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Lower Kolašin (Montenegrin: Доњи Колашин / Donji Kolašin), also known as Vraneš, is a geographic area in the present-day municipality of Bijelo Polje in the region of Montenegrin Sandžak. It is situated in a picturesque Vraneš Valley formed around the river Ljuboviđa. The most important local populated centers are Tomaševo and Pavino Polje.
The area of Lower Kolašin is mentioned in medieval documents in the 13th century (1281) as Ljuboviđa County. The name was derived from the river that cuts through the Vraneš Valley. The geography of Ljuboviđa County was much broader, and it included an area from the river Tara in the West to, and beyond the river Lim, in the East, and also from Brodarevo in the North to south of Mojkovac in the South.
The Ottoman Empire established its rule over a part of Vraneš in 1396, and managed to occupy the entire area by 1463-1465, making it part of Herzegovina. The first Turkish censuses from 1468 and 1477 reveal that the local administrator at that time was one Herak Vraneš, a member of the indigenous population that predates migration of Slavs from the North. Lower Kolašin remained a part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912.
In 1912, during the First Balkan War, Montenegro occupied Lower Kolašin on 12 October 1912, imposing a rule of terror and fear over the local prevalent Bosniak population. Shortly thereafter, the three local municipalities were formed in Lower Kolašin with centers in Tomaševo, Pavino Polje, and Stozer. Mass killings of local Bosniak population led to their widespread migration to Turkey.
After the local Montenegrin administrator, Boško Bošković was murdered near Obod by his Montenegrin countrymen, the Montenegrin nationalists used that as an excuse to blame a local Bosniak Jusuf Mehonić for the murder, which would open a way for the complete expulsion of Bosniaks from Lower Kolašin. On 9/10 November 1924, armed hordes of Montenegrin peasants massacred up to 600-700 Bosniaks in Lower Kolašin, committing the most atrocious crimes. Following this event, all surviving Bosniaks left Lower Kolašin, relocating to other parts of Sandžak, Bosnia or Turkey. One family converted to Orthodox Christianity, saving itself from physical extermination.
Prior to the massacre in 1924, according to the census in 1912, Lower Kolašin had 14,838 inhabitants, with the following ethnic distribution:
- Mojkovac municipality: Bosniaks 1,581, Serbs 1,293
- Ravna Rijeka municipality: Bosniaks 2,003, Serbs 679
- Stozer municipality: Bosniaks 1,160, Serbs 1,971
- Pavino Polje municipality: Bosniaks 3,230, Serbs 641;
- Tomaševo municipality: Bosniaks 2,132, Serbs 119
In percentages, the overall breakdown is:
List of Bosniak families who lived in Lower Kolasin before 1924 massacre
To be posted.
To be posted.