Ethnic group

poptime=unknown (most declare themselves as Croats, some as Yugoslavs, and some as Šokci - there were 1,922 declared Šokci in 1991 in what has later become Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
langs=mostly Croatian
rels=Predominantly Roman Catholic.
related=other Slavic peoples, especially Croats, Serbs and other South Slavs

Šokci, (Croatian, Bosnian "Šokci", singular "Šokac", Serbian Cyrillic: Шокци, in Hungarian: "Sokácok") are a Croat population, living in various settlements along the Danube and Sava rivers in the historic regions of Slavonia, Baranja, Syrmia and western Bačka. These regions today span eastern Croatia, northern Serbia (the Vojvodina province), and southeastern Hungary.

Origin of the name

In the Early Middle Ages there was a tribe called "Succi" that settled in Pannonia. There is also mention of this name in various ancient toponyms, notably a mountain called "Succus" which had in ancient times divided the Illyrians from the Thracians. The Slavic tribes settled in the former realm of the Illyrians in the 7th century, but there were few actual recorded mentions of the name until almost a millennium later.It is also interesting that in the Chakavian dialect (spoken in Croatia), a "šokac" (plural: "šokci") means "pig-breeder", and until now in the north Adriatic islands, "pig" is the archaic zoonym "šok"; so far Šokci are really the reputed pig-breeders.


The earliest known Ottoman Turkish defter that mentions the Šokci dates from 1615. It is a "ferman" by sultan Ahmed I, dated Safer 9, 1024 according to the Islamic calendar, in which he referred to them as the population of the "Latin faith" whose "religion is completely different from the faith of the Serbs, Greeks and Vlachs". They are also mentioned in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church where they requested one fra Jeronim Lučić to become the bishop of Bosnia and Slavonia in 1635, and in one writing from the time when Eugene of Savoy invaded Ottoman territory down to Sarajevo in 1697. Finally, the administrative list of "kotars" of Đakovo in 1702 officially recorded the Šokac population in Slavonia.

The actual origins of the first Šokci people is not completely clear. While they may be descendants of the original Slavic (ie. Croatian) tribes that came to Slavonia and adjacent areas during the Migrations Period, it is likely that they were not all descended from those groups, but also other groups which moved from the south (Bosnia) over the several centuries prior to the Ottoman wars in Europe. There are some indications that there was one such migration in the mid-13th century.

Regardless of when exactly they settled there, Šokci are considered to be the descendants of the pre-Ottoman indigenous Croatian population of Slavonia and Vojvodina, while the majority of the present-day population of these regions are descendants of latter settlers. It is worth noting that the Ottoman invasion caused much of the Christian population of Bosnia, Herzegovina and other adjacent regions either to convert or to move, so the population again moved from the more southern areas (today's Bosnia) towards the north.

The entire Catholic Slavonia was called Šokadija ("the land of Šokci") in the past, ever since the term became popular at the end of the 19th century. Earlier mentions of that name date from 1633 (in the vicinity of Našice), the early 18th century (in the vicinity of Đakovo), and by the writer Antun Kanižlić in 1757.

According to the 1840 data, the population of Croatia and Slavonia numbered 1,605,730 people, of which 777,880 (48%) were Croats, 504,179 (32%) Serbs, and 297,747 (19%) Šokci. The Šokci were concentrated in the Požega, Virovitica, and Syrmia counties, and in the Slavonian Military Frontier. According to the 1910 census, there were 68,725 Bunjevci and Šokci in Bačka, and 13,012 Šokci in Baranja.

Religion and language

The Šokci are Roman Catholic by faith and follow the Latin Rite. They speak an old-Croatian Shtokavian Slavonian sub-dialect that is almost exclusively spoken by Šokci and closely related to Bunjevci dialect. Slavonian dialect has mixed ikavian and ekavian pronunciation, ikavian is predominantly in Posavina, Baranja, Bačka and in Slavonian sub-dialect enclave Derventa and ekavian in Podravina. There are also enclaves of one of variants in main territory of other and vice-versa and also mixed ekavian-ikavian and jekavian-ikavian speeches and in some villages in Hungary original yat is preserved.

Identity and population

Unlike in the 19th century; today, most of them declare themselves in censa as Croats, while only a small number declare themselves as Šokci. While it is widely acknowledged that most of today's Šokci live as Croats and among the other Croats in Croatia, it is impossible to enumerate them because they do not register as a regional ethnic minority in Croatian cesna and also because of a great deal of mixing with other Croats. Even those villages which were traditionally known as Šokac villages today may no longer have a majority of pure Šokci among the residents.

