Evidence on the first traces of life date from the Palaeolithic period, they were found in Krapina.
There are archaeological sites from the ancient Roman times found at many parts of northern Croatia, the biggest being the Roman camp and spa in Varazdinske toplice.
The Middle Ages
After the migration of the Slavs, until the end of the 12th century, Zagorje was systematically populated.
Fortified cities such as Krapina, Oštrc, Belecgrad, Loborgrad etc., developed mainly at mountain slopes. Majority of them were owned by the nobles from Slovenia or Hungary.
During the turbulent centuries of wars, battles with the Tatars and Turks, Zagorje was relatively spared, so it becomes a place of habitation.
Most of the villages developed in the period between the 13th and 16th century. Later, this area became the oasis of peace - both for the peasants and for the aristocracy.
The economic development began in mid 19th century with the construction of the railway which later branched and connected Zagreb, Varazdin, Krapina, Stubica and Zlatar Bistrica. Economic growth in the region was the fastest and the biggest until 1948.
In terms of culture and politics, Zagorje gave or embraced into its arms a few politicians, as well as artists of international reputation – like:
- Ruza Pospis-Baldani – opera singer
- August Augustincic - sculptor
- Antun Mihanovic - poet
- Ljubo Babic (Ksaver Sandor Gjalski) – novelist
- Ante Kovacic – novelist
- Ljudevit Gaj - reformer, novelist, poet, linguist
- Josip Broz Tito – politician
- Oton Ivekovic – painter
- Janko Leskovar - novelist
- Robert Prosinecki – soccer player
Zagorje is today the most densely populated region of Croatia; 100 inhabitants per km2. The beginnings of development started 100,000 years ago.