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Title: Vasojevići  
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Subject: Brda, Montenegro, Rovca, Krasniqe, Karađorđević dynasty, Battle of Grahovac
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Area in Montenegro inhabited by the Vasojevići
Ethnicity Serb[1][2][3]
(Montenegrin Serb)
Current region Eastern  Montenegro
Traditions Slava of Saint Michael
Name origin and meaning derived from the name of founder Vaso

The Vasojevići tribe (Serbian Cyrillic: Васојевићи, Vasojevići, pronounced ) is the largest Serb tribe in Montenegro. It occupies the area between Vjetarnih Lijeva Rijeka in the South and Bihor under Bijelo Polje in the North, Mateševo in the West to Plav in the East. The tribe (pleme) is one of seven "highland tribes" (Vasojevići, Moračani, Rovčani, Bratonožići, Kuči, Piperi and Bjelopavlići). Vasojevići is also the name of the region inhabited by the Vasojevići.

Although the unofficial center is Andrijevica in north-eastern Montenegro, the tribe stems from Lijeva Rijeka in central Montenegro. The tribe was formed by various tribes that were united under the rule of the central Vasojević tribe. These tribes later migrated to the Komovi mountains and the area of Lim. The emigration continued into Serbia and other parts of Montenegro.


The Vasojević tribe, and Vaso, the founder, is mentioned for the first time in a document found in an archive of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), dated 1444.[4][5] Most of the tribe's history prior to the 16th century has naturally been passed on through oral history. Also connected to the Vasojević tribe are the Vojnović noble family.

According to a folk myth, the founder of the tribe was Vaso.[6] According to one myth Vaso was a descendant of the Nemanjić Dynasty, which ruled the Serbian Grand Principality, Kingdom and Empire (1166–1371). Vaso's great-grandfather was Stefan Konstantin, the rival King, who was defeated by his half-brother Stefan Uroš III in 1322. Stefan Konstantin had a son, Stefan Vasoje, who was brought up at the court of Dušan the Mighty. Stefan Vasoje participated in the battles of Dušan, and when he had received sufficient experience, he was put by the Emperor as voivode at Sjenica. Stefan Vasoje had a son, Stefan Konstantin II (1342–1389, known as Vojvoda Vasojević Stevo in folklore), who participated in the Battle of Kosovo (1389), where he died. The legend further alleges that Vaso, one of five sons of Stefan Konstantin II (all brothers are founders of clans), moved to Lijeva Rijeka.[7] However, the Vasojevići stem from different tribes, of no common kinship and ancestry, which were united under the rule of a central tribe that extended its name to the other clans.[8]

Vaso's descendants gradually expanded to the north-east and inhabited the region by the river Lim called Polimlje – the area around the Komovi mountains, Andrijevica and Berane [4][5][6]

Komovi Mountains, Kom Vasojevićki on the left
Thus, they formed the largest tribe (pleme) of all seven highland tribes of Montenegro (i.e. Vasojevići, Moračani, Rovčani, Bratonožići, Kuči, Piperi and Bjelopavlići). In modern Montenegro the area of Vasojevići falls into following municipalities: Berane, Podgorica, Kolašin, Plav and Bijelo Polje (around 15% of Montenegro).[9] One of the highest mountains of the modern day Montenegro is named after the tribe: Kom Vasojevićki (2461 meteres) and the whole area inhabited by the tribe is frequently called "Vasojevići".[4][5]

Part of the tribe that stayed free from the Turkish occupation lives in the area of Lijeva Rijeka and Andrijevica (Upper Nahija) – they are all called Upper Vasojevići. Lower Vasojevici (or Lower Nahija) inhabited the area of Berane. Most of the Lower Vasojevići were within the Turkish reign until Balkan Wars in the 20th century.[5]

Tribe members were perceived as noblemen and rarely mingled with common folk – people who did not have a common ancestor. Vasojevići called them Ašani (earlier also Asa and Hasa)[10] and today this term has come to denote Vasojevići of other origin.[4][5][6]

In the 18th century the folklore of the tribe was influenced by the Orthodox millenarianism that had developed during the mid Ottoman era. According to one such folk legend, an elder of the Vasojevići, Stanj, foretold Greek priests the advent of a Serbian messiah, a dark man (crni čovijek) who would liberate the Serbs from the Turks. These myths as part of the official Serbian Orthodox doctrine provided both a de facto recognition of Ottoman rule and the denial of its legitimacy.[11]

During the Second World War, the Vasojevići were divided between the two armies of Serb Chetniks (royalists) and Yugoslav Partisans (communists) that were fighting each other[12] (vojvoda Pavle Đurišić formed the most successful Chetnik units out of mainly Vasojevići). As a result the conflict spread within the tribal structures.[12]

Though sense of tribal affiliation diminished in recent years, is not a thing of a past. Tribal association and organizations still exist (e.g. Udruženje Vasojevića "Vaso"). It could be clearly seen during the Montenegrin independence referendum, 2006 with the Vasojevici united opposition (see below).

