Albona Republic Redirected from Labin Republic

  (Redirected from Albona Republic)
Labin Republic

Labinska Republika  (Croatian)
Repubblica di Albona  (Italian)
Flag of Albona
Emblem of Albona
Motto: Kova je nasa
"The mine is ours"
Map of Labin Republic (in green) within Istria, 1921
Map of Labin Republic (in green) within Istria, 1921
StatusUnrecognized state
Common languagesItalian and Croatian
• Head of the miners committee
Giovanni Pipan
• Commander of the Red Guard
Francesco Da Gioz
Historical eraInterwar period
• Established
March 2, 1921
• Disestablished
April 8, 1921
• Total
325 km2 (125 sq mi)
CurrencyItalian lira
Preceded by Succeeded by
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
Today part of Croatia

The Labin Republic (Croatian: Labinska republika)[1] was a short-lived self-governing republic that was proclaimed by miners from the Istrian city of Labin on March 2, 1921 during a mining strike. It was created in what has been described as the world's first anti-fascist uprising.[2]


With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire following the end of the First World War, Italy was given the regions of Istria and parts of Dalmatia as part of the Treaty of Saint-Germain as promised in the Treaty of London by the Triple Entente.[3] Italy began to revitalize and exploit the population and economic potential of the occupied territories.

Before Mussolini's March on Rome in Italy, fascists occupied headquarters of the Workers' Committee in Trieste in 1921, set it on fire and attacked representatives of the Raša Mining Trade Union. Prompted by this event and the exploitative character of the mine owners, the Società Anonima Carbonifera Arsa, a general strike of about two thousand miners broke out.

One of the causes of the strike was the decision by the mine owners not to pay a bonus for February 1921, since the miners had taken a day’s holiday to observe Candlemas on 2 February, although the management had abolished it as a holiday. "For the miners the Candlemas was, next to the feast of Santa Barbara, the most important day because February 2 symbolized the light."[4]

The men were of different origins - Croats, Slovenes, Italians, Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles and Hungarians. They were led by Giovanni Pippan, sent by the Italian Socialist Party from Trieste. However on March 1, 1921, Pippan was caught by a group of fascists at the railway station in Pazin, where he was beaten. The news reached Labin the following day and on 3 March the miners assembled and decided to occupy the mine works in response. Thanks also to the arrival of the peasants from the surrounding countryside, a "red guard" was organized as a security force tasked with maintaining order.[5]

The miners proclaimed the republic in the occupied mines on 7 March with the slogan Kova je nasa ("The mine is ours"). They organized a government and the so-called red guard as a protection from the Italian law enforcement and started to manage the production of mines by themselves with the support of a section of farmers.

On April 8, 1921 the Italian administration in Istria, responding to requests for intervention from the mine owners, decided to suppress the republic using military force.[6] A thousand soldiers surrounded the mine and eventually succeeded after suppressing the strong resistance of the miners. The arrested miners were sent to prisons in Pola and Rovigno. The indictment charged 52 miners.[7] Lawyers Edmondo Puecher, Guido Zennaro and Egidio Cerlenizza successfully defended the accused, and the jury issued an acquittal.[7]


Although never proclaimed, the Labin Republic had left unrecoverable scars on Labinština, and it had a much wider echo. This cluster of events should be interpreted in the context of the circumstances at the time, particularly in the Italian Peninsula and Central Europe. The multi-ethnic, but unique armed resistance to overwhelming fascism paved the way for anti-fascism.

The story of the Labin Republic was the subject of a 1985 Yugoslav film, Crveni i crni (Red and Black).[8]


The Labin (Albona) Republic also existed as part of the Roman Empire. As a Republic, Albona had two government officials nominated in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Labin Town Museum". iti-museum.com. Labin Town Museum. Retrieved 13 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Turistička atrakcija u Istri: I Hrvatska će imati podzemni grad i to u Labinu" (in Croatian). 7 March 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Moos, Carlo (2017), "Südtirol im St. Germain-Kontext", in Georg Grote and Hannes Obermair (ed.), A Land on the Threshold. South Tyrolean Transformations, 1915–2015, Oxford-Berne-New York: Peter Lang, pp. 27–39, ISBN 978-3-0343-2240-9
  4. ^ Škopac, Tanja. "Ricordata la prima rivoluzione dei minatori". La Voce del Popolo. Retrieved 13 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Celeghini. Riccardo. "BALKANS: "The mine is ours!" History of the Republic of Labin". eastjournal.net. East Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Robert Stallaerts (2009). Historical Dictionary of Croatia. Scarecrow Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7363-6.
  7. ^ a b "Istarska enciklopedija". istra.lzmk.hr. Retrieved 13 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Red And Black / Rdeči in črni / Crveni i crni (1985)". imdb.com.
  9. ^ Labin, Yugoslavia (1870). Societa del Gabinetto di Minerva (ed.). Statuto municipale della città di Albona dell'a. 1341 (in Italian) (1341 ed.). Trieste: Società del Gabinetto di Minerva. pp. III–XVI.
  • (in Italian) G. Scotti, L. Giuricin, La Repubblica di Albona e il movimento dell'occupazione delle fabbriche in Italia.

Further reading

  • "Labinska republika". Istarska enciklopedija (in Croatian).
  • La Repubblica di Albona e il movimento dell'occupazione delle fabbriche in Italia, Giacomo Scotti, Luciano Giuricin, Centro di ricerche storiche, 1971

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