Kuči (Serbian Cyrillic: Кучи; pronounced [kût͡ʃi]) is a region in eastern Montenegro and a historical tribe. The region is located north-east of Podgorica, and extends along the border with Albania. The majority of inhabitants are Serbian Orthodox Christian while a Muslim and Roman Catholic minority exists. Marko Miljanov (1833–1901) led the tribe against the Ottoman Empire in the wars of 1861–62 and 1876–78; he had unified Kuči with Montenegro in 1874.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Anthropology
- 4 Folklore
- 5 Demographics
- 6 People
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Sources
The unofficial centre is the Ubli village, which has about 1,500 residents and houses several institutions like a culture hall, the "Đoko Prelević" elementary school, a hospital, police station, and a former fabric factory. Ubli is situated in central Kuči with the center and villages of Prelevići, Pavićevići, Živkovići, Kostrovići, etc. Other villages are: Medun, Orahovo, Fundina, Koći, Kržanja, Kosor, Vrbica, Stravče, Zagreda, Raći in northern Kuči and Doljani, Murtovina, Stara Zlatica, Zlatica in southern Kuči.
The Kuči region itself can be divided into three major historical sub-regions:
- Old Kuči, Orthodox sub-tribe, which celebrates the slava of Mitrovdan (Saint Demetrius).
- Drekalovići, Orthodox sub-tribe, which celebrates the slava of Nikoljdan (Saint Nicholas).
- Zatrijebač (Triesh in Albanian), also known as Kučka krajina ("Kuči frontier"), mixed Albanian (Catholic and Muslim) and Orthodox sub-region, which celebrates the Nativity of the Theotokos. Includes the settlements of Benkaj, Budza, Cijevna, Delaj, Korita, Mužeška, Nikmaraš, Rudine, Poprat and Stjepovo.
The legendary progenitor of the Kuči, Nenad, and his sons, were mentioned in the 1416–17 register of the Sanjak of Scutari. Nenad descended from an Orthodox, Serb, noble family. According to folklore, this family was the Mrnjavčević family; Nenad was the son of Gojko Mrnjavčević (fl. 1355).
The Old Kuči constantly were in conflict with the Old Gruda; the Kuči were stronger, thus they stole livestock from Gruda, and if only one Kuči would be killed in conflicts, and several Gruda, they would penalize the whole tribe.
The Catholics of Kuči under the leadership of Lale Drekalov (fl. 1608–14) converted (or returned) to Orthodoxy. Venetian public servant Mariano Bolizza's 1614 report the Kuči, Bratonožići and part of Plava were under the soldiers of Medun, the spahee, but the commander was not named; and the highlanders would pay the Ottoman officials a portion of their income. In the second half of 1614, the Bjelopavlići, Kuči, Piperi, and Kelmend sent a letter to the kings of Spain and France claiming they were independent from Ottoman rule and did not pay tribute to the empire. Between 1614 and 1621 the Kuči were mentioned as Ottoman subjects. In 1658, the seven tribes of Kuči, Vasojevići, Bratonožići, Piperi, Klimenti, Hoti and Gruda allied themselves with the Republic of Venice, establishing the so-called "Seven-fold barjak" or "alaj-barjak", against the Ottomans.
In 1688, the Kuči, with help from Klimenti and Piperi, destroyed the army of Sulejman-paša twice, took over Medun and got their hands of large quantities of weapons and equipment. 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). In 1694 the Kuči allied themselves with the Hoti in yet another uprising against the Ottomans. Throughout the 18th century, the Kuči fought alongside the Vasojevići, Hoti, and Klimenti.
In 1774, in the same month of the death of Šćepan Mali, Mehmed Pasha Bushati attacked the Kuči and Bjelopavlići, but was subsequently decisively defeated and returned to Scutari. Bushati had broken into Kuči and "destroyed" it; the Rovčani housed and protected some of the refugee families.
In 1794, the Kuči and Rovčani were devastated by the Ottomans.
The Ottoman increase of taxes in October 1875 sparked the Great Eastern Crisis, which included a series of rebellions, firstly with the Herzegovina Uprising (1875–77), which prompted Serbia and Montenegro declaring war on the Ottoman Empire (see Serbian–Ottoman War and Montenegrin–Ottoman War) and culminated with the Russians following suit (Russo-Turkish War). In Kuči, chieftain Marko Miljanov Popović organized resistance against the Ottomans and joined forces with the Montenegrins. The Kuči, identifying as a Serb tribe, asked to be united with Montenegro. After the Berlin Congress, Kuči was included into the borders of the Principality of Montenegro.
