Usora (county)

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Usora (Latin: Vozora, Hungarian: Ózora) was a zemlja (feudalna oblast transl. feudal region; county) of the medieval Bosnian state, although it also had some periods outside its authority, when it was connected with neighbouring Banates of Slavonia or Mačva. The administrative seat of this duchy was Srebrenik, which also served as residence of its rulers for entire period of existence of the medieval Bosnian state.[1] It took its name from the river Usora.

Banate of Usora in the early 15th century
Map of medieval Usora with local finds - bascinet helmet and sword (Regional Museum, Doboj)

Geography and HistoryEdit

The region of Usora was first mentioned in a bull (decree) by King Bela IV of Hungary dated 20 July 1244, in which he assigned some properties to the Bishop of Bosnia, naming the territories: quod episeopus (Bosnensis) et capitulum decimas in Vozora, in Sou, in Olfeld et in aliis supis ... habeant et percipiant (Vozora meaning Usora, Sou meaning Soli, and Olfeld meaning Donji Kraji).[2][3]

Its territory stretched roughly from the area of Kulaši and Prnjavor to its west, to Srebrenik and Lukavac to its east, the river Sava to its north and Žepče to its south. The Banate of Usora had many strong fortresses and cities on its territory, the most famous ones being Doboj (13th century), Srebrenik (1333), Dobor (1387), Glaz (12th century), Soko (14th century), Tešanj (14th century), Modrić (13th century), and Maglaj (15th century). Usora was famous for well developed falconry among its nobility. Usora also strongly supported local Bosnian Church and while Christian slavery was outlawed and frowned upon in Southern Europe, there are numerous documents citing free sales of Usoran women and children in Dubrovnik Republic (as late as mid 15th century) as they were considered adherents of heretical Bosnian Church and thus, non-Christian in the official canonical view.

Due to its geographical location (Pannonian plateau) as the northernmost Bosnian land and its richness, Usora was, more often than not, a most common battleground between the Hungarian kings who viewed Banate of Bosnia as vassals to them. Although it was nominally a part of the Hungarian Crown Lands, the Banate of Bosnia was a de facto independent state for most of its existence,[4][5][6] including Usora, which when under Bosnia always retained great autonomy.[7] Notable battles include Battle of Srebrenik (1363), Battle of Dobor (1394 and 1408), and the Battle of Doboj (1415). This banate/duchy had been separated several times from the Banate of Bosnia and later Bosnian Kingdom in its history mostly by Kingdom of Hungary which appointed rulers of this region and sometimes attached it to Slavonian Banate. Prominent families, as Babonići had great estates, while the territories were part of Slavonian Banate. Bosnian bans and kings starting with Stephen II Kotromanić from 1324 (who added Usora and Soli to his title)[8] have started appointing their rulers or had rulers that supported them, ending with the last Duke of Usora, Tvrtko Stančić who died in May 1463 during Ottoman conquest of Bosnia.

List of rulersEdit

  • 1190s-1220: Stefan, likely also ban of Soli, first historically documented ban of Usora
  • 1220-1241: Sibislav, son of ban Stefan, supporting Hungary in its crusade against Bosnian heretics (members of Bosnian Church)
  • 1241–1247: Matej Ninoslav, also ban of Bosnia proper, waged defensive war against Hungary. After the loss of Usora to Hungarians, remained the ban of all other Bosnian lands until his death in 1250
  • 1247–1262: Rostislav Mikhailovich, Russian prince from Rurik dynasty, also Duke of Macso, appointed by the king of Hungary
  • 1262–1272: Bela, son of Rostislav, also Duke of Macso, appointed by the king of Hungary
  • 1272–1273: Henry I Kőszegi, also ban of Soli, appointed by the king of Hungary
  • 1273-1275: Ernye Ákos, also ban of Soli, appointed by the king of Hungary
  • 1282-1316: Stefan Dragutin, also king of Syrmia, appointed by the king of Hungary
  • 1316-1323: Vladislav, also king of Syrmia, son of the preceding
  • 1323-1324: Stefan Dečanski, also king of Serbia, conqueror
  • 1324-1329: Stjepan, also ban of Bosnia, grandson of Vladislav
  • 1329-1353: Vojko, Duke of Usora (Soli region absorbed into Usora by 1330), appointed by Stephen II Kotromanic, ban of Bosnia
  • 1353-1377: Tvrtko Ivahnic, Duke of Usora, supporter of king Tvrtko I Kotromanic, first Bosnian king
  • 1377-1395: Vlatko Tvrtkovic, son of Duke Tvrtko of Usora, supporter of Bosnian king Tvrtko I Kotromanic
  • 1395-1400: Vucihna Vlatkovic, son of Duke Vlatko of Usora, supporter of Bosnian king Dabisa Kotromanic
  • 1400-1424: Vukmir Zlatonosovic, supporter of Bosnian royal Kotromanic family
  • 1424-1430: Vukasin Zlatonosovic, Vukmir's brother, supporter of Bosnian king Tvrtko II Kotromanic
  • 1430-1435: Djuradj Brankovic, Despot of Serbia, conqueror of eastern Usora and Bosnia
  • 1435-1444: Matko Talovac, ban of Usora, supporter of Bosnian king Tvrtko II Kotromanić
  • 1444-1463: Tvrtko Stancic, Duke of Usora, supporter of Bosnian kings Tomas Kotromanić and Stefan Tomasević, died in May 1463 while defending Bosnia from the Ottoman conquest

Last Usora rulers after Ottoman conquest of Bosnia in 1463:

  • 1464-1477: Nicholas of Ilok, Duke of Usora, Macso, Slavonia and Dalmatia 1464-1471, and king of Bosnia 1471-1477, appointed by the king of Hungary as a ruler of buffer state against Ottomans
  • 1465-1476: Matija Sabancic Radivojevic, son of Radivoj Ostojić (younger brother of Bosnian king Tomas Kotromanić), puppet Bosnian king installed by Ottomans as a counter measure to Nicholas of Ilok
  • 1476-1476: Matija Vojsalic, second and last puppet king in Bosnia installed by Ottomans, ruled only 6 fortresses in central and south Usora (Doboj, Maglaj, Tešanj, Žepče, Vranduk and Travnik)

From 1322, when Stephen II Kotromanic became a ruler in Bosnia, Usora was part of his realm and included in the titles of all subsequent Bans and kings in Bosnia.



  1. ^ Anđelić, Pavao (1982). "Chapter: Usora i Soli". Studije o teritorijalnopolitičkoj organizaciji srednjovjekovne Bosne (in Serbo-Croatian). Sarajevo: "Svjetlost," OOUR Izdavačka djelatnost. pp. 237–238. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  2. ^ Vjekoslav Klaić (March 1880). "Topografske sitnice (I)". Journal of the Zagreb Archaeological Museum (in Croatian). Archaeological Museum, Zagreb. 2 (1): 68. ISSN 0350-7165. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  3. ^ Pavo Živković, Marija Brandić (May 2007). "Usora i Soli u prva dva stoljeća turske prevlasti". Povijesni zbornik: Godišnjak za kulturu i povijesno nasljeđe (in Croatian). Faculty of Philosophy, University of Osijek. 1 (1–2): 58–59. ISSN 1846-3819. Retrieved 2012-09-02.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Paul Mojzes. Religion and the war in Bosnia. Oxford University Press, 2000, p 22; "Medieval Bosnia was founded as an independent state (Banate) by Ban Kulin (1180-1204).".
  5. ^ Fine 1994, pp. 44, 148.
  6. ^ Vego 1982, p. 104.
  7. ^ Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5.
  8. ^ Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5.