This paper examines the population as the main variable of study. It is a variable that changes depending on different historical and socio-political conditions, with each change leaving a trace in its structure. The period of major changes in the population of Europe began with two revolutions, the industrial and the political revolution, which, from the end of the 18thcenturyuntil mid-19thcentury, took place simultaneously in Great Britain and France, i.e. in the so-called core countries, from where they gradually expanded to the rest of Europe. Industrialisation brought about an array of complex processes in rural areas, which ultimately resulted in shaping a new way of life in towns and cities. Urbanization, on the other hand, emerged from the people’s need for the exchange of goods, with the first urban systems developing as centres of trade and handicrafts and places of human interaction. The continuity of development of urban systems on the territory of Europe can be traced from ancient Greece where the first city-states were formed, through the Roman network of cities, the remains of which can still be identified in old urban centres of some European cities. Urban areas lost their primary significance during the Middle Ages, when the ruling class became dependent on their manors, i.e. large agricultural estates, which became the medieval centres of social and economic life. However, the rise of trade in the period from the 11th to the 14th century spurred the development of cities and their economy, while the urban network of cities continued to expand from the 15th to the 19thcentury, as a result of creation of national states and the centralisation of power and authority. It was in this period that the first capital cities were established, as administrative centres of a country's urban system, the interests of which were now protected by a new stratum of bureaucrats, civil servants and military officers. Parallelly, new cities were founded along the European coast, forming an urban network for the exchange of goods with overseas countries and thus initiating the process of urbanization of the coastline throughout the world. The first urban agglomerations, as a result of extensive industrialisation, developed in the 19th and the 20th century in European coal-mining regions. The period also gave rise to so-called Coketowns i.e. a new type of strategically located industrial cities in which the entire life of the community revolved around the factory. Of all European countries, Great Britain was the first to undergo major industrialisation. The Industrial Revolution in England laid the political groundwork on which other European countries could build. In France, the political and social revolution which preceded the industrial one, resulted in the suppression of the old regime and the creation of a modern state. Thus, the French Revolution became a universal socio-historical paradigm, marking the social, political and economic processes which it triggered in all political systems of Europe and the world. The Habsburg Monarchy was, of course, also one of the countries to be affected by the aforementioned revolutionary developments of the 19thcentury. Although quite on the fringes of events as compared to the ćore countries of Europe, in 1848the Monarchy was drawn into the revolutionary vortex that, in historiography, came to be known as the Springtime of Peoples. Some of its parts also witnessed an outbreak of the rural revolution, which was triggered by the absence and delay of industrialisation. The reasons for the varying dynamics of industrial development in different European countries were multifold but were mainly based on the exploitation of natural resources, on technological innovations, accumulated capital and the level of development of transport infrastructure. The most obvious consequence of the dual revolution was the division into developed and underdeveloped countries, i.e. the ćore and fringe countries. In the revolutionary period leading up to 1848, the countries of Western Europe, Great Britain, Germany, northern Italy and parts of central Europe, as well as parts of Scandinavia and the United States formed a core on which all fringe countries were economically dependent. In this sense, the Habsburg Monarchy represented the very fringe of European development, thus making the Croatian provinces the fringe of the fringe.
Over the centuries, the territory of Croatia had undergone significant geographical and political transformations. From the period of Greek colonizers in the 4thcentury BC, through Arab and Ottoman conquerors, to Italians, Normans, Hungarians, Austrians, Germans and the French, the influence and political tendencies of the invaders changed depending on the period and the province. The urbanization of Croatia dates back to ancient times when a dense network of towns and cities was formed, which nevertheless did not experience the intensity of the19th century industrial urbanization recorded in other countries of Central and Western Europe. This was largely owing to the country’s backward development pattern and predominantly agrarian character which it retained for quite a long time. What is more, the intensity of urbanization processes in Croatia varied depending on the historical development of a particular area. Thus, for example, the 11th century saw the development of self-governing communes on the eastern coast of the Adriatic, while from the 12th century onwards the cities of Croatia and Slavonia had the status of royal free cities, which guaranteed them the freedom of trade and personal freedom of their inhabitants. The cities of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia therefore developed in different political circumstances, whereas the rural municipality remained the dominant form of social organization up until the accession of Hungarian rulers to the Croatian throne, which at the same time introduced the period of affirmation of cities.