At the Battle of Novšiće, following the Velika attacks (1879), the battalions of Kuči, Vasojevići and Bratonožići fought the Albanian irregulars under the command of Ali Pasha of Gusinje, and were defeated.
The Old Kuči (Stari kuči/Стари кучи, Starokuči/Старокучи) was a community of a larger number of clear and composite brotherhoods (clans), in relation to the Drekalovići who claimed ancestry from one ancestor. J. Erdeljanović found, in the Old Kuči, very noticeable instances of the merging of various diverse brotherhoods into one. The merging was so finalized that it was hard for him to mark off the parts of those composite brotherhoods, "even the searching in that direction was also encountered in the sensitivity of individuals". With the arrival of the Drekalovići, the old families called themselves "Old Kuči". Of the settled brotherhoods of the Old Kuči, the Mrnjavčići are the most notable and the representatives of Old Kuči. The Mrnjavčići, the largest brotherhood of Old Kuči, numbered 330 households in 1941. All Old Kuči have the slava of Mitrovdan (St. Demetrius).
J. Erdeljanović wrote down data from all over Kuči, the most intricate from Kržanj, Žikoviće, Kostroviće, Bezihovo, Kute, Podgrad and Lazorce. All of these narratives agree that the Mrnjavčići brotherhood descend from Gojko, the brother of King Vukašin. Gojko's descendants were forced to flee Skadar with the Ottoman invasion, and settled in Brštan.
- Đurđevići - Mrnjavčevići
- Bojovići (Baljušići)
- Pantovići (descendants of Panta)
- Nikezići (descendants of Nikeza Marov)
- Muratagići (descendants of Nikola Nikezić)
- Nikčevići (descendants of Nikač)
The Drekalovići, also called "New Kuči" (Novi kuči), descend from Drekale, who settled Kuči in the second half of the 16th century. There are several stories on his origin: he was either a Mrnjavčić or the grandson of Skanderbeg. According to Mariano Bolizza (1614), Lale Drekalov and Niko Raičkov held 490 houses of the Chuzzi Albanesi ("Albanian Kuči", a village of predominantly Roman Catholic religion), with 1,500 soldiers, described as "very war-like and courageous". The Drekalovići, the largest brotherhood of Kuči, numbered close to 800 households in 1941, roughly half of all of Kuči.
- Bulajići (descendants of Boroje Dragojev Drekalović)
- Milinići (descendants of knez Milin Borojev Bulajić)
- Radani (descendants of Radan Škeranov Bulajić)
- Todorovići (descendants of Todor Borojev Bulajić)
- Vukajlovići (descendants of Vukajlo Škeranov Bulajić)
- Čejovići (descendants of Čejo Lalev Drekalović)
- Božovići (descendants of Božo Popov Čejović)
- Mićkovići (descendants of Mićko Božov Čejović)
- Camovići (descendants of Camo Vujov Čejović)
- Pavićevići (descendants of Pavić Popov Čejović)
- Prelevići (descendants of Prele Popov Čejović)
- Radevići (descendants of Rade Popov Čejović)
- Radonjići (descendants of Radonja Popov Čejović)
- Božovići (descendants of Božo Popov Čejović)
- Ivanovići (descendants of Ivan Ilikov Drekalović)
- Ljakovići (descendants of Ljaka Ilikov Drekalović)
- Mijovići (descendants of Mijo Lalev Drekalović)
- Milačići (descendants of Milač Ilikov Drekalović)
- Popovići (descendants of pop (priest) Mirčeta Ilikov Drekalović)
- Petrovići (descendants of Petar Ilikov Drekalović)
- Radonjići (descendants of Radonja Petrov Drekalović)
- Turkovići (descendants of Vujaš (Vuk) Lalev Drekalović)
- Vučetići (descendants of Luka Radojev Drekalović)
- Vujačići (descendants of Šoroje Dragojev Drekalović)
- Vujoševići (descendants of Vujoš Lalev Drekalović)
- Vukoslavčevići (Vukoslavovići / Vukoslavljevići) (descendants of Vukoslav Ilikov Drekalović)
- Vuksanovići (descendants of Vuksan Ilikov Drekalović)
- Dispersed families
- Turkovići, in Podgorica, descendants of Vuk Ilikov, Islamized
- Kalači (descendants of Vušo (Mušo) Perov Milačić)
- Kalači (descendants of Vušo (Mušo) Perov Milačić)
Zatrijebač (Albanian: Triesh) is a sub-region of Kuči, located in the "Kuči frontier" (Kučka Krajina), which also compose Orahovo, Koći and Fundina. From Albanian point of view, Zatrijebač is an extension of the northern Albanian Malësia region. The population is Roman Catholic by majority.
