Sandžak

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This article is about a geopolitical region in Serbia and Montenegro. For districts of the Ottoman Empire, see Sanjak.
Location of Sandžak in Serbia and Montenegro
Map of the south Raška/Sandžak region in Serbia and Montenegro at its largest geographical extent. According to some other views, the Montenegrin municipalities of Plav and Andrijevica might not belong to south Sandžak.

Sandžak (Serbian Cyrillic: Санџак, pronounced [sǎndʒak]) is a historical geo-political region, now divided by the border between Serbia and Montenegro.[1] Тhe name Sandžak derives from the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, a former Ottoman administrative district. Between 1878 and 1909 the region was placed under Austro-Hungarian occupation, following which it was ceded back to the Ottoman Empire. In 1912 the region was divided between the kingdoms of Montenegro and Serbia. Montenegrins and Serbs refer to the region by its medieval name Raška. The most populous city in the region is Novi Pazar, followed by Pljevlja.

Name[edit]

Sandžak is the transcription of Turkish sancak (sanjak, "province"); the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, known in Serbo-Croatian as Novopazarski sandžak. In Serbian, the region is known by its pre-Ottoman name, Raška.

Geography[edit]

It stretches from the southeastern border of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the borders with Kosovo and Albania at an area of 8,403 square kilometers. Six municipalities of Sandžak are in Serbia (Novi Pazar, Sjenica, Tutin, Prijepolje, Nova Varoš, and Priboj), and five in Montenegro (Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, Berane, Rožaje, and Plav). Sometimes the Montenegrin municipality of Andrijevica is also regarded as part of Sandžak.

The largest city in the region is Novi Pazar (125,000), while other large cities are: Pljevlja (30,350), and Priboj (22,600). In Serbia, the municipalities of Novi Pazar and Tutin are included into Raška District, while the municipalities of Sjenica, Prijepolje, Nova Varoš, and Priboj, are included into Zlatibor District.

Background[edit]

Sanjak of Novi Pazar in 1878.

The Serbian Despotate was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1455. During the Ottoman rule, many inhabitants converted to Islam. The convertions were caused by number of factors, mainly economic as Muslims paid lower taxes.[2] The Muslims were also privileged compared to Christians, who were unable to work in the administration or testify in court against Muslims.[3] The second factor that contributed to the Islamisation were migrations. A large demographic shift occurred as Serbs fought several wars against the Ottoman Empire. The Turks drove the Christian population northwards, while Muslims were driven to the Ottoman territory. The land abandoned by the Serbs was settled by Muslims, mainly ethnic Serbs who confessed Islam and Turks, but also significant population from the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Asia Minor. Large migrations occurred throughout the 18th and 19th century. The third factor of Islamisation was the geographical location of Sandžak, which allowed it to become a trade centre, facilitating conversions amongst merchants.[4]

History[edit]

The second half of the 19th century was very important in terms of shaping the current ethnic and political situation in Sandžak. Austria-Hungary supported Sandžak's separation from the Ottoman Empire, or at least its autonomy within it. The reason was to prevent Serbia and Montenegro to unify, and allow Austria-Hungary's further expansion to the Balkans. Per these plans, Sandžak was seen as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while its Muslim population played a significant role giving Austrian-Hungarians a pretext of protecting the Muslim minority from the Christian Orthodox Serbs.[5]

Administratively it was part of the Sanjak of Bosnia until 1790, when it become a separated Sanjak of Novi Pazar. However, in 1867, it become a part of the Bosnia Vilayet that consisted of seven sanjaks, including the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. This led to Sandžak Muslims identifying themselves with other Slavic Muslims in Bosnia.[6]

In October 1912, Sandžak was recaptured by Serbian and Montenegrin troops in the First Balkan War, and its territory was divided between the Kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro.[7] Many Slavic Muslims and Albanian inhabitants of Sandžak emigrated to Turkey as muhajirs. There are numerous colonies of Sandžak Bosniaks in Turkey, in and around Edirne, Istanbul, Adapazarı,(İzmir)(Çeşme peninsula) Bursa, and Samsun among others[citation needed]. During World War I, Sandžak was under occupation of Austria-Hungary from 1915 to 1918.

