Naselja i stanovništvo Toplice i Dubočice od XIV do XVI veka
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In second half of XII century, Stefan Nemanja received, as a part of his Dukery, area of Toplica to administer. His estates near Byzantium border were enlarged by Emperor Manojlo I, who gave him the bordering area of Dubočica. After Nemanja’s retreat from power in 1196, Dubočica remained within estates governed by Nemanja’s younger son Stefan Nemanjić, while Toplica was included in estates governed by older son Vukan. During XIII and XIV century, Toplica and Dubočica were within Serbian Medieval State, and after fall of the Empire in 1371, they were embraced in Morava’s Serbia of Duke Lazar and later, in XV century, in Despotat. Despot Djuradj Branković gave, when marrying his daughter Mara to Sultan Murat II, Toplica and Dubočica as a dowry, in 1433.This areas would stay under Ottoman management until 1451 when Sultan Mehmed II released Mara from harem and gave territories back to Despot. Anyway, they remained only three years under Serbian management, since Mehmed II took them back b...y force, during his military campaign on Despotat in 1454. For inhabitants of Toplica and Dubočica, a long time slavery began, which was to last until Liberation Wars 1876-1878. Ottoman conquerors established Sandžak of Kruševac in 1455, with Nahijas of Prokuplje, Kuršumlija and Dubočica involved. That territory stretched from eastern side of Kopaonik on the west and Janko’s Gorge on northwest, to South Morava, Babička gora, Suva planina and Bulgarian border on the east, and to mountains of Kukavica and Čemernik on the southeast. Northern border was Jastrebac mountain, and southern Goljak and Radan. On conquered territory Ottomans brought new administrative order, which caused changes in real estate and land relations. System of Timars was introduced, and land was divided to Timars, Zeamets and Has’ depending on income they would produced. Register of areas of Kruševac, Toplica and Dubočica tells us that only six Timars were held by Christians. In Dubočica in 1455 five Christian Timars were recorded, with 24 Spahias as users. In second decade of XVI century in Toplica were 11 Spahias and 156 Muslim Timarniks and 13 Zaims. Larger number of Christian Spahias was recorded in 236 Nahija of Dubočica, 53, opposed to 176 Muslim Timarniks and 10 Zaims. In third decade of the same century, number of Christian Spahias suddenly dropped in Sandžak of Kruševac, and process of islamization must had played an important role. During the period at question, rural economy was dominant over urban, due to much larger number of rural inhabitants. During Serbian Medieval State, and also after the fall under Ottoman domain, main part of economy was agriculture, particularly wheat, barley, oat, millet, rye, sumješica and suražica. Important segment of agriculture was grapevine, and industrial plants – linen and hemp. Special care in Medieval Serbia was paid to the beekeeping. Tenth part tribute on bees was submitted. Honey was used as replacement for sugar, and bee wax for candles. On every ten beehives, Ottomans were submitted one akča. Limited possibilities for creating and increasing the cultivated land, and quantity of pastures, directed the population in certain areas toward cattle farming instead of agriculture. Of course, there were villages with inhabitants involved in both activities. Most often breeds of cattle raised were beef, horses, sheep, goats and pigs. Rural economy included certain handcrafts. Craftsmen were engaged in agriculture just like the rest, but also practiced crafts and supplied particular products to community. There were cowherds, blacksmiths, inn keepers, saddle makers, shield makers, etc. Urban and rural economies were linked in many ways – urban economy actually was all about trading with rural economy products. Beside trade, handcrafts were present in towns as well. Prokuplje and Leskovac were mentioned as trade centers with regular weekly market and annual country fair. Merchants from Dubrovnik, important for these activities, even had their own settlement in Prokuplje. Trade in towns of Ottoman Empire was controlled by precise regulations, and objects of trade were mostly wheat, barley, oat, honey, salt, cheese, olives, oil, fish, fruit, vegetables, cattle, wood, wine. With arrival of the Turks, development of many crafts of an oriental origin took place in towns, practiced mostly by Muslims. Craftsmen were organized in Esnafs, pursuing hand work in their small workshops. Mines in Medieval Serbia were exploited for gold, silver, glam silver, copper, lead and iron ore. In the area of Toplica and Dubočica, there were no big mines like in 237 other areas, but it is certain that during whole period from XIV to XVI century mining activities were conducted. From second decade of XV century, Bele Crkve was set as market square of Kopaonik area mining. Villages were dominant type of settlement in Toplica and Dubočica, just like in the whole of Serbian ethnic