The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods; the persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors at different times, but Constantine and Licinius's Edict of Milan has traditionally marked the end of the persecution. Christians had always been subject to local discrimination in the empire, but early emperors were reluctant to issue general laws against the sect, it was under the reigns of Decius and Valerian, that such laws were passed. Under this legislation, Christians were compelled to sacrifice to Roman gods or face imprisonment and execution.
After Gallienus's accession in 260, these laws went into abeyance. Diocletian's assumption of power in 284 did not mark an immediate reversal of imperial inattention to Christianity, but it did herald a gradual shift in official attitudes toward religious minorities. In the first fifteen years of his rule, Diocletian purged the army of Christians, condemned Manicheans to death, surrounded himself with public opponents of Christianity. Diocletian's preference for activist government, combined with his self-image as a restorer of past Roman glory, foreboded the most pervasive persecution in Roman history. In the winter of 302, Galerius urged Diocletian to begin a general persecution of the Christians. Diocletian was wary, asked the oracle of Apollo for guidance; the oracle's reply was read as an endorsement of Galerius's position, a general persecution was called on February 24, 303. Persecutory policies varied in intensity across the empire. Whereas Galerius and Diocletian were avid persecutors, Constantius was unenthusiastic.
Persecutory edicts, including the calls for universal sacrifice, were not applied in his domain. His son, Constantine, on taking the imperial office in 306, restored Christians to full legal equality and returned property, confiscated during the persecution. In Italy in 306, the usurper Maxentius ousted Maximian's successor Severus, promising full religious toleration. Galerius ended the persecution in the East in 311, but it was resumed in Egypt and Asia Minor by his successor, Maximinus. Constantine and Licinius, Severus's successor, signed the Edict of Milan in 313, which offered a more comprehensive acceptance of Christianity than Galerius's edict had provided. Licinius ousted Maximinus in 313; the persecution failed to check the rise of the Church. By 324, Constantine was sole ruler of the empire, Christianity had become his favored religion. Although the persecution resulted in death, imprisonment, or dislocation for many Christians, the majority of the empire's Christians avoided punishment.
The persecution did, cause many churches to split between those who had complied with imperial authority, those who had remained "pure". Certain schisms, like those of the Donatists in North Africa and the Meletians in Egypt, persisted long after the persecutions; the Donatists would not be reconciled to the Church until after 411. Some historians consider that, in the centuries that followed the persecutory era, Christians created a "cult of the martyrs", exaggerated its barbarity; such Christian accounts were criticized during the Enlightenment and afterwards, most notably by Edward Gibbon. Modern historians, such as G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, have attempted to determine whether Christian sources exaggerated the scope of the Diocletianic persecution. From its first appearance to its legalization under Constantine, Christianity was an illegal religion in the eyes of the Roman state. For the first two centuries of its existence and its practitioners were unpopular with the people at large. Christians were always suspect, members of a "secret society" whose members communicated with a private code and who shied away from the public sphere.
It was popular hostility—the anger of the crowd—which drove the earliest persecutions, not official action. In Lyon in 177, it was only the intervention of civil authorities that stopped a pagan mob from dragging Christians from their houses and beating them to death; the governor of Bithynia–Pontus, was sent long lists of denunciations by anonymous citizens, which Emperor Trajan advised him to ignore. To the followers of the traditional cults, Christians were odd creatures: not quite Roman, but not quite barbarian either, their practices were threatening to traditional mores. Christians rejected public festivals, refused to take part in the imperial cult, avoided public office, publicly criticized ancient traditions. Conversions tore families apart: Justin Martyr tells of a pagan husband who denounced his Christian wife, Tertullian tells of children disinherited for becoming Christians. Traditional Roman religion was inextricably interwoven into the fabric of Roman society and state, but Christians refused to observe its practices.