After the end of the World War I, Sandžak was included in the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It was a link between the Muslims in the West in Bosnia and Herzegovina and those in the East in Kosovo and Macedonia. Sandžak was the only region in Serbia populated by the Slavic Muslims.[5] The Sandžak Muslims suffered from the loss of their economic status since the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and during the agrarian reform carried out in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This also led to the Muslim emigrations to the Ottoman Empire.[8]

Partisans enter Novi Pazar
Area under jurisdiction of the National Anti-Fascist Council of the People's Liberation of Sandžak (ZAVNOS), 1943-1945.

The new communist regime in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia found Sandžak with the Slavic Muslim minority of 43% and the Serb majority of 56%, along with smaller Albanian and Catholic minorities. During the World War II, until its abolition, Sandžak had an equal status to other federal units.[9] The Muslims, who had generally anti-Partisan attitude, wanted unification of Sandžak with Bosnia and Herzegovina, or at least to be taken as a whole either by Serbia or Montenegro. However, Sandžak was later divided between Serbia and Montenegro, the outcome the Muslims wanted the least.[10]

The Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Sandžak (AVNOS) had been founded on 20 November 1943 in Pljevlja.[11] In January 1944, the Land Assembly of Montenegro and the Bay of Kotor cited Sandžak as part of a future Montenegrin federal unit. However, in March, the Communist Party opposed this, insisting that Sandžak's representatives at AVNOJ should decide on the matter.[12] In February 1945, the Presidency of the AVNOJ made a decision to oppose the Sandžak's autonomy. The AVNOJ explained that the Sandžak hadn't a national basis for an autonomy and opposed crumbling of the Serbian and Montenegrin totality.[13] On 29 March 1945 in Novi Pazar, the AVNOS accepted the decision of the AVNOJ and divided itself between Serbia and Montenegro.[14] Sandžak was divided based on the 1912 demarcation line.[13]

Economically, Sandžak remained undeveloped. It had a small amount of crude and low-revenue industry. Freight was transported by trucks over poor roads. Schools for business students, which remained poor in general education, were opened for working-class youth. The Sandžak had no faculty, not even a department or any school of higher education.[8]

Sandžak saw a process of industrialisation, during which factories were opened in several cities, including Novi Pazar, Prijepolje, Priboj, Ivangrad, while the coal mines were opened in the Prijepolje area. The urbanisation caused a major social and economic shift. Many people left villages for towns. The national composition of the urban centres was changed to the disadvantage of the Muslims, as most of those who inhabited the cities were Serbs. The Muslims continued to lose their economic status, continuing the trend inherited from the time of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the agrarian reform in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.[8] The emigration of the Muslims to Turkey also continued, caused by the general undevelopment of the region, disagreement with the communist authorities and the mistrust with the Serbs and Montenegrins, but also due to the nationalisation and expropriation of property. Serbs from Sandžak also moved to the wealthier regions of the central Serbia or to Belgrade or Vojvodina, while the Muslims moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.[15]

With the democratic changes in Serbia in 2000, the ethnic Bosniaks were enabled to start participating in the political life in Serbia and Montenegro, including Rasim Ljajić, an ethnic Bosniak, who was a minister in the Government of Serbia and Montenegro, and Rifat Rastoder, who is the Deputy President of the Parliament of Montenegro.

Also, the census data shows a general emigration of all nationalities from this underdeveloped region.

Demographics[edit]

Sandžak is a very ethnically diverse region. According to the 2002/2003 Yugoslav census, a total of 235,567 people live in the Serbian portion. Bosniaks hold an overall majority in the region, concentrated in the eastern area. However, Serbs make up the majority in most of the west. Most Bosniaks declared themselves Muslims by nationality in 1991 census. By the 2002/2003 census, however, most of them declared themselves Bosniaks. There is still a significant minority that identify as Muslims by nationality to this day. There are still some Albanian villages (Boroštica, Doliće and Ugao) in the Pešter region. Though due to past sociopolitical discrimination of Albanians in the former Yugoslavia after World War Two, these Albanians have opted to refer to themselves in censuses as Bosniaks.[16]


Serbian Sandžak[edit]

