Albanians of Croatia
|17,513, or 18,081 including the "Kosovar" ethnic group (2011)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Sunni Islam, Roman Catholicism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Arbanasi people, Arbereshe people|
Albanians of Croatia are an autochthonous national minority recognized by the Constitution of Croatia. As such, they elect a special representative to the Croatian Parliament, shared with members of four other national minorities.
In the 2011 Croatian census, there were 17,513 Albanians living in Croatia, 0.41% of total population. The largest religious groups among the Albanians were Muslims (9,594 or 54.8% of them) and Catholics (7,109 or 40.6% of them).
In the 1712/14 census done in Lika and Krbava among Vlach population, and other documents, many surnames with Albanian and Arbanasi word roots were recorded, such as those with suffixes "-aj" (e.g. Bulaja, Mataija, Šolaja, Saraja, Suknajić, Rapajić), "-ez" (Kokez, Kekez, Ivez, Malez etc.), and others (Šimleša, Šimrak, Šinđo/a/n, Šintić, Kalember, Flego, Macura, Cecić, Kekić, Zotović etc.).
Albanians came to Croatia in various historical periods. In the Middle Ages they lived in coastal cities and some were assimilated with Vlachs, in the 17th and 18th century the Arbanasi people settled the area around Zadar, and in modern time they came as seasonal workers, war refugees or sportspeople. Many people in Croatia descended from earlier waves of Albanian migration bear surnames of linguistically Albanian origin, but do not speak the language and are not considered to be Albanians.
Notable Albanians in Croatia
- Božidar Kalmeta – Croatian politician and member of the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party
- Valter Flego – Croatian politician, mayor of Buzet and prefect (Župan) of Istria County
- Aleksandar Stipčević - archeologist and historian
- Gjon Gazulli - Albanian Dominican friar, humanist scholar, and diplomat
- Ivo Perović - Regent of Yugoslavia for the underage Peter II from 1934 to 1941
- Rahim Ademi (b.1954) - Croatian Army general of Kosovo-Albanian origin
- Helena Bulaja (b. 1971) – Croatian multimedia artist, director and producer
Arts and entertainment
- Besart Abdurahimi - Croatian-Albanian footballer who plays for Partizani in the Albanian Superliga.
- Arijan Ademi – Macedonian professional footballer who plays for GNK Dinamo Zagreb and Macedonian national team
- Toni Domgjoni – Swiss-Croatian footballer who plays for FC Zürich as a midfielder
- Ahmad Sharbini – former Croatian footballer who is currently the chairman of NK Rječina
- Anas Sharbini – Croatian professional footballer who plays for NK Grobničan in Inter-county League Rijeka
- Neven Spahija - Croatian professional basketball coach
- Milan Rapaić – Croatian footballer
- Edo Flego – Croatian footballer and football manager
- Ivan Bulaja – Croatian sailor and sailing trainer
- Zedi Ramadani - Croatian footballer
- Agron Preteni - Croatian kick boxer
- Herdi Prenga - Albanian footballer
- Elvir Maloku - Albanian footballer
- Bogdan Cuvaj - Croatian football manager
- Tomislav Duka - Croatian footballer
- "Pravo pripadnika nacionalnih manjina u Republici Hrvatskoj na zastupljenost u Hrvatskom saboru". Zakon o izborima zastupnika u Hrvatski sabor (in Croatian). Croatian Parliament. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "4. Population by ethnicity and religion". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Croatian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- Šarić, Marko (2009), "Predmoderne etnije u Lici i Krbavi prema popisu iz 1712./14.", in Željko Holjevac, Identitet Like: Korijeni i razvitak (PDF) (in Croatian), 1, Zagreb: Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar, p. 370, ISBN 978-953-6666-65-2
- P. Šimunović, F. Maletić (2008). Hrvatski prezimenik (in Croatian). 1. Zagreb: Golden marketing. pp. 41–42, 101–102.