Expulsion of the Albanians 1877-78


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Toponyms such as Arbanaška and Đjake shows an Albanian presence in the Toplica and Southern Morava regions (located north-east of contemporary Kosovo) since the late Middle Ages.[22][23] Further Medieval Albanian toponyms are recorded in the area such as Arbanaška Mountain (Albanian Mountain), Arbanaško Hill (Albanian Hill), and Arbanaška River (Albanian river) etc

Estimates vary on the size of the Muslim population within these areas. In his extensive studies of Ottoman population movements, American historian Justin McCarthy regarding the Muslim population of the Sanjak of Niş gives the figure of 131,000 Muslims in 1876, with only 12,000 remaining in 1882.[30][31][32] Whereas historian Noel Malcolm gives the figure for the Albanian population of the area as numbering around 110,000.[16] Albanian historians such as the late Sabit Uka[15] postulate that 110,000 is a conservative estimate based on Austro-Hungarian statistics and gives a higher figure of 200,000 for the total Albanian population of the area.[33] Other Albanian researchers like Emin Pllana, Skënder Rizaj and Turkish historian Bilal Şimşir place the number of Albanian refugees from the region as numbering between 60–70,000 in the vilayet of Kosovo and 60,000 Muslim or Albanian refugees in Macedonia.[34][35][36][37][16] Albanologist Robert Elsie estimates the number of Albanian refugees in Kosovo at some 50,000.[38] Albanian sociologist Gëzim Alpion asserts that over 100,000 Albanians were expelled from regions in Serbia and Montenegro.[39] According to some Albanian scholars, 200,000 people were expelled and Hakif Bajrami claims that 350,000 people were expelled.[40] Jovan Cvijić estimated that the number of Albanian refugees from Serbia was about 30,000[41] a figure which current day Serbian historians such as Dušan Bataković also maintain.[42][43] That number was accepted by Serbian historiography and remained unquestioned for almost a century.[41] Drawing upon Serbian archive and travelers documents historian Miloš Jagodić believes that the number of Albanians and Muslims that left Serbia was "much larger", agreeing with Đorđe Stefanović that the number was 49,000 Albanian refugees out of at least 71,000 Muslims that left.[44][19]

Albanians in the Niš region converted to Islam after the area became part of the Ottoman Empire

Ottoman authorities had difficulties accommodating to the needs of the refugees and they were hostile to the local Serbian population committing revenge attacks.[14] The expulsion of the Albanian population from these regions was done in a manner that today could be classed as ethnic cleansing as the victims included civilians.[5] These Albanian refugees and their descendants became known in Albanian as Muhaxhir; plural: Muhaxhirë, a generic word for Muslim refugees (borrowed from Ottoman Turkish: Muhacir and derived from Arabic: Muhajir).[15][14][16][17] The events of this period led to tense relations and conflict between the Serbian and Albanian peoples.[14][5][18][19][2]
Some try to claim that Albanians supposedly settled in this territory in the 18th century from Northern Albania and Western Kosovo but this is just some manipulation of facts considering this territory was already Albanian before or had a large Albanian population .
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There were multiple reasons held by the Serbian government for the expulsions. Serbian authorities intended to expel the Muslim population, as they were deemed unreliable and undesirable that needed to be substituted with other inhabitants.[1] Retaliation for attitudes held toward Christians within the Ottoman state was also used as a motive.[2] Prime Minister Jovan Ristić wanted a homogeneous country, without Muslims and with a reliable population in the area.[19][1] Ristić viewed Albanian populated territories as strategically important and representing a future base to expand into Ottoman Kosovo and Macedonia.[1] General Kosta Protić, who led the Serbian army during the war, did not want Serbia to have "its Caucasus", as an Albanian minority was viewed as a possible security concern.[19][1] Supporting Protić's views for expulsion of the Muslim population, including Albanians, were most of the senior Serbian army officers and Prince Milan.[52]
The Albanian population there goes all the way back to the medieval period based on placenames , these are from Slavic or Early Ottoman registers

Muzace (Muzaka recorded in 1318)
Arbanashka (recorded in 1200's I believe)
Arbanashka Mountain (Albanian mountain)
Arbanashka river (Albanian river)
Arbanashko Hill (Albanian Hill)
Arnautski Potok
Petrilje (This one recorded as 'Petrilje Arbanas' i.e 'Petrilje Albanian')
https://mapcarta.com/13924766 - Katun
https://mapcarta.com/N2251131727 - Gjakus in the Nish area.
https://mapcarta.com/13917796 - Shatra
https://mapcarta.com/13931984 - This one was recorded as 'Alban'

And many more.

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