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Prečani (Serbian Cyrillic: Пречани) was a Serbian blanket term used in the late 19th century to apply to Serbs who were located preko or "across" the Danube, Sava and Drina rivers, beyond the northern and western borders of 19th-century Serbia, that is, in Austria-Hungary-held Vojvodina, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
The term Prečani began to be used in the 19th century after the establishment of the Principality of Serbia, to distinguish Serbs in the newly formed principality, Serbians, and those who lived outside in the Habsburg Monarchy, the Prečani. The name was not applied to the Serbs of Montenegro or those in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar and elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire.
Politics in Austria-Hungary
In the Habsburg lands – in Kingdom of Dalmatia, the Serbs established the Serb People's Party, while in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia they established the Serb Independent Party. In 1918 the Prečani Serbs formed a notable political constituency that participated in the founding of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs as well as the joining of Banat, Bačka and Baranja with the Kingdom of Serbia. In the first Yugoslavia, their political party, the Independent Democratic Party was important in national politics. After the invasion of Yugoslavia, they were the main target of the World War II persecution of Serbs.
The term was primarily used by Serbians in former Kingdom of Serbia and was not used by the Austro-Hungarian Serbs themselves. There was no collective feeling of special identity of Prečani within the Serb people. Rather, the population which was known as Prečani is today associated with the modern geographical associations:
- Петар В Крестић (1996). Пречани и Шумадинци: Теодор Павловић и "Српске народне новине" о Кнежевини Србији, 1838-1848. Историјски институт САНУ.