White Croats

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White Croats
Languages
Lechitic

White Croats (Byelohravati) is the designation for the group of Slavic (Croatian) tribes who settled near Przemyśl. They were first mentioned in the De Administrando Imperio.

Their homeland, defined by Edward Gibbon as "the inland regions of Silesia and Lesser Poland", has occasionally been referred to as White Croatia.[1] The term "white" among nomadic peoples of euroasiatic steppes meant "western", the other directions being named: red – "south", black – "north" and green – "east".

The White Croats territory could have been quite vast, it is possible that it included land as far as Kiev (now Ukraine).[citation needed] Its exact location is still the subject of discussion, as well as their genesis. Some historians present opinions, that ancient Croats were of Scytho-Sarmatian[2] or Oghur Turkic[3][4] origin. Concerning the accounts of the seven Croatian tribes (or personal names) mentioned by Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos and the "Belye Ugry" (White Oghurs - or Saragurs,[5] Sarygurs/Sary Oghurs[6]) of the Russian chronicle Povest, there are found Turkic-named govenors among Croats in the first generations, but later they disappear and the people became purely Slavic.[3]

In the 7th century AD, seven tribes led by 5 brothers (Kluk, Lobel, Muhlo, Kosjenc and Hrvat) and 2 sisters (Buga and Tuga) migrated to Dalmatia (the coastal part of today's Croatia) as part of the migration of the Croats in the 7th century, being invited to settle on this vastly depopulated area by Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Heraclius (610–641) in order to establish a shield against the Avars for his state.

In the late 10th century, one of the White Croat states, the duchy of Libice, was ruled by Slavnik's dynasty. In 995 Czech warriors of the Vršovci family from Bohemia attacked and murdered the Slavnik's (d. 981) descendants at Libice. Three surviving brothers: Soběslav (Sobiebor) (the eldest, at that time at war against Obotrites as the Polish prince Boleslaw's and German emperor Otto III's ally), Vojtěch (later the Christian saint and the martyr) and Radim Gaudentius sought shelter in Poland under the rule of Boleslav the Brave, with whom the Slavnik's family had friendly relationships, as Slavnik's duchy tried to maintain its independence from Prague Přemyslid dynasty. Soon the war between the Polish duke and Czechs' ruler, Boleslav III the Red, broke out (this time after Vršovci family extermination by Czech prince, the remnants seeking refuge in Poland), leading the Polish Boleslav the Brave to having a temporary control of Prague. Soběslav, living in Poland after the Libice massacre of his family, was killed by Czechs defending a bridge near Prague shielding the retreat of Polish forces from the Czech capital in 1004.

It is interesting to add that according to some American documents from the beginning of 20th century there were about 100,000 immigrants to the US born around Kraków who declared themselves to be Bielo-Chorvats, i.e. White Croats by nationality.[7]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Croatia 802–1102. World History at KMLA, 7 November 2004. Accessed 4 September 2009.
  2. ^ Тимощук Б. О. "Східні хорвати" — pp.214-218., and Баран В. Д. "слов'янські ранньосередньовічні культури та їх підоснови" - pp.191-204. // In: "Матеріали і дослідження з археології Прикарпаття і Волині". Львів: Ін-т українознавства, 1995. - Volume 6.
  3. ^ a b Karatay O., In Search of the Lost Tribe: The Origins and Making of the Croation Nation, 2003, pp.65-80. Journal of Eurasian Studies, Volume IV., Issue 1. / January — March 2012, ISSN 1877‐4199.
  4. ^ Denis Bašić, The Roots of the Religious, Ethnic, and National Identity of the Bosnian-Herzegovinan Muslims, 2009, pp.66-68.
  5. ^ Zimonyi, István (2007): History of the Turkic speaking peoples in Europe before the Ottomans, Uppsala Universitet: Institutionen för lingvistik och filologi: Utbildung: Turkiska språk. In: Gábor Hosszú, Heritage of Scribes: The Relation of Rovas Scripts to Eurasian Writing Systems, 2012, p.293.
  6. ^ E. V. Boĭkova, G. Stary, Florilegia Altaistica: Studies in Honour of Denis Sinor on the Occasion of His 90th Birthday, 2006, p.63
  7. ^ U.S. Senate, Reports on the Immigration Commission: Dictionary of races or peoples, Washington D.C., 1911, pp. 40, 43, 105.

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