KLÁRA HEGYI: ETHNIC GROUPS, RELIGION, ISLAMISATION. THE ORIGIN AND THE REPLACEMENT OF THE G ARRISON SOLDIERS IN THE VILAYET OF BU…

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256KLÁRA HEGYI: ETHNIC GROUPS, RELIGION, ISLAMISATION.
THE ORIGIN AND THE REPLACEMENT OF THE G ARRISON SOLDIERS IN THE VILAYET OF BUDA
Both the linguistic and material relics of Turkish rule in Hungary demonstrate that a good part of the local ‘Turkisch’ population was of Balkan descent. Another known fact is that garrison soldiers formed the majority of local Turks. This study examines the ethnic and religious background of the garrison soldiers. Three 16th century pay-lists are used as source material. These lists tell us the names of soldiers, where they came from, and the names of closest relatives. The first list indicates the origins of 803 top infantrymen (müstahfiz) forming part of a new garrison located at Fehérvár (Stuhlweissenburg). This fortress was occupied by the Turks on 2 September 1543. Nine percent of these soldiers had come to Hungary from Asia Minor, while 90% were from the Balkan peninsula. The origins of soldiers in the larger second group are indicated in more detail in Map 1. Men from all parts of the Balkans joined the tropops of the Sultan, so that they might serve as soldiers in the new province and be assured of a living. The second list is one prepared in 1558. It contains the names of all soldiers serving in the fortresses of the province (vilayet) of Buda. When new recruits were added to this list, their personal details were included as well as their names. We examined data for 814 new recruits who came to Hungary at a time of relative peace as replacements for departing soldiers. Since garrison soldiers were being replaced at a rapid rate, within a couple of decades these new recruits comprised almost the whole sum of garrison staff (and thus the majority of the Turkish population in Hungary). The places of iorigin of the 814 new recruits are shown in Map 2. A good 80 percent of the soldiers came from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, and the region between the Sava and Drava rivers. In other words, these men were Bosnians and Serbs. An examination of the third pay-list (dating from 1559) shows that new recruits to the superior arms of service (müstahfiz, faris, topci) were mainly from Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Western Serbia. Indeed, most of these men were from Bosnia and about 80% had been bom into Muslim families; more than half were from small villages. Soldiers of the inferior arms of service (azab, martalóc) tended to be from Serb-speaking areas. Meanwhile soldiers (martalóc) who fought as Christians were mainly from a district bordered by the Danube, Morava and Timok rivers; this was the largest area of Vlach settlement in the northem Balkans.
The pay-lists usually referred to the brothers of new recruits as their closest relatives. An examination of these names indicates that among the Bosnians and the Serbs the conversion of whole generations of families to Islam was the norm. Cases of converted new recruits who still have Christian brothers are rare. However, the opposite is true among the Albanians and Hungarians. Among these two very much smaller groups, individual conversion seems to have been more common; most of the soldiers’ brothers are Christians. The Turkish administration differentiated between ethnic/religious groups. It considered the conversion of Orthodox Christians to be quite natural, and therefore, for converts from this group, neither the ethnic background nor the fact of conversion were mentioned in the pay-lists. However, when it came to western Christians (Croats, Slovenes, Slovaks, Czechs, Hungarians, and recruits from the Catholic areas of Albania), the scribe would note the name of the ethnic group and record whether or not the conversion of a soldier had been voluntarily.

 

 

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Az Arcanum Adatbázis Kiadó Magyarország vezető tartalomszolgáltatója, 1989. január elsején kezdte meg működését. A cég kulturális tartalmak nagy tömegű digitalizálásával, adatbázisokba rendezésével és publikálásával foglalkozik. Alapítója és tulajdonosa, Biszak Sándor.

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