Bushnak (Arabic: بشناق, meaning "Bosnian" or "Bosniak", also transliterated Bushnaq and Boshnak) is a surname common among the small minority of Palestinians who are of Bosnian origin. Those sharing this surname are the descendants of Bosnian Muslims apprehensive of living under Christian rule after the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, who emigrated to Palestine within the Ottoman empire.
While not originally from one family, most Bosnians who emigrated to Palestine adopted Bushnak as a common surname, attesting to their origins.
More substantial movement occurred after 1878, when the Austro-Hungarian empire, ruled by the House of Habsburg, occupied Bosnia. Bosnian Muslim emigration continued through this period, escalating after the Austro-Hungarian's 1908 annexation of Bosnia. Many emigrated to parts of what is now modern Turkey, while a smaller number settled in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan.
In Palestine, these Bosnian emigrants settled predominantly in villages in the northern parts of the present day West Bank and Israel: Caesarea (Qisarya), Yanun, Nablus, and Tulkarem. Their descendants still live in these villages, their Bosnian heritage reflected in the Arab surname of Bushnak.
The Bosnian Muslim immigrants who settled in Caesarea in 1878 built two mosques, joining other Muslim immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, Crimea, the Caucasus, and Turkestan. These Slavic speaking immigrants eventually assimilated into the Arab population of Palestine.
List of notable Bushnaks
- Ali Bushnaq - A Palestinian Mount Everest climber
- Ramez Bushnak, a civilian casualty of the Second Intifada
Notes and references