The historical tribe of Zatrijebač, as well as Hot, claim descendance from a certain Keq Preka. The mythological founder of the other half of Zatrijebač was Ban Keqi, who is said to have arrived some 100 years after Keq Preka. In Albanian, the inhabitants are called "Trieshjan" (males) and "Trieshjane".
Trieshi was known for starting an Albanian highlander uprising against the Ottomans in 1907 with the victory in the Battle of Lemaja, fought at the Cemi River, in which 150 Trieshjan participated. According to the locals, the only thing separating the two forces was a bridge over Cemi. Other battles that followed in the region include the Battle of Deçiq (1911).
- Milići (originally from Bjelica in Cetinje)
- Bankanji (claim descent from Crnojević)
- Bekteši or Bekteševići (descendants of Bekteš)
- Bekteši or Bekteševići (descendants of Bekteš)
- Bankanji (claim descent from Crnojević)
- Arapaj (Arapaj, Arapović)
- Cacaj (Cacaj, Cacović)
- Dedivanaj (Dedivanaj, Dedivanović)
- Dukaj (Dukaj, Dukić)
- Gegaj (Gegaj, Gegović)
- Gjeloshaj (Đeljošević)
- Gjokaj (Đokaj, Đokić)
- Gjonaj (Đonaj, Đonović)
- Gjonlekaj (Đonlekić)
- Gjurashaj (Đurašević)
- Gjuravçaj (Đuravčaj, Đuravčević)
- Hasanaj (Hasanović)
- Lekoçaj (Ljekočaj, Ljekočević)
- Lucaj (Ljucaj, Ljucović) - Flagbearer (Bajraktar)
- Margilaj (Margiljaj, Margiljić)
- Memçaj (Memčević)
- Micakaj (Micaković)
- Nikollaj (Nikolić)
- Nikprelaj (Nikpreljaj, Nikprelević, Nikpreljević)
- Palushaj (Paljušaj, Palušević, Paljušević)
- Prenkoçaj (Prenkočaj, Prenkočević)
- Ujkaj (Ujkaj, Ujković) - Flagbearer (Bajraktar)
- Families elsewhere descending from Zatrijebač families
- Curanaj (Curanaj, Curanović) - migrated to Gusinje
- Vataj (Vatić) - migrated to Kosovo
- Gjekaj (Đeković) - migrated to Gusinje
Other families in Kuči
- Milićevići i Savici
- Mihailovići (descendants of Mihailo Braunović)
- Bulatovići (originally from the Nikšić tribe)
Connections with other tribes
It is also believed through folk telling that Grča Nenadov of Old Kuči had two brothers, Krsto and Šako, who were the founding fathers of the Kastrati and Shaljani tribes. Many Mrnjavčevićs crossed over to Islam, among the most notable the Ganići in Rožaje and Radonjičići (today Radončić) in Gusinje.
There are sources that point that the Kelmendi clan of Malësia are of Serb origin, that the founder came from the Morača i.e. Piperi i.e. Herzegovina. A certain Klmen (or Amati) from Kuči settled first in Hoti then re-settled in the present clan area. Among some Kelmends, Nikola Oštroumni Kolmendija (Nikola "Sharp-minded" Kolmendija) is the founding father.
