Yugoslavs or Yugoslavians (Croatian: Jugoslaveni, Serbian and Macedonian Jugosloveni/Југословени; Slovene: Jugoslovani) is a designation that was originally designed to refer to a united South Slavic people. It has been used in two connotations, the first in an ethnic or supra-ethnic connotation, and the second as a term for citizens of the former Yugoslavia. Cultural and political advocates of Yugoslav identity have historically ascribed the identity to be applicable to all people of South Slav heritage, including those of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia. Attempts at uniting Bulgaria into Yugoslavia were however unsuccessful and therefore Bulgarians were not included in the panethnic identification.
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States||291,045 (2013)|
(Yugoslavs in Serbia)
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2,507 (2013)|
|Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Slovene|
|Primarily Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Islam|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Slavic peoples|
Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the establishment of South Slavic nation states, the term ethnic Yugoslavs has been used to refer to those who exclusively view themselves as Yugoslavs with no other ethnic self-identification, many of these being of mixed ancestry.
In late 19th and early 20th century, influential public intellectuals Jovan Cvijić and Vladimir Dvorniković advocated that Yugoslavs, as a supra-ethnic nation, had "many tribal ethnicities, such as Croats, Serbs, and others within it".
In the former Yugoslavia, the official designation for those who declared themselves simply as Yugoslav was with quotation marks, "Yugoslavs" (introduced in census 1971). The quotation marks were originally meant to distinguish Yugoslav ethnicity from Yugoslav citizenship – which was written without quotation marks. The majority of those who had once identified as ethnic "Yugoslavs" reverted to or adopted traditional ethnic and national identities. Some also decided to turn to sub-national regional identifications, especially in multi-ethnic historical regions like Istria, Vojvodina, or Bosnia (hence Bosnians). The Yugoslav designation, however, continues to be used by many, especially by the descendants of Yugoslav migrants in the United States, Canada, and Australia while the country still existed.
Yugoslavism and YugoslaviaEdit
Since the late 18th century, when traditional European ethnic affiliations started to mature into modern ethnic identities, there have been numerous attempts to define a common South Slavic ethnic identity. The word Yugoslav, meaning "South Slavic", was first used by Josip Juraj Strossmayer in 1849. The first modern iteration of Yugoslavism was the Illyrian movement in Habsburg Croatia. It identified South Slavs with ancient Illyrians and sought to construct a common language based on the Shtokavian dialect. The movement was led by Ljudevit Gaj, whose script became one of two official scripts used for the Serbo-Croatian language.
Among notable supporters of Yugoslavism and a Yugoslav identity active at the beginning of the 20th century were famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović (1883–1962), who called Serbian folk hero Prince Marko "our Yugoslav people with its gigantic and noble heart" and wrote poetry speaking of a "Yugoslav race"; Jovan Cvijić, in his article The Bases of Yugoslav Civilization, developed the idea of a unified Yugoslav culture and stated that "New qualities that until now have been expressed but weakly will appear. An amalgamation of the most fertile qualities of our three tribes [Serbs, Croats, Slovenes] will come forth every more strongly, and thus will be constructed the type of single Yugoslav civilization-the final and most important goal of our country."
On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife, in Sarajevo. Princip was a member of Young Bosnia, a group whose aims included the unification of the Yugoslavs and independence from Austria-Hungary. The assassination in Sarajevo set into motion a series of fast-moving events that eventually escalated into full-scale war. After his capture, during his trial, he stated "I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be free from Austria."
In June–July 1917, the Yugoslav Committee met with the Serbian Government in Corfu and on 20 July the Corfu Declaration that laid the foundation for the post-war state was issued. The preamble stated that the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes were "the same by blood, by language, by the feelings of their unity, by the continuity and integrity of the territory which they inhabit undivided, and by the common vital interests of their national survival and manifold development of their moral and material life." The state was created as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a constitutional monarchy under the Karađorđević dynasty. The term "Yugoslavs" was used to refer to all of its inhabitants, but particularly to those of South Slavic ethnicity. Some Croatian nationalists viewed the Serb plurality and Serbian royal family as hegemonic. Eventually, a conflict of interest sparked among the Yugoslav peoples. In 1929, King Alexander sought to resolve a deep political crisis brought on by ethnic tensions by assuming dictatorial powers in the 6 January Dictatorship, renaming the country "Kingdom of Yugoslavia", and officially pronouncing that there is one single Yugoslav nation with three tribes. The Yugoslav ethnic designation was thus imposed for a period of time on all South Slavs in Yugoslavia. Changes in Yugoslav politics after King Alexander's death in 1934 brought an end to this policy, but the designation continued to be used by some people.
Philosopher Vladimir Dvorniković advocated the establishment of a Yugoslav ethnicity in his 1939 book entitled "The Characterology of the Yugoslavs". His views included eugenics and cultural blending to create one, strong Yugoslav nation.
There had on three occasions been efforts to make Bulgaria a part of Yugoslavia or part of an even larger federation: through Aleksandar Stamboliyski during and after World War I; through Zveno during the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1934, and through Georgi Dimitrov during and after World War II, but for various reasons, each attempt turned out to be unsuccessful.
Self-identification in Second YugoslaviaEdit
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||8.4||1.2||7.9|
After liberation from Axis Powers in 1945, the new socialist Yugoslavia became a federal country, and officially recognized and acknowledged its ethnic diversity. Traditional ethnic identities again became the primary ethnic designations used by most inhabitants of Yugoslavia. However, many people still declared themselves as "Yugoslavs" because they wanted to express an identification with Yugoslavia as a whole, but not specifically with any of its peoples.
