|5,000 approx. (most declare themselves as Croats, with some as Krashovani)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Romania (Caraş-Severin County)|
Predominantly Roman Catholic
|Related ethnic groups|
|Part of a series of articles on
The Krashovani or Carașoveni (Romanian: Carașoveni, Cârșoveni, Cotcoreți or Cocoși, Serbo-Croatian: Krašovani, Karašovani or Krašovanje, Karaševci and Koroševci, Karaševski Hrvati; Bulgarian: Крашовени, transliterated: Krashoveni; also known in English as Krashovans) are a South Slavic people indigenous to Carașova and other nearby locations in Caraș-Severin County within the Romanian Banat.
At the 2002 census, only 207 persons declared Krashovani ethnicity with most of the remaining 5,000 of the community opting for Croatian identity. As such, the Krashovans form a significant part of the overall Romanian-Croat population.
According to the 2002 census in Romania, the population of the Carașova commune comprised 84.60% Croats, 4.96% others (presumably Carașoveni), 4.47% Roma, 4.41% Romanians, etc. The population of Lupac commune comprises 93.38% Croats, 5.32% Romanians, etc. 79.75% of the population of Carașova municipality and 93.45% of the population of Lupac municipality declared Croatian as their mother tongue in the 2002 census.
Origin and history 
Original Slavic settlements had existed in these regions before the Carașova migration. Carașoveni themselves are mostly descendants of the specific inhabitants of what is today eastern Serbia or western Bulgaria, namely the region around the Caras-Severin.
Some of the Carașoveni allegedly originate from Turopolje region of present-day Croatia (they are being referred as Turopoljci). Because of the long-time influence of other Carașoveni, who speak the variant Torlakian dialect, the supposed original (Kajkavian) dialect of this group also became Torlakian. Other groups are supposedly Croats from the Franciscan Province of Bosna Srebrena.
The Carașoveni are also considered Bulgarians by some scientists from the first half of the 20th century (such as G. Cibrus, M. Mladenov, K. Telbizov, and T. Balkanski). These claims are partially based on the fact that these and some other scientists consider the entire Torlakian-speaking Slavic population ethnically Bulgarian, just as others consider it ethnically Serbian. The question of whether the Torlakian dialect belongs to the eastern or western branches of South Slavic languages is disputed, and it is often classified as a transitional dialect between the two.
Carașoveni migration to Banat can be traced to the 1370s, when fleeing the Ottoman onslaught, they moved there from Timok region (at that time ruled by Bulgaria). The Catholic supremacy inside the Kingdom of Hungary (to which the Banat region belonged at the time) may account for their distinctiveness from the rest of the Torlakian-speaking population in present-day eastern Serbia.
According to the Austrian population census there were over 10,000 Carașoveni in Banat. In the 1847 census over 10,000 people declared as Carașoveni. In 1896 the Austro-Hungarian census around 7,500 Carașoveni were listed. The same was stated by the authorities of the Kingdom of Romania in 1940. Their number dropped to 2,775 in 1992.
Ever since the Romanian Revolution, the government of Romania has awarded special minority status and privileges to its ethnic Serb citizens. The Democratic Union of Serbs and Krashovani of Romania (Uniunea Democratică a Sârbilor si Carașovenilor din România) was founded in 1989.
Language and religion 
The dialect of the Krashovani is based on the specific variant dialect as traditionally spoken in the area of Eastern and Southern Serbia and in the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria, the Torlakian dialect of the Timok valley around Zaječar. Torlakian as a linguistic entity forms a part of the Balkan language area; the Krashovani are the only speakers of a language - belonging to this union for having developed many shared features with the adjacent languages - which is detached from the main section. The population however, declare their language as Croatian, probably along religious lines.
However, their Roman Catholic religion has more recently set them apart from Eastern Orthodox Serbs in the Banat, despite the common language and a long history of solidarity (partly continued to this day through joint Serb-Krashovan organizations).
See also 
- Minorities of Romania
- Torlakian dialect
- Croats of Romania
- Banat Bulgarians
- (Romanian) Recensământ 2002. Rezultate: Populaţia după etnie la recensământul din 2002; retrieved November 10, 2007
- Structura etno-demografică pe arii geografice. Caraşova, at the Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center. Open Society Foundation Romania; retrieved November 10, 2007
- Structura etno-demografică pe arii geografice. Lupac, at the Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center. Open Society Foundation Romania; retrieved November 10, 2007
- Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild, Vienna 1902
- Spațiul istoric și etnic românesc, Vol.I, Editura Militară, Bucharest, 1992