His sentence is legendary: “I am proud of my Serbian family and Croatian homeland.”
Nikola Tesla, a genius from Smiljan, was born on July 10, 1856. He is remembered in history as one of the world’s greatest inventors, but at the same time challenged by competition that did not understand his ideas that were ahead of then (and now) times.
Nikola Tesla was born into a family of Serbian origin. His father’s name was Milutin Tesla and he was an Orthodox priest, and his mother Georgina was from the Mandić family, also Orthodox priests. 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 the Croats also consider me their own because my ancestors are Croatian descendants Draganići 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. My grandfather was an officer in the Lika regiment, and my father was an Orthodox priest! ” Thus, Tesla himself believed that his ancestors were actually of Croatian origin, and that they only later converted to Orthodoxy and that they therefore began to consider them Serbs. About such a point of view there are still disagreements among historians.
However, regardless of whether Tesla was a Croat or a Serb, it is important that he was proud of both nationalities. After all, his sentence is legendary: “I am proud of my Serbian family and Croatian homeland.”
After schooling in Gospić, Karlovac, Graz and Prague, Tesla went to the USA where he remained for the rest of his life.
His inventions in electrical engineering and physics changed science and everyday life. While his colleague (and later opponent) Thomas Edison advocated direct current, Tesla discovered a multiphase current and a transformer, enabling cheap transmission of electricity and its mass use.
Nikola Tesla made a number of other inventions that indebted humanity, and we have already written about them. We will mention that according to some authors, a large part of Tesla’s discoveries and inventions are hidden from the public in the secret archives of the CIA and NSA.
Finally, we will mention the fact that he was the father of radio engineering, but during his lifetime, the credit in this area was attributed to the Italian Marconi. The injustice was not corrected until 1943, when the US Supreme Court ruled that Tesla had the upper hand in the field of radio engineering.
Nikola Tesla died in 1943 in New York. In 2014, the Croatian Parliament declared his birthday the National Day of Nikola Tesla and the Day of Science, Technology and Innovation.