History of the Princely