In the words of Tacitus, Christians showed "hatred of the human race". Among the more credulous, Christians were thought to use black magic in pursuit of revolutionary aims, to practice incest and cannibalism. Nonetheless, for the first two centuries of the Christian era, no emperor issued general laws against the faith or its Church; these persecutions were carried o
Persecution of Christians in the modern era
In a number of countries, Christians are subject to restrictions on Freedom of Religion, may suffer communal violence and hate crimes. The Foreign Missionary Society Act of 1962 put a limit on the number of churches constructed. Students in military training were forbidden from praying unlike Muslims. In Muslim-majority Zanzibar, part of Tanzania there have been numerous attacks on churches. A bishop condemned the lack of action by the government. An angry mob of Indigenous peoples destroyed the only Protestant church in the remote village of Chucarasi in the Bolivian Andes after beating a congregational elder unconscious. Villagers attacked their Christian neighbors because they blamed them for a hail storm that damaged local crops; the killing of the priest Faustino Gazziero in 2004. CNTV program The Comedy Club parodies of Jesus, the burning of the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the subsequent mock of the faithful's grief in a nationwide newspaper. Since 2015, twelve churches have been burned in southern Chile, 10 Catholic ones and two Protestant ones.
Attacks are from the Mapuche indigenous people, who are campaigning to reclaim ancestral lands, according to authorities."We are going to burn all churches." Thus declared the note left at the ruins of the Christian Union Evangelical church in Ercilla, after an arson attack on March 31, 2016. Government regulations aimed at curbing the growth of Christian house churches in Cuba. Church burning was happening too in Alabama. According to a review published in Washington Post, the predators were young poor males. In 2015, anti-christian grafiti was painted outside the St. Nikolas Serbian Orthodox Church church; some estimates put the number of Christians in China at 97 million, but it has been claimed in 2019 that 20 million of them faced persecution, including crackdowns and church closures. Claims of persecution of Chinese Christians occurred in unsanctioned churches. According to the Christian Open Doors organization, North Korea is the leader among countries who persecute Christians. Christians in Pakistan are a minority, making up 1.6% of the population, religious minorities are discriminated against.
The Pakistan blasphemy law mandates. Critics of the laws say that Christians like Asia Bibi are sentenced to death with only hearsay for evidence of alleged blasphemy. At least a dozen Christians have been given death sentences, half a dozen of them have been murdered after being accused of violating blasphemy laws. In 2005, 80 Christians were behind bars due to these laws. Christians in Pakistan have been murdered in outbreaks of communal violence, such as the 2009 Gojra riots, they have been targeted by militant groups, with the Peshawar church attack killing 75 Christians in Peshawar in 2013, the Lahore church bombings killing 15 Christians in 2015; the campaign of violence by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has been described as a genocide. Former Lebanese president Amine Gemayel stated in 2011 that Christians had become the target of genocide after dozens of Christians were killed in deadly attacks in Egypt and Iraq. According to Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, in the hundred years leading up to 2010 the Middle East's Christian population dwindled from 20% to less than 5%.
Oren argues that with the exception of Israel, Christians in the Middle East have endured severe political and cultural hardships: in Egypt, Muslim extremists have subjected Coptic Christians to beatings and massacres, resulting in the exodus of 200,000 Copts from their homes. In Egypt, the government does not recognize religious conversions from Islam to Christianity. Foreign missionaries are allowed in the country if they restrict their activities to social improvements and refrain from proselytizing; the Coptic Pope Shenouda III was internally exiled in 1981 by President Anwar Sadat, who chose five Coptic bishops and asked them to choose a new pope. They refused, in 1985 President Hosni Mubarak restored Pope Shenouda III, accused of fomenting interconfessional strife. In Upper Egypt, the rise in extremist Islamist groups such as the Gama'at Islamiya during the 1980s was accompanied by increased attacks on Copts and on Coptic Orthodox churches; the police have been accused of siding with the attackers in some of these cases.
