Ivan Franjo Jukić (8 July 1818 – 20 May 1857) was a Franciscan writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly writing under the pseudonym Slavoljub Bošnjak, whose life and cultural and political legacy have left an indelible mark on the cultural history of the country, where he is remembered as one of the founders of Bosnian modernism.


Ivan Jukić was born in Banja Luka, Ottoman Empire (in modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina) to the family of Jozo and Klara Jukić. In 1830 he was sent to the Franciscan monastery in Fojnica, and was given the monk name Frano. In 1835 he came to Zagreb where he studied philosophy and met the protagonists of the Illyrian movement. In 1837 he went to Veszprém to study theology, and from there he wrote his first songs and sent them to Ljudevit Gaj, whom he had previously met in Zagreb.

In Hungary Jukić met a certain Bosnian trader called Jovanović, who convinced Jukić and three of his young friends that there was an uprising in the works to free Bosnia from the rule of the Ottoman Empire. This resulted in the four of them returning to Bosnia in 1840 in an effort to aid the effort, but as soon as they arrived, they were met by fra Marijan Šunjić from Orašje who told them that this idea was hopeless at the time, and sent them off to the Fojnica monastery with a letter recommending that the Franciscan provincial find them a refuge outside Bosnia. They were sent to Dubrovnik where they spent the next two years out of harm's way.

In Dubrovnik, Jukić met Božidar Petranović, the editor of the Serb-Dalmatian magazine (Srpsko-dalmatinski magazin), who published Jukić's first books. In 1842, Jukić returned to Bosnia and documented his trip, and made further trips around the country in 1843 as well as 1845, both to Bosnia and to Slavonia and Dalmatia. In 1846, he settled in the Fojnica monastery again for another two years, and also sent a letter to Ljudevit Gaj saying he intends to form a literary society aimed at enlightenment, but this never came into being.

In 1848, Jukić moved to Varcar-Vakuf (Mrkonjić Grad) to become a chaplain. In 1849/1850, he reported to have 30 Catholic and 17 Orthodox children in his school, making that the first school without religiously segregated student population in Bosnia. There he also wrote Slavodobitnica together with fra Grga Martić, a song about the Bosnian governor Omar Pasha, whom he befriended.

However, in 1851 he published his proclamation Requests and pleas of the Christians in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and fell out of favor with Omar Pasha so much that he was banished to Istanbul and ordered never to return to his home country. Jukić then moved to Rome, then spent some time in Dalmatia, and then moved back to Rome, then to Ancona and Venice.

In 1854, he moved to Đakovo where the bishop Strossmayer found him a chapel to tend to in Trnava and Drenje. However, as early as 1856 Jukić became gravely ill and had to move to Vienna for medical treatment. Jukić's life was cut short at the age of 38 in 1857, when he died in Vienna, then a part of the Austrian Empire.

Work and impact

Having lived during one of the most dramatic periods in Bosnia's history, which was marked by the insurgency of the Bosniak nobility (led by Husein Gradaščević), against the attempts of its Ottoman administrators to carry out modernising reforms throughout their ailing empire, Jukić was fascinated by the idea of liberal civic order, equality and national freedom for South Slavs. In that, he followed the idealism and strong impulse for national independence of similar movements in Serbia and Croatia. Referred to as national renaissance, these movements have recently been portrayed as narrowly nationalistic, yet, in the context of their time should be understood primarily as progressive movements for modernity, national liberation and civic order.

Together with Marijan Šunjić, Martin Nedić, Jako Baltić, Blaž Josić and fra Grgo Martić, Jukić's cultural and political orientation was based on the para-political tradition of Bosna Srebrena as a Franciscan province and the only officially recognised entity under the influence of the Catholic Church in the Ottoman Balkans at the time.

Founder and editor of the first literary magazine in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bosanski prijatelj (Bosnian Friend), Jukić was an advocate of the religion-independent cultural identity who put in practice the idea of universal civic education not tied to religious affiliation. For him, as Ivan Lovrenović observed in his seminal work Bosanski Hrvati, ethnic and denominational borders of the Bosnian microcosm were neither absolute, nor God-given.

Jukić's famous 1850 memorandum to the Ottoman government, titled Želje i molbe kristjanah u Bosni i Hercegovini, koje ponizno prikazuju njegovom veličanstvu sretnovladajućem sultanu Abdul-Medžidu represents the first draft of a European-inspired civic constitution in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In it, Jukić demands that the Catholic and Orthodox populations of Bosnia are no longer called raja, but citizens of the Ottoman Empire, just like the ruling Muslim stratum of the Bosnian society at the time.

However, Jukić's national belonging was always and primarily defined as Bosnian (he regularly wrote under the pseudonym of Slavoljub Bošnjak (Slavophile Bosniak), and in such a way so as to include all ethnic and denominational groups inhabiting this space. The only other cultural identity he recognised was Illyrian, as a cultural supra-identity of all South Slavs, however, he never saw the future or destiny of Bosnia as anything else but its national and organisational unity and independence. Until his death, no other idea of collective cultural identity of Bosniaks and Herzegovinians had a more significant presence or a more significant advocate.

See also


  1. ^ Jukić, Ivan Franjo. Sabrana djela. Mi Bošnjaci njekad slavni narod sad jedva da smo živi nas samo kao očenutu glavu od stabla slavjanskog gledaju priatelji naukah i žale nas…. Vrime je da se i probudimo od dugovične nemarnosti; dajte pehar, te carpite iz studenca pomnje mudrost, i nauk; nastojte da najpred naša serca očistimo od predsudah, fatajmo za knjige i časopise, vidimo što su drugi uradili, te i mi ista sredstva poprimimo, da naš narod prosti iz tminah neznanstva na svitlost isitne izvedmo. 
  • Bosanski Hrvati by Ivan Lovrenović
  • Bosnia: A Short History by Malcolm, Noel