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Ashkali flag.png
proposed Ashkali flag (Matica Aškalija, Amëza e Ashkalive), designed in 1999 by Abedin Toplica.[1]
Total population
Regions with significant populations

Albanian language


predominantly Islam.

Related ethnic groups

Romani people, Albanians, Egyptians (disputed)

The Ashkali (also Aschkali, Hashkali, Aškalije (Ашкалије), Haškalije (Хашкалије)) are an Albanian speaking ethnic minority of Kosovo and Albania. They are often considered Albanized Romanies, but they don't consider themselves as so. Instead, they self-identify as "Egyptians" (Albanian: Egjiptian; Serbian: Египћани, Egipćani or Ђупци, Đupci; Macedonian: Египќанци, Egipkjanci or Ѓупци, Gjupci; Bulgarian: Агупти, Agupti — in the Rhodopes[2]), claiming Egyptian origin, supposedly via immigration through Palestine, deriving the ethnonym from Ashkelon. The common designation gypsies applied to the Romani people also originates with a (mistaken) belief in Egyptian Palestine origin of the Romani.

In Kosovo, the Ashkali appeared to be aligned with Albanians before the Kosovo War. However, there were reports of mass expulsion of Ashkali along with Romani Gypsies from Kosovo that took place after the war[3]. Many Ashkali refugees settled in Central Serbia and Vojvodina. In Serbia and Montenegro, they went by other names like Black Montenegrins and Romano-Palestinians.

A 14th-century reference to a placename (Агѹповы клѣти, Agupovy klěti) in the Rila Charter of Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria is thought to be related to the Balkan Egyptians according to some authors, such as Konstantin Josef Jireček.[4][5]



Most Ashkali live in Kosovo, but they are also present in Albania, Central Serbia, Vojvodina, Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

In the Macedonian census of 2002, 3,713 people self-identified as "Egyptian". In the Serbian census of 2002 (excluding Kosovo), 814 people self-identified as "Egyptian". In the Montenegrin census, 225 people self-identified as "Egyptian" or "Palestian Judas" from Ashkelon.


  1. ^ Abedin Toplica: "Flamuri Kombëtar i Ashkalive / Zastava Aškalija / The National Flag", Ashkali Horizonti, nr. 2, 2003 "The flag is red with a black rising eagle in front of a green disk. The red and black colour are similar [to the Albanian flag. The green disk represent[s] Islam"
  2. ^ Христов, Христо; Георги Янков (1989). "Глава VI. Културата на ислямизираните българи — неразделна част от общобългарската култура" (in Bulgarian). Очерк за ислямизираните българи и националновъзродителния процес. София: Наука и изкуство. p. 108.  
  3. ^ Memorandum of the Society for Threatened People on the Issue of Lead Poisoning of Roma in IDP Camps in Kosovo, GFBV.
  4. ^ Даскалова, Ангелина; Мария Райкова (2005) (in Bulgarian). Грамоти на българските царе. София: Академично издателство "Марин Дринов". p. 57.  
  5. ^ Trubeta, Sevasti (March 2005). "Balkan Egyptians and Gypsy/Roma Discourse" (PDF). Nationalities Papers 33 (1): pp. 71–95. doi:10.1080/00905990500053788.  

See also

External links



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