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Still Waters

Nikola Tesla: Sparks fly over plans to honour inventor with coin

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Still Waters

Nikola Tesla, pioneer of alternating current electricity, might have been shocked to know how his legacy would cause a row between European states.

Serbia's central bank has threatened to take action with the EU if its neighbour Croatia puts the late great inventor on its coins.

Croatia wants his face on its euros when it joins the currency in 2023.

But Serbia claims him for its own because he saw himself as a Serb though born in what is now Croatia.

The two countries are old rivals with a tragic history.



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Helen of Annoy

If someone was wondering what made Serbia attack Croatia in 1990's, it's because of that irrational attitude in Greater Serbian politics: even today, they think they get to decide whom Croatia will put on Croatian Euro coin. 

Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia. At that time, a part of Austria-Hungary. (It's rather unfortunate to say that he was born "in what is now Croatia" - this is Croatia all the time, since 6th century, though Croatia was indeed a part of union-states: Hrvatsko-Ugarska, Austro-Ugarska, Kraljevina SHS, Jugoslavija.) 

He himself said clearly on many occasions that he's a Serb by national identity. It's not questionable. 

No, there's nothing strange in being a Serb born in Croatia, since people of all nations are born all the time in other countries, especially neighbouring countries with that particular minority.  

Croatia chose Tesla for our Euro coin, because everyone sane in Croatia has the highest possible opinion of Tesla and no one sane has a problem with his Serbian identity. 

This is why Nikola Tesla will be on Croatian Euro coin. The opinion of certain political parties in the neighbourhood are not relevant for Croatian choice of anything, which naturally includes the design of our money. 


Since the shortsighted malice of particular greater Serbian political option got so scared of Tesla being celebrated in Croatia, someone should let them know that Tesla himself traced his ancestry on both sides of his family to noble Croatian families. He knew that his ancestors were Croats (so what), at one point switched from Catholicism to Orthodox Christianity (so what, big difference), were identified as Serbs by their religious choice (so what, though it's historically wrong and result of political expansionism, but - so what). 

So, for the intolerant among my neighbours:      


Tesla was interested in his origins, so he made an effort to explore it as well. He concluded that he was of Croatian aristocratic origin and wrote about it himself: “I am glad that Croats also consider me their own because my ancestors are Croatian Draganović family from Zadar. As Croatian nobles in the 16th century, they came to Lika and stayed there. My ancestors came to Lika via Novi Vinodol. My mother's ancestors, Kalinic, are also Croatian nobles from Novi Vinodol. Due to the circumstances, my great-grandfather had to go to the Bosnian Krajina (Ottoman Croatia) and there he married an Orthodox girl and converted to Orthodoxy. He had protruding front teeth, so the people named him Tesla after the tool used to process wood, hence my current surname Tesla. It's actually a nickname.



In his letter to Vladko Maček (legendary Croatian political leader, yes, he's on one of Croatian banknotes), Nikola Tesla said his famous sentence: Ponosim se svojim srpskim rodom i hrvatskom domovinom. (I'm proud of my Serbian origins and my Croatian homeland.)


I'm looking forward to my country finally entering Euro-zone and I'm exceptionally happy with Tesla being the choice for our Euro-coin.  

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2 hours ago, Still Waters said:

Nikola Tesla, pioneer of


alternating current electricity, might have been shocked to know

how his legacy would cause a row between European states.


He would've been shocked. He wouldn't have been shocked. He would've been shocked. He wouldn't have been shocked. He would've been shocked...... IDK, it's alternating current.

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The Silver Shroud
Posted (edited)

.Thank you Helen for that bit of background... it is a bit difficult for those of us unused to war to take such squabbles seriously ( I started to joke abut the War of Jenkins Ear and the War of the Bucket) but the war in Croatia in the 1990s was deadly.

We in the UK may be sleepwalking into our own bloody conflict with Johnson's so-called "sausage war".



Edited by Ted E Hughes

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