At the time when the core countries witnessed the sprouting of the modern bourgeoisie society along with the rapidly developing industrialisation, the Croatian territory was divided into three parts. The first part consisted of the civil and provincial Croatia and Slavonia known as Banska Hrvatska, which belonged to the Hungarian part of the monarchy and was ruled by the Croatian ban (viceroy). The second part was occupied by the Croatian-Slavonian Military Frontier, a borderland of the Habsburg Monarchy under direct Austrian control. The third area consisted of Dalmatia and Istria, which belonged to the Austrian part of the monarchy. Such a territorial division remained in force until 1881 when the demilitarized Military Frontier was incorporated into the province of Croatia-Slavonia. At that time, a united civil territory of northern Croatia was formed under the rule of the Croatian ban and Sabor (parliament), while Istria and Dalmatia remained in the Austrian part of the monarchy. The urbanization process in Banska Hrvatska lagged behind the rest of Europe as it depended on the politics and economic decisions from external centres of power. Although the increase of population in the cities of Banska Hrvatska did bring about changes in social structures and the way of life, rather than being based on natural growth, it was a result of immigration and colonization driven by economic reasons. Both economic development and the process of industrialisation in this area lagged accordingly. An important prerequisite for industrialisation is modernization, and in order to modernize the 19th century Croatian economy it was necessary to implement numerous reforms in the agrarian and manufacturing industry, transport infrastructure and the monetary economy. It was necessary to abolish all forms of late feudal relations, to switch from the manufacture to industrial production in factories, to build railway networks, to replace sailboats with steamers and to introduce credit and capital accumulation institutions. These reforms were, however, difficult to implement due to different agrarian and economic legal systems, the socio-economic stratification of the rural population and the colonial status of Croatia. What is more, Croatia lacked educated professionals who could stimulate the necessary reforms and contribute to the development of the Croatian industry.
The processes of modernization and industrialisation in the Kingdom of Dalmatia, a crown country of the Habsburg Monarchy, lagged considerably behind those in the more developed parts of the monarchy as well. The lack of transport infrastructure, skilled workforce, banking and credit institutions, poor development of manufacture and colonial relations delayed and limited the process of industrialisation on the territory of Dalmatia. The economic development of Dalmatia was largely determined by its geostrategic position. From the Venetian Republic until the end of the Austro-Hungarian rule, Dalmatia was always perceived as a colony, a space which served as a corridor for trade with the hinterland and provided an exit to the sea. Despite its favourable position, due to the domination of foreign interests and general economic underdevelopment, in the 19th century Dalmatia was still a land of farmers, fishermen and cattle owners who mostly lived in poverty. A large proportion of the urban population was also active in the agrarian sector. The most lucrative branch of the economy after 1850 was viticulture. The cyclical upswing lasted until 1891 when the so-called Wine Clause struck a heavy blow to Dalmatian viticulture and prompted emigration from the area. In addition to viticulture, the population of Dalmatia was engaged in olive growing, fruit farming, cultivation of industrial plants, livestock farming and fishing. No significant success was, however, achieved in these branches due to outdated land farming practices, low quality oil processing, poor livestock breeds, irrational fish harvesting and ultimately the lack of road and rail connections between the Dalmatian ports and the markets of the Monarchy. The only branches of the economy that saw an upswing in the mid-19thcentury were the sailing ship industry and shipbuilding. However, due to a lack of domestic capital and support from state authorities, the upswing ended abruptly as early as 1880 and Dalmatian sailboats were replaced by steamships of Austrian Lloyd, the biggest shipping company in Cisleithania which dominated the maintenance of shipping lines along the entire Dalmatian coast. Banking and financial cooperatives in Dalmatia developed on the model of savings banks, custody providers and similar associations and cooperatives of Banska Hrvatska, and in the period from 1896 to 1911 a total of 271 cooperatives were opened on the territory of Dalmatia. The development of industry in Dalmatia was, as stated above, quite delayed and limited as compared to other countries of both the Monarchy and Europe and was spurred mainly by foreign capital.
Much like in Dalmatia, all the aforementioned processes of industrialization, urbanization and modernization were also reflected in the development of Omiš. The territory of Omiš today occupies 266.4 km2 and includes 31 villages in the surrounding area. The long history of Omiš has been recorded ever since the Roman period, when the first settlement of Oneum is mentioned. The later development of the town can be traced in medieval documents from the relatively stable period of rule of the medieval Kačić family. From then up until 1444, when the territory of Omiš fell under the rule of the Venetian Republic, the town itself changed hands several times, depending on the current political circumstances in Dalmatia. The urbanization of Omiš started back in the 16thcentury and was closely linked with the Ottoman threat. It is then that Omiš becomes a place of refuge and a centre of trade for the inhabitants of the surrounding area. In the period of the first Austrian administration, the town begins to record a population growth and becomes the administrative centre of the neighbouring Omiš hinterland. In the short period of the French administration, the town became part of the Split territory for a while, and with the restoration of the Austrian administration it becomes a separate district with 26 cadastral municipalities.
