Romanians of Serbia
|Romanian Orthodox Church in Vršac.|
|29,332 (0.41%) (2011 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|South Banat District, Vojvodina;|
Predominantly Romanian Orthodox.
Romanians (Romanian: "Românii din Serbia" Serbian: Румуни / Rumuni) are a recognised national minority in Serbia. The total number of declared Romanians in the 2011 Serbian census was 29,332, while 35,330 people declared themselves Vlachs; there are differing views among some of the Vlachs over they should be regarded as Romanians or as members of a distinctive nationality. In a Romanian-Yugoslav agreement of November 4, 2002, the Yugoslav authorities agreed to recognize the Romanian identity of the Vlach population in Central Serbia, but the agreement was not implemented. In April 2005, many deputies from the Council of Europe protested against the position of this population in Serbian society. In August 2007, they were officially recognized as a national minority, and their language was recognized as Romanian. Declared Romanians are mostly concentrated in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, while declared Vlachs are mostly concentrated in north-eastern parts of Central Serbia.
The number of Romanians and Vlachs since 2002 has decreased somewhat. In 2002, the numbers of those declaring themselves Romanians and Vlachs respectively were almost 5,000 people higher. Of the total number of 34,576 declared Romanians in 2002 census, 30,419 live in Vojvodina and 4,157 live in Central Serbia. Of the total number of 40,054 declared Vlachs in 2002 census, 39,953 live in Central Serbia, and 101 in Vojvodina. The Romanians of Vojvodina are mostly concentrated in eastern and central parts of the Serbian Banat, while Vlachs of Central Serbia are mostly concentrated in north-eastern parts of Central Serbia. The largest concentration of Romanians in Vojvodina could be found in the municipalities of Alibunar (26.47%) and Vršac (10.87%). The Vlach population is concentrated mostly in the region limited by Morava River (west), Danube River (north) and Timok River (south-east).
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles, which defined the borders between Romania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, left a Romanian minority of 75,223 people (1910 census in Vojvodina) inside the borders of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In the 1921 census in Vojvodina, Romanian-speakers numbered 65,197 people.
It is likely that a part of the vlachs can trace their ancient roots to this region. The present geographic location of the Vlachs is near a former location in the medieval Second Bulgarian Empire (also called the Empire of Vlachs and Bulgars) of the Asens, suggesting their continuity in the area. In addition a Vlach population in the regions around Braničevo (near the ancient Roman city of Viminacium) is attested by 15th century Ottoman defters (tax records). The modern Vlachs occupy the same area where in antiquity the Romans had a strong presence for many centuries: Viminacium and Felix Romuliana.
However, some of the Vlachs of north-eastern parts of Central Serbia were settled there from regions north of the Danube by the Habsburgs at the beginning of the 18th century. The origins of these Vlachs are indicated by their own self-designations: "Ungureani (Ungureni)" (serb. Ungurjani), i.e. those who came from Hungary (that is, Banat and Transylvania) and "Ţărani" (serb. Carani), who are either an autochthonic population of the region (their name means "people of the country" or "countrymen"), either they came from Wallachia (Romanian: Ţara Românească - "Romanian State").
The area roughly defined by the Morava, the Danube and the Timok rivers where most of the Vlachs live became part of modern Serbia. Until 1833 the eastern Serbian border was the Homolje-Mountains (the slopes of the Serbian Carpathians) and the state had no common border with Walachia. Prior to that, the land was part of the Ottoman Empire (Pashaluk of Vidin and Pashaluk of Smederevo) and Habsburg Empire (Governorate of Serbia).
The second wave of Vlachs from present-day Romania came in the middle of the 19th century. In 1835 feudalism was fully abolished in the Principality of Serbia and smaller groups from Wallachia came there to enjoy the status of free peasants. (1856: 104,343 Romanians lived in Serbia, 1859: 122,593 Romanians)
According to the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine from 1919, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes annexed from Bulgaria also a small section along the Timok River in the municipality and District of Zaječar, composed by 8 localities (7 populated by Romanians and 1 populated by Bulgarians).
