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Following its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the mid-15th century, Bosnia experienced a rapid and extensive conversion of the local population to Islam, and by the early 1600s roughly two thirds of Bosnians were Muslim.

In addition, a smaller number of converts from outside Bosnia were in time assimilated into the common Bosniak unit, such as Croats (mainly in Turkish Croatia, and the Muslims of Slavonia that fled to Bosnia following the Austro-Turkish war), Serbian and Montenegrin Muhacirs (in Sandžak particularly Islamicized descendants of the Old Herzegovinian and highlander tribes from Brda region, such as Rovčani, Moračani, Drobnjaci and Kuči), and slavicized Vlachs, Y-DNA results show notable frequencies of I2 (43.50%), R-M17 (15.30%), E-V13 (12.90%), J-M410 (7.10%).

Ethnic cleansing and genocide during the Bosnian War (1991–95) have had an effect on the territorial distribution of the population.

Partly due to this,) as a polity first appears in the 10th century.

A native minority of Bosniaks live in other countries in the Balkans; especially in the Sandžak region of Serbia and Montenegro (where Bosniaks form a regional majority), and in Croatia and Kosovo.

by their historic tie to the Bosnian historical region, traditional majority adherence to Islam since the 15th and 16th centuries, common culture and Bosnian language.

Prior to this, the great majority of Bosnian Muslims had declared either Ethnically Undecided Muslim or – to a lesser extent – Undecided Yugoslav in censuses pertaining to Yugoslavia as the other available options were Serb-Muslim and Croat-Muslim.

Nevertheless, leaders and intellectuals of the Bosniak community may have various perceptions of what it means to be Bosniak.It is noted that writers on nationalism in Yugoslavia or the Bosnian War tend to ignore or overlook the Bosnian Muslim ideology and activity and see them as victims of other nationalisms and not nationalistic themselves.The Early Slavs, a people from northeastern Europe, settled the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (and neighboring regions) in the sixth and early seventh century (amid the Migration Period), and were composed of small tribal units drawn from a single Slavic confederation known to the Byzantines as the Sclaveni (whilst the related Antes, roughly speaking, colonized the eastern portions of the Balkans).According to estimates commissioned in 2008 by the National Security Council of Turkey (Milli Güvenlik Kurulu) some 2,000,000 Turkish citizens are of Bosniak ancestry as mainly descended from Bosniak emigrants in the 19th and early 20th century.Europe Albania · Austria · United Kingdom Germany · Sweden · Switzerland Slovenia · Czech Republic Slovakia · Kosovo · Turkey North America United States · Canada South America Argentina · Bolivia · Brazil Chile · Colombia · Peru Oceania Australia · New Zealand; singular masculine: Bošnjak, feminine: Bošnjakinja) are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group inhabiting mainly the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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