territory. Positioned deep in interior of Ottoman Empire, away from war operations, village settlements in Toplica and Dubočica could develop undisturbed. An average size of village settlement in Dubočica in 1516 was a little less that 42 houses. In next 20 years, this number would go almost one half down, and reasons for this decrease of households are epidemics of contagious diseases and movement of inhabitants to other areas. Some villages, like Derbendžijas, were granted a special status, and were obligated to conduct a certain services for the State. Towns of importance for our exploration theme, were developed during the reign of Duke Lazar. Before all, we mean Prokuplje, Leskovac and Koprijan, and probably the restoring of Skobaljić Grad took place in that period. At the time, threat of Turks’ attack on Duke Lazar’s State was more and more realistic, so towns had to answer the military needs, to provide sanctuary for population, and to be local centers of economy as well. After the fall under Ottomans domain, Leskovac and Prokuplje developed as the towns of an Oriental type. Most important market place in Toplica was Bele Crkve (Kuršumlija), a monastery square at first, and market square for Kopaonik’s mining later. With arrival of Ottoman conquerors it became an oriental village. In the area of Dubočica, in XVI century, Medvedja was recorded as a market place, with weekly market and country fair. Ottoman Defters, formed mainly for fiscal reasons, were the only way to determine, even approximately, population number of certain areas in second half of XV century and during XVI century. Although sometimes is very unrewarding to estimate population number of some territories, according to certain calculations and records, in villages in areas of Kruševac, Toplica and Dubočica, dwelled a little more that 13.000 inhabitants. For the third decade of XVI century, estimated population number of Nahija Prokuplje would be around 33.000. Recorded data from Branković territories give us insight to the very structure of family, in terms of our concernment, so, according to results, we can say that the largest number of families were single and self-sufficient, 238 followed by brothers’ family alliances. On the third place were fathers’ family alliances, while the number of cousins’ alliances was negligible. In Medieval Serbia, Vlastela separated as a social cast, distinctive for its power, influence, wealth and origin. Opposed to it, there were dependant inhabitants, diverse in rights and obligations. That group involved Meropsi, Sokalnici, Otroci, Rataji and people of specific professions, such as hunters and beekeepers. Special group of submitted population was Vlasi. Under Turks, Serbian people in whole empire were divided in two basic groups, Raja and Vlasi. Beside these basic groups, in Toplica and Dubočica there were a special status groups, engaged in activities of specific importance for the State, and in return they were granted tax allowances (Vojnuci, Derbendžije, Martolosi, Čeltukčije, Sokolari). When it comes to ethnical structure of population of Toplica and Dubočica from XIV to XVI century, it could be said that village areas were populated almost entirely by Serbs. Ethnical variety was in towns, where you could find Serbs, Turks, Gypsies, Islamized members of other Balkans people, and citizens of Dubrovnik. Regarding religion, vast majority of population were Orthodox Christians, and beside them there were members of Islamic and Catholic confessions. Catholic population consisted mainly of Dubrovnik merchants, while Islam came with Ottoman conquerors. Muslims, together with convertites, in village areas were very rare. Percentage in 1516 in Dubočica was 2,06 %, and around 1570 was 7,72 %. Different situation was in Prokuplje and Leskovac, where Muslims were majority. During XVI century, ratio between Christian and Muslim families was changed in favor of Muslims, in market squares in Medvedja and Bele Crkve (Kuršumlija) as well. After establishing Independent Serbian Church in 1219, Episcopacy of Toplica was founded, with the seat in St. Nicolas monastery. Its spiritual domain included Dubočica, so the whole area, as a object of our exploration, was under jurisdiction of Episcopacy of Toplica. When Serbian Church was ascended to the rank of Patriarchy, Episcopacy of Toplica was ascended to the rank of Arch Episcopacy. After falling of southern part of Despotat under the Ottomans in 1455, Arch Episcopacy of Toplica was appended to Arch Episcopacy of Ohrid. It will find itself under domain of Patriarchy of 239 Peć after its recovery again in 1557, under name of Arch Episcopacy of Bela Crkva this time. According to the data on number of Muslim households in rural areas in Dubočica during XVI century, it could be easily concluded that there were not many of Islamized inhabitants in this territory. As a main factor causing that, we must emphasize the role of Serbian Church, which was still strong and active, keeping the tradition of Nemanjićs alive in people.