|Regions with significant populations|
|Gheg Albanian Arbanasi dialect, Croatian, historically Venetian|
Arbanasi is a community in the Zadar region, Croatia, of Albanian origin, who traditionally speak the Arbanasi dialect of Gheg Albanian. Their name means Albanians in Croatian and is the toponymy of the first Arbanasi settlement in the region, which today is a suburb of Zadar. In Albanian literature, they are known as "Albanians of Zadar" (Arbëreshët e Zarës).
Today, the community is spread across Croatia. Their original settlements were Arbanasi of Zadar and some villages around Zadar, namely Zemunik, Dračevac, Crno, Ploča, etc. The former village derived its name from its founders, the Albanians. The Arbanasi are known to have settled the area during two different periods of migration; the first in 1655 and the second in 1726-33. These settlers were said to be part of the Kastrioti clan, one of the numerous Northern Albanian clans known to have existed.
Arbanasi (Арбанаси) is the old ethnonym that the South Slavs used to denote Albanians, dating back to the Middle Ages. The origin of the Croatian Arbanas is from Skadarska Krajina (Albanian: Krajë) region from the villages of Briska (Brisk), Šestan (Shestan), Livari (Ljare), and Podi (Pod) located in modern southern Montenegro. Every one of the inhabitants of the village of Pod had left for migration in 1726, leaving the village completely abandoned. Ruins of old houses can still be found in the area today.  They originated from the hinterland, demonstrated by the names of fish coming from the Croatian language. This population migrated into what is today Croatia in two different periods, first in 1655 to Pula, Istria[better source needed] and then 1726–27 and 1733, to the Zadar area, supported and planned by Archbishop of Zara Vicko Zmajević and the Venetian republic to repopulate the countryside and hinterland of Zadar.
The first migration to Zadar was mentioned in March 23, 1726, when first arrivals who numbered around 56 individuals, and afterwards another 28 families, were temporarily settled in Kaštel Novi, today Herceg Novi. It is considered[by whom?] that they arrived in Zadar in the summer, in July. The group was guided by two brothers of the Pretani family, and the following people are mentioned: Luca d'Andrea Gezghenovich, Nicolo di Luca Marghicevich, Nicolo d'Andrea Gasparovich, Giovanni d'Andrea Gezghenovich, Pere di Marco, Prem Vuca Marghicevich, Paolo Giech Marghicevich, Giech Prend Marghicevich, Giech Pepa Marghicevich, Marco Discialo Marghicevich, Prenz Prema Marghicevich, Petar Vuca Gianova, Nico Matessich, Luca Prend, Boso Nico Smira, Stanica Gielencovich, Visco Gielencovich, Lech Pero Marghicevich i Luca Lucich.
The second migration to Zadar was in 1733, and in the document from March 11, 1735 can be seen another 28 families and some members: Nicolo Andre, Crasto Covac, Marco Giocca, Giocca Gionon, Giocca Giuchin, Stjepo Gjuri, Stiepo Luco, Prento Kneunichi, Lecca Marco, Prento Marcov, Paolo Marussich, Mar Mazia, Marco Nicadobrez, Pema Nichin, Nicolo Pantov, Marco Pertu, Frane Popovich, Paolo Prendi, Nicola Rose, Rado Ruco, Gen Sperc, Prento Stani, Vuco Tamartinovich, Vuksa Tancovich, Pietro Tioba, Andrea Toma, Capitano Nicolo Vlagdan i Jovan Vucin. They bore surnames Duka (Duca), Prema (extinct), Mazija (Mazia), Cotić (extinct branch of Mazija), Marušić, Ratković, Krstić, Stipčević, Mužanović (initially called Kovač), Maršan, Vladović (Vlagdan), Ugrin, Luco, Relja (branch of Vladović), Nikpalj, Musap (branch of Duka), Morović (from Petani), Prenđa (Prendi), Gjergja (Đerda), Tokša, Tamartinović, as well three Montenegrin families Zanković, Popović, and Škopelja. Other surnames are Dešpalj, Kalmeta, Karuc (Karuz), Kotlar, Jelenković, Jović, Perović, Vukić and Ćurković.
Around the same time, Chakavian-speaking families from Kukljica, Ugljan, and Zadar hinterland, settled among the Arbanasi, and included: Bajlo, Dadić, Tomas, Ćućula, Matešić, Matijaš, Bulić, Banić, Smolčić, Grdović, Zubčić, Ljubičić, Labus, who eventually integrated into the Arbanasi community to the extent that they are now considered real Arbanasi.
