Panorama of Koći
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Koći (Montenegrin and Serbian Cyrillic: Коћи, Albanian: Kojë) is a settlement in Podgorica Municipality, Montenegro, near the border with Albania. The village is inhabited by ethnic Albanians of the Roman Catholic faith.
Koći lies east of the capital Podgorica, north of Ubli. Koći is a village in the southeastern part of Kuči, called Kučka Krajina ("Kuči frontier") in eastern Montenegro, bordering Albania (see this geo-morphological map, legend B30). Kučka Krajina also compose Orahovo, Zatrijebač and Fundina. Kuči is one of the seven highlander tribes that constituted Brda ("the Hills") in the Principality of Montenegro. Along with Albanian-inhabited villages Hoti and Gruda, Koći is, from Albanian point of view, part of the wider Malësia-region (Malesija).
When the Ottoman Empire occupied the Kuči area, the 1484 Ottoman defter (tax registry) registered 208 households in 11 villages. In the next one, 1497, it had had 338 households in 9 katuni (Pavlovići, Petrovići, Lješovići, Bitidosi, Lopari, Bankeći, Banjovići, Lazorce and Koći) and 2 villages. In the 15th century Kuči is mentioned as a Serbian Orthodox tribe.
The Koći area had only Serbian hamlets prior to the Albanian immigration in the 17th century. The families that are known to have inhabited Koći prior to the Albanian immigration were: Bakečević and Loparci (Banjović, now in Lopare), along with other Serbs who surnames are not known. The Albanians (Mari and Gorvoki), originally from Vukelji in Klimenti, had moved from Podgrad in Orahovo to Koći where they violently expelled some of the Serbs found there, besides the native Serb Bakečević whom they subsequently entered kinship with and Albanized. The plot of Jabuka was first settled in the first half of the 18th century, when the Kuči moved families there from the village of Kućište at the sources of the Ribnica river, due to Kućište being an obstacle in the warfare against the Ottomans. Those families, Ivačević and Purušić, then moved to Koći after quarreling with the lord of Jabuka, and entered kinship with the Mari, and subsequently Albanized. In the mid-18th century, the Stjelović fled Rovca and settled Jabuka. The Albanian Nuculović originally from Kastrati, had settled in Jabuka after the Stjelović, whom they befriended. At the end of the 18th century there was fighting between the Albanian Koći and Kuči Serbs, after which the Nuculović together with the Stjelović moved from Jabuka to Koći. There, the Stjelović also became Albanized. By the early 19th century, the families of Serb origin in Koći were fully Albanized.
The Albanian immigrants and Albanized Serbs in Zatrijebač, divided somewhat geographically from the other Kuči, initially were divided from the rest of the Kuči and acted more as their own clan.
In 1904, the small landscape of Koći had the village of Koće, which had 49 inhabitants.
Traveler Arso Milatović (who wrote a travel book on his experiences 1935-1945) stayed at Koći and described it as "a village neighbouring Malesija, misplaced and rugged, which a horse can't reach, thus donkeys and mules walk the rocks as squirrels on branches". The inhabitants were Catholics, and the village had a church and priest, fra Marko.
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J. Erdeljanović (1904)
J. Erdeljanović (1874-1944), who had stayed in Kuči in September and August 1904, wrote a large work about the geography and anthropology of the Kuči. The Koći area had only Serbian hamlets prior to the Albanian immigration in the 17th century. He collected the following information about Koći:
Koći, an Albanian brastvo (brotherhood), which is today understood by this name, is constituted by four elements, which differ from each other by origin and age. The first, the Serb starosedeoci (natives) Bakečević; the second, Albanian immigrants called Koći (Mari and Gorvoki families); the third, the Serb Purušić and Ivačević, which had primarily inhabited the place of Jabuka, north of the village; the fourth, the Serb Stjelović which is united with the Albanian Nuculović, who came after them to Jabuka.
- Mari (11 families) and Gorvoki (9 families), Albanians, have origin in the Albanian village of Vukelji, in the Klimenti tribe. They had previously primarily settled in Podgrad in Orahovo, from where they had pressed out the Đurđević (Mrnjavčić), who were forced to move to Liješte under the powerful Drekalović (approximately in the first half of the 17th century). The Albanians then proceeded to Koći where they violently expelled some native Serbs and settled in the village. The settling of Albanians is recalled by elder Ćel Pepe (of the Marâ brotherhood): the Koći Albanians' ancestors came there as a strong brotherhood attacking the village, in which there were 5-6 houses belonging to some Vlachs (most likely Serbs), and 2 houses which belonged to the Bakečević family (which were initially Serb). The Albanians killed some and dispersed some of the Vlachs, and took over their property, and the next day the Bakečević who awaited the same fate approached the Albanians and asked them to spare them and let them become "godsons". The Albanians accepted, and still today the Bakečević live in the village, although fully Albanized. Nearby there was a hamlet called Lopari, whose inhabitants could not manage the Koći Albanians' violence, but instead moved further south and established the village of Lopare in Fundina (although their old hamlet still bears its name in Koći). Erdeljanović said that of the old Lopari inhabitants, maybe only the brotherhood of Banjović had survived, which had 12 households in the village of Lopare, and were the oldest in the village.
