Serbianisation or Serbification or Serbisation (Serbian: србизација, посрбљавање, srbizacija, posrbljavanje Bulgarian: сърбизация, посръбчване/sərbizacija, posrəbčvane, Romanian: serbificarea) is the spread of Serbian culture, people, or politics, either by integration or assimilation.
In Croatia (Vlachs)
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Since Vlach leadership built a policy of friendship with the Croats, Austrians searched for allies, and found them in Patriarch Arsenije Čarnojević. In 1689, Čarnojević led thousands of Rascians, respectively Serbs, and settled them in Croatia. The number of settled Serbs varies, from 20,000 people to 36,000 families. They brought the name "Serbian" to Croatia and other areas of the Austrian Empire. Progenies of those Serbs become center to the revival of Serbian nationalism and cultural activity. After a few years, Čarnojević made an effort to unite all Croatian Orthodox population under his leadership, as it was while he was in the Ottoman Empire. He wanted Orthodox people pay taxes to his patriarchy as much as possible and soon he destroyed all effort made toward the unification of the Orthodox religion, namely the Greek Catholic Church in Croatia with the Catholic Church in Rome. The Austrian court was occupied with anti-Croatian and anti-Hungarian policy at the time so they allied with Čarnojević. Čarnojević destroyed two out of three Greek Catholic episcopacies by threats, murders and burnings. For example, in 1693 Crnojević threatened the Vlach bishop Isaija Popović that he would kill him and his priests if he didn't denounce the Catholic Church. Popović probably denied the denouncement, since he and his priests were killed. Čarnojević's actions were supported by the Austrian Government.
The serbianization of the Vlachs was mainly conducted by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Since the majority of the Vlach population of Croatia was Orthodox or Greek Catholic, and since their episcopacies were destroyed, they become subjects of the Serbian Orthodox Church, later identifying themselves as Serbs. Soon, serbianized Vlachs become the bulk of the Serb population in Croatia.
During the regime of Karoly Khuen-Hedervary, an ethnic Hungarian who was the Ban of Croatia, serbianized population was used as a tool for foreign power in Croatia. It was specifically used against Croatians.
We find here, as everywhere else, the ordinary measures of "Serbization" — the closing of schools, disarmament, invitations to schoolmasters to become Servian officials, nomination of "Serbomanes," "Grecomanes," and vlachs, as village headmen, orders to the clergy of obedience to the Servian Archbishop, acts of violence against influential individuals, prohibition of transit, multiplication of requisitions, forged signatures to declarations and patriotic telegrams, the organization of special bands, military executions in the villages and so forth.
— Report of the International Commission
Immediately after annexation of Vardar Macedonia to the Kingdom of Serbia, the Macedonian Slavs were faced with the policy of forced serbianisation. Those who declare as the Bulgarians were, harassed or deported to Bulgaria. Many high clergy of Bulgarian Orthodox Church were expelled: Cosmas of Debar (Bishop), Axentius of Bitola (Archbishop), Neophytus of Skopje, Meletius of Veles, Boris of Ohrid and others. The population of Macedonia was forced to declare as Serbs. Those who refused were beaten and tortured. prominent people and teachers from Skopje who refused to declare as Serbs were deported to Bulgaria. International Commission concluded that the Serbian state started in Macedonia wide sociological experiment of "assimilation through terror."
During the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the government of the Kingdom pursued a linguistic Serbisation policy towards population of the Macedonia, then called "Southern Serbia" (unofficially) or "Vardar Banovina" (officially). The dialects spoken in this region were referred to as dialects of Serbo-Croatian. Either way, those southern dialects were suppressed with regards education, military and other national activities, and their usage was punishable. The Serbianisation of the Bulgarian language and population in Republic of Macedonia increased after WWII. Persons declaring their Bulgarian identity were imprisoned or went into exile, and in this way Vardar Macedonia was effectively de-Bulgarised.
The Albanian population of Macedonia was also subjected to policies of Serbianisation, especially from 1912 until the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, when the Slavic Macedonian language became prominent and was imposed upon the Albanian population.
Romanians and Vlachs
In the Military Frontier (1500–1800)
Serbs in the Roman Catholic Croatian Military Frontier were out of the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć and in 1611, after demands from the community, the Pope establishes the Eparchy of Marča (Vratanija) with seat at the Serbian-built Marča Monastery and instates a Byzantine vicar as bishop sub-ordinate to the Roman Catholic bishop of Zagreb, working to bring Serbian Orthodox Christians into communion with Rome which caused struggle of power between the Catholics and the Serbs over the region. In 1695 Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Lika-Krbava and Zrinopolje is established by metropolitan Atanasije Ljubojevic and certified by Emperor Josef I in 1707. In 1735 the Serbian Orthodox protested in the Marča Monastery and becomes part of the Serbian Orthodox Church until 1753 when the Pope restores the Roman Catholic clergy. On June 17, 1777 the Eparchy of Križevci is permanently established by Pope Pius VI with see at Križevci, near Zagreb, thus forming the Croatian Greek Catholic Church which would after the World War I include other people; Rusyns and Ukrainians of Yugoslavia.
The term Arnauti or Arnautaši was coined by Serbian ethnographers for allegedly "Albanized Serbs"; Serbs who were thought to have converted to Islam and supposedly went through a process of Albanisation. This supposed process is opposed by Albanian scholars and there is no consensus among Western scholars[weasel words] on the issue.[dubious ]
When Dr Jovan Hadži Vasiljević (l. 1866–1948) visited Orahovac in World War I, he could not distinguish Orthodox from Islamicized and Albanized Serbs. They spoke Serbian, wore the same costumes, but claimed Serbian, Albanian or Turk ethnicity. The Albanian starosedeoci (old urban families) were Slavophone; they did not speak Albanian but a Slavic dialect (naš govor, Our language) at home.
In the 1921 census the majority of Muslim Albanians of Orahovac were registered under the category "Serbs and Croats". This is contrary to the belief that Islamisation led to Albanisation. This suggests that claims of Islamisation has led to Albanisation of Serbs are difficult to prove. Also, there has been a continuous and considerable presence of a Slavic Muslim population in Kosovo.
Mark Krasniqi, the Kosovo Albanian ethnographer, recalled in 1957: "During my own research, some of them told me that their tongue is similar to Macedonian rather than Serbian (it is clear that they want to dissociate themselves from everything Serbian). It is likely they are the last remnants of what is now known in Serbian sources as 'Arnautaši', Islamicised and half-way Albanianised Slavs."
The region of present-day Macedonia is sometimes called southern Serbia (part of Old Serbia) by Serbs. Marshall Tito formed SR Macedonia out of a part of 1929–1941 Vardar Banovina, and encouraged the forming of the Macedonian identity, a Macedonian dialect, and subsequently the separation of Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Macedonia.
Notable individuals of non-Serb origin who declare as Serbs
- General Pavle Jurišić Šturm (Paulus Sturm), World War I hero, of Sorbian origin
- Branislav Nušić, writer, of Aromanian origin
- Josif Pančić, botanist and first president of SANU, of Croatian origin
- Frenki Simatović, former head of the Special Forces of State Security of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs during the reign of Slobodan Milošević, of Croat origin.
- Emir Kusturica, award-winning filmmaker of Muslim origin. Claims to be of Serb descent.
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- Religion and the politics of identity in Kosovo, p. 73: see footnotes
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- Halpern, Dan (2005-05-08). "The (Mis)Directions of Emir Kusturica". The New York Times.
- Glas Javnosti, 19 January 2001, Ko je ovaj čovek: Emir Kusturica, by Zorica Vulić