Their church, Saint Mary of Loreto, was built from 1734, and founded in 1737.
All these groups were integrated into the social and economic sphere of Venetian Dalmatia, but they preserved their language, customs and songs. First, the Albanian community worked to claim the marshy areas near their settlement (Arbanasi), which was originally an island now connected to the mainland, and then got the leasing right of cultivation of the land.[when?] The Venetian government took charge of construction of many homes and, at first, even meals.
Since 1901 the Arbanasi are also equipped with an Albanian school and in 1910 James Vuçani promoted and organized the "Italo-Albanian Association". After the Second World War, many Arbanasi from village Borgo Erizzo emigrated to Italy, following the Yugoslav takeover of Zadar. In modern times about 4000 Arbanasi remain in Croatia.
- Šime Dešpalj (1897–1981) – composer, music teacher, writer
- Pavle Dešpalj (b. 1934) – music conductor and composer, member of HAZU
- Valter Dešpalj (b. 1947) – cellist and professor on Academy of Music in Zagreb
- Šime (Simeone) Duka (1915-2006) – secretary of Vatican archives
- Josip Gjergja (b. 1937) – basketball player
- Mladen Grdović (b. 1958) – singer
- Božidar Kalmeta (b. 1958) – Mayor of Zadar 1994–2003 and 2013-present, former Croatian government minister
- Ratimir Kalmeta (1916-2005) – geographer and linguist
- Kruno Krstić (1905-1987) – lexicographer
- Hrvoje Macanović (1904-1980) – sport journalist
- Đani Maršan (b. 1944) – singer, musician, diplomat and Croatian Consul
- Bepo Matešić – tenor singer
- Berto Matešić – tenor singer
- Ivica Matešić Jeremija (b. 1959) – writer, military diplomat and holder of the Order of Danica Hrvatska for culture
- Ivo Perović (1882-1958) – Ban (Viceroy) and Regent of Yugoslavia for the underage Peter II from 1934 to 1941
- Ivan Prenđa (1939-2010) – archbishop of the Archdiocese of Zadar
- Aleksandar Stipčević (1930-2015) – an archeologist, historian, and member of ASHAK
- Ennio Stipčević (b. 1959) - musicologist, member of HAZU
- Josip Vladović Relja – writer
- Elsie, Robert (2004). Historical dictionary of Albania. Scarecrow Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8108-4872-6. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- Victor A. Friedman (1997). One Grammar, Three Lexicons: Ideological Overtones and Underpinnings in the Balkan Sprachbund (PDF). University of Chicago.
- Mijo Čurković (1922). Povijest Arbanasa kod Zadra. E. Vitaliani.
- Lloshi 1999, p. 277. "The Albanians of today call themselves shqiptarë, their country Shqipëri, and their language shqipe. These terms came into use between the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries. Foreigners call them albanesi (Italian), Albaner (German), Albanians (English), Alvanos (Greek), and Arbanasi (old Serbian), the country Albania, Albanie, Albanien, Alvania, and Albanija, and the language Albanese, Albanisch, Albanian, Alvaniki, and Arbanashki respectively. All these words are derived from the name Albanoi of an Illyrian tribe and their center Albanopolis, noted by the astronomer of Alexandria, Ptolemy, in the 2nd century AD. Alban could he a plural of alb- arb-, denoting the inhabitants of the plains (ÇABEJ 1976). The name passed over the boundaries of the Illyrian tribe in central Albania, and was generalised for all the Albanians. They called themselves arbënesh, arbëresh, the country Arbëni, Arbëri, and the language arbëneshe, arbëreshe. In the foreign languages, the Middle Ages denominations of these names survived, but for the Albanians they were substituted by shqiptarë, Shqipëri and shqipe.
- Kamusella 2009, p. 241. "Prior to the emergence of the modern self-ethnonym Shqiptarë in the mid-16th century (for the first time it was recorded in 1555 by the Catholic Gheg, Gjon Buzuku, in his missal), North Albanians (Ghegs) referred to themselves as Arbën, and South Albanians (Tosks) Arbër. Hence, the self-ethnonym Arbëreshë of the present-day Italo-Albanians (numbering about 100,000) in southern Italy and Sicily, whose ancestors, in the wake of the Ottoman wars, emigrated from their homeland in the 14th century. These self-ethnonyms perhaps influenced the Byzantine Greek Arvanites for ‘Albanians,’ which was followed by similar ones in Bulgarian and Serbian (Arbanasi), Ottoman (Arnaut), Romanian (Arbănas), and Aromanian (Arbineş).