Origins of Vlachs/Romanians of Northeast Serbia
The origins of the Vlachs, who live in northeastern Central Serbia, are not well known to most Vlachs, principally because the subject is forbidden to be taught in Serbian schools. As Daco-Romanian-speakers, the Vlachs have a connection to the Roman heritage in Serbia. Following Roman withdrawal from the province of Dacia at the end of the 3rd century, the name of the Roman region was changed to Dacia Aureliana, and (later Dacia Ripensis) spread over most of what is now called Serbia and Bulgaria, and an undetermined number of Romanized Dacians (Carpi) were settled there. Strong Roman presence in the region persisted through the end of Justinian's reign in the 6th century.[page needed]
The region where Vlachs predominantly live later on was part of the Second Bulgarian Empire, whose first rulers, the Asens, are considered Vlach. King Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia had most of Timok after his conquering of rival King Stephen Dragutin's lands. The chroniclers of the crusaders describe meeting Vlachs in the 12th and 13th century in various parts of modern Serbia. Serbian documents from the 13th and 14th century mention Vlachs, including Emperor Dušan the Mighty, in his prohibition of intermarriage between Serbs and Vlachs. 14th and 15th century Romanian (Wallachian) rulers built churches in NE Serbia.[page needed] 15th century Turkish tax records (defters) list Vlachs in the region of Branicevo in NE Serbia, near the ancient Roman municipium and colonia of Viminacium.[page needed]
Starting in the early 18th century NE Serbia was settled by Romanians (then known by their international exonym as Vlachs) from Banat, parts of Transylvania, and Oltenia (Lesser Walachia). These are the Ungureni (Ungurjani), Munteni (Munćani) and Bufeni (Bufani). Today about three quarters of the Vlach population speak the Ungurean subdialect. In the 19th century other groups of Romanians, originating in Oltenia (Lesser Wallachia), also settled south of the Danube. These are the Ţărani (Carani), who form some 25% of the modern population. The very name Ţărani indicates their origin in Ţara Româneasca, i.e., "The Romanian Land," Wallachia and Oltenia. It should be noted that from the 15th through the 18th centuries large numbers of Serbs also migrated across the Danube, but in the opposite direction, to both Banat and Ţara Româneasca. Significant migration ended with the establishment of the kingdoms of Serbia and Rumania, respectively, in the second half of the 19th century.
The lack of detailed census records and the linguistic effects of the Ungureni and Ţărani on the entire Vlach population make it difficult to determine what fraction of the present Vlachs can trace their origins directly to the ancient south-of-the-Danube Vlachs. The Vlachs of NE Serbia form a contiguous linguistic, cultural and historic group with the Vlachs in the region of Vidin in Bulgaria, as well as the Romanians of Banat and Oltenia (Lesser Wallachia).
Censuses from 1880 to 1931 recorded speakers of Romance languages (Banat Romanians, Eastern Serbian Vlachs, Aromanians), while censuses from 1948 to 2002 recorded Romanians as an ethnic group.
- 1816: 97,215 Romance speakers (10% of Serbia's population.)
