MINELRES: Information on the Karashovan-Croatian Minority in Romania
Fri Jan 5 20:06:26 2007
Original sender: Ionas Aurelian Rus <email@example.com>
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Total population 5,000 approx. (most declare themselves as Croats, with
some as Krashovani)
Regions with significant populations Romania (Caraş-Severin
Language Torlakian (traditionally); Croatian language (declared in
Religion Predominantly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups other Slavic peoples, especially South Slavs
The Krashovani (Croatian and Serbian: Krašovani,
Karašovani or Krašovanje, Karaševci and Koroševci; Romanian:
Caraşoveni, Cârşoveni, Cotcoreţi or Cocoşi; also
known as Krashovans) are a South Slavic people indigenous to
Caraşova and other nearby locations in Caraş-Severin County
within the Romanian Banat.
It is estimated that there are around 5,000 Krashovani in Romania, with
only some 200 opting for the nationality itself, the remainder choosing
Krashovani form a majority in two communes of Caraş-Severin County:
Caraşova and Lupac.
According to the 2002 census in Romania, the population of Caraşova
commune comprises 84.60% Croats, 4.96% others (presumably Krashovan),
4.47% Roma, 4.41% Romanians, etc.
 The population of Lupac commune comprises 93.38% Croats, 5.32%
 The 79.75% of population of Caraşova municipality and 93.45% of
population of Lupac municipality declared to speak Croatian as mother
tongue in 2002 census.
Origin and history
A Krashovani-inhabited area within the Caraş-Severin CountyOriginal
Slavic settlements had existed in these regions before the Krashovan
migration. Krashovani themselves are mostly descendants of the Torlakian
inhabitants of eastern Serbia, namely the region around the Timok River.
Some of the Krashovani originate from Turopolje region of present-day
Croatia (they are being referred as Turopoljci). Because of the
long-time influence of other Krashovani, who speak the Torlakian
dialect, the original (Kajkavian) dialect of this group also became
Torlakian. Other groups are supposedly Croats from the Franciscan
province of Bosna Srebrena.
The Krashovani are also considered Bulgarians by some (mainly Bulgarian)
scientists (such as G. Cibrus, M. Mladenov, K. Telbizov, and T.
Balkanski). However, these claims are based on the fact that Bulgarian
scientists consider the entire Torlakian-speaking Slavic population
ethnically Bulgarian, as well as Serbian scientists consider it
ethnically Serbian. The question of whether the Torlakian dialect
belongs to the eastern or western branches of South Slavic languages is
also disputed, and it is often classified as a transitional dialect
between the two.
Krashovani migration to Banat can be traced to the 1370s, when fleeing
the Ottoman onslaught, they moved there from Timok region (in that time
ruled by Bulgaria). The Catholic supremacy inside the Kingdom of Hungary
(to which the Banat region belonged at the time) may account for their
distinctiveness from the rest of the Torlakian-speaking population in
present-day eastern Serbia.
According to the Austrian population census there were over 10,000
Krashovans in the Romanian Banat. In 1896 the Austro-Hungarian census
listed around 7,500 Krashovans; the same was stated by the authorities
of the Kingdom of Romania in 1940. Their number dropped to 6,500 in 1992
according to the census of the government of Romania.
Ever since the Romanian Revolution, the government of Romania has
awarded special minority status and privileges to its ethnic Serb
citizens. The Democratic Union of Serbs and Krashovani of Romania
(Uniunea Democratică a Sârbilor si Caraşovenilor din România)
was founded in 1989.
Language and religion
The geographical distribution of the Torlakian dialect, with the
Caraşova area inhabited by Krashovani Their dialect is an archaic
speech elsewhere preserved only in the area of eastern and southern
Serbia and in the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria, the Torlakian
dialect of the Timok valley around Zaječar.
However, their religion has more recently set them apart from Eastern
Orthodox Serbs in the Banat, despite the common language and a long
history of solidarity (partly continued to this day through joint
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