Ottoman Colonisation of modern FYROM’s territories

Even before Ottoman conquest, modern FYROM’s territories had witnessed Uzes, Pechenegs, Koumans and other fine Turkic people. However the extensive colonization took place particularly during Ottoman occupation. Especially Skopje had faced many dominations during its lifetime. At the time of Ottomans, it was the centre of the Province of Kossovo.

Skopje was conquered by Pasha Yigit in the reign of Bayezit I (1392). As the turkish academic Mehmet Inbasi informs us “Having strategic significance as located in the borders, the city of Skopje was subjected to a

systematic settlement after the conquest[..]It is, however, obvious that Ottoman conquests were made to settle there, which were not just temporary adventurous or marauding movements.”

The city of Skopje was subjected to a systematic settlement of Turkic people after the conquest.

Bayezit I placed the Muslim Turks on the region between Skopje and Nis. According to Halil Inalcik [2] “Such places as Serez, Plovdiv, Babadag, Elbasan, Sarajevo, Silistre and Skopje had been rearranged by the uc-begis in such a way to be new Turkish cities“. Naturally Skopje and the areas close to Stip was settled by Ofcabolu Yoruks. The Serbian speaking Catholics in Skopje were converted to Islam and mixed with Ottomans.

The estimated population of Skopje between 1455 and 1569 was:

While in Bitola region:

The Muslim colonization was consisted of Turks and Turkic people arriving from Asia Minor. The intense Albanian colonisation started from the end of the 18th century throughout the first half of the 19th century and from that time to a lesser degree to the end of Ottoman rule according to Anastasovski.

Its indicative that Skopje in certain periods like during the years 1841-42 was an ordinary Turkish city.

A table with numbers making explicit the population of Skopje during 19th cent.

We also found many marriages between Christian girls and Muslims (Islamized Chr. and Muslim Turks):

Turks found it easy to kidnap Christian girls of today’s Fyrom’s territories and islamize them by force.

On the other hand like we could found numerous Islamized Christians we could also found Christianized Turks, now possibly posing as…descendants of Alexander the great, as its evident even from fyromian traditional folk songs.

According to the historian Pandeska

Sources:
– Anastasovski “Contestations over Macedonian identity 1870-1912”
– Halil Inalcik “The middle east and the balkans under the ottoman empire essays on economy and society”
– Mehmet Inbasi “The city of Skopje and its demographic structure in the 19th century”

By Ptolemy
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