In April 2006, one person was killed and twelve injured in simultaneous knife attacks on three Coptic Orthodox churches in Alexandria. Since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt's Coptic Christians have been the target of increasing opposition and discrimination. In 2011, anti-Christian activity in Egypt included church burnings, protests against the appointment of a Coptic Christian governor in Qena, deadly confrontations with the Egyptian army. On television Islamists referred to Christians as heretics and said they should be made to pay the jizya tax. A Coptic priest accused Islamists in the country of massacring uninfected pigs predominantly owned by Copts during a swine flu scare: "They killed these innocent pigs just because they thought they violated their religion in some
The Decian persecution resulted from an edict issued in 250 by the Emperor Decius ordering everyone in the Roman Empire to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods and the well-being of the Emperor. The edict ordered that the sacrifices be performed in the presence of a Roman magistrate, a signed and witnessed certificate be issued to that effect, it was the first time that Christians had faced legislation forcing them to choose between their religious beliefs and death, although there is no evidence that Decius' edict was intended to target Christians. The edict appears to have been designed more as an Empire-wide loyalty oath. A number of Christians were put to death for refusing to perform the sacrifices, many others apostatized and performed the ceremonies, others went into hiding; the effects were long-lasting and caused tension between Christians who had performed the sacrifices or fled and those who had not, left bitter memories of persecution. Decius became Roman emperor in 249 as a result of military victories.
He made efforts to revive Rome's "Golden Age", adding the name of one of his most admired predecessors, Trajan, to his own, revived the ancient office of censor and restored the Colosseum. Restoration of traditional Roman piety was another of his aims, after performing the annual sacrifice to Jupiter on January 3, 250, he issued an edict, the text of, lost, ordering sacrifices to the gods to be made throughout the Empire. Jews were exempted from this requirement. There is no evidence that this edict was intended to target Christians or that persecution of Christians was thought of as one of the effects this decree would have; this was the first time that Christians had faced legislation forcing them to choose between abandoning their religious beliefs and death. The edict ordered that everyone in the Empire, with the exception of Jews, must sacrifice and burn incense to the gods and to the well-being of the Emperor in the presence of a Roman magistrate, get a written certificate, called a libellus, that this had been done, signed by the magistrate and witnesses.
Numerous examples of these libelli survive from Egypt, for instance:To the commission chosen to superintend the sacrifices. From Aurelia Ammonous, daughter of Mystus, of the Moeris quarter, priestess of the god Petesouchos, the great, the mighty, the immortal, priestess of the gods in the Moeris quarter. I have sacrificed to the gods all my life, now again, in accordance with the decree and in your presence, I have made sacrifice, poured a libation, partaken of the sacred victims. I request you to certify this below. There is nothing in these extant libelli about any necessity of denying being a Christian, in contrast to the letter the Roman provincial governor Pliny the Younger had written to the Emperor Trajan in 112, in which he reported that suspected Christians who cursed Christ were freed, an indication that targeting or persecuting Christians was not a goal of Decius' edict. Julius Caesar had formulated a policy of allowing Jews to follow their traditional religious practices, a policy, followed, extended, by Augustus.
This gave Judaism the status of a religio licita throughout the Empire. Roman authorities respected tradition in religion and the Jews were following the beliefs and practices of their ancestors, it was well understood that Jews would not perform sacrifices to the Roman gods or burn incense before an image of the Emperor. In contrast, the Christians were a new phenomenon, one that did not seem like a religion to Roman authorities at all. Christians had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, were seeking to convert others, which seemed dangerous to the Romans. Christians were prohibited by their faith from worshipping the Roman gods or burning incense before an image of the Emperor. Refusal resulted in the deaths of some notable Christians, including Pope Fabian, Babylas of Antioch and Alexander of Jerusalem, it is not known how much of an effort was made by the authorities to check that everyone in the Empire had a libellus certifying that they had sacrificed but it is known that numerous Christians, including Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, went into hiding.
