Petar Preradović, an Austro-Hungarian general, candidate for the position of the Croatian Ban and a poet, who participated in pacifying the Italian revolution, was born on March 19, 1818 in a small village in the former Military Frontier of Krajina, called Grabrovnica near Đurđevac. His parents were of the orthodox faith and originated from the Grubišno polje area. However, during his schooling at the military academy in Bečko Novo Mjesto (Wiener Neustadt), Preradović had to convert to the Catholic faith.
Upon his graduation from the academy, Preradović was assigned to a Hungarian regiment, which was stationed in Milan. During his first poetic phase, which spans the period from 1834 to the beginnings of his writing in the Croatian language in 1843, Preradović wrote in German and was inspired by motifs from Schiller’s work, but was also influenced by Byron and the Czech poet K.H. Mach. Upon his arrival in Milan, Preradović met Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, also a military officer who helped him rediscover the Croatian language and its riches. Kukuljević persuaded Preradović to translate almost the entire first canto of the Gundulić’s epic poem Osman into Croatian. It is very probable that Preradović would never have become a poet if he was not transferred from Milan to Zadar where he met Ante Kuzmanić form Split, who asked him to write a poem about ‘our language’ for the local newspaper Zora Dalmatinska. On that occasion, he wrote one of his best known poems Zora puca, bit će dana (Dawn is Breaking, Day will Come). This poem was published in 1844 in the first publication of Zora Dalmatinska and it received excellent reactions not only in Dalmatia, but also in Croatia, so much so that Ljudevit Gaj decided to reprint it in the Danica Ilirska weekly, which represented great recognition of both the poet and Zora Dalmatinska.
During those years, Preradović established connections with a number of prominent members of the Illyrian movement including Stanko Vraz, Ljudevit Gaj, Bogoslav Šulek and others. He sent his poems to them, especially to Vraz, asking for their edits. In 1845, Preradović published his first collection of poems Prvienci, which contained 37 poems.
After a long break from poetry, Preradović returned to writing in 1860. During that year he published a notable poem Rodu o jeziku and in 1861 the poem Jezik roda moga. Towards the end of his lifetime he wrote a group of sonnets Milim pokojnicima, featuring 28 notable Croatian figures of the first half of 19th century. In 1870 the poet moved to his last address in Vienna. He became gravely ill in 1871 and the following year he passed away. Preradović was first buried in Vienna and in 1879 his remains were transferred to Zagreb, where he was buried on 23 May of 1895.