A famous story about the Kuči is one from the 18th century; the Turks advanced in Zeta towards Kuči and the troops organized themselves at the village of Begović. The Vezir of Shkodër sat in the Begović tower. Soldiers where standing outside when the Vezir shouted to two Serbs from Oraovac who were in Ottoman service, Đulja Jovanov from Podgrađe and Iveza Vukov from Kuđani: ”Đulja, I will give you the Sultan's barjak (war flag) and you will carry it towards Kuci!", the Vezir ordered the flag to be taken by Djula. Djulja answered "My Pasha, my honour does not permit me carrying your flag towards my brothers" in which the Vezir lowered a rope from his window "Either you take the flag and carry it in front of the army, or you take this rope around your neck!". Djulja replied "God help me, for I will take the rope instead of the flag against Kuči!" and he went up on the gallows, pushed the flag to the side and took the rope, tightening it around his neck and stood himself on the batten. The Vezir warned "I will tell you this only once again, take the flag or we will remove the batten that you stand on", Djulja "I will remove it myself so that you won't need to exert your Turks, I stand by my relatives and would proudly die for them." Then a Muslim Slav named Punan Dedin, himself from the same tribe, said "At whose house is the Crow shrieking today?" Djulja replied "At mine today and yours tomorrow!" and kicked the batten, hanging himself. The Vezir turned to Iveza: "What will you take, the flag or rope?" Iveza answered: "the same as Djulja, never the flag" and walked up towards the gallows, another Muslim Slav, Sulejman Kut, a close relative of Iveza, turns to Ali-paša Osmanagić and begs "If you are a good Turk, don't let him die!", Ali-paša stops Iveza and asks the Vezir "Honorable Pasha, can I pay for his life?" - "No" - "Can I give my son instead of him?" - "No" - "Then I will give money, my son, myself, everything for his sake, I will not let him die!". The Vezir looked carefully "Okay, I will give him to you", the soldiers cheered at the honorable gesture.
There are over 15,000 residents in Kuči, with over 3,000 homes. Two major ethnic groups inhabit the region: ethnic Montenegrins and ethnic Serbs (see Montenegrin Serbs), though these may be regarded as one, as some families may politically be split between the two, i.e. with one brother opting for a Montenegrin identity and another a Serb. Most of the inhabitants are followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church, while a minority are Muslims by nationality. There is an enclave of Roman Catholic Albanians in the village of Koći (Koja in Albanian).
Christian Orthodox residents used to be split into two distinct groups: Old Kuči ("Starokuči") and Drekalovićs/New Kuči. The Old Kuči is generally seen as being of Serb descent and are native or have settled in the area at the time of the Serbian Empire in the 14th century. The New Kuči (generally referred to as "Drekalovići") are a large group of clans (bratstva) that were formed after the 17th century and share a legendary ancestor - Drekale.
The Islamization of Kuči has made a minority of inhabitants declaring as simply Montenegrins or Muslims by nationality and Bosniaks although they trace the same origin with that of their Christian brethren.
- born in Kuči
- Radonja Petrović, vojvoda (duke) of the Kuči tribe.
- Marko Miljanov (1833–1901), clan chief, Montenegrin general, and writer.
- Evgenije Popović
- Mihailo Ivanović
- Vasa Čarapić
- Novak Milošev Vujadinović, standard-bearer
- Mitar Laković, commander of the Montenegrin army at Shkodra
- Šćepo Spaić, Montenegrin army general
- pop Milisav Drakulović, priest
- pop Pero Ivanović, priest
- pop Božo Vujosević, priest
- Ana Ivanovic, famous Serbian tennis player
- Đoko Prelević, national hero
- Božina Ivanović, President of Presidency of the Socialist Republic of Montenegro
- Branimir Popović, actor
- Mladen Nelević, actor
- Branislav Milačić, football coach
- Dušan Perović, Assistant of finance ministry
- Duško Vujošević, a basketball coach
- Dejan Radonjić, former basketball player and current coach
- Branislav Prelević, former Serbian and Greek basketball player
- Aleksandar Vujošević, former basketball player and member of Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
- Djordje Bozovic "Giska", notable Serbian gangster and paramilitary leader
- Ratko Đokić "Cobra", Serbian-Swedish Mob boss
- Branko Rašović, former Montenegrin football player
- Bogdan Milić, Montenegrin footballer
- Miroslav Vujadinović, Montenegrin footballer
- Ante Miročević, former Montenegrin footballer
- Vesna Milačić, Montenegrin singer and songwriter
- Marina Kuč, Montenegrin swimmer
- Suzana Lazović, Montenegrin handball player
- by descent
- Pavle Delibašić, Serbian footballer
- Vuk Rašović, former Serbian football player and current manager of Partizan Belgrade, son of Branko Rašović
- Kuç, an Albanian toponym
- Petrović 1981, p. 23.
- Srpski etnografski zbornik. 27-28. Akademija. 1923. p. 51.
Стари Кучи су се често тукли са старим Грудама. Кучи су били јачи, па су их пљачкали и отимали им стоку. Ако би у сукобу погинуо макар само један'\'Куч, а Грудама колико, Кучи су долазили, па их пљачкали и цијело племе кажњавали.