The numbers of people put to death for refusing to obtain a certificate is unknown. Large numbers of Christians performed the sacrifices as required, so much so that authorities at Carthage were overwhelmed by the numbers seeking a certificate and were forced to issue a notice requesting people to come back the next day; the effects of the edict on Christian communities, many of which had until lived peacefully and undisturbed, was traumatic. Christians such as Cyprian who had fled rather than face death, or who had performed the sacrifices, faced hostility from other Christians. By 251, efforts to enforce the edict had died down, although short-lived, the "Decian persecution" became in the collective memory of the church an episode of monstrous tyranny. Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire
Persecution in Lyon
The persecution in Lyon in AD 177 was a persecution of Christians in Lugdunum, Roman Gaul, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. An account of this persecution is a letter preserved in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chapter 1. Gregory of Tours describes the persecution in De Gloria martyrum. Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul. Founded on the Rhone river in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, it served as the capital of the Roman province Gallia Lugdunensis; the emperor Claudius was born in Lugdunum. The first known Christian community established in Lugdunum some time in the 2nd century was led by a bishop named Pothinus from Asia Minor. In the first two centuries of the Christian era, it was local Roman officials who were responsible for persecutions. In the second century, the Caesars were content to treat Christianity as a local problem, leave it to their subordinates to deal with; until the reign of emperor Decius persecution was sporadic. For Roman governors being a Christian was in itself a subversive act, because it entailed a refusal to sacrifice to the gods of Rome, including the deified emperor.
By 177, a number of the Christians in the area of Vienne and Lyons were Greeks from Asia. Before the actual outbreak of violence, Christians were forbidden from the marketplace, the forum, the baths, or to appear in any public places. If they did appear in public they were subject to being mocked and robbed by the mob; the homes of Christians were vandalized.. The martyrs of Lyons were accused of "Thyestean banquets and Oedipean intercourse," a reference to cannabalism and incest. How long all of this lasted is not indicated, but the authorities seized the Christians and questioned them in the forum in front of the populace, they were imprisoned until the arrival of the governor. According to Eusebius, while yet a presbyter or elder, St. Irenaeus was sent with a letter, from certain members of the Church of Lyons awaiting martyrdom, to Eleutherus, bishop of Rome; when the governor arrived at Lugdunum, he interrogated them in front of the populace again, mistreating them to such a degree that Vettius Epagathus, a Christian and man of high social standing, requested permission to testify on behalf of the accused.
This request was refused and instead the governor arrested Vettius Epagathus when he confessed to being a Christian. These Christians endured. Two of their pagan servants were seized and, fearing torture, falsely charged the Christians with incest and cannibalism. What followed was the torture of the captive Christians by various means. In the end, all were killed, some of whom had recanted but returned to the faith. There were 48 victims at Lugdunum, half of them were of half Gallo-Roman; the elderly Bishop Pothinus, first Bishop of Lugdunum, was beaten and scourged, died shortly after in prison. A slave, Blandina was subjected to extreme torture, she was exposed, hung on a stake, to be the food of the beasts let loose upon her. As none of the beasts at that time touched her. Martyred at this time were Attalus and Alexander, Saint Ponticus, a fifteen-year-old boy, Sanctus, a deacon from Vienne
Persecution of Christians in the Eastern Bloc
After the October Revolution of November 7, 1917 there was a movement within the Soviet Union to unite all of the people of the world under Communist rule. This included the Eastern bloc countries as well as the Balkan States. Communism as interpreted by Vladimir Lenin and his successors in the Soviet government required the abolition of religion and to this effect the Soviet government launched a long-running campaign to eliminate religion from society. Since some of these Slavic states tied their ethnic heritage to their ethnic churches, both the peoples and their churches were targeted by the Soviets. Across Eastern Europe following World War II, the parts of the Nazi Empire conquered by the Soviet Red Army, Yugoslavia became one party Communist states and the project of coercive conversion to atheism continued; the Soviet Union ended its war time truce against the Russian Orthodox Church, extended its persecutions to the newly Communist Eastern bloc: "In Poland, Hungary and other Eastern European countries, Catholic leaders who were unwilling to be silent were denounced, publicly humiliated or imprisoned by the Communists.
Leaders of the national Orthodox Churches in Romania and Bulgaria had to be cautious and submissive", wrote Geoffrey Blainey. While the churches were not as treated as they had been in the Soviet Union, nearly all their schools and many of their churches were closed, they lost their formally prominent roles in public life. Children were taught atheism, clergy were imprisoned by the thousands. In the Eastern Bloc, Christian churches, along with Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques were forcibly "converted into museums of atheism." The total number of Christian victims under the Soviet regime has been estimated to range between 12–20 million. Richard Wurmbrand, Romanian evangelical Christian minister and author, described the systematic persecution of Christians in one East Bloc nation. However, persecution of Christians Protestants and non-registered minority denominations, has continued after the fall of the Soviet Union, in many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, notably Tajikistan and Belarus.
