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Janjevci (Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: [ˈjaːɲeʋtsi]) are Croatian inhabitants of the Kosovo town of Janjevo and surrounding villages, located near Pristina as well as villages centered on Letnica near Vitina (Shashare, Vrnez, Vrnavokolo).
The Janjevci as a specific group is one of two regional communities in Kosovo who nationally identify as Croats. They are a Slavic nation and are believed to be mostly descended from traders who settled in Kosovo during the 14th century from Republic of Dubrovnik (then known as Ragusa). They have maintained their Catholic faith throughout the centuries.
The first written mention is by pope Benedict XI in 1303, mentioning Janjevo as the center of the catholic parish of Sveti Nikola.
20th century migrations
Janjevci families started migrating to Croatia in the 1950s (when all was part of Yugoslavia), with most settling in Zagreb. By the beginning of the 1970s, there was a large community of Janjevci along and within the vicinity of Konjšćinska Street in Dubrava, city district of Zagreb. They have since turned this area into a vibrant shopping district.
Because of rising anti-Croat rhetoric in the Serbian media on Kosovo from the late 1980s and the subsequent pressure, Croats from Janjevo and Letnica and other Croat-inhabited villages were became more inclined to leave Kosovo. They mostly migrated to Croatia.
During the Yugoslav Wars, a significant part of the Janjevci emigrated to Croatia in several waves (1992, 1995, 1997, 1999), and were settled by the authorities in the abandoned homes of Serbs in western Slavonia and inland Dalmatia.
According to records[which?] in 2002, there are 966 families of Janjevci in Croatia, with the majority of them residing in the capital Zagreb (669 families), and the rest in other parts of Croatia (297 families).
Before 1991, there were 8,062 Janjevci in Kosovo. In 1998 about 1,300 remained. After the Kosovo War, in Janjevo itself only around 350 remained, the rest fled mostly to Croatia. In 2008, there were only 300 Croats estimated to live in Janjevo. In 2011, about 270 Croats lived in the area.
The community is slowly moving to Croatia, while Albanians and Roma are buying their properties in Janjevo. The remaining Croats of Janjevo have given their support for an independent Kosovo, but they have said if the conditions in Janjevo do not improve very soon they will all leave Kosovo for Croatia in one last group.
In the municipality of Vitina, in which the village of Letnica is, there are only 80 Croats left according to the 2011 Kosovo population census. Today in all Kosovo according to 2011 census is estimated that around 400 Croats still live in the country.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2011)|
- Antonijević, Nenad (November 2004). "Stanovništvo hrvatske nacionalnosti na Kosovu – Janjevci". Dijalog povjesničara - istoričara 9, Vršac (in Serbian). Zagreb, Croatia: Political Science Research Centre Ltd. (PSRC) for Scientific Research Work. pp. 288–289. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- Refki Alija (2008-08-15). "Kako žive Hrvati u Janjevu?". Deutsche Welle (in Croatian). Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- "Ethnic Croats in Kosovo unhappy with security". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- Željka Šiljković, Martin Glamuzina (June 2004). "Janjevo and Janjevci - from Kosovo to Zagreb". Geoadria (Croatian Geographical Society - Zadar, Department of Geography, University of Zadar) 9 (1): 89–109. ISSN 1331-2294.