia, in collaboration with Slovenia’s Ministry of academic education, science and technology have a joint  research project  «Marketplaces and feudal estates along the Rivers Dravu and Mura in early New Era (from around 15th to 18th century»; Croatian part is led by prof. dr. Drago Roksandić from Zagreb, Slovenia part by doc. dr. Andrej Hozjan from Maribor.

[12] Special project «Podravina multiple-bordered region” is a part of an international research project «Triplex Confinium» and in 2002 organized in Križevci an international scientific conference «Ethnic confessional changes in Križevačka County and Varaždin Generalate in early New Era (around 1450 - 1800) ».

[13] D. Roksandić, Triplex Conifinium, Prilozi, 30, str. 43-61. English version is available at htttp://

[14] The magazine was started in 2002 in Koprivnica by apublishing house «Meridijani». Until now, they have published 7 volumes..

[15] D. Roksandić, Triplex Conifinium, Prilozi, 30, str. 43-61.





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