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For other uses, see Rovca (disambiguation).

Rovca or Rovci is a historical region in central Montenegro. It's historical tribe is called Rovčani (Serbian Cyrillic: Ровчани, pronounced [rǒ̞ːʋt͡ʃaːni]). The Rovčani were one of seven highlander tribes (of the Brda region), alongside the Bjelopavlići, Piperi, Kuči, Bratonozići, Moračani (Lower and Upper), and Vasojevići.


The name is derived from the Slavic word rov which means "dent" or "cut". The tribe itself is believed to have received the name from the region they inhabit.[1]


Rovca borders the historical regions and tribes of Morača to the east, the Drobnjaci to the north, the Nikšići to the west, the Bjelopavlići to the southwest, the Piperi to the south, and the Bratonožići to the southeast.


Middle Ages[edit]

In July 1465, Isa-Beg Isaković continued the offensive against the Duchy of Saint Sava begun in 1463. The region is first mentioned in the 1477 defter (tax registry) of the Sanjak of Herzegovina (established in 1470).

Modern history[edit]

Mariano Bolizza, a Venetian patrician, recorded in 1614 that "Riouzi" was inhabited by Orthodox Christian Serbs and had a total of 50 houses. The 120 men-at-arms were commanded by Ivan Rodonjin.[2] In 1689, an uprising broke out in Piperi, Rovca, Bjelopavlići, Bratonožići, Kuči and Vasojevići, while at the same time an uprising broke out in Prizren, Peć, Priština and Skopje, and then in Kratovo and Kriva Palanka in October (Karposh's Rebellion).[3]

In 1768, the Rovčani helped the Bjelopavlići which were attacked by the Ottomans.[4] In 1774, Mehmet Bushatli, the pasha of Scutari, broke into Kuči and "destroyed" it; the Rovčani housed and protected some of the refugee families.[4] On the request of Russian Empress Catherine, the Montenegrins and Herzegovinians took arms against the Ottomans in 1788. The call was gladly accepted by the Rovčani and Moračani who equipped gunpowder and weapons for the upcoming events.[5] However, the Ottomans heard of the intentions, and preemptively struck Morača, the centre of preparation.[6] In 1794, the Kuči and Rovčani were devastated by the Ottomans.[4] In 1796, the Montenegrin army under Metropolitan Petar I Petrović-Njegoš with the assistance of Piperi defeated the Ottoman army at Krusi.[4] The Montenegrin victory resulted in territorial expansion, with the tribes of Bjelopavlići and Piperi being joined into the Montenegrin state.[7] The Rovčani, as other highlander tribes, subsequently turned more and more towards the Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro.[8] Metropolitan Petar I sent letters in 1799 to the Moračani and Rovčani, advising them to live peacefully and in solidarity.[8]

During the First Serbian Uprising (1804–13), the Drobnjaci, Moračani, Rovčani, Uskoci and Pivljani rose against the Ottomans and burnt down villages in Herzegovina.[9] The Rovca and Lower and Upper Morača tribes were incorporated into Montenegro only in 1820, after the defeat of the Ottoman army at the Morača river, and Vasojevići even later, in 1858.

Rovčani was one of the tribes that supported the Montenegrin Greens, a faction that opposed what they saw was an annexation of Montenegro to Serbia and instead urged for a federation.[10][full citation needed] The Greens still declared themselves to be ethnic Serbs.[11] During the Christmas Uprising (January 7, 1919) two members of Bulatović family were flayed alive in Rovca by the Montenegrin Whites (the other political faction).[10]


The Rovca tribe had historically viewed themselves as Serbs,[12] and in light of Montenegrin independence (2006), Rovca clan chief Nikola Minić said that "If Milo Djukanovic tried to divide Montenegro... we wouldn't live in his country... but remain united in a brotherhood with Serbia."[13]


According to local folklore, recalled by a Bulatović, the Rovca tribe ultimately descend from ban (duke) Ilijan, from Grbalj in the Bay of Kotor. This Ilijan allegedly married Jevrosima, the daughter of Grand Prince Vukan (r. 1202–04) and sister of Stefan Vukanović Nemanjić, who built the Morača monastery.[14] Ilijan had a son, Nikša, who was in conflict with ban Ugren of the Nikšić župa (county).[15] Nikša's son Gojak murdered Ugren, after which he was hid in the Morača monastery by his great-uncle (or uncle) Stefan, and then in the Lukavica mountain, where he is believed to have died.[14] Gojak had fours sons: Bulat (whose descendants are known as Bulatovići), Šćepan (whose descendants are known as Šćepanovići), Vlaho (whose descendants are known as Vlahovići) and Srezoje (whose descendants are known as Srezojevići).

The other part of Rovčani are descendants of knez (duke) Bogdan Lješnjanin, who fled from Čevo due to a blood feud, and firstly settled in the village of Liješnje in the Lješ nahiyah (subdistrict), and then after another blood feud there he settled in what would become Rovca, in the village of Brezno (which today is known as Liješnje). This happened in the first half of the 15th century, before the Ottoman conquest.


  • Rovca
    • Bulatovići
    • Šćepanovići
    • Vlahovići
    • Srezojevići
  • Bogdanovići

Notable people[edit]

by ancestry


  1. ^ Serb World. Neven Publishing Corporation. 1982. p. 26. 
  2. ^ Bolizza (1614). "Mariano Bolizza, report and description of the sanjak of Shkodra (1614)". 
  3. ^ Belgrade (Serbia). Vojni muzej Jugoslovenske narodne armije (1968). Fourteen centuries of struggle for freedom. The Military Museum. p. xxviii. 
  4. ^ a b c d Barjaktarović 1984, p. 28
  5. ^ Marko A. Vujačić (1952). Znameniti crnogorski junaci: po istoriskim podacima, tradiciji i narodnoj pjesmi. Narodna Knjiga. p. 226. "На позив руске царице Катарине, Црногор- ци и Херцеговци устали су на оружје против Турака године 1788« Овај позив радо су прихватили Ровчани и Морачани и опремили су барут и оружје за насту- пајуће догађаје." 
  6. ^ Glasnik Srpskog istorijsko-kulturnog društva "Njegoš".. Njegoš. 1994. p. 32. 
  7. ^ Ferdo Čulinović (1954). Državnopravna historija jugoslavenskih zemalja XIX i XX vijeka: knj. Srbija, Crna Gora, Makedonija, Jugoslavija, 1918-1945. Školska knjiga. 
  8. ^ a b Barjaktarović 1984, p. 29
  9. ^ Vojislav Korać (1971). Trebinje: Istorijski pregled. Zavičajni muzej. p. 304. 
  10. ^ a b Banač, Ivo (March 1988). The national question in Yugoslavia: origins, history, politics. Cornell University Press. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-8014-9493-2. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Banac, Ivo (1992), Protiv straha : članci, izjave i javni nastupi, 1987-1992 (in Croatian), Zagreb: Slon, p. 14, OCLC 29027519, retrieved 12 December 2011, "Posebno je zanimljivo da su se i »zelenaši«,...., nacionalno smatrali Srbima" [it is especially interesting that Greens also ... declared themselves as Serbs]" 
  12. ^ Kenneth Morrison (30 November 2008). Montenegro: A Modern History. I.B.Tauris. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-85771-487-9. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Književnost. Prosveta. 2002. pp. 594–597. 
  15. ^ Mirko Milojković (1985). Legende iz naših krajeva. Srpska književna zadruga. p. 174. 


Further reading[edit]