- According to Vojvoda Marko (Pl. Kuči, 58), the plot of Jabuka was first settled in the first half of the 18th century, in this way: the village of Kućište at the sources of the Ribnica river was an obstacle in the Kuči's fighting with the Ottomans, and therefore the Kuči forced the inhabitants of the village to settle on the Jabuka, which was in the property of Vojvoda Radonja's relative. After some time the inhabitants quarrel with the lord of the plot of Jabuka and moved to Koći. Vojvoda Marko did not name these migrants, but it was without a doubt the Serb Ivačević (3 families) and Purušić (8 families), of whom it is known in Koći that they are younger settlers. The two families are "kin" to the earlier settled Mari, while they are no kin to the later settled Nuculović. This means that these two and the Mari, whom they settled near, had for long been in marital relation and in that way became kin and Albanized as is often the case (especially among the Albanians), and entered their brotherhood. The Serb origin of the Ivačević and Purušić is evident in their names, as well as that of their previous village Kućište, and finally in the tradition in which it is clearly seen that they did not arrive to the village with any of the Albanian brotherhoods.
- Stjelović (Vujičić, 2 families), had in the mid-18th century fled from Rovca, a tribe on the Upper Morača, and settled on the Jabuka. They were for long Orthodox Serbs, and it is known that their grandfather Ilija had been a Serb and wore Serbian dress. Only his son had been Albanized, primarily under the influence of the Nuculović.
- Nuculović (14 families), Albanians, from the Kastrati tribe. They had previously primarily settled in the place of Bar, near Selce in Klimenti (Upper Cijevna), but had then moved to Lazorce in Orahovo in the mid-18th century. In Lazorce they multiplied into a powerful brotherhood, of which a part, they say, four brothers (Nik, Đeloš, Ljuljaš and Deda) moved to Jabuka after the Serb Stjelović, whom they befriended. At the end of the 18th century there was fighting between the Albanian Koći and Kuči Serbs, after which the Nuculović together with the Stjelović moved from Jabuka to Koći (Pl. Kuči, 221-229). There, the Stjelović became Albanized. The relatives of the Nuculović, who stayed in Lazorce, still today live there and are called Nikić (13 families) and Pajović (6 families), and they have since become Orthodox, and Serbicized. Until recently, these relatives have maintained close kinship relations to the Nuculović: they guested each other (trpeza) on family celebrations (weddings, slava, memorials) and together held a korota (mourning) for the deaths of either one of the families.
- Laličić, from Koći, settled in Gusinje (30 houses), and are now Muslim.
- Pretash Zekaj Ulaj (1882-1962), commander in the Battle of Deçiq against the Ottoman Empire.
- Erdeljanović 1907, pp. 1–4
- Sabrana djela, Volume 5. Grafički zavod. 1967. p. 30.
... дана позваће Марко, раније спомену- тога, Јуса Мучина из Подгорице, који је послије био поглавар над Кучком Крајином (Орахово, За- тријебач, Коће и Фундина). Јусо дође у Дољане. Ту је Марко тражио да му ваљадне Кучима,
- Recherches albanologiques: Folklore et ethnologie (in french). Pristina: Instituti Albanologijik i Prishtinës. 1982.
- Radovan Samardžić (1892). Istorija srpskog naroda: Doba borbi za očuvanje i obnovu države 1371-1537 (in Serbian). Srpska knjiiževna zadruga. p. 426.
- Erdeljanović 1907, pp. 164–165
- Erdeljanović 1907, pp. 116–117
- Erdeljanović 1907, pp. 148–150
- Erdeljanović 1907, p. 170
- Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti (1907). Serbian ethnographic series (in Serbian). Belgrade: Državna štamparija. pp. 148, 207.
- Erdeljanović 1907, p. 29
- Arso Milatović (1990). Kosmet: 1935-1945: moje svedočenje (in Serbian). Naučna knjiga. p. 19.
- Momčilo S. Lutovac (1980). Migracija radne snage iz Crne Gore na privremeni rad u inostranstvu: (1964-1974) (in Serbian). Srpsko geografsko društvo. p. 132.
- Књига 1, Становништво, национална или етничка припадност, подаци по насељима, Републички завод за статистику, Подгорица, септембар 2004, ISBN 86-84433-00-9
- Tim Bespyatov, ed. (2008–2013). "Montenegro censuses 1948-2003". (note: no data on ethnic groups, language and religion, only total population)
- Srpska akademija nauka (1957). Bulletin of the Ethnographical Institute, Vol. 4–6 (in Serbian). Naucno delo. p. 366.
- Stojan Protić, Milovan Milovanović, Dragoljub Pavlović (1906). Delo, Vol. 39 (in Serbian). A.M. Stanojević. p. 310.
- Erdeljanović, Jovan (1907). Kuči - pleme u Crnoj Gori (in Serbian).
- Maplandia. "Koci Map — Satellite Images of Koci".