Bosniaks of Montenegro

Bosniaks of Montenegro

Bosniaks are an ethnic group in Montenegro. According to the last census from 2003, the total number of Bosniaks in Montenegro was 48,184 and they comprised 7.77% of population. Bosniaks are the third largest ethnic group in the country, after Montenegrins and Serbs.


Bosniaks primarily live in northern Montenegro, in the area called Sandžak and they form majority in two municipalities: Rožaje (82.09%) and Plav (50.73%).


Two thirds of Sandžak BosniaksFact|date=August 2007 trace their ancestry to the regions of Montenegro properFact|date=August 2007, which they started departing first in 1687, after Turkey lost Boka Kotorska. The trend continued in Old Montenegro after 1711 with the extermination of converts to Islam (“istraga poturica”). Another contributing factor that spurred migration to Sandžak from the Old Montenegro was the fact that the old Orthodox population of Sandžak moved towards Serbia and Habsburg Monarchy (Vojvodina) in two waves, first after 1687, and then, after 1740, basically leaving Sandžak depopulated. The advance of increasingly stronger ethnic Montenegrins caused additional resettlements out of Montenegro proper in 1858 and 1878, when, upon Treaty of Berlin, Montenegro was recognized as an independent state. While only 20 Bosniak families remained in Nikšić after 1878, the towns like Kolašin, Spuž, Grahovo, and others, completely lost their Bosniak population. Additionally, the clan-organized Montenegrin army forcibly converted about 12,000 Bosniaks and Albanians to Christianity from the areas of Southern Sandžak, and Metohija, in 1912, upon capturing those lands from the Turks in the Balkan Wars. Practically all of the converts, less a couple of families, converted back to Islam in 1913, when, under international pressure, the public announcement was made giving them freedom to profess the faith of their choosing. The last major interethnic incident occurred in 1924 in Šahovići and Pavino Polje (present day municipality of Bijelo Polje in Sandžak), when Montenegrin peasants massacred hundreds of Bosniaks, under the pretext that Bosniak outlaws murdered a local Montenegrin hero, the allegation which was completely false.

The last segment of Sandžak Bosniaks arrived from a couple of other places. Naturally, there was a continuous intermingling with the members of the local Turkish administration and military. Some of Bosniaks came from Slavonia after 1687, when Turkey lost all the lands north of Sava in the Austro-Turkish war. Many more came from Herzegovina in the post-1876 period, after the Herzegovina Rebellion staged by the Serbs against Austro-Hungary and their Muslim subjects. Another wave followed immediately thereafter from both Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the Treaty of Berlin placed Bosnia under the effective control of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The last wave from Bosnia followed in 1908, when Austria-Hungary officially annexed Bosnia, thereby cutting off all direct ties of Bosnian Muslims to the Sublime Porte, their effective protector. Massive Bosniak migrations to other nations took place during the Yugoslavia-era as a result of ethnic Serbs wanting to ethnically cleanse Bosniaks from eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina (today Republika Srpska), Belgrade and Sandžak. Bosniaks had alo faced discrimination from this period from Yugoslav authorities. Today, Bosniaks are a large minority in Montenegro, with over 50,000 Bosniaks living in Montenegro.


The main political party of Bosniaks is the Bosniak Party of Montenegro (BS), led by Rafet Husović. The party is currently in a coalition with the Liberals and has two seats in Parliament.

Most of the Bosniaks in Montenegro were for Montenegrin independence when the independence referendum was held in 2006.


Bosniaks are primarily nominal Muslims, although some are practicing Muslims and some are not.

See also

*Bosniaks of Serbia
*Bosnia and Herzegovina

External links

* [ Sandžak information] Language icon|bs/en/fr/de/tr|Bosnian, English, French, German & Turkish
* [ Congress of North American Bosniaks] Language icon|bs/en/fr|Bosnian, English & French

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