Page 582 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 582

Dušan T. Bataković
The Ottoman sources show that between 1520 and 1535 only 700 of 19,614 households in the Vučitrn district were Muslim (about 3.5 percent), with 359 (2.0 percent) in the Prizren district. in areas beyond the geographic borders of Kosovo and Metohija, in the Scutari and Dukagjin dis- tricts, Muslims accounted for 4.6 percent of the popula- tion. according to an analysis of names registered by the census of the Dukagjin district, albanian settlements did not become predominant until south of Djakovica, whilst the ethnic composition of Prizren and its area remained basically unchanged during the sixteenth century.55 The Christian Orthodox Serbs, as recorded both by later Ot- toman censuses and Western travellers, remained the pre- dominant ethnic group until the late seventeenth centu- ry. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Bar, Marino Bizzi, reported in 1610 that Kosovo is full of “schismatic”, i.e. Serb Christian Orthodox, villages.56
it was only after the wars and resettlements in the late seventeenth century that members of different northern albanian clans (Krasniqi, Berisha, Gashi, Shala, Sopi, Krieziu, Thaçi, Bitiqi) began to settle on the abandoned estates of Metohija in more significant numbers, advanc- ing towards Kosovo, while small numbers of settlers came from other albanian clans (Kastrati, Mertura, Klimenti, Mzi, Drushtina, Hoti, Mertura, Shkrelia). according to an estimate, 704 clans and extended families, with about 4,446 households, settled in Kosovo proper.57
The Great Serb Migration of 1690: Generator of Demographic Change
a Serb–albanian conflict broke out during the Holy League’s war against the Ottoman empire (1683–1690). The Christian Orthodox Serbs joined the Habsburg troops in their military campaign in Serbia as a separate Chris- tian militia (Militia Rasciana, Razische Feld–Miliz, Irreg- ulëre Trupen). With the exception of the brave Kelmendi tribe of Christian, Roman Catholic faith, the majority of albanians—as newly-converted Muslims—took the side of the Sultan’s army against the military coalition of Or- thodox and Roman Catholic Christians. Both Habsburg
55 O. Zirojević, “Les premiers siècles”, 66–73; Olga Zirojević, “Pri- zren u defteru iz 1571. godine”, Istorijski časopis XXXViii (Belgrade 1991), 243–254. Cf also Selami Pulaha, Populsia Shqiptare e Kosoves gjate shek XV–XVI (Tirana 1984). On economic aspects, see Hasan Kaleshi, “jedna prizrenska i dve vučitrnske kanunname”, Glasnik Mu- zeja Kosova i Metohije ii (Priština 1957), 292–293.
56 Franjo Rački, “izvještaj barskog nadbiskupa Marina Bizzija o svojem putovanju god. 1610. po arbanaškoj i Staroj Srbiji”, Starine JAZU XX (Zagreb: jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti, 1880), 50–156, quotation on p. 121. Cf also Marko jačov, Le missioni cattoliche nei Balcani durantela guerra di Candia (1645–1669), vols. i–ii (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, 1991).
57 atanasije Urošević, Etnički procesi na Kosovu tokom turske vla- davine, Monographs, vol. DLXXVii, Department of Social Sceinces, vol. 94 (Belgrade: Serbian academy of Sciences and arts, 1987), 19.
troops and Serbian militia, led by local guerrilla leaders, were defeated by the freshly recruited Ottoman troops in the decisive battle that took place at Kačanik in 1690, clos- ing the strategic pass between Kosovo and Skoplje area.58
after the defeat of the Christian forces, tens of thou- sands of Serb families, headed by the Patriarch of Peć, arsenije iii Crnojević, withdrew from Kosovo and Me- tohija and adjacent districts to the northern areas, neigh- bouring Habsburg empire, in fear of Ottoman reprisals. a local church chronicler recorded the following:
“in the spring of 1690 the [Serbian] patriarch—arse- nije Crnojević of Peć—summoned a vast number of Serbs, 37,000 families [10 to 30 members on average], and they all set off to join the imperial [Habsburg] army. in the same war there was large-scale looting and dislocation of Christians and plundering of all the Serbian lands. Mon- asteries, towns, and villages were abandoned, and some were burned down.”59
The accounts of Serbian learned monks on the 1690 Great Serb Migration were additionally confirmed by the contemporary italian historian, don Simpliziano Bizozeri, who had access to various first-hand sources and testi- monies:
“Finding no further obstacles to their bestiality, the Muhammadans [Ottoman Muslims] forced the Serbs, who had nested in Novi Pazar, to seek shelter in the monas- tery of Studenica; during that time, both the Turks from Bosnia and Tartars from the Kosovo plains hurried to has- ten their ruin. The Christians were similarly expelled from Prizren, Peć, Vranje, Vučitrn, Mitrovica and so many oth- er places, even those far away from Kosovo. a spectacle of misfortune ensued, for the barbarian non-believers who arrived were merciless toward these innocent habitants whom they all massacred without any regard for their age and sex; also slaughtered were those who, enticed by prom- ises, abandoned their shelters in the forests where they had fled to save their lives. after all the habitants were butchered, their humble huts were also torched reduced to ashes; spared from flames were only the cities of Pri- ština, Peć and Prizren for the albanians had settled in them for the winter. [...] There was a horrible scene with Mah- mud-Pasha of Peć [...] who set out with the albanians to destroy those villages he knew had accepted the protec- tion of the [austrian] emperor, cutting any inhabitants he found in them to pieces, despite the fact that Serbia was their common homeland.”60
59 Ljubomir Stojanović, Stari srpski zapisi i natpisi (Belgrade: Ser- bian Royal academy, 1905), vol. iii, Nos. 5283 and 5302.
60 Simpliziano Bizozeri, La Sagra Lega contro la potenza Otto- mana, vol. ii (Milano: M.a.P. Malatesta 1700), 5–6, 8, cf Zadužbine Kosova, 608.
Cf detailed accounts in Rajko L. Veselinović, Arsenije III Crno- jević u istoriji i književnosti, Monographs, vol. CLi (Belgrade: Serbi- an academy of Science, 1949); Dušan j. Popović, Velika seoba Srba (Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga, 1954); Gligor Stanojević, Srbija u vreme Bečkog rata (Belgrade: Nolit, 1976).

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