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Stephen I of Croatia

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Title: Stephen I of Croatia  
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Stephen I of Croatia

Stephen I
King of Croatia
Reign 1030 – 1058
Predecessor Krešimir III of Croatia
Successor Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia
Born c. 988
Died 1058
Burial Church of St. Stephen, Solin
Spouse Hicela Orseolo
House House of Trpimirović, cadet line House of Krešimirović
Father Krešimir III of Croatia
Religion Christian

Stephen I Krešimirović (Croatian: Stjepan I Krešimirović) (c. 988 – 1058) was a King of Croatia from c. 1030 until 1058 and a member of House of Trpimirović, first of the Krešimirović branch. Stephen I was the first Croatian king whose given name was "Stephen" ("Stjepan"), as Držislav added the name Stephen at his coronation. His ban was Stephen Prasca.


  • Biography 1
    • Background 1.1
    • Reign as king 1.2
    • Later life and death 1.3
  • Family 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Sources 5



As the son of former King Svetoslav Suronja,[1] who gave him as a hostage to Pietro II Orseolo, he married Hicela Orseolo, who bore him two sons: Peter Krešimir IV, who succeeded him as the King of Croatia and Častimir, the father of the future Croatian King Stephen II.

Reign as king

Stephen formally succeeded his father Krešimir III in 1030, although it is likely that he co-ruled with him from 1028. The King continued his predecessors' ambitions of spreading rule over the coastal cities and conducted activities in that course greatly, but it was all eventually in vain. He focused on rebuilding Croatia's military strength.

Between 1038 and 1041, Stephen managed to successfully conquer Zadar from the Venetians for a short period, possibly with the help of the newly crowned Hungarian king Peter Orseolo, his nephew.[2]

Croatian Kingdom c. 1045, during the reign of king Stephen I of Croatia

In 1035, the Carinthian count Aldabero sought help in Croatia against the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II, who he was in a feud with since he succeeded the throne. Aldabero was accused on 18 May 1035 during the Bamberg assembly for conspiring with Croatia. Because of this, the Emperor strengthened the southeastern part of his state, where it bordered with Croatia. On the same year, Stephen I sent his cousin Dobronja to Constantinople, so he could meet the Byzantine Emperor. However, since Stephen was in war with the Republic of Venice, a Byzantine ally, Dobronja was imprisoned and there he eventually died.

The circumstances changed in 1046 when Stephen's nephew Peter fled from his kingdom. The Croatian king used this to invade and pillage Hungary, and he expanded his domain all the way to the river Drina to the east. This provoked an attack by the doge Domenico I Contarini who took Zadar in 1050.

In an effort to keep the Roman influence over the Dalmatian cities, the Byzantine emperor appointed Stjepan Praska, previously a ban serving under king Stephen I, as an imperial commander. Although he nominally worked for the Byzantine Empire from Zadar, he helped the king gain other littoral settlements.

Later life and death

Stephen I established the diocese of Knin in 1040, which stretched to the north until it met the river Drava.[3] The bishop of Knin had also the nominal title as the "Croatian bishop" (Latin: episcopus Chroatensis).

Trade and commerce flourished under Stephen I. A burgeoning aristocracy emerged in Zadar, Biograd, Knin, Split and other coastal cities. It is likely that urban centres in Slavonia also grew at this time (particularly along the Sava River) as people migrated northwards and eastwards in search of new farming land. The two largest towns in Slavonia at this time were Zagreb and Sisak.

Stephen I ruled until 1058 when his son, Petar Krešimir IV, took over.


c. 1008: Hicela Orseolo

See also


  1. ^ Nada Klaic, Sources for Croatian History before 1526, 1972
  2. ^ Ferdo Šišić, Povijest Hrvata u vrijeme narodnih vladara, 1925, Zagreb ISBN 86-401-0080-2
  3. ^ Thomas the Archdeacon, Historia Salonitana


  • Intervju - ДИНАСТИЈЕ и владари јужнословенских народа. Special Edition 12, 16 June 1989.
  • Royal Croatia
Stephen I of Croatia
Born: c. 988 Died: 1058/9
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Krešimir III of Croatia
King of Croatia
Succeeded by
Peter Krešimir IV
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