Population in Prokuplje Cover Image

Становништво Прокупља
Population in Prokuplje

Author(s): Vujadin Rudić
Contributor(s): Nikola Pantelić (Editor)
Subject(s): Archaeology, Geography, Regional studies, Ancient World, Middle Ages, Modern Age, Recent History (1900 till today), Demography and human biology, Migration Studies
Published by: Етнографски институт САНУ
Keywords: Serbia; Prokuplje; population; demography; migration; archaeology;
Summary/Abstract: Geographical position of Prokuplje varied, depending on the importance of the region in a particular historic period. At the time of the Roman Empire Prokuplje was situated on the road connecting Lješ and Niš. A fortress (castellum) manned with soldiers securing peace and order, and protecting transportation of commodities and armies in the area was arected on the nearby hill Hisar. During the Turkish reign Prokuplje was again located on the important communication way between Dubrovnik and Istanbul, and this is the reason why between Dubrovnik and Istanbul, and this is the reason why some of the most significant Dubrovnik colonies were concentrated in Prokuplje and in Novi Pazar. Once the railways Doljevac-Prokuplje in 1925 and Prokuplje-Kuršumlija-Priština in 1948 were constructed its position continued to gain in importance. It should be added that a motor road connecting Niš and Pristina passes through Prokuplje and that Prokuplje and the adjacent towns are all connected ba a network of modem roads. Its favorable geographical position has had a definite impact on its demographic development. Archeological investigations in the region confirm that it was populated already in the prehistoric times. Its first inhabitants were members of the Illyrian tribe Dardanians followed by the Celtic tribe Scordisci. At the time of the Roman conquest severe battles were fought with the Celtic inhabitants and those who remained were resettled in Pannonia. Slavic settling in the area was completed by the seventh century. Serbs remained to live there in peace and in war with Byzantium all the way up to the Ottoman conquest in 1454. The region played an active and important part at the time of Stefan Nemanja as well, which may be deduced from the fact that his palace was located in Kuršumlija. The oppressed Serbian population, taking advantage of each and every opportunity, frequently rose up against Turkish slavery. Massive Serbian uprisings against the Turkish rulers took place at the time of Austrian-Turkish wars in 1690 and 1737. After these wars, fearing Turkish revenge, the Serbs, emigrated to the lands north of the Sava and the Danube, leaving behind their centuries-lond homeland. A powerful and successful uprising took place in 1876-1878 when the Toplica region was finally liberated and joined to the state of Serbia. After the liberation from the Turkish reign Prokuplje, finally free, became a strong immigrant point of attraction once again. Prokuplje and its environs were this time populated by immigrants from Montenegro, Herzegovina, Kossovo, Metohia, Kopaonik, environs of Užice, the Vojvodina, Crna Trava and other regions. The result of these migrations was the extremely heterogeneous population structure of Prokuplje, namely its members originated from many different regions. Demographic and socioeconomic development of Prokuplje was disrupted by the 1912-1918, and 1941-1945 wars. These wars had extremely negative effects on population and household growths in Prokuplje. After the Second World War an accelerated development of urban settlements continued in general and this was also true for Prokuplje. These processes invoked the rural-urban migrations because peasants could rather easily find employment in towns. This process was so pronounced in Prokuplje that 60% of its population are the rural immigrants. Prokuplje became the center of daily commuters: workers and pupils. The existence of so many commuters is conditioned by various factors: traffic development in Toplica, underdeveloped economy so that workers have to engage themselves in agricultural production as well, housing shortages in the town and so on. After the Second World War immigration of Serbian inhabitants from Kossovo and Metohia became more intensive. These migrations were provoked by the actions of Albanian separatists and nationalists, further by the bad policy of the Yugoslav League of Communists leadership, and by the failures of the state agencies and institutions. Population and household increase in Prokuplje after the liberation from the Turkish reign was the result of the influx of Serbian population from various directions, while after 1960 rural-urban migrations were the chief factor in population growth. Population increase due to birth rates is extremely modest, the average rate being 9% for the period of the last ten years. Population structure (gender, age, education, nationality, confession, economy) of Prokuplje is influenced by the complex socioeconomic factors effective in the past. Gender structure was disturbed by the intensive immigration of male migrants up to the Second World War and their emigration later on, by the economic structure of the town, by wars and other factors. Age structure is on the other hand effected by decrease of birth rates which is seen from the following aging index: in 1948 0.19.1953 0.18.1961 0.21. 1971 0.22, and in 1981 0.28. Literacy is on the low level (in 1948 15.22%, 1961 12.48%. 1971 11.07%, and in 1981 7.02%) for an urban settlement with more than 25000 inhabitants. Percentage of inhabitants with collage and university degrees is increasing (1948 1.41%. 1953 2.71%. 1971 4.91% and in 1981 7.35%). This increase is in accord with the economic, cultural, medical-care and communication development of Prokuplje, the center of Toplica. National structure in the periods after the liberation from the Turks was quite homogeneous. From 1948 (89.5%) until 1981 (86.47%) the percentage of Serbs decreased. The second largest group are the Gypsies amounting to 5.34% in 1981. More than 99% of the total population in Prokuplje are of the Serbian Orthodox creed. The economic structure of the population in Prokuplje changed in correlation with the development of economic life in the town and its environs. The general activity rate in the after-war period is quite stable: in 1953 31.1%, 196132.29%, 197134.95%, and in 1981 36.44%. Increase of the general rate of activity is the consequence of the aging of the population, decrease of natality rate and the number of pupils and students as supported persons. The number and percentage of self-supporting people is increasing because of the increasing number of retired persons who return to their home town after retirement. The absolute and relative number of people employed in primary sector is in decrease, while those in the secondary and tertiary ones is in increase. The rate and type of change that has occurred in the population economic structure in Prokuplje may be seen from the following data: the number of employees in economic activities increased in the period 1953-1961 for 84.74%, from 1961 to 1971 for 72%. and from 1971 to 1981 for 30.5%, and in other activities: from 1953 to 1961 for 19.5%, from 1961 to 1971 for 25.95%, and from 1971 to 1981 for 56.08%. In the following period both the population growth and the changes in population structure will be moderate for it is not expected that the town would experience abrupt changes in its development.

  • E-ISBN-10: 86-7587-011-6
  • Print-ISBN-10: 86-7587-011-6
  • Page Count: 112
  • Publication Year: 1992
  • Language: Serbian