1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fiume

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FIUME (Slav. Rjeka, Rieka or Reka, Ger. St Veit am Flaum), a royal free town and port of Hungary; situated at the northern extremity of the Gulf of Quarnero, an inlet of the Adriatic, and on a small stream called the Rjeka, Recina or Fiumara, 70 m. by rail S.E. of Trieste. Pop. (1900) 38,955; including 17,354 Italians, 14,885 Slavs (Croats, Serbs and Slovenes), 2482 Hungarians and 1945 Germans. Geographically, Fiume belongs to Croatia; politically the town, with its territory of some 7 sq. m., became a part of Hungary in August 1870. The picturesque old town occupies an outlying ridge of the Croatian Karst; while the modern town, with its wharves, warehouses, electric light and electric trams, is crowded into the amphitheatre left between the hills and the shore. On the north-west there is a fine public garden. The most interesting buildings are the cathedral church of the Assumption, founded in 1377, and completed with a modern façade copied from that of the Pantheon in Rome; the church of St Veit, on the model of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice; and the Pilgrimage church, hung with offerings from shipwrecked sailors, and approached by a stairway of 400 steps. In the old town is a Roman triumphal arch, said to have been erected during the 3rd century A.D. in honour of the emperor Claudius II. Fiume also possesses a theatre and a music-hall; palaces for the governor and the Austrian emperor; a high court of justice for commerce and marine; a chamber of commerce; an asylum for lunatics and the aged poor; an industrial home for boys; and several large schools, including the marine academy (1856) and the school of seamanship (1903). Municipal affairs are principally managed by the Italians, who sympathize with the Hungarians against the Slavs.

Fiume is the only seaport of Hungary, with which country it was connected, in 1809, by the Maria Louisa road, through Karlstadt. It has two railways, opened in 1873; one a branch of the southern railway from Vienna to Trieste, the other of the Hungarian state railway from Karlstadt. There are several harbours, including the Porto Canale, for coasting vessels; the Porto Baross, for timber; and the Porto Grande, sheltered by the Maria Theresia mole and breakwater, besides four lesser moles, and flanked by the quays, with their grain-elevators. The development of the Porto Grande, originally named the Porto Nuovo, was undertaken in 1847, and carried on at intervals as trade increased. In 1902, arrangements were made for the construction of a new mole and an enlargement of the quays and breakwater; these works to be completed within 5 years, at a cost of £420,000. The exports, worth £6,460,000 in 1902, chiefly consisted of grain, flour, sugar, timber and horses; the imports, worth £3,678,000 in the same year, of coal, wine, rice, fruit, jute and various minerals, chemicals and oils. A large share in the carrying trade belongs to the Cunard, Adria, Ungaro-Croat and Austrian Lloyd Steamship Companies, subsidized by the state. A steady stream of Croatian and Hungarian emigrants, officially numbered in 1902 at 7500, passes through Fiume. Altogether 11,550 vessels, of 1,963,000 tons, entered at Fiume in 1902; and 11,535, of 1,956,000, cleared. Foremost among the industrial establishments are Whitehead’s torpedo factory, Messrs Smith & Meynie’s paper-mill, the royal tobacco factory, a chemical factory, and several flour-mills, tanneries and rope manufactories. In 1902 the last shipbuilding yard was closed. The soil of the surrounding country is stony, but the climate is warm, and wine is extensively produced. The Gulf of Quarnero yields a plentiful supply of fish, and the tunny trade with Trieste and Venice is of considerable importance. Steamboats ply daily from Fiume to the Istrian health-resort of Abbazia, the Croatian port of Buccari, and the islands of Veglia and Cherso.

Fiume is supposed to occupy the site of the ancient Liburnian town Tersatica; later it received the name of Vitopolis, and eventually that of Fanum Sancti Viti ad Flumen, from which its present name is derived. It was destroyed by Charlemagne in 799, from which time it probably long remained under the dominion of the Franks. It was held in feudal tenure from the patriarch of Aquileia by the bishop of Pola, and afterwards, in 1139, by the counts of Duino, who retained it till the end of the 14th century. It next passed into the hands of the counts of Wallsee, by whom it was surrendered in 1471 to the emperor Frederick III., who incorporated it with the dominions of the house of Austria. From this date till 1776 Fiume was ruled by imperial governors. In 1723 it was declared a free port by Charles VI., in 1776 united to Croatia by the empress Maria Theresa, and in 1779 declared a corpus separatum of the Hungarian crown. In 1809 Fiume was occupied by the French; but it was retaken by the British in 1813, and restored to Austria in the following year. It was ceded to Hungary in 1822, but after the revolution of 1848–1849 was annexed to the crown lands of Croatia, under the government of which it remained till it came under Hungarian control in 1870.