History of Šestanovac

Croats inhabit this area since 626 and soon create the Kingdom of Croatia and Dalmatia under the first Croatian king Tomislav. The area of Šestanovac in the Middle Ages was called Radobilja, a parish that was often under attack by the Turks. The Turkish force was defeated with the help of Venetians, but soon came the end of the French rule under which it had flourished. Schools with official Croatian language are being established, roads are being built. With the fall of Napoleon the French authorities also collapsed, so until the end of World War I Austria ruled this area. Today, in the area of Šestanovac municipality, life has been intensely developing even in prehistoric times, and that was contributed by the river Cetina, an area suitable for farming and cattle breeding, which is witnessed by a series of following archeological sites: • Neolithic archaeological site Velika Peć, not far from the Grabovac settlement • eneolithic fort Orje (Žeževica) • fort Dobrkovci – The Bronze Age (Kreševo Polje) • fort Gola Glava – The Bronze Age (Katuni Polje) • Bobovac – The Bronze Age (Šestanovac) • fort Trbotor – The Iron Age (Žeževica) During the 1st millennium BC, our region, as well as the most of Central Dalmatia, was ruled by the mighty Illyrian Dalmatian tribe (Delmati). The Dalmatians lived in the fortified settlements that had been built on difficult to reach elevations from which they could easily control the mainland. Most Dalmatians were cattle-breeders, and the rest of them were farmers. In the long-lasting wars with the Romans, the Dalmatians were known for their bitter resistance. During the war with the Romans, which lasted from the year 156 BC until 9 AD they succeeded 1in inflicting many defeats. In one of the conflicts with the Dalmatians, 34 BC Octavian himself was wounded (since 27 BC under the name August he becomes the first Roman emperor). Despite the brave resistance, the Dalmatians were nevertheless subject to superior Roman legions. The victory over the Illyrians in year 9 AD the Romans approached the pacification of Dalmatia, followed by the period of peace until the year 378 (until the great migration of the people). The establishment of Roman cities and settlements in the Dalmatian hinterland caused the construction of a dense road network, the economic flourishing of the Illyrian population, as well as its rapid romanization.

Two Roman vicinal (sideway) roads have been identified in our area: • Tronum (Cista Velika) – Katunske vlake (crossing of two neighboring roads) – Katuni Polje – Kreševo Polje – Poljica • Katunske vlake – Grguša – Gornja Žeževica (east of the Bekavci village) – Grabovac, on all these vicinal roads “spurile” (ruts) can be seen. The Romans left traces in our region at the following archaeological sites: • Bobovac (Šestanovac) • Fort Nezgrija (Kreševo Brdo) • fort Jastreb (Žeževica) • Roman observatory at the Katun vlake (Katuni Brdo) • remains of Ville rustice (Kreševo Polje). It is also important to note that it is assumed that in the area of Radonja in the village of Katuni Polje there was a smaller Roman settlement, and this is accompanied by the finds of larger quantities of pottery by the local population in the cultivation of land. At the beginning of the 6th century, Christianity penetrates into our area, and during this period an early Christian church was built on Gola Glava and Katuni. The old Christian church in Katuni had a semicircular apse on the eastern side, and on the foundations of the old Croatian church dating from the 9th century, while at the beginning of the 18th century, with the ruin of the old Croatian church, the local population built the current old church. It is important to point out that in Grabovac on an old stone house in village Tadići, there are three fragments of old-Christian decorated partitions (parts of the altar partition), archaeologists assume that the fragments from the former oratory – an old Christian house that had the function of a place of worship at the very beginning of the penetration of Christianity on pagus (village) in the hinterland of the former Roman province of Dalmatia. It is assumed that the oratory was located in the area of Crkvina. It is concluded that for 1500 years Christianity has been present in our area. At the beginning of the 7th century after the victory over Avar, the Croats settled on the area from Drava to the Adriatic, where they founded two great principalities and several smaller ones. Our area was then part of Dalmatian Croatia, and since year 925 the part of the Croatian kingdom.