- M. Vasić (1990), Etnički odnosi u jugoslovensko-albanskom graničnom području prema popisnom defteru sandžaka Skadar iz 1582/83. godine
- Mitološki zbornik. Centar za mitološki studije Srbije. 2004. pp. 24, 41–45.
- Elsie, p. 152
- Kulišić, Špiro (1980). O etnogenezi Crnogoraca (in Montenegrin). Pobjeda. p. 41. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Марко Миљанов (1904). Племе Кучи у народној причи и пјесми.
а Кучи су се, јамачно под повољнијем условима, измирили између 1614. и
- Belgrade (Serbia). Vojni muzej Jugoslovenske narodne armije (1968). Fourteen centuries of struggle for freedom. The Military Museum. p. xxviii.
- Zapisi. Cetinjsko istorijsko društvo. 1939.
Истога мјесеца кад је Шћепан погинуо удари на Куче везир скадарски Мехмед - паша Бушатлија , но с великом погибијом би сузбијен и врати се у Скадар .
- Летопис Матице српске. У Српској народној задружној штампарији. 1898.
Године 1774. везир скадарски Мехмед паша Бушатлија ударио је на Куче и Бјелопавлиће, који позваше у помоћ Црногорце те произиђе због овога међу Црном Гором и Арбанијом велики бој и Арбанаси су се повукли ...
- Mirko R. Barjaktarović (1984). Rovca: (etnološka monografija. Akad. p. 28.
- Zapisi; Glasnik cetinjskog istorijskog društva. 1935.
Комисија је била десет дана у Кучима и добила увјерење, да су сви Кучи једно, српско племе, да су њима, као једној породици измијешане земље и куће, да сви Кучи од Мораче до Цијевне имају своје комунице, заједничке пашњаке, једном ријечи, да је Куче немогуће подијелити. Кучи из Кучке крајине молили су сами комисију, исто као и Мркојевићи, да их не цијепају на двоје, но на једно придруже Црној Гори. Према свој овој јасности, комисија је била везана изричним наређењем берлинског уговора, да се Кучка крајина остави Турској, на што је конгрес непознавањем одношаја био заведен. Црногорски комесари из разлога, што су Кучи српско племе, што их је немогућно раздијелити, што је сам конгрес истакао начело, да се новом границом српско од арбанашкога племена одвоји — предложили су комисији линију, ...
- Mihailo Konstantinović (1953). Анали правног факултета у Београду: тромесечни часопис за правне и друштвене науке 1–2. p. 67.
- Etnografski institut (1907). Srpski etnografski zbornik 8. Akademija. p. 125–126.
- Mihailo Petrović (1941). Đerdapski ribolovi u prošlosti i u sadašnjosti 48. Izd. Zadužbine Mikh. R. Radivojeviča. p. 4.
- Sabrana djela, Volume 5. Grafički zavod. 1967. p. 30.
... дана позваће Марко, раније спомену- тога, Јуса Мучина из Подгорице, који је послије био поглавар над Кучком Крајином (Орахово, За- тријебач, Коће и Фундина). Јусо дође у Дољане. Ту је Марко тражио да му ваљадне Кучима,
- Hyacinthe Hecquard, Histoire et description de la HauteAlbanie ou Ghégarie, Paris 1859
- Miloš Velimirović, Na Komovima, Bratstvo 5, Beograd 1892, 24
- A. Jovićević, Malesija
- Jovan N. Tomić, O Arnautima u Staroj Srbiji i Sandžaku /About the Albanians in the Old Serbia and Sanjak/ (Belgrade: Geca Kon. 1913)
- Andrija Luburić, Vojvoda Jovan Mrkšić Klimenta Karađorđev ded i plavski Turci, Beograd 1937. 17.
- Milan Šufflay, Povijest sjev. Arb., Arhiv za arbanašku stranu II, 2, Beograd 1924, 197 (Croatian)
- Vladimir Ćorović (13 January 2014). Istorija srpskog naroda. eBook Portal. pp. 562–. GGKEY:XPENWQLDTZF.
- Petrović, Rastislav V. (1981). Pleme Kuči: 1684-1796. Narodna knjiga.
- Miljanov, Marko (1904). Племе Кучи у народној причи и пјесми.
- Dučić, Stevan (1931). Pleme Kuči - život i običaji. CID.
- Rašović, Marko B. (1963). Pleme Kuči : etnografsko-istorijski pregled. Štampa zavod za izradu novčanica Narodne banke.
- Erdeljanović, Jovan (1907). Кучи, племе у Црној Гори: етнолошка студија. Српска краљевска академија.