Serbs in Slovenia
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Serbs in Slovenia are, by large, first or second generation immigrants from other republics of former Yugoslavia. In the 2002 census, 38,964 people of Slovenia declared themselves of Serb ethnicity, which corresponds to 1.98% of the total population, making them the second largest ethnic group in the country, after the Slovenes.
Apart from the immigrant community that makes up the vast majority of Serbs in Slovenia, there are a few villages in the southern region of White Carniola inhabited by descendants of Serbs that fled from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, beginning in 1528 and permanent by 1593. These immigrant communities formed settlements, in which the descendants of Serbs live to these days: Bojanci, Marindol, Paunoviči, Adlešiči, Žuniči, and others. In Bojanci, the Serbs trace their origin to the families of Vrlinići (Sv. Đurđe), Radojčići (Sv. Nikola) and Kordići (Sv. Lazar). The majority of them have kept the Serbian Orthodox faith and their distinctive culture, although they have been almost completely assimilated to their Slovene-speaking environment. Some of them have converted to the Eastern Catholic faith in the 17th and 18th century.
As is said above, vast majority of the Serbs in Slovenia are first or second generation settlers from other republics of former Yugoslavia, mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, but also from Croatia and Montenegro. After World War II, many Serbs employed in the Yugoslav People's Army were stationed in the Socialist Republic of Slovenia with their families. In the period of 1971-1981, many ethnic Serbs migrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina to pursue better careers and economical benefits in Slovenia. Before 1991, many Serbs registered as Yugoslavs, and many still prefer referring to their mother language as Serbo-Croatian rather than Serbian. In the last years, many Serbs from Montenegro started referring to themselves as Montenegrians. It also has to be noted that in the last census in 2002, more than 10% of all Slovenian population decided not to answer the question regarding their ethnic affiliation. All these elements make the estimate of the overall number of Serbs in Slovenia difficult.
Most of Serbs in Slovenia are concentrated in larger urban areas, especially in Ljubljana and Jesenice. The table shows the year and number and percentage of Serbs in Slovenia after World War II, according to the official censuses.
- 1948 - 7,048
- 1953 - 11,225 (0.8%)
- 1961 - 13,609 (0.9%)
- 1971 - 20,521 (1.2%)
- 1981 - 42,182 (2.3%)
- 1991 - 47,097 (2.5%)
- 2002 - 38,964 (2.0%)
Most Serbs in Slovenia use Slovene as their language of communication, since only 4,300 people in Slovenia declared that they use only Serbian language at home, while about 15,000 declared they use both languages at home. However more than 31,000 people declared their mother tongue as Serbian (and another 36,000 as Serbo-Croatian).
Notable Slovenes of Serb descent include:
- Milenko Ačimovič, football player
- Siniša Anđelković, football player
- Mladen Dabanovič, football player
- Goran Dragić, basketball player (Serbian father)
- Zoran Dragić, basketball player (Serbian father)
- Spomenka Hribar, sociologist, politician and public intellectual (Serbian father)
- Sara Isakovič, swimmer (Serbian father)
- Zoran Janković, manager and politician, former mayor of Ljubljana (Serbian father)
- Darko Karapetrovič, football player
- Marko Milič, basketball player
- Rasho Nesterovič, basketball player
- Milivoje Novakovič, football player
- Damir Pekič, football player
- Robert Pešut, a.k.a. "Magnifico", singer and actor (Serbian father)
- Danilo Popivoda, football player
- Miroslav Radulovič, football player
- Aleksandar Rodić, football player
- Marija Šestak, athlete
- Simona Škrabec, Slovenian-Catalonian author and translator (Serbian father)
- Dalibor Stevanovič, football player
- Sasha Vujačić, basketball player (Serbian father)