Notable descendants of the Vasojevići tribe

By the beginning of the World War II there were more than 3600 Vasojevići “houses” in Polimlje and Lijeva Rijeka.[4] Many notable Serbs (or people with Serbian roots, vide Milla Jovovich) are Vasojevići by origin, e.g.:

Ethnicity of the Vasojevići and the Montenegrin independence referendum, 2006

In May 2006, Montenegro gained independence after a referendum on the future of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. However, 72% of voters in Andrijevica municipality, the unofficial centre of the Vasojevići region, voted against Montenegrin independence. It was the second highest result against breaking the state union with Serbia (after Pluzine municipality).[16]

The People's Assembly of Vasojevići stated many times that, apart from being Montenegrin, all Vasojevići are Serb[17][18][19] and, thus, strongly oppose and have always opposed Montenegrin secession from Yugoslavia.[20][21] The Montenegrin census of 2003 revealed that 89,81% of the Vasojevići declared themselves as Serb while 9,43% declared themselves as Montenegrin.

In the aftermath of the referendum some villages have been abandoned as Vasojevići have sold their houses and moved to Serbia.[22][23] Similar cases have been observed in other places of Vasojevići region.

Structure of the Vasojevići Tribe

It is a tradition of all Montenegrin Clans to show respect to ancestors by knowing precisely genealogy and the history of the tribe and a family. This also allows members of the clan to be unite, to act together and always to recognise kin.[6]

In a book "Pleme Vasojevići" written in 1935, R. Vešović describes the structure of the Vasojevići.[4] The list of families was exhausting when the book was completed but since then new families may have developed. Sometimes, with the very distant genealogy, slight variations of names, chronology and relationships exist concurrently but there is no doubt among the Vasojevići members which family belongs to which brotherhood, branch and sub-branch.[6] Never has any family questioned the structure depicted below.[4]

All people of the Vasojevići are descendants of three Vaso sons: Rajo, Novak and Mioman. Hence the three great clans (bratstva) of the Vasojevići:[4]

  • Rajevići
  • Novakovići
  • Miomanovići


  1. ^ Vasa Djeric, O srpskom imenu po zapadnijem krajevima nasega naroda /On the Serbian Name in the Western Lands of our People! (Biograd, 1900), pp.21-22.
  2. ^ Dimitrije-Dimo Vujovic, Prilozi izucavanju crnogorskog nacionalnog pitanja /The Research of the Montenegrin Nationality/ (Niksic: Univerzitetska rijec, 1987), p.172.
  3. ^ Srđa Pavlović (2008). Balkan Anschluss: The Annexation of Montenegro and the Creation of the Common South Slavic State. Purdue University Press. pp. 143–.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h R-J. V. Vesović, 1935, "Pljeme Vasojevići", Državna Štampa u Sarajevu, Sarajevo
  5. ^ a b c d e M. P. Cemović, 1993, "Vasojevići" (IInd edn), Izdavacki cavjet Zavicajnog udruzenja Vasojevicia, Beograd
  6. ^ a b c d e I. R. Dragović, Beograd, 1997
  7. ^
  8. ^ Vucinich, Wayne S. (1975). A study in social survival: the katun in Bileća Rudine. University of Denver. p. 30. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Pribijanje uz rođake
  10. ^ Predanja o zajedničnom poreklu nekih crnogorskih i nekih arbanaških plemena [1]
  11. ^ Roudometof, Victor (1998). "From Rum Millet to Greek Nation: Enlightenment, Secularization, and National Identity in Ottoman Balkan Society, 1453–1821". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Danas svečana proslava praznika Svetog Aleksandra Nevskog na Nožici kod Lijeve Rijeke - Zavjetna slava okupila Vasojeviće".  
  14. ^ a b c d
  15. ^
  16. ^ OSCE Referendum o drzavnom statusu
  17. ^ "Vasojevicki Zakon u Dvanaest Tocaka, part 1". 
  18. ^ "Vasojevicki Zakon u Dvanaest Tocaka, part 2". 
  19. ^ Milija Komatina, Crna Gora I Srpsko Pitanje: Prilog Izucavanju Integrativnih i Dezintegrativnih Tokova (Montenegro and the Serbian Question: A Contribution to the Study of Integrative and Disintegrative Currents) (Belgrade: Inter Ju Press, 1966), page 171
  20. ^ Udruzenie Vasojevicia Vaso
  21. ^ Vasojevici za Srpstvo i Jugoslaviju
  22. ^ Zbogom Montenegro, odosmo u Šumadiju
  23. ^ Celo selo na prodaju


  • M. P. Cemović, 1993, "Vasojevići" (IInd edn), Izdavački savjet Zavićajnog udruženja Vasojevića, Beograd
  • R-J. V. Vešović, 1935, "Pljeme Vasojevići", Državna Štampa u Sarajevu, Sarajevo
  • I. R. Dragović, 1997, "Ko su i od koga su Dragovići i Lekići iz Đulića", Beograd
  • B. Lalević, I. Protić, 1903, "Vasojevići u crnogorskoj granici", Srpski etn. zbornik 5, Beograd

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