Municipality Nationality
Total
Bosniaks
%
Serbs
%
Montenegrins
%
Muslims
%
Albanians
%
others
%
Novi Pazar
77,443
77.13
16,234
16.17
44
0.04
4,102
4.08
202
0.20
2,385
2.38
100,410
Prijepolje
12,792
34.52
19,496
52.61
16
0.04
3,543
9.56
18
0.05
1,194
3.22
37,059
Tutin
28,041
90.00
1,090
3.50
16
0.05
1,092
3.51
29
0.09
887
2.85
31,155
Priboj
3,811
14.05
20,582
75.86
119
0.44
1,944
7.16
3
0.01
674
2.48
27,133
Sjenica
19,498
73.88
5,264
19.94
15
0.06
1,234
4.68
29
0.11
352
1.33
26,392
Nova Varoš
788
4.73
14,899
89.55
31
0.19
526
3.16
3
0.02
391
2.35
16,638
Serbian Sandžak
142,373
59.62
77,555
32.48
241
0.10
12,441
5.21
284
0.12
5,893
2.47
238,787
2011 census

Montenegrin Sandžak[edit]

According to the 2011 statistical data for Montenegro, the Montenegrin part numbers 151,950 people. The ethnic composition of the Montenegrin part is significantly more mixed than that of the Serbian part. No ethnic groups forms an absolute majority in the Montenegrin part.

Municipality Nationality
Total
Bosniaks
%
Serbs
%
Montenegrins
%
Muslims
%
Albanians
%
others
%
Bijelo Polje
12,592
27.34
16,562
35.96
8,808
19.13
5,985
13.00
57
0.12
2,047
4.45
46,051
Berane
6,021
17.72
14,592
42.95
8,838
26.02
1,957
5.76
70
0.21
2,492
7.34
33,970
Pljevlja
2,128
6.91
17,569
57.07
7,494
24.34
1,739
5.65
17
0.06
1,839
5.97
30,786
Rožaje
19,269
83.91
822
3.58
401
1.75
1,044
4.55
1,158
5.04
270
1.17
22,964
Plav
6,803
51.90
2,098
16.00
822
6.27
727
5.55
2,475
18.88
183
1.40
13,108
Andrijevica
0
0.00
3,137
61.86
1,646
32.46
7
0.14
1
0.02
280
5.52
5,071
Montenegrin Sandžak
46,813
30.81
54,780
36.05
28,009
18.43
11,459
7.54
3,778
2.49
7,111
4.68
151,950
2011 census

Sandžak as a whole[edit]

A calculation of the two censuses puts Sandžak's total population at just over 390,000. The relative majority is held by the roughly 189,190 Bosniaks, who form 48.4% of the region's population. Serbs form 33.9% (132,345), while Montenegrins form 7.25% (28,323), Muslims by nationality 6.11% (23,900), and Albanians 1.04% (4,062).

Municipality Nationality
Total
Bosniaks
%
Serbs
%
Montenegrins
%
Muslims
%
Albanians
%
others
%
Novi Pazar
77,443
77.13
16,234
16.17
44
0.04
4,102
4.08
202
0.20
2,385
2.38
100,410
Bijelo Polje
12,592
27.34
16,562
35.96
8,808
19.13
5,985
13.00
57
0.12
2,047
4.45
46,051
Prijepolje
12,792
34.52
19,496
52.61
16
0.04
3,543
9.56
18
0.05
1,194
3.22
37,059
Berane
6,021
17.72
14,592
42.95
8,838
26.02
1,957
5.76
70
0.21
2,492
7.34
33,970
Tutin
28,041
90.00
1,090
3.50
16
0.05
1,092
3.51
29
0.09
887
2.85
31,155
Pljevlja
2,128
6.91
17,569
57.07
7,494
24.34
1,739
5.65
17
0.06
1,839
5.97
30,786
Priboj
3,811
14.05
20,582
75.86
119
0.44
1,944
7.16
3
0.01
674
2.48
27,133
Sjenica
19,498
73.88
5,264
19.94
15
0.06
1,234
4.68
29
0.11
352
1.33
26,392
Rožaje
19,269
83.91
822
3.58
401
1.75
1,044
4.55
1,158
5.04
270
1.17
22,964
Nova Varoš
788
4.73
14,899
89.55
31
0.19
526
3.16
3
0.02
391
2.35
16,638
Plav
6,803
51.90
2,098
16.00
822
6.27
727
5.55
2,475
18.88
183
1.40
13,108
Andrijevica
0
0.00
3,137
61.86
1,646
32.46
7
0.14
1
0.02
280
5.52
5,071
Sandžak
189,186
48.42
132,335
33.86
28,250
7.23
23,900
6.12
4,062
1.04
13,004
3.33
390,737
2011 census

Politics[edit]

During the existence of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and then the union of Serbia and Montenegro, some Bosniak politicians advocated for territorial autonomy for Sandžak. The most radical proposal was for Sandžak to be given the status of an autonomous republic within the federation. The Sandžak republic would be created out of both the Serbian and the Montenegrin parts of the region.

