Vlach (Ottoman social class)

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Vlach (Serbo-Croatian: Vlah; plural: Vlasi) (Ottoman Turkish: Eflak; plural: Eflakân) was a social class within the Ottoman Millet system,[1] composed largely of Christian nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral populations of genuine Vlachs and Serbs.[2]

Origins[edit]

Following the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, the Vlachs, being both Orthodox and Catholic,[3] and still a largely nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral non-Slavic-speaking[4] people; played a dual role in the relations with the new Ottoman ruler. Although a few of the Orthodox Vlachs and part of the Catholic Vlachs from Duklja and Bosnia fled before the invading Ottoman armies, to Christian lands in the West (i.e. Croatia and abroad);[5] the remaining of them, both Orthodox in the central Balkans and Catholics in Herzegovina and Duklja, welcomed with joy the new situation created, since the conquerors vouchsafed to them vast ranges for themselves and their cattle and promised to improve their social position.[6] It thus propitiated special arrangements between the Turks and the Vlachs,[7] who in turn, while preserving their religion (excepting some, largely high-ranking members of society, who converted to Islam in order to secure for themselves and their families special privileges and prominent administrative positions from the Ottoman authorities), placed themselves in the Sultan's service;[8] all this made possible that the Vlachs would come to form a considerably privileged class within the Millet system in the Ottoman Empire, compared to the class of the Reaya, for more than a century.[9] In adittion, with the beginning of Ottoman rule, within this social class also came to be included other Vlach-like (pastoral semi-nomad)[10] populations, such as cattle-breeding Orthodox Serbs;[2] who also were serving as Ottoman army-attached garrisoned auxiliary units in Hungary, during the 16th century, in large numbers, jointly with the Vlachs.[11]

Ottoman service[edit]

Main article: Martolos

Due to their experience in carrying goods and the skill and speed with which they crossed the mountain regions; the Turks began to take advantage of it by employing them as auxiliary troops (voynuk), thus entrusting to them the conveyance of military supplies, the carrying out of spying operations and quick looting-sorching raids in enemy Christian territory, and the patrol of mountain gorges and boundaries in general. In adittion, they always accompanied the Ottoman armies in their expeditions throughout the Balkans, up to the North-West, in whole communities; being intended for populating the newly conquered territories as border military colonies, called katun or džemaat (which were composed of about 20 to 50 houses); at the head of which there was a katunar or primikur ("headman").[12] They also formed important as well as highly numbered Christian military garrisons (martolos) attached to the Ottoman army, in the newly conquered towns.[13] In exchange for their regular duties, they were granted privileges which were denied to all other Zimmîs by the Šerijat or Islamic Law; for example, as they served regularly as Ottoman auxiliary troops, they were allowed to bear arms and to ride horses.[14] This rewarding privileges were also extended to the economic sphere; these communities were largely exempted of paying any tax but only that of an annual rent of one gold 'ducat' or 'florin' to pay by each one of their households, hence coming to be called as "Florin" or "Ducat Vlachs" (Ottoman Turkish: Filurîci Eflakân).[15] At the same time, great Turkish and Slavic Muslim landholding military nobles (Sipahi and Timarli) often brought with them significant quantities of these Vlachs[16] (sometimes Serbs as well),[17] in order that they farmed their lands.[a]

Decline[edit]

However, during the course of time, with centralisation and changes to state structure, the economic system and military organisation occurring, many of the services that the Vlachs used to provide for the Ottomans, became superfluous. As a result, the 1520s saw the beginning of Vlach sedentarisation and a reduction of their privileges. By the end of the 16th century, these privileges resulted in the majority of Vlachs’ social standing being equalled to that of the filurîci, and later with ordinary reaya peasants.[18] Lastly, the sound Ottoman defeat at Sisak in 1592 triggered the beginning of loss of faith by these Vlachs, (both genuine Vlachs and Serbs) in those who until then had been their masters, and propitiated the passing of the Vlachs and the Serbs over to the Habsburg side (see Uprising in Banat).[19]

