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The territory wherein Osijek-Baranja County stretches today was populated as early as in the Neolithic (4 - 5000 years B.C.). The oldest known nation was the Illyrian one, whereof the Andizetes were the most renowned tribe. The Celts penetrated in the 4th c. B.C., erecting the colony of Mursa and some other settlements in the territory of today's Osijek. Subsequent to the conquest of Pannonia in the 1st c. A.D., the Romans erected fortifications, roads, and bridges. At the site of the Celtic settlement, they erected a strong Roman fortification and the city of Mursa (at the site of today's Osijek), elevated to the status of a Roman colony (Colonia Aelia Mursa) by the Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 133. In one of the bloodiest battles of the century, the Roman Emperor Constantine II beat the anti-imperator Magnus Magnentius at the foot of the walls of Mursa in A.D. 351.

At the time of the great Wanderings of the Peoples, the barbaric tribes destroyed the Roman colonies. That what the Goths left of Mursa in the 4th c. A.D. was annihilated by the Huns in A.D. 441. After the Gepidae, Langobards, Avars, Franks and Bulgars, the Croats established a colony here at the beginning of the 7th c. A.D. This region was also a part of the independent Croatian state in the 9th c. A.D. up to 1102, when the Croats accepted the Magyar King Coloman as the sovereign of the common Croato-Ugric state subsequent to the death of the last Croatian king. The Crusades and many pilgrims heading for Jerusalem followed the routes of this region. In the Middle Ages, this region was possessed by the mighty noble families of Gorjanskis, Korogs, Morovićs and others. At that time, the city of Đakovo became the seat of the Bosnian bishop, who took shelter at his Đakovo estate because of the heretics and the assault of the Turks.

Lead by the Sultan Suleiman II Kanuni, the Turkish army conquered Osijek in 1526, having subsequently established its rule over the whole region. At that time, they constructed a world-famous great bridge, burnt by the Croatian knight Nikola Zrinski upon the breakthrough of his army to Osijek in 1664. Thanks to the important routes that connected the north and the south of the continent, the trade flourished at that time. In 1687, the Austrian army expelled the Turks from Osijek and then from the whole region.

From the 18th c., the region was economically and socially intensively developed within Austria and then within the Austro-Hungarian state. This is manifested by the large-size landed estates, crafts enforcement, factory openings, urban residential areas development, establishment of the first cultural and educational institutions and local self-government enforcement (cities and counties). The cities of a presently recognizable urban and architectonic outlook were founded at that time. Subsequent to WW I and the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918, this region, as a part of the Croatian state, was also united into the State of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (named the Kingdom of Yugoslavia since 1929). Following WW II, Croatia, and consequently this region, was incorporated into the so-called New Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1991.

Due to the collapse of Yugoslavia and declaration of independence of the Republic of Croatia in 1991, the eastern part of the Republic of Croatia was the first to endure a strike of the aggression of the Serb paramilitary forces and the Yugoslav Army. From that time up to 1998, almost one half of the territory of Osijek-Baranja County was not under the jurisdiction of the Croatian state. In 1992, the United Nations placed the area occupied by the Serb forces under the patronage of their own (UN Protected Area, UNPA) up to 1996, when their transitional administration was introduced (United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium, UNTAES), having the aim to implement the process of peaceful reintegration of the region into the constitutional and legal system of the Republic of Croatia. This process was completed on January 15, 1998, when the UNTAES's mandate was terminated. From that time on, the territory of Osijek-Baranja County is entirely incorporated in the Republic of Croatia.