In the old Austro-Hungarian censa, a much larger number of them declared themselves as Šokci, both in Croatia/Slavonia Fact|date=January 2008 and in Vojvodina. In the 19th century, the number of declared Šokci in Vojvodina was more than 20,000. However, according to the 1991 census, there were only 1,922 declared Šokci in what has later become Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (and a much larger number of Croats). These can be added to the groups of crypto-Croats, Croats that have hidden their national identity (for safety reasons), publicly declaring as other non-Croat nationalities (Šokci, Bunjevci, Yugoslavs, Magyars, Serbs, Montenegrins) whilst privately maintaining a Croatian identity.

Šokci living in Croatia and Hungary, as well as many of those living in Serbia, usually consider themselves to be a subgroup of Croats, while those who declare themselves as Šokci are recognized as a separate ethnic group in Serbia. Unlike the Bunjevci, other ethnic groups of Croats, Šokci mostly declare themselves as Croats and very few declare as separate ethnic group.

Šokci are native population of Vukovar-Syrmia County in Croatia. Because of that reason, that area in Croatia is called Šokadija [hr icon [http://www.vukovarsko-srijemska-zupanija.hr/etnologija.html Vukovarsko-srijemska županija] Etnološke znakovitosti] .

Villages with numerous Šokacs in the region of Bačka are: Sonta (Apatin municipality), Bački Breg (Sombor municipality), and Bački Monoštor (Sombor municipality). In 2002 census in Serbia, most of the inhabitants of these villages declared themselves as Croats.

Most of the Hungarian Šokci live in the Baranya region, particularly in the town of Mohács.

In general, the number and the percentage of the Šokci has decreased because of an unwritten policy that each family should have only one child, because they did not wish to divide their estate and other riches in each following generation. Unfortunately such a practice worked up until the 19th/20th century, at which point they were practically overwhelmed in number by the immigrants which had a much larger reproduction rate (certainly over two children per family at the time).

Culture and customs

Many of the traditions of the Šokci are influenced by their environment - they live in the fertile Pannonian plain where they cultivate grains and corn in large fields surrounding their villages. The villages often have one main street ("šor") where each subsequent family house has auxiliary buildings and a spacious yard, as well as a water well. The central street is surrounded on both sides by water channels, which have small crossings in order for one to reach the house.

Families often keep poultry, particularly ducks and geese, although the main source of meat are the pigs, which are almost inevitably kept by a Šokac. They enjoy pork-based products such as ham, sausages (particularly kulen) and bacon. These products are customarily obtained by the traditional autumn slaughtering. The most common fruit are plums, not least because it is often fermented into liquor called rakija.

The abundance in which they have traditionally lived has made the Šokci a naturally merry people, who pay a lot of attention to folklore. Each Šokac village inevitably has a cultural society where they nourish the folk songs and dances. They also hold a yearly festivity called the Šokačko sijelo.

The most recognisable feature of Šokci culture is their music which is played mostly on the tambura instrument. Many tambura bands achieved nationwide fame in Croatia. The body of the tambura was traditionally made of the wood of maple, poplar or plum trees, while today it's mostly made of spruce or fir trees. Another instruments used in the past was the bagpipe. The traditional wedding festivities are paid much attention to, sometimes even catching the attention of entire villages.

The traditional outfit of the Šokci ("rubina") is made of white linen cloth with lace decorations, and the main part of it is a blouse called "oplećak i krila". The women mostly wear the entire outfit only in the summer, replacing it with a wool skirt in the winter. The most esteemed decoration of a Šokac outfit are the gold coins known as "dukat" (pl. "dukati"), most probably originating from the ducats. A rich Šokac girl would have a large number of dukati weaved onto her chest not only as a decoration but as a clear sign that she comes from a wealthy family.

Prominent individuals

*Matija Antun Relković

ee also

* Bunjevci
* Slavic peoples
* Busójárás


* Lazo M. Kostić: "Srpska Vojvodina i njene manjine", Novi Sad, 1999.
* Mile Nedeljković: "Leksikon naroda sveta", Beograd, 2001.
* [http://sokacka-grana.hr/tko_su_sokci.htm Tko su Šokci? (Who are the Šokci?)]
* [http://www.inet.hr/~mpetride/sokci.htm O porijeklu Šokaca, iz knjige "Zagrebačka Šokadija" (On the origin of Šokci, from the book "Šokadija of Zagreb")]
*sr icon [http://www.sluzba.vojvodina.sr.gov.yu/SEKRETARIJATI-V/MANJINE/manjine-koliko-se-poznajemo/web-tekst/Brosura-ceo-tekst.htm КОЛИКО СЕ ПОЗНАЈЕМО]

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