Soon after the October Revolution, the campaign to end religion – and more Christianity and Islam – began. In 1920 the White Sea camp was opened on the grounds of a once Russian Orthodox Monastery. At this camp which took Orthodox and Catholic priests, the prototype for other Soviet camps was revealed; the camp began to exterminate those. Under the doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union, there was a "government-sponsored program of forced conversion to atheism" conducted by Communists; the Communist Party destroyed churches and temples, harassed and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with anti-religious teachings, it introduced a belief system called "scientific atheism," with its own rituals and proselytizers. Many priests were killed and imprisoned, Thousands of churches were closed. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution; the League of Militant Atheists was a "nominally independent organization established by the Communist Party to promote atheism".
The state established atheism as the only scientific truth. Soviet authorities forbade the criticism of atheism and agnosticism until 1936 or of the state's anti-religious policies. Militant atheism became central to the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and a high priority policy of all Soviet leaders. Christopher Marsh, a professor at the Baylor University writes that "Tracing the social nature of religion from Schleiermacher and Feurbach to Marx and Lenin...the idea of religion as a social product evolved to the point of policies aimed at the forced conversion of believers to atheism." A few years in 1929, priests were not considered workers thus they were given higher taxes. Priests could not serve in the military because they were ineligible; the priests because of their ineligibility were given non-service taxes, calculated to be more than 100% of their income. Priests were ineligible to join collective farms, because of this they were given no health care, pensions, or social security.
By 1939, only 500 out of 50,000 churches remained open. After the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to raise morale for the war effort. By 1957, there were 22,000 Orthodox churches in the USSR. However, in 1959 Nikita Khrushchev initiated a new anti-religious campaign, which led to the closure of 12,000 churches. By 1985 only 7,000 churches remained active. By the end of the Khrushchev era, 50,000 clergy were executed and many of the church hierarchy were replaced by individuals who had connections with the KGB. With the drafting of the new Constitution in 1977, however, "freedom of conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion, to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda" was guaranteed. In 1995, the Russian state commissioner confirmed that 200,000 Russian Orthodox Priests and nuns were killed. In 1997 the remains of a Catholic Bishop and 30 priests were found at Sandormoch, 150 miles north of St. Petersburg. According to Russian schoolbooks, 20 million Soviet and East European citizens died in Communist Labour camps, while 15 million more were killed in mass executions.
This number includes Christians and various other denominations as well as nonbelievers. The Orthodox church received some favour against other religions in Bulgaria in exchange for total submission to t
Anti-Protestantism is bias, hatred or distrust against some or all branches of Protestantism and its followers. Anti-protestantism dates back to before the Protestant Reformation itself, as various pre-Protestant groups such as Arnoldists, Waldensians and Lollards were persecuted in Roman Catholic Europe. Protestants were not tolerated throughout most of Europe until the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 approved Lutheranism as an alternative for Roman Catholicism as a state religion of various states within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Calvinism was not recognized until the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. Other states, such as France, made similar agreements in the early stages of the Reformation. Poland–Lithuania had a long history of religious tolerance. However, the tolerance stopped after the Thirty Years' War in Germany, the persecution of Huguenots and the French Wars of Religion in France, the change in power between Protestant and Roman Catholic rulers after the death of Henry VIII of England in England, the launch of the Counter-Reformation in Italy, Habsburg Austria and Poland-Lithuania.