Josip Broz Tito expressed his desire for an undivided Yugoslav ethnicity when he stated, "I would like to live to see the day when Yugoslavia would become amalgamated into a firm community, when she would no longer be a formal community but a community of a single Yugoslav nation."
Yugoslav censuses reflected Tito's ideal, with "Yugoslav" being an available identification for both ethnicity and nationality. In general, the Yugoslav identity was more common in the multiethnic regions of the country, i.e. the more multiethnic the constituent republic, the higher the percentage; therefore the highest were in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia (especially Vojvodina), and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the lowest were in Slovenia, Macedonia, and Kosovo. The 1971 census recorded 273,077 Yugoslav, or 1.33% of the total population. The 1981 census recorded 1,216,463 or 5.4% Yugoslavs.
- In the 1991 census, 5.54% (242,682) of the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared themselves to be Yugoslav. The Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1990 ratified a Presidency of seven members. One of the seven was to be elected amongst/by the republic's Yugoslavs, thereby introducing the Yugoslavs next to ethnic Muslims, Serbs and Croats into the Constitutional framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina although on an inferior level. However, because of the Bosnian War that erupted in 1992, this Constitution was short-lived and unrealized.
- Approximately 5% of the population of Montenegro also declared themselves Yugoslav in the same census.
- The 1981 census showed that Yugoslavs made up around 8.2% of the population in Croatia, this being the highest ever percentage of Yugoslavs within a constituent republic's borders. The percentage was the highest in multiethnic regions and cities with large non-Croatian population and among those of mixed ancestry. The 1991 census data indicated that the number of Yugoslavs had dropped to 2% of the population in Croatia. The 2001 census in Croatia (the first since independence) registered 176 Yugoslavs, less than 0.001% of the population at the time. The next census in 2011 registered 331 Yugoslavs in Croatia (>0.01% of the population).
- In the autonomous region of Vojvodina, marked by its traditionally multiethnic make-up, recorded a similar percentage as Croatia at the 1981 census, with ~8% of its 2 million inhabitants declaring themselves Yugoslav.
Just before and after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, most Yugoslavs reverted to their ethnic and regional identities. Nevertheless, the concept has survived in parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (where most towns have a tiny percentage), and Serbia and Montenegro (2003–2006), which kept the name "Yugoslavia" the longest, right up to February 2003.
|Country||Number (census year)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2,507 (2013)|
The number of people identifying as Yugoslav fell drastically in all successor states since the beginning of the 21st century, conclusion of all Yugoslav Wars and separation of Serbia and Montenegro (until 2003 called FR Yugoslavia). The country with the highest number of people and percentage of population identifying as Yugoslav is Serbia, while Croatia is the lowest on both. No official figures or reliable estimates are available for North Macedonia and Kosovo.[a]
The Yugoslavs of Croatia have several organizations. The "Alliance of Yugoslavs" (Savez Jugoslavena), established in 2010 in Zagreb, is an association aiming to unite the Yugoslavs of Croatia, regardless of religion, sex, political or other views. Its main goal is the official recognition of the Yugoslav nation in every Yugoslav successor state: Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Another pro-Yugoslav organization advocating the recognition of the Yugoslav nation is the "Our Yugoslavia" association (Udruženje "Naša Jugoslavija"), which is an officially registered organization in Croatia. The seat of Our Yugoslavia is in the Istrian town of Pula, where it was founded on 30 July 2009. The association has most members in the towns of Rijeka, Zagreb and Pula. Its main aim is the stabilisation of relations among the Yugoslav successor states. It is also active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, its official registration as an association was denied by the Bosnian state authorities.
The probably best-known pro-Yugoslav organization in Montenegro is the "Consulate-general of the SFRY" with its headquarters in the coastal town of Tivat. Prior to the population census of 2011, Marko Perković, the president of this organization called on the Yugoslavs of Montenegro to freely declare their Yugoslav identity on the upcoming census.
The best known example of self-declared Yugoslavs is Marshal Josip Broz Tito who organized resistance against Nazi Germany in Yugoslavia, ended the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia with the help of the Red Army, co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement, and defied Joseph Stalin's Soviet pressure on Yugoslavia. Other people that declared as "Yugoslavs" include intellectuals, entertainers, singers and athletes, such as:
- Ivo Andrić
- Goran Bregović
- Lepa Brena
- Joška Broz, the grandson of Josip Broz Tito
- Oliver Dulić
- Aleksa Đilas
- Srđan Dragojević
- Đorđe Đogani
- Branko Đurić
- Ivan Ergić
- Andrej Grubačić
- Ekrem Jevrić
- Edvin Kanka Ćudić
- Božo Koprivica
- Igor Mandić
- Branko Milićević "Kockica"
- Milan Milišić
- Ašok Murti
- Ivica Osim
- Josip Pejaković
- Srđa Popović
- Dževad Prekazi
- Miljenko Smoje
- Branimir Štulić
- Bogdan Tanjević
- Jovan Vavic
- Duško Vujošević
- Milić Vukašinović
- Boris Vukobrat
The probably most frequently used symbol of the Yugoslavs to express their identity and to which they are most often associated with is the blue-white-red tricolor flag with a yellow-bordered red star in the flag's center, which also served as the national flag of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1945 and 1991.
Prior to World War II, the symbol of Yugoslavism was a plain tricolor flag of blue, white and red, which was also the national flag of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav state in the interwar period.
- Yugoslavs in Serbia
- Soviet people
- South Slavs
- Demographics of Yugoslavia
- Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008. Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 97 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 112 UN member states are said to have recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition.
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