Tax[edit]

The Rüsûm-i Eflakiye was a tax on Vlachs in the Ottoman Empire. Vlachs in the Balkans were granted tax concessions under Byzantine and Serb rulers in return for military service; and this continued under Ottoman rule. Instead of some of the customary taxes, they paid a special "Vlach tax", Rüsûm-i Eflakiye: One sheep and one lamb from each household on St. Georges Day each year. Because Vlachs were taxed differently, they were listed differently in defters.[20]

See also[edit]

Annotations[edit]

  1. ^ It is reported in the Turali-beg's Vakufname of 1562, that some great Turkish and Bosnian Muslim Timari Spahije brought with them Orthodox Vlach population from the Sandžak of Smederevo into Bosnia, expressely for that very purpose.[21][22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 115. 
  2. ^ a b D. Gavrilović (2003). "Elements of ethnic identification of the Serbs" (PDF). Niš: 720. 
  3. ^ Dominik Mandić. Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. p. 256. 
  4. ^ Vladimir Babić; dr. Vaso Čubrilović; dr. Branislav Đurđević; Nedim Filipović; Ferdo Gastrin; dr. Bogo Grafenauer; dr. Nada Klaić; Ljuben Lape; dr. Arpad Lebl; Mitra Mitrović; Fedor Moačanin; dr. Jorjo Tadić; dr. Fran Zwitter (1959). HISTORIJA NARODA JUGOSLAVIJE, Vol. II. Školska knjiga. p. 517. 
  5. ^ Dominik Mandić. Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. p. 256. 
  6. ^ Dominik Mandić. Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. p. 256. 
  7. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 135. 
  8. ^ Dominik Mandić. Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. p. 256. 
  9. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 115. 
  10. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 134. 
  11. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 134. 
  12. ^ Dominik Mandić. Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. p. 256. 
  13. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 134. 
  14. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 135. 
  15. ^ Dominik Mandić. Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. p. 256. 
  16. ^ Dominik Mandić (1990). Hrvati i Srbi: dva stara, razlicita naroda. Nakladni zavod Matice Hrvatske. p. 201. ISBN 978-86-401-0081-6. 

    [After the fall of Bihać in 1592 the Bosnian Beylerbey Hasan Pasha Predojević settled Orthodox Vlachs from Eastern Herzegovina, especially those of his own Predojević clan, in the central part of Pounje around Brekovica, Ripač, Ostrovica and Vrla Draga up to Sokolovac.]

  17. ^ Milan Vasić (1995). Bosna i Hercegovina od srednjeg veka do novijeg vremena: međunarodni naučni skup 13-15. decembar 1994. Istorijski institut SANU. 
  18. ^ Vjeran Kursar. OTAM, 34/Güz 2013, 115-161: Being an Ottoman Vlach: On Vlach Identity (Ies), Role and Status in Western Parts of the Ottoman Balkans (15th-18th Centuries). Bir Osmanlı Eflakı Olmak: Osmanlı Balkanlarının Batı Bölgelerinde Eflak Kimliği, Görevi ve Vaziyetine Dair (15.-18. Yüzyıllar). OTAM, Ankara Üniversitesi. p. 115. 
  19. ^ Vjekoslav Klaić: Povjest Hrvata, III, p. 243-245
  20. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1996). Bosnia: A Short History. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-0-8147-5561-7. 
  21. ^ Hamdija Kreševljaković (1914). Odakle su i sta su bili Bosne i Hercegovine Muslimani?. Hrvatska Svijest. p. 10. 
  22. ^ Krunoslav S. Draganović (1940). Hrvati i Herceg-Bosna: Povodom polemike o nacionalnoj pripadnosti Herceg-Bosne. Dr.: Vrček, Sarajevo. p. 20.