Anabaptism arose as a part of the Radical Reformation, lacking support of the state Lutheranism and Calvinism enjoyed, thus was persecuted. Theological disagreement led to a Lutheran-Reformed rivalry in the Reformation. Protestants in Latin America were ostracized until the abolition of certain restrictions in the 20th century. Protestantism spread with Pentecostalism gaining the majority of followers. North America became a shelter for Protestants who were fleeing Europe after the persecution increased. Persecution of Protestants in Asia can be put under a common shield of the persecution Christians face in the Middle East and northern Africa, where Islam is the dominant religion. Anti-Protestantism known as Catholic Anti-Protestantism, originated in a reaction by militant societies connected to the Roman Catholic Church alarmed at the spread of Protestantism following the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Martin Luther's Proclamation occurred in 1517. By 1540, Pope Paul III had sanctioned the first society pledged to extinguish Protestantism.
Christian Protestantism was denounced as heresy, those supporting these doctrines excommunicated as heretics. Thus by canon law and the practice and policies of the Holy Roman Empire of the time, Protestants were subject to persecution in those territories, such as Spain and the Netherlands, in which the Catholic rulers were the dominant power; this movement was started by the reigning Pope and various political rulers with a more political stake in the controversy a religious one. These princes instituted policies as part of the Spanish Inquisition, abuses of that crusade authorized for other reasons such as the Reconquista, Morisco conversions, which led to the Counter Reformation and the edicts of the Council of Trent. Therefore, the political repercussions of various European rulers supporting Roman Catholicism for their own political reasons over the new Protestant groups, only subsequently branded as heretical after rejection by the adherents of these doctrines of the Edicts of the Council of Trent, resulted in religious wars and outbreaks of sectarian violence.
Eastern Orthodoxy had comparatively little contact with Protestantism for geographic and historical reasons. Protestant attempts to ally with Eastern Orthodoxy proved problematic. In general, most Orthodox had the impression that Protestantism was a new heresy that arose from various previous heresies. In 1771, Bishop Charles Walmesley published his General History of the Christian Church from her birth to her Final Triumphant States in Heaven chiefly deduced from the Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle, written under the pseudonym of Signor Pastorini; the book forecast the end of Protestantism by 1825 and was published in at least 15 editions and several languages. By the 19th century and some Eastern Orthodox thinkers, such as Berdyaev, Seraphim Rose, John Romanides believed that Northern Europe had become secular or atheist due to its having been Protestant earlier. In recent eras Orthodox anti-Protestantism has grown due to aggressive Protestant proselytization in predominantly Orthodox countries.
The Reformation led to a long period of warfare and communal violence between Catholic and Protestant factions, leading to massacres and forced suppression of the alternative views by the dominant faction in much of Europe. Anti-Protestantism originated in a reaction by the Catholic Church against the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Protestants were denounced as heretics and subject to persecution in those territories, such as Spain and the Netherlands, by the Inquisition, in which the Catholics were the dominant power; this movement was orchestrated by princes as the Counter Reformation. This resulted in religious wars and eruptions of sectarian hatred such as the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572. In 1870 the newly formed Kingdom of Italy annexed the remaining Papal States, depriving the Pope of his temporal power. However, Papal rule over Italy was restored by the Italian Fascist régime in 1929 as head of the Vatican City state. In 1938, the Italian Racial Laws and Manifesto of Race were promulgated by the Fascist régime, enforced with the support of the Catholic Church to both outlaw and persecute Italian Jews and Protestant Christians Evangelicals and Pentecostals.
Thousands of Italian Jews and a small number of Protestants died in the Nazi concentration camps. In Franco's authoritarian Spanish State, Protestantism was deliberately marginal
Persecution of Muslims during Ottoman contraction
Persecution of Ottoman Muslims during the Ottoman contraction refers to the persecution, massacre, or ethnic cleansing of Muslims by non-Muslim ethnic groups during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The 19th century saw the rise of nationalism in the Balkans coincident with the decline of Ottoman power, which resulted in the establishment of an independent Greece and Bulgaria. At the same time, the Russian Empire expanded into Ottoman ruled or Ottoman allied regions of the Caucasus and the Black Sea region. Many of the local Muslims in these countries suffered as many died during the conflicts and others fled; the persecution of Muslims was continued during World War I by the invading Russian troops in the east and the Caucasus and during the Turkish War of Independence in the west and south of Anatolia. After the Greco-Turkish War, a population exchange took most Muslims in Greece left. During these centuries many Muslim refugees, called Muhacir, settled in Turkey. Pre-Islamic Turkic peoples settled in the Balkans since late antiquity, such as the Cumans and Bulgars.