- 1856: 104,343 Romance speakers in Central Serbia
- 1859: 122,593 Romance speakers in Central Serbia
- 1866: 127,545 Romance speakers in Central Serbia (10,5% of Serbia's population)
- 1880: 69,668 Romance speakers in Vojvodina
- 1884: 149,713 Romance speakers in Central Serbia
- 1890: 143,684 Romance speakers in Central Serbia, 73,492 in Vojvodina
- 1895: 159,000 Romance speakers (6,4% of Serbia's population)
- 1900: 74,718 Romance speakers in Vojvodina
- 1910: 75,223 Romance speakers in Vojvodina
- 1921: 159,549 Romance speakers in Serbia (Vojvodina is not included) 65,197 Romance speakers in Vojvodina
- 1931: 78,000 Romance speakers in Vojvodina; 57,000 Romance speakers were recorded in Eastern Serbia (52,635 in the Morava Banovina and the rest in southern parts of Danube Banovina south of the Danube)
- 1948: 59,263 Romanians
- 1953: 57,218 Romanians; 198,793 Vlach-speakers in central Serbia (169,670 declared as Serbs, 29,000 as Vlachs)
- 1961: 57,259 Romanians, 1,330 Vlachs
- 1971: 52,987 Romanians
- 1981: 47,289 Romanians; 135,000 people declared Vlach as their mother language (population figure given for the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
- 1991: 38,832 Romanians; 71,536 Vlach-speakers in Serbia (of those 53,721 Serbs, 16,539 Vlachs, 42 Romanians; out of the 17,807 declared Vlachs, 677 Serbo-Croat-speakers)
- 2002: 30,419 Romanians; 40,054 declared Vlachs, 54,818 people declared Vlach as their mother language (population figures given for entire Serbia) or 39,953 declared Vlachs, 54,726 people declared Vlach as their mother language (population figures given for Central Serbia only)
Language and religion
In Vojvodina, Romanian enjoys the status of official language and Romanians in this province receive a wide range of minority rights, including access to state-funded media and education in their native language. Most of the Romanians and Vlachs of Serbia are Eastern Orthodox by faith, belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church (Romanians in Vojvodina) and Serbian Orthodox Church (Vlachs of Central Serbia). The relative isolation of the Vlachs has permitted the survival of various pre-Christian religious rites that are frowned upon by the Orthodox Church. Like the Serbs, Vlachs celebrate the 'slava', though its meaning is chtonic (related to the house and farmland) rather than familial.
Settlements in the Serbian Banat (Vojvodina) with a Romanian majority or plurality are (2002 census data):
- Uzdin (Kovačica municipality),
- Jankov Most (Zrenjanin municipality),
- Torak (Žitište municipality),
- Lokve (Alibunar municipality),
- Nikolinci (Alibunar municipality),
- Seleuš (Alibunar municipality),
- Grebenac (Bela Crkva municipality),
- Barice (Plandište municipality),
- Straža (Vršac municipality),
- Orešac (Vršac municipality),
- Vojvodinci (Vršac municipality),
- Kuštilj (Vršac municipality),
- Jablanka (Vršac municipality),
- Sočica (Vršac municipality),
- Mesić (Vršac municipality),
- Markovac (Vršac municipality),
- Mali Žam (Vršac municipality),
- Malo Središte (Vršac municipality),
- Ritiševo (Vršac municipality).
Vlachs of Serbia
The ethnic Vlachs, a Daco-Romanian-speaking (bilingual) ethnic group in eastern Serbia numbering 40.054 people (54,818 Vlach speakers), and who have their separate national council, are sometimes considered a part of the Romanian minority in Serbia.
- Vasko Popa (1922–1991), a Serbian poet of Romanian descent.
- Emil Petrovici (1899–1958), a Romanian linguist.
- Slavco Almăjan (b. 1940), poet.
- Ionel Stoiţ (b. 1952), poet.
- Bojan Aleksandrović (b. 1977), protopresbyter of Dacia Ripensis.
- Raimond Gaita (b. 1946), German-born Australian philosopher and author of Romanian descent.
- Romanians in Bulgaria
- Ethnic groups of Vojvodina
- Romania–Serbia relations
- Serbs in Romania
- History of the term Vlach
- Eastern Romance substratum
- Romanian language
- Origin of the Romanians
- Legacy of the Roman Empire
- Adevărul, 6 Noiembrie 2002: Prin acordul privind minoritatile, semnat, luni, la Belgrad, de catre presedintii Ion Iliescu si Voislav Kostunita, statul iugoslav recunoaste dreptul apartenentei la minoritatea romaneasca din Iugoslavia al celor aproape 120.000 de vlahi (cifra neoficiala), care traiesc in Valea Timocului, in Serbia de Rasarit.
