Aromanians in the Republic of Macedonia

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Aromanians in the Republic of Macedonia
Total population
9,695 (2002 census)
Regions with significant populations
Kruševo, Štip, Bitola, Sveti Nikole
Languages
Aromanian, Macedonian
Religion
Macedonian Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups
Aromanians

The Vlachs in the Republic of Macedonia (Macedonian: Македонски Власи/Makedonski Vlasi), also known as Aromanians (Аромани/Aromani), are an officially recognised minority group numbering some 9,695 people according to the 2002 census. They are concentrated in Kruševo, Štip, Bitola and Skopje. They are referred to as Vlachs by the Macedonian authorities and society.

Ethnonyms[edit]

The Aromanian population in the Republic of Macedonia is commonly known as Vlachs (Власи/Vlasi) or Tsintsars (Цинцари/Cincari), and have historically been called "Macedo-Romanians".

History[edit]

The Aromanians are a unique ethno-linguistic group having their own culture and language that have existed for over two thousand years in the Balkan peninsula.[1] They were for centuries considered a traditional mountain people and soon the word Vlach became synonymous with animal-husbandry and herdsmanship throughout the Balkans.[2] Although traditionally live-stock herders many began to emigrate to larger cities in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many Aromanians who fled from Moscopole and the nearby mountainous Gramos region also helped develop Krusevo(Crushuva) and Bitola (Bitolia) into large prosperous cities. Shephards of the Pelister region near Bitola used to herd huge flocks of sheep from the summer pastures on Pelister (Pilister) to the winter lowlands near Ghevgelia, Giannitsa and Salonica(Saruna). Typical Aromanian goods were cheese, meat, wool and wool garments, leather, rugs and carpets. Many Aromanians also entered the rug and carpet trade by selling Kilimi and Flocati. Wealthier Aromanians established themselves in Bitola and Štip as inn-keepers, artisans, caravan traders and merchants. An Aromanian market (Macedonian: Vlaška čaršija) was established in Bitola's Aromanian quarter. The Aromanian presence is still present in Bitola up to this day.

Map showing areas with Romanian schools for Aromanians and Megleno-Romanians in the Ottoman Empire (1886)

The Macedonian-Aromanian mountain villages of Magarevo, Gopeš, and Trnovo were founded on the foot hills of Mount Pilister. By the 1860s many Aromanians had joined the agitation present in Macedonia and supported the Macedonian Revolutionary movement. Many Aromanians had also identified with Romanians or Greeks and some even Bulgarians. The first Romanian school was established in 1864 in the village of Trnovo and was followed by another 40 Romanian language-Vlach schools. Many of these schools provided an education in both the Romanian and Aromanian languages. In the late 19th century a split between the Grecophile and Romanophile Aromanians occurred. This struggle became violent with schools burnt down, cemeteries desecrated and people assaulted.[2] The Aromanian people were a crucial[citation needed] force in the Ilinden Uprising and the establishment of the Krusevo Republic. The Krusevo Republic is hailed by Aromanians as the Ten Days of Freedom. One notable Aromanian who participated was the heroic Pitu Guli who was killed on the Mečkin Kamen (Bear's Rock).

Distribution of Aromanians across Macedonia

After the First Balkan War most of the Romanian schools were closed down. Many of the Aromanian villages were destroyed during World War I. To escape the conflict many Aromanians fled to Serbia or Romania. Aromanians who lived in what is now known as the Republic of Macedonia were subject to strict Serbianization along with the rest of the population. After the outbreak of World War II most Aromanians once again found themselves subject to Bulgarian control.[2] Sources claim that fines were imposed on people for using the Aromanian language.[citation needed] These repressive measures compelled many Aromanians to join the Communist Partisans. The Aromanian contribution to the Partisan cause in Macedonia was crucial.[citation needed]

After the war many Aromanians began to assert their ethnic identity. High levels of intermarriage with Macedonians and urbanization also began to affect the community. In the 1970s new initiative's were started to create Aromanian social and cultural societies. The Society of Arts and Culture (Aromanian: Sutsat di Culturi sh Arti) was established in 1979 and in 1981 another cultural society was established. In 1985 the first Aromanian song was recorded by Risto Pulevski-Kicha. A tape was made for Macedonian television and this tape was used to support the request to create a cultural society. The Pitu Guli society of Skopje and the Manaki Brothers Society of Bitola were founded.

After the Declaration of Independence form Yugoslavia, Aromanians were officially recognised as a minority group. They receive full minority rights from the Macedonian government.

Minority status[edit]

Distribution of Aromanians in the Republic of Macedonia:
  Areas where Aromanians are an officially recognised minority group
  Areas where Aromanians are concentrated
  Areas where Megleno-Romanians are concentrated

The Aromanians are an officially recognised minority group in the Republic of Macedonia.[3] The Aromanian language is taught among Aromanian students and the language is co-official in the Krusevo municipality. Aromanian-language media is available, and regular television and radio broadcasts in the Aromanian language help to ensure its survival. The national day of the Aromanians in Macedonia is May 23.[4]

Culture[edit]

The Vlach National Day is celebrated on May 23.

Language[edit]

Aromanians have traditionally spoken the Aromanian language. Use of this language has recently been in a period of decline. High rates of intermarriage with Macedonians and assimilation have reduced the number of speakers. The Krusevo municipality is the only place in the world where the Aromanian language is a recognised minority language. The language has recently undergone a revival and is now taught to Aromanian students throughout the Republic.[2]

Media[edit]

Many forms of Aromanian-language media have been established since the 1990s. The Macedonian Government provides financial assistance to Aromanian-language newspapers and radio stations. Aromanian-language newspapers such as Phoenix (Aromanian: Fenix) service the Aromanian community. The Aromanian television program Spark (Aromanian: Scanteao, Macedonian: Искра) broadcasts on the second channel of the Macedonian Radio-Television.

Historical censuses[edit]

Vlachs in R. Macedonia according to censuses 1948-2002[5]
Ethnic
group
census 1948 census 1953 census 1961 census 1971 census 1981 census 1991 census 1994 census 2002
Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  %
Vlachs 9,511 0.8 8,668 0.7 8,046 0.6 7,190 0.4 6,392 0.3 7,764 0.4 8,601 0.4 9,695 0.5

1900 census[edit]

Population of Aromanians in Macedonia, 1900
Region Population
Veles 500
Kavadarci 122
Gevgelija 9430
Skopje 450
Tetovo 50
Kumanovo 50
Kratovo 340
Kriva Palanka 220
Kočani 2020
Bitola 15690
Kruševo 4095
Resen 3210
Prilep 745
Ohrid 1960
Total 38,882[6]

Notable Aromanians from the Republic of Macedonia[edit]

Pitu Guli

See also[edit]

Part of a series on
Aromanians
By region or country
Major settlements
Language
History
Related groups

References[edit]

External links[edit]