After the region was conquered by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Turkish presence grew. Some of the settlers were Yörüks, nomads who became sedentary, others were from urban classes, they settled in all of the towns, but the majority of them settled in the Eastern Balkans. The main areas of settlement were Ludogorie, the Thracian plain, the mountains and plains of northern Greece and Eastern Macedonia around the Vardar river. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, large numbers of native Balkan peoples converted to Islam. Places of mass conversions were in Bosnia, Albania and the Rhodope Mountains; some of the native population converted to Islam and became Turkish over time those in Anatolia. Hall points out. Deliberate terror was designed to instigate population movements out of particular territories; the aim of targeting the civilian population was to carve ethnically homogeneous countries. Before the Great Turkish War Austrians and Venetians supported Christian irregulars and rebellious highlanders of Herzegovina and Albania to raid Muslim Slavs.
The end of the Great Turkish War marked the first time the Ottoman Empire lost large areas of territory to Christians. Most of Hungary and the Morea was lost; the Ottomans regained the Morea and Muslims soon became part of the population or were never displaced in the first place. Most of the Christians who lived in the Ottoman Empire were Orthodox so Russia was interested in them. In 1711 Peter the Great invited Balkan Christians to revolt against Ottoman Muslim rule. About one quarter of all people living in Slavonia in the 16th century were Muslims who lived in towns, with Osijek and Požega being the largest Muslim settlements. Like other Muslims who lived in Croatia and Dalmatia, they were all forced to leave their homes by the end of 1699; this was the first example of the cleansing of Muslims in this region. This cleansing of Muslims "enjoyed the benediction of Catholic church". Around 130,000 Muslims from Croatia and Slavonia were driven to Ottoman Herzegovina. All Muslims who lived in Croatia and Dalmatia were either forced to exile, murdered or enslaved.
Thousands of Serb refugees crossed Danube and populated territories of Habsburg Monarchy left by Muslims. Leopold I granted ethno-religious autonomy to them without giving any privileges to the remaining Muslim population who therefore fled to Bosnia and Serbia spreading anti-Christian sentiment among other Muslims there; the relations between non-Muslim and Muslim population of Ottoman held Balkans became progressively worse. At the beginning of the 18th century remaining Muslims of Slavonia moved to Posavina; the Ottoman authorities encouraged hopes of expelled Muslims for a quick return to their homes and settled them in the border regions. The Muslims comprised about 2/3 population of Lika. All of them, like Muslims who lived in other parts of Croatia, were forced to convert to Catholicism or to be expelled. All buildings that belonged to Muslim religion and culture were destroyed in the region of Croatia after Muslims had to leave it. In 1716, Austria occupied northern Bosnia alongside northern Serbia until 1739 when those lands were ceded back to the Ottoman Empire at the Treaty of Belgrade.
During this era, the Austrian Empire outlined its position to the Bosnian Muslim population about living within its administration. Two options were offered by Charles VI such as a conversion to Christianity while retaining property and remaining on Austrian territory, or for a departure of those remaining Muslim to other lands. At the beginning of the 18th century Orthodox Serbs massacred their Muslim neighbors in Montenegro. After the Dahije, renegade janissaries who defied the Sultan and ruled the Sanjak of Smederevo in tyranny, imposing harsh taxes and forced labour, went on to execute leading Serbs throughout the sanjak in 1804, the Serbs rose up against the Dahije; the revolt, known as the First Serbian Uprising, subsequently reached national level after the quick success of the Serbs. The Porte, seeing the Serbs as a threat, ordered their disbandment; the revolutionaries took over Belgrade in 1806 where an armed uprising against a Muslim garrison, including civilians, took place. During the uprising urban centers with sizeable Muslim populations were violently targeted such as Užice and Valjevo, as the Serbian peasantry held a class hatred of the urban Muslim elite.
In the end, Serbia became an autonomo