Professor D. Portillo
2 April 2013
The Slavs: East vs. West vs. South
When the term “Slav” is mentioned, the first people to come to mind are the Russians. We know them by their unique script of writing, vodka, and are the most populated of all of the ethnic tribes that populated the mountains, rivers, and plains of Eastern Europe. Although a quintessential people of this continent, they differ greatly from many of their brothers and sisters of the same bloodline that also live south and west of them. Russians, along with their neighboring cousins to the south, east, and west are divided dramatically by religion, language, and geographical landforms from the South Slavs and West Slavs.
Religion is a key in the great divide in the Slavic peoples. Before Christianity each Slavic tribe had their own set of pagan gods, with the most common one being Svetovid, the god of war. Many of the Slavic tribes and cantons will not adopt Christianity until the 9th Century AD, and they would not be united by one single Christian Church. When the Great Schism occurred in 1054, the church would be spilt into the two main fragments, creating a byproduct of two branches of Christianity we know of today, Catholicism and Orthodoxy. While the Western Slavic peoples like the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Sorbs, Moravians, Silesians, Kaszubians, Croats, and Slovenes were under the sphere of influence of the Pope and Catholic Rome, the Russian, Ukrainians, Rusyns, Belarusians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Macedonians, and Montenegrins gravitated to the Patriarch of then Orthodox Constantinople. Although these two are the main Christian religions present, Islam is also common in some Slavs. The Bosniaks, Gorani, Pomaks, and Torbesh peoples are all Muslims. Since the battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389, The Ottoman Turks had occupied the Balkans until the 20th Century. Some of the local populations like the Bosniaks and Albanians had welcomed the Turks and converted...