The separation of Serbia and Montenegro has turned Sandžak into a binational region. Since the region now straddles an international border, the possibility of a single autonomous republic has become very remote. Instead, it is likely that future proposals for autonomy will focus on each country's portion of the region separately.

Since the Serbian and Montenegrin populations in this ethnically mixed region are generally opposed to the idea of autonomy, it is likely than an autonomous Sandžak would include only the Bosniak-majority eastern municipalities and exclude the majority Serbian and Montenegrin western municipalities.

The Bosniak National Council of Serbia and Montenegro represented the region at the UNPO since 1993. This political pressure group organized a referendum in October 1991 where 98% of the voters opted in favour of autonomy.[citation needed] The Council claims a 69% turnout, although this has not been verified by an independent body.[citation needed]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Karen Dawisha; Bruce Parrott (13 June 1997). Politics, Power and the Struggle for Democracy in South-East Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-521-59733-3. 
  2. ^ Górak-Sosnowska 2011, p. 328.
  3. ^ Todorović 2012, p. 13.
  4. ^ Górak-Sosnowska 2011, p. 328–329.
  5. ^ a b Górak-Sosnowska 2011, p. 329.
  6. ^ Todorović 2012, p. 11.
  7. ^ "The Austrian Occupation of Novibazar, 1878–1909". Mount HolyOak. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c Hadžišehović, Butler & Risaluddin 2003, p. 132.
  9. ^ Banac 1988, p. 100.
  10. ^ Banac 1988, p. 100–101.
  11. ^ Jelić & Strugar 1985, p. 82, 134.
  12. ^ Banac 1988, p. 101.
  13. ^ a b Banac 1988, p. 102.
  14. ^ Jelić & Strugar 1985, p. 144.
  15. ^ Hadžišehović, Butler & Risaluddin 2003, p. 133.
  16. ^ Andrea Pieroni, Maria Elena Giusti, & Cassandra L. Quave (2011). "Cross-cultural ethnobiology in the Western Balkans: medical ethnobotany and ethnozoology among Albanians and Serbs in the Pešter Plateau, Sandžak, South-Western Serbia." Human Ecology. 39.(3): 335. "The current population of the Albanian villages is partly “bosniakicised”, since in the last two generations a number of Albanian males began to intermarry with (Muslim) Bosniak women of Pešter. This is one of the reasons why locals in Ugao were declared to be “Bosniaks” in the last census of 2002, or, in Boroštica, to be simply “Muslims”, and in both cases abandoning the previous ethnic label of “Albanians”, which these villages used in the census conducted during “Yugoslavian” times. A number of our informants confirmed that the self-attribution “Albanian” was purposely abandoned in order to avoid problems following the Yugoslav Wars and associated violent incursions of Serbian para-military forces in the area. The oldest generation of the villagers however are still fluent in a dialect of Ghegh Albanian, which appears to have been neglected by European linguists thus far. Additionally, the presence of an Albanian minority in this area has never been brought to the attention of international stakeholders by either the former Yugoslav or the current Serbian authorities."

Books[edit]

  • Banac, Ivo (1988). With Stalin Against Tito: Cominformist Splits in Yugoslav Communism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801421861. 
  • Górak-Sosnowska, Katarzyna (2011). Muslims in Poland and Eastern Europe: Widening the European Discourse on Islam. Warszaw: Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warszaw. ISBN 8390322951. 
  • Hadžišehović, Munevera; Butler, Thomas J.; Risaluddin, Saba (2003). A Muslim Woman in Tito's Yugoslavia. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1585443042. 
  • Jelić, Ivan; Strugar, Novak (1985). War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945. Belgrade: Socialist Thought and Practice. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°09′47″N 19°46′30″E / 43.16306°N 19.77500°E / 43.16306; 19.77500