The Circassian Migration and Settlement in Kosovo (1864-1865)
Trakya Üniversitesi, Balkan Araştırma Enstitüsü, Edirne/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Migration, Circassian, Kosovo, the Balkans, Rumelia, the Ottoman Empire
From the XVIth century onwards, Russia, which began that began to pursue a policy to dominate the Caucasus and occupied North Caucasus in 1864, forced Circassians to migrate to the territory of the Ottoman Empire. Circassian immigration that began in the 1850’s, intensified between 1862 and 1865 and continued until the end of the 1860’s. During this period, as continuous rebellions took place in the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire who wanted to benefit from the militancy of Circassians and increase the Muslim population, settled more than 400.000 Circassians in Rumelia. Approximately 9.000-11.000 Circassians were also settled in Kosovo. The Circassians who came to Kosovo established villages. They began to deal with agriculture and husbandry in their new homeland. However, the majority of Circassians who settled in Kosovo could not remain therein. European states wanted Circassians to leave the Balkans at the Istanbul Conference held on December 23, 1876, and the Ottoman- Russian War of 1877-1878 caused some of the Circassians living in Kosovo to migrate to Anatolia and the Middle East. The majority of the remaining Kosovo Circassians also left Kosovo during and after the Balkan Wars.
In this study, the process that prepared Circassian immigration and settlement to Kosovo between 1864-1865, the problems encountered during immigration and settlement and the policies followed for the solution of these problems are discussed.