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Migration flows, socio-political circumstances in the Bosnian eyalet (1683-1718)


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Smajić, Ramiza. (2019). Migration flows, socio-political circumstances in the Bosnian eyalet (1683-1718). PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of History.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij ranog novog vijeka) [mentor Moačanin, Nenad].

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Locked between the Adriatic and Pannonian basin, given the character of crossroads imposed by its geopolitical position, the Bosnian region was even till the Ottoman period of administration constantly marked by migration processes. The harder part of those migratory experiences is that they cause manifest consequences, as they have been largely an accompanying element of various interests and serious war events in, and around Bosnian region. The Bosnian eyalet as a serhat, as the most remote Krajina administrative unit of the Ottoman state, experienced its establishment and full territorial flourishment a century before the Ottoman defeat at the foot of Vienna in 1683 and the vivid war events and the consequent migrations during the next three decades. The approach for researching that period is not and cannot be the same as when researching peacetime activities, migration flows, and the organization of everyday life within the Eyalet. Therefore, chronologically through the framework of socio-political conditions in which the Ottoman state was found, and with it the Bosnian eyalet, through social structure, long-lasting migratory movements of different intensity, this paper intends to present the reality of the transition between two centuries in which the Ottoman state, due to irrecoverable territorial losses for the first time in its history, takes the ultimate defensive position. All of the above was causally and consequentially conditioned by the network of political relations between individual European countries, the relationship between the latter and the Ottoman state, and the inner relations that reflected on the situation in the Bosnian eyalet as the most remote point to the West. Encouraged by the defeat of Ottomans in the war they themselves incited, the members of the Holy League have offensively and multilaterally forced the Ottoman forces to retreat and lose territory over the coming years. The climate in Europe that was once understood as the defense of Christianity before the spread of Islam which was personified in the Ottoman state, during the Great War turned into territorial gains, individual economic interests, political goals and the better status of power. While Austria, the Venetian Republic, Poland and then Russia undertook military activities, the interest of France was to hold a somewhat neutral position toward the Ottomans. The Netherlands and England have assumed the role of intermediaries, mainly in an effort to preserve the unhindered course of trade. This paper follows their individual participation in the events at the turn of the 17th into the 18th century to that extent which it reflected on the Bosnian eyalet. The forthcoming peace negotiations accelerated the decline of the Ottoman state, which even in the regions with a preserved formal administration did not really have under its control the local authorities and the fulfillment of their obligations. The replacement of the vizier, measures aimed at economic recovery, the murder of the great vizier, the revolt of janissaries and sipahis in Istanbul, the replacement of the Sultan, the moves in the trading business, were largely in the focus of interest of all countries that were surrounding the Ottoman state and whose fields of activity were intertwined. At the territorial level, it suited Dubrovnik to preserve the Ottoman hinterland due to its separateness from Venetian territories, while Austria in the 18th century entered War for the sake of Spanish heritage, with the support of England, Netherlands, Prussia and most of the German princes. In the newly-conquered regions of the seized Ottoman territory, the Habsburgs form four captaincies, Kostajnic, Glinsko, Zrinsko and Jasenovac where the non-Muslim population from Bosnia would settle. With the establishment of peace, the Ottoman state seeks to strengthen the central government too, attentively following the situation in the territories it lost. Incited largely by Austria and England, the Ottoman-Russian war takes place and ends quickly, but by 1712 the same sides were involved in a new conflict already. Following the Ottoman-Venetian war of 1714, the period in which the Bosnian eyalet actively participated in all socio-political circumstances in which the Ottoman state was found, was concluded. One of the key phenomena that included hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of the former and remaining parts of the Ottoman state in the Balkans, and especially of the Bosnian eyalet, were migrations to the Bosnian eyalet and from the latter to the outside. Despite outstanding information obtained from the first-class sources, visit reports, church registry books, ottoman extensive cadastral registers, jizya, shikayet, and muhimme defters, the final number of people fleeing at weapon-point fearing for their own lives will never be known. The last thing on these peoples’ minds, who were coming to a new place, was to be registered somewhere, because they hoped they would return. And such people, due to often-present repudiation from locals in the new place of residence, tried to resemble the same population as soon as possible. The newly-arrived population settled in the deserted villages left so after the departure of non-Muslims from Eyalet and engaged in the actual repair of fortresses and similar. Unlike the expansion period, when the Ottoman authorities did not establish new settlements, but gradually converted the existing market grounds, urban settlements into oriental-Islamic type, in the period of withdrawal and the mass influx of immigrants into the territory of the Bosnian eyalet, new cities were formed. This often occurred at the walls of devastated and abandoned fortresses near the new frontiers. The fact that the years at the turn of the 17th into the 18th century are different in this respect, can also be seen by the fact that there were only a few individual construction projects recorded in this period, mainly those which were needed most in new circumstances, such as the bridge in Konjic. There were no more big waqfs who would completely transform the city center. Due to newly-arrived population some villages developed into towns. While during the 17th century there was a stagnation of boroughs due to the migration of non-muslim population outside Eyalet, the beginning of the 18th century is marked by individual and group returns, although much more significant changes in the number of nonMuslims were recorded from the thirties of that century. All the attention of the Ottoman center was focused on strengthening the defense of the protruding fortresses and stabilizing circumstances in which regular tax collection could boost the budget. In the villages around the fortresses that have remained more protected on the inside, jizya collection was possible, but with longer interruptions, following war events, such as the