From the second half of the 14th century, our region was known under the name of Radobilja parish, mentioned for the first time on June 6, 1376 in the dispuit of Duke of Cetina Ivan Nelipić, which he conducted with Vukac and Ostoj Nenadić due to some possessions in Radobilja, and the Duke of Knin Petar Martinić has decided to annul the registration in favor of Duke Ivan Nelipić, and that the Duke of parish Radobilja Vukac Nenadić must be introduced into the possession of the parish estate. Radobilja originated from parts of the old Croatian parish of Imota, when the existing parishes fell into smaller units caused by the strengthening of some big families, in our area that was the family Nenadić. Throughout the first half of the 15th century, our area was in the midst of the conflict between the Croatian and the Bosnian people along with the Venetians. In 1468, the Turkish attack on Radobilja was recorded, in which they did not succeed in overcoming the domestic population. But already in 1471, Radobilja was under Turkish rule, which will last until 1715. In this historical period, most of the local population was affected, which have on numerous occasions, migrated to Poljica, Svinišće, the island of Brač, Makarska coast, Kaštela (eg Kaštel-Sućurac). Kreševo, Katuni and Žeževica, were constantly the scene of the bloody clashes of Croats and Venetians against the Turks. One of the major conflicts occurred in 1652 when an attack on the fort of Duara took place with 3000 soldiers led by Krsto Zavoreo and Juraj Papalić. First they broke the Turks in the Slimena and in Radobilja (near Katuni), and then reached the fortress that they have finally won. The Radobilja parish (referring to the entire area of Šestanovac) was finally liberated from the Turkish rule after the failed Turkish invasion of Sinj. After liberation, there were a total of seven villages in Radobilja: Cista, Blato, Grabovac, Katuni, Kreševo, Nova Sela, Žeževica with only 218 houses. At the time of the Venetian administration in Katuni, Žeževići and Grabovac churches were built, and in our area a cadastral survey was carried out. After the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 our area as well as the whole Dalmatia were under the first Austrian administration. In 1806, after the defeat of Austria in the Battle of Wagram in 1805, there were French troops coming to Dalmatia under the command of General Marmont (later Marshal), Lauriston and Molitor. In 1808, the French built a road through our area that from Knin-Vrlike-Sinj-Trilj-Ugljan-Blato to Kreševo-Katun- (Šestanovac) -Žeževice-Grabovac led to Metković and Dubrovnik. Also in today’s Šestanovac and Katuni Prpuša they had gendarmeria’s stations. After the defeat of Napoleon at Leipzig, the French withdrew from Dalmatia in 1813 when they again return to Austrian rule. In 1850, in Šestanovac, the Austrian authorities established a gendarmerie station. In Dešković’s house in Katuni, a male folk school was founded in 1871, while at the same time an occasional postal carriage (stage-coach) was established, and later on a permanent post will be established and Omiš dependent. In 1912 a school was built in Žeževica-Orje. In the same year, Krajina municipality, which had a surface area of 139.56 km², had 1298 households with 7688 inhabitants. It is important to mention that our area in the height of Great Serbian Hegemony in the first half of the 20th century was visited by Stjepan Radić during the tour of Dalmatia. Following the speech held in Lovreć, Stjepan Radić started with his escort on 07.02.1926. in the direction of Šestanovac where he was welcomed by the mayor of Krajina municipality Josip Dešković and his associates, and Tade Vukušić, the president of HSS of the area of Šestanovac.After a solemn celebration in Šestanovac, Stjepan Radić held a speech in Katuni at a magnificent gathering, attended by over 10,000 peo ple. That day, after the meeting, 1,500 new members joined the HSS. In the Second World War, the Krajina Municipality belonged to a large Cetina parish with its headquarters in Omiš. After 1945, Krajina municipality became the district of Šestanovac, and after that the municipality of Šestanovac was rebuilt. There was a repeal of the Municipality, while its area was annexed to the Municipality of Omiš. This situation remained until the Šestanovac Municipality, which occupies an area of 89.50 km², has been re-established in the independent Republic of Croatia, where according to the 2021 census there are 1719 inhabitants.