Page images



Teutonic groups in the midst of Rumanians and Hungarians. To-day the so-called Saxon area does not constitute a single group, but consists of separate agglomerations clustered in the vicinity of the passes and defiles which their ancestors were called upon to defend. The upper valley of the Oltu and its mountain affluents in the rectangle enclosed between the towns of Hermannstadt, Fogaras, Mediasch and Schässburg contain at present the bulk of this Austrian colony of German ancestry.

The Germans and Hungarians who founded settlements on the Transylvanian plateau were unable to impose their language and ideals

on the inhabitants of the mountainous region. RumaRumanian

nian, representing the easternmost expansion of Latin Tongue Area

speech, is in use to-day on the greatest portion of this highland, as well as in the fertile valleys and plains surrounding it between the Dniester and the Danube. A portion of Hungary and the Russian province of Bessarabia is therefore included in this linguistic unit outside of the kingdom of Rumania. Beyond the limits of this continuous area the only important colony of Rumanians is found around Metsovo in Greece, where, in the recesses of the Pindus mountains and surrounded by the Greeks, Albanians and Bulgarians of the plains, almost half a million Rumanians have managed to maintain their Latin character.

From the valley of the Dniester to the basin of the Theiss the steppes of southern Russia spread in unvarying uniformity, save where the

tableland of the Transylvanian Alps breaks their conLive Both on

tinuity. The entire region was the Dacia colonized by Plains and

the Romans. Unity of life in this home of Rumanian Mountains

nationality has been unaffected by the sharp physical diversity afforded by the enclosure of mountain and plain within the same linguistic boundary. The thoroughness with which Rumanians have adapted themselves to the peculiarities of their land is evinced by the combination of the twin occupations of herder and husbandman followed by Moldavians and Wallachians. Cattle and flocks are led every summer to the rich grazing lands of the elevated Transylvanian valleys. In winter man and beast seek the pastures of the Danubian steppes and prairies. Rumanians thus maintain mountain and plain residences, which they occupy alternately in the year. These seasonal migrations account for the intimacy between highlanders and lowlanders, besides affording adequate explanation of the peopling of the region by a single nationality.

There was a time, however, when Rumanian nationality became entirely confined to the mountain zone. The invasions which fol. lowed the retirement of the Romans had driven Rumanians to the shelter of the Transylvanian ranges. Perched on this natural fortress, they beheld the irruption of Slavs and Tatars in the broad valleys which they had once held in undisputed sway. Only after the flow of southeastern migrations had abated did they venture to reoccupy the plains and resume their agricultural pursuits and seasonal wanderings.

The outstanding fact in these historical vicissitudes is that the mountains saved Rumanian nationality. Had the Romanized Dacians not been able to find refuge in the Transylvanian Alps there is no doubt that they would have succumbed to Slavic or Tatar absorption. As it is, the life of Rumanians is strongly impregnated with eastern influences. Oddly enough, its Christianity was derived from Byzantium instead of from Rome, and were it not for a veritable renaissance of Latinism about 1860 its affinity with the Slavic world would have been far stronger in the present century.

Of the two groups of southern Slavs subjected to Austro-Hungarian rule the Slovenes are numerically inferior. Settled on the calcare

ous plateau of Carniola, they cluster around Laibach Slovenes in

and attain the German area on the north, along the Carniola

Drave between Marburg and Klagenfurt. Eastward they march with Hungarians and the Serbo-Croat group of southern Slavs. Their southern boundary also coincides with the latter's. Around Gottschee, however, a German zone intervenes between Slovene and Croatian areas. Practically the entire eastern coast of the Gulf of Triest is peopled by Slovenes. The group thereby acquires the advantage of direct access to the sea, a fact of no mean importance among the causes that contribute to its survival to the present day in spite of being surrounded by Germans, Hungarians, Croats and Italians.

The Slovenes may be considered as laggards of the Slavic migrations that followed Avar invasions. They would probably have occupied the fertile plains of Hungary had they not been driven to their elevated home by the pressure of Magyar and Turkish advances. Confinement in the upland prevented fusion with the successive occupants of the eastern plains which unfolded themselves below their mountain habitations. Racial distinctiveness characterized by language no less than by highly developed attachment to tradition resulted from this state of seclusion.



South of the Hungarian and Slovene zones the Austro-Hungarian domain comprises a portion of the area peopled by Serbians. Serbian

language predominates from the Adriatic coast to the Extent of

Drave and Morava rivers, as well as up to the section Serbian Stock

of the Danube comprised between its points of confluence with these two rivers. Serbian, in fact, extends slightly east of the Morava valley toward the Balkan slopes lying north of the Timok river, where Rumanian prevails as the language of the upland. To the south contact with Albanian is obtained.

This Serbian area includes the independent kingdoms of Montenegro and Serbia. Within the territory of the Dual Monarchy it comprises the provinces of Croatia, Slavonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Dalmatia. Serbian nationality is founded, therefore, on the region of uplift which connects the Alps and the Balkans or which intervenes between the Hungarian plain and the Adriatic.