time of Eugene of Savoy’s intrusion or the events in Herzegovina ten years later, and occasional epidemics. According to certain sources, the novelty that political circumstances also brought to the construction field was a significantly increased number of private stone towers noticed for the first time as militaryresidential buildings at the border sections of the Bosnian eyalet. Yet, this was not recorded in defteries until the mid-17th century. The Ottoman legal system was based on foundations which did not allow violent Islamization, and the embrace of Islam could be traced in the preceding centuries by reading non-Muslim origin from the information on "new Muslims" (muslim-i new) from the data regarding a non-Muslim father's name or with less certainty from the Muslim father's name Abdullah. The number of registered baptized population according to Venetian, Dubrovnik and Austrian sources was minor compared to the statements of priests on how many people they had baptized. The local population’s practice of naming the immigrants by the region they come from presents a difficulty in reviewing the migrants’ origin. The family narrative often notes more details on how these same migrants went through multiple migrant experiences, and that they got their surnames only by the latter. An example may be the surname Niksic, which can refer to a man from the Niksic tribe, or people who, as the first migrants from Risna or Novi came to the deserted Onogošte and practically built Niksic, or people who did not even stop by Niksic, but through that same path their fate and circumstances brought them to Central Bosnia, so the locals remember them by the direction they arrived from. A similar situation happened to people who went to Hungarian territories, in the deserted villages following the departure of Muslim population. Some came from Bosnia with their surnames, but in the host country they got their surname Bošnjak from the region they came from. Since its foundation, the Ottoman state had had and developed the settlement policy, settling in all of its provinces, which had also been strategically implemented in Bosnia since the first conquests. Causing displacement in the territories they were conquering, the Ottomans strategically settled the population in certain areas, among which the most noticeable in the territory of the Bosnian eyalet was the Vlach element. The settlement of the nomadic population on abandoned and deserted rural areas, meadows and planting land was common. At the end of the 17th century, in parts of central Bosnia, we recognize them as the Orthodox agrarian people who pay jizya, predominantly a low amount, and often share the same territory with the Catholic people. While in such places their religion can be justifiably assumed only by the prince stated on top of the list, as the chief of the livestock of a particular group with the often-present distinct daily Orthodox or Catholic nomenclature, in the border areas the defters still distinguished the group of Vlach people (the example of defter with the villages Bekijje Krka, Klisa and Hercegovina from 1701.) Migrations were not a specific feature of the Bosnian eyalet at that time. Of course, the contextualization of migration courses and consequences in the whole territory of Balkans, and also Europe, must be taken into consideration, both because of the population from Central Bosnia leaving for the Hungarian territories, and also because of the numerous hired Arnaut soldiers from the Dukagjin or Avlonya who were ordered to come to Bosnian territory. Numerous copts coming from other Ottoman provinces would remain there and become a part of all those migrant identities that would mix in the territory of the Bosnian eyalet and become part of the colorful ethnic image of Bosnia in the phase of pre-national relations and in future socio-political systems. An interdisciplinary study of migration processes in the Ottoman period has so far not been undertaken. One type of such research can be recognized in the discourse on the traces of future ethnic denomination. Migrants’ emotions and their relationship with the place they came from belong to the field of social psychology, regardless if it is an arbitrary or unwanted migration. When it comes to population movements due to violence, fear or physical expulsion, then such movements imply the individual drama of each person. Each person will live it depending on what his world of upbringing, tradition or character is, but that individual identification is often collective too. In this way, migrations in part condition the creation of regional and local identities and to date remain recognizable in some namings, sometimes of a derogatory character. The extent of multiple mixture in the territory of the Bosnian eyalet can be seen from different interpretation possibilities of the origin of the mentioned namings. The most common differences in the meaning of the term Vlach in different regions of Eyalet, the resistance to etymologies they dislike for the word škutor (lat. scutarius, ger. schildträger, rum. scutar, church.slav. скотарь, ukr. скотар, alb. skuter, hung. szkotár, gr. σκουτάριος et al.) are just some of the examples that show the magnitude of stereotypes and prejudices in everyday speech today. Those who come to a new place always carry something from the native land. Some were wearing folk clothes, others brought character, while some brought seeds of favorite fruit, vegetable, grains, while some have recognized their beliefs or customs in the existing cultural and prayer places across Bosnia. The process of encountering, transferring and complementing various traditions has created a long-term spiritual and cultural physiognomy that is not possible to research without a multi-perspective approach to all cultural changes. Migrations are complex events themselves and their simplification deprives the quality of research. A series of details on and from the life of non-Muslim population testifies to the need of further review of all segments of Bosnia’s demographic mosaic; a more complete marker of the changes in structure and proportions of the population according to their religion, in particular by parallel review of the material such as visitors’ reports, church statistics, defters and court records. Through migration, assimilation and integration processes, religious and minority communities have changed, lost or preserved - to a greater or lesser extent - the language, customs, lifestyle, clothing, and similar. By analyzing the living conditions of each of these communities in the mentioned period, depending on socio-political events, with the parallel resolution of the individualized form of social, economic, political, cultural factors, and the survival of religious and minority communities in the territory of the Bosnian eyalet itself, the layerness of its historical-demographic matter will also be more comprehensible.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bosanski ejalet, osmanski period, migracije, društvo, politika
Subjects: History
Departments: Department of History
Supervisor: Moačanin, Nenad
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij ranog novog vijeka
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 09:35
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 09:35

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