- Demiraj 2010, pp. 534. "The ethnic name shqiptar has always been discussed together with the ethnic complex: (tosk) arbëresh, arbëror, arbër — (gheg) arbënesh, arbënu(e)r, arbën; i.e. [arbën/r(—)]. p.536. Among the neighbouring peoples and elsewhere the denomination of the Albanians is based upon the root arb/alb, cp. Greek ’Αλβανός, ’Αρβανός "Albanian", ‘Αρβανίτης "Arbëresh of Greece", Serbian Albanac, Arbanas, Bulg., Mac. албанец, Arom. arbinés (Papahagi 1963 135), Turk. arnaut, Ital. albanese, German Albaner etc. This basis is in use among the Arbëreshs of Italy and Greece as well; cp. arvanit, more rarely arbëror by the arbëreshs of Greece
- Barančić 2008, p. 551. "Možemo reći da svi na neki način pripadamo nekoj vrsti etničke kategorije, a često i više nego jednoj. Kao primjer navodim slučaj zadarskih Arbanasa. Da bismo shvatili Arbanase i problem njihova etnojezičnog (etničkog i jezičnog) identiteta, potrebno je ići u povijest njihova doseljenja koje seže u početak 18. st., tj. točnije: razdoblje od prve seobe 1726., razdoblje druge seobe od 1733., pa sve do 1754. godine koja se smatra završnom godinom njihova doseljenja. Svi su se doselili iz tri sela s područja Skadarskog jezera - Briske, Šestana i Livara. Bježeći od Turaka, kuge i ostalih nevolja, generalni providur Nicola Erizzo II dozvolio im je da se nasele u područje današnjih Arbanasa i Zemunika. Jedan dio stanovništva u Zemuniku se asimilirao s ondašnjim stanovništvom zaboravivši svoj jezik. To su npr. današnji Prenđe, Šestani, Ćurkovići, Paleke itd. Drugi dio stanovništva je nastojao zadržati svoj etnički i jezični identitet tijekom ovih 280 godina. Dana 10. svibnja 2006. godine obilježena je 280. obljetnica njihova dolaska u predgrađe grada Zadra. Nije bilo lako, osobito u samom početku, jer nisu imali svoju crkvu, škole itd., pa je jedini način održavanja njihova identiteta i jezika bio usmenim putem. We can say that all in some way belong to a kind of ethnic category, and often more than one. As an example, I cite the case of Zadar Arbanasi. To understand the problem of the Albanians and their ethnolinguistic (ethnic and linguistic) identity, it is necessary to go into the history of their immigration that goes back to the beginning of the 18th century., etc more precisely: the period from the first migration of 1726, the period of the second migration of 1733, and until 1754, which is considered to be the final year of their immigration. All they moved from three villages from the area of Lake Scutari - Briska, Šestan and Livara. Fleeing from the Ottomans, plague and other troubles, the general provider Nicola Erizzo II allowed them to settle in the area of today's Arbanasa and Zemunik. One part of the population in Zemunik became assimilated with the local population, forgetting their language. These are for example, today's Prenda, Šestani, Ćurkovići, Paleke etc. The second part of the population tried to maintain their ethnic and linguistic identity during these 280 years. On May 10, 2006 marked the 280th anniversary of their arrival in the suburb of Zadar. It was not easy, especially in the beginning, because they did not have their own church, school, etc., and is the only way to maintain their identity and language was verbally."
- Barančić 2008.
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- "Arbanasi slave 290 godina od dolaska u Zadar" (in Croatian). 057info.hr. 2016-05-10. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Milan Nosić (2006). "Život i djelo Ratimira Kalmete". Riječ - časopis za slavensku filologiju (in Croatian). Rijeka: Hrvatsko filološko društvo. 12 (3): 7–22. ISSN 1330-917X.
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- Irena Jurjević (2010-10-11). "Najbolja snaga je dobra čaša crnog vina i jedna slana srdela" (in Croatian). Zadarski list. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Petar Jurić (2016-05-10). "Došli prije 290 godina: Ovisno o vremenu i općim prilikama, u Arbanasima je bilo i prohrvata i pravaša i projugoslavena i protalijana i fašista i komunista i žestokih rimokatolika…" (in Croatian). Antena Zadar. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Zašto Zadarska nadbiskupija 16. prosinca ne slavi blagdan Sv. Zolila?" (in Croatian). 057info.hr. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
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