- Curierul Naţional, 25 ianuarie 2003: Chiar si acordul dintre presedintii Ion Iliescu si Voislav Kostunita, semnat la sfarsitul anului trecut, nu este respectat, in ceea ce priveste minoritatile, deoarece locuitorii din Valea Timocului, numiti vlahi, nu sunt recunoscuti ca minoritari, ci doar „grup etnic“.
- Parlamentary Assembly, 28 April 2005: Deeply concerned over the cultural situation of the so-called “Vlach” Romanians dwelling in 154 ethnic Romanian localities 48 localities of mixed ethnic make-up between the Danube, Timok and Morava Rivers who since 1833 have been unable to enjoy ethnic rights in schools and churches
- România Liberă, 16 August 2007: Romanii din Valea Timocului, cunoscuti drept vlahi, au obtinut recunoasterea statutului de minoritate nationala. Decizia guvernului de la Belgrad inseamna, printre altele, ca limba romana ar putea fi predata in premiera in scolile din Serbia unde romanii timoceni sunt majoritari, transmite BBC, preluat de Rompres.
- According to Encyclopaedia Britannica the state is also called "The Vlach-Bulgarian Empire"
- "The situation of national minorities in Vojvodina and of the Romanian ethnic minority in Serbia", at the Council of Europe, 14 February 2008
- Alaric Watson, Aurelian and the Third Century, Routlege, 1999.
- http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ukf-lEYl3FUC&pg=PR3&dq=Alaric+Watson,+Aurelian+and+the+Third+Century,+Routledge,+1999.&hl=en&ei=vDOVTs3eKeqK4gTBtqCYCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Roman%20withdrawal%20&f=false page 157
- William Rosen, Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe, Viking Adult, 2007.
- Wolff, Robert Lee Wolff, The Second Bulgarian Empire: Its Origin and History to 1204, SpeculumVolume 24, Issue 2 , 1949.
- (Croatian)Zef Mirdita, Vlasi u historiografiji, Hrvatski institut za povijest, Zagreb 2004.
- Noel Malcolm, Kosovo, A short History, University Press, NY, 1999.
- (German) Felix Kanitz, Serbien, Leipzig, 1868.
- Noel Malcolm, Bosnia: A short History, University Press, NY, 1994.
- (Serbian) Kosta Jovanovic, Negotinska Krajina i Kljuc, Belgrade, 1940
- (Romanian) V. Arion; Vasile Pârvan; G. Vâlsan; Pericle Papahagi; G. Bogdan-Duică. România şi popoarele balcanice (1913). Tipografia Românească. Bucureşti, p. 22
- Geographisches Handbuch zu Andrees Handatlas (Leipzig und Bielefeld, 1882): 1866 zählte man 1.058.189 Serben, 127.545 Rumänen, 24.607 Zigeuner, 2589 Deutsche und 3256 andere.
- Geographisches Handbuch zu Andrees Handatlas 1902: Fast die ganze Bevölkerung, über 2 Mill, besteht aus Serben, außerdem gab es, nach der Zählung von 1895, 159.000 Rumänen und 46.000 Zigeuner
- Official results of the 1921 census from Serbia
- (Serbian) Ranko Bugarski, Jezici, Beograd, 1996.
- (Serbian) PDF (477 KiB), p. 2 and PDF (441 KiB), p. 12
- The Romanian Community in Serbia
- The Romanians in Vojvodina
- The Romanians in Serbia and Bulgaria
- Romanians in Serbia
- Respect for the rights of the Timok Romanians (Eastern Serbia)
- Vesna Čekić (2002-10-24). "Živeti zajedno - Manjinske nacionalne zajednice u Vojvodini: Rumuni" (in Serbian). Dnevnik. Retrieved 2007-05-18.[dead link]
- MP3 recordings of Vlach speech
- Maps of Vlachs in north-east Serbia
- The Vlachs in Yugoslavia and their magic
- Report on the State of Human Rights of Rumanians and Vlachs in Serbia
- Românii din Serbia, Ion Florentin Dobrescu
- The situation of national minorities in Vojvodina and of the Romanian ethnic minority in Serbia, 2008 report from the Council of Europe (archive version)