Union between the inhabitants of this area is somewhat hampered by the division of Serbians into three religious groups. The westernmost Serbs, who are also known as Croats, adhere to the Roman Catholic faith. Followers of this group are rarely met east of the 19th meridian. A Mohammedan body consisting of descendants of Serbs, who had embraced Islam after the Turkish conquest, radiates around Sarajevo as a center. The bulk of Serbians belong, however, to the Greek Orthodox church. Cultural analogies between the Mohammedan and Orthodox groups are numerous. Both use the Russian alphabet, whereas the Croats have adopted the Latin letters in their written language.

The Serbian group made its appearance in the Balkan peninsula at the time of the general westerly advance of Slavs in the 5th and 6th

centuries. A northwestern contingent, wandering Hope for

along the river valleys leading to the eastern Alpine "Greater" Serbia

foreland, settled in the regions now known as Croatia and Slavonia. Here the sea and inland watercourses provided natural communications with western Europe. Evolution of this northwestern body of Serbians into the Croatians of our day was facilitated by the infiltration of western ideas. But the great body of Serbians occupying the mountainous area immediately to the south had their foreign intercourse necessarily confined to eastern avenues of communication. They therefore became permeated with an eastern civilization in which Byzantine strains can be easily detected.

To-day the political aspirations of this compact mass of Serbians are centered around the independent kingdom of Serbia, which is regarded as the nucleus around which a greater Serbia comprising all the Serbian-speaking inhabitants of the Balkan peninsula will grow. This Serbo-Croatian element is estimated at between ten and eleven million individuals.

Southeast of Serbia lies the Bulgarian national area. The Bulgarians are primarily inhabitants of the main Balkan ranges. North

and south of the uplift they have overflown into better Bulgarian

favored areas. Thus the forelands leading to the DanNational Area

ube are peopled by Bulgarians. The Maritza valley is also predominantly Bulgarian-a fact recorded in the country's national hymn. For Bulgarian, therefore, the physiographic features which have dictated nationality are a central mountain mass and its adjoining lowlands. This area makes up the southeastern end of the Balkan peninsula and it seems logical at first sight to infer that Bulgaria is entitled to this section of Europe. But another fact of geography intervenes here, for the extreme southeastern end of Europe is the region of the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits. At its tip stands Constantinople, the goal of nations.

To ascribe nationality to the shores of the straits is impossible from the standpoint of population. The coastland stretching from

the Dardanelles to the Black Sea entrance of the Mixture of Peoples at the Bosporus

Bosporus is inhabited by a motley population in

which the most important elements are represented in almost equal numbers. Greeks mingle with Bulgarians, Turks and Armenians. The Bulgarians are mainly farmers while the Greeks are fishermen and sailors who control the petty coastwise traffic. The Turk still rules as lord of the land and imposes himself by means of strong garrisons. Armenians are found everywhere especially in and around Constantinople. The Jews too are ancient dwellers on these shores and have wedged themselves tightly into the population. Important colonies of European traders have also been present since Byzantine times. Almost every language in the world is heard in the crowded streets of the capital. From the site of Troy to the low hills on which Constantinople is built the classic shores have become the meeting-place of nations.

This mixed agglomeration was inevitable on such a site. From the Dardanelles to the Black Sea a single waterway extends in spite of

the different names by which its parts are known. Where Asia and

This region was the crossing of the two main roads Europe Meet

between Europe and Asia. Land travelers from



central Europe to Asiatic markets forded the straits and proceeded by way of Asia Minor to central or southern Asia. The navigators from southern Europe could bring their cargoes to the Black Sea terminals of caravan routes only after having steered their ships through the straits. The meeting of two main lines of traffic explains therefore the mixed character of the population. A human residue has been deposited by centuries of thickly flowing travel in those channels. Neither has the traffic ceased. Between Calais or Hamburg and Bombay the shortest land route passes through Constantinople. Even the airline between northwestern Europe and India is straightened by passing over these important waterways. The value of the region for international traffic is one which affects every commercial nation in Europe.

Geography, therefore, has created the Eastern Question. The presence of the Turks in Europe complicated it. The Turk has

camped on this tip of the peninsula since the fourTurk out of

teenth century without ever settling. He failed to Place in Europe

endow the region with nationality because, nomad that he was, he had none to confer. He failed to assimilate the conquered populations because the bleak and sandy steppes of his Asiatic homelands never gave birth to national institutions and he was forced to model a semblance of political organization after what he found on conquered soil. But the copying was clumsy, and five centuries of occupation did not improve it. He is the Asiatic alien on European soil and geography alone, not to mention a foul historical record, invalidates his title to European territory. His presence has checked the normal growth of nationality on every inch of the Balkan peninsula. Everywhere in this eastern region national freedom has been a late event because of the Turk. In one case—that of the Albanians—its achievement almost failed.

About Albania the map is explicit. Its surface is extremely rugged, few regions in Europe being less accessible. Hence Albanians have

had little intercourse with other peoples. Moreover, Albanians are

they have been isolated from one another. Living still Tribal

in a land of narrow valleys, communication between which was rendered difficult by high rocky bulwarks, tribal life was perpetuated among them. They cannot turn to history for light or guidance. The narrowness of their views is a reflection of the surroundings in which they live. In such a land national unity cannot come from within. The value of national organization is an idea

« PreviousContinue »