The lyrics to the anthem were first printed in Danica (The Morning Star) magazine in 1835, under the title “Hrvatska domovina” (“Croatian Homeland”). The music was composed later (1840s) by Josip Runjanin, a Croatian Serb, on the basis of Donizetti’s “O sole piu ratto” from the opera “Lucia di Lammermoor”. Later, in 1861, the score went through some minor changes done by V. Lichtenegger. In 1891 the song was first sung as the unofficial national anthem at an exhibition held by the Croatian-Slavonian Economic Society in Zagreb. (Croatia, still being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, had that nation’s anthem as its official one.) It remained unofficial until February 29, 1972, when the first amendment to the Croatian Constitution declared it official (despite being part of Yugoslavia at the time) with a slight change in the lyrics upon 1990 independence.
Special thanks to: Josip Rakonca and Brunislav Matasovic for some of this information.