From 1857 until 1918, in administrative terms, Omiš represented the centre of a microregion. In mid-19th century Omiš, economic development was based mainly on farming and small crafts, and the majority of the population were farm workers. However, the analysis of the natural and mechanical movements of the population, which was carried out within this study on the vital records from the period of 1857 to 1918, shows that the population had entered the first subphase of demographic transition. Such positive demographic trends indicate the beginning of the socio-economic development of the Omiš area that will become evident at the turn of the 20th century. During this period, several industrial plants were opened in Omiš and the immediate surroundings, of which the Portland cement factory in Ravnice, founded by domestic capital alone, must be specially noted. Foreign investments launched the construction of the hydropower plant Kraljevac on the Cetina River, thus providing the basic prerequisite for the founding of the SUFID factory for the production of calcium carbide and cyanamide in Dugi Rat. Resources and their processing are an important prerequisite for the development of industry in any area, and for the area of Omiš, with its natural resources such as marlstone, sand and the River Cetina water power, a crucial role was played by its human resources as well, i.e. by exceptional individuals who recognized the potential of the Omiš region and used their knowledge and dedication to spur the socio-economic transformation of Omiš.
The planned nature of the industrial development on the territory of Omišis evident from the large project of the Industrial Community which grew out of the People’s Savings Bank and incorporated seven factories in Omiš and three in Banja Luka. Along with the People's Savings Bank, there were also two auxiliary cooperatives - Providnost (Croat. Providence) and Zadružna plovidba (Croat. Cooperative sailing). At the beginning of the 20thcentury tourism began to take shape in Omiš, and within the new branch of economy, the so-called traffic of foreigners, two hotels were opened, two tourist associations were established, and eighteen permits were issued for catering services. The economic development of Omiš, boosted by the mentioned industrial projects, changed the town’s social and population structure. Occupations in the fields of industry, finance and crafts showed greater personnel needs, so the workforce was increased by hiring workers from the neighbouring towns and cities. In other words, in parallel with the development of industry, a bourgeoisie class began to develop in Omiš which, along with the members of the former Omiš nobility, included numerous foreigners who came to Omiš for work and often settled there permanently along with their families. The transformation of the Omiš population into a modern society is also clearly indicated by the increase in the share of the female population in the fields of administration, commerce and hospitality. All of the above confirms the hypothesis that industrialisation was an important factor in shaping the demographic structures of Omiš.
The natural movement of the town’s population in the observed period oscillated but showed a slightly upward trend. By the middle of the second half of the 19th century, the population of Omiš approached almost a thousand inhabitants, and then in 1880 rapidly decreased to 755 inhabitants, after which it recorded another upturn. Such a significant change in the number of inhabitants was most likely a result of a population outflow, which, according to the negative migration balance rate, was also recorded in Omiš in 1883, 1891, 1896, 1901 and 1905. The average annual population growth rate in the period from 1857 to 1878 was 2.57%, while from 1880 to 1918 it was significantly lower and amounted to 0.86%. Nevertheless, after 1894 the population of Omiš never fell below 900 inhabitants again.
In the period from 1857 to 1918 a total of 2,733children were born, and a greater number of births was recorded in the winter period, from December to February, when 28.43% of the inhabitants were born. The highest number of births, 63 of them, was recorded 1897 and the lowest in 1876, when a total of 25 births were registered. According to the data from the death records, a total of 1,803 inhabitants died in the observed period. The infant mortality rate was 29.67%, and of the total number of deaths 15.91% were at the age of over 70 years. The maximum number of deaths was recorded in the winter period and amounted to 31%. A total of 600 marriages were registered in the marriage records, 571 of which were solemnized in the parish of Omiš. The average age of marriage for men was 32.45 years, and for women 26.93 years. The maximum of 154 marriages were solemnized in November.
The economic structure of the Omiš population in the observed period shows the affirmation of the bourgeoisie, the share of which amounted to 25.05%, only slightly less than the share of farm workers which was 28.40%. Craftsmen also constituted a significant share of the total population with 16.72% and employees in the field of transport accounted for 9.40% of the population, where as the share of merchants, day labourers and public service employees slightly exceeded 3%. According to the birth records, 134 parents had moved to Omiš from other towns, and according to the marriage records, 98 persons had moved to Omiš for marriage. The records also showed a total of 70 workers from different fields who had moved to Omiš for work and settled here permanently.
Based on the conducted analysis of the natural and mechanical movement of the population and socio-economic structures, a complete image of the historical and demographic development of the Omiš area over a period of 60 years was obtained. Owing to its geographical location, its natural and human resources, in addition to Split and Šibenik, Omiš was the only small town in central Dalmatia that underwent an economic transformation as a result of industrialisation, which was reflected in the demographic development of the population and its structures. The demographic analysis of the population of Omiš in the period from 1857 to 1918 is a contribution to the study of the population of Dalmatia, and the results of the research shed further light on the relatively unexplored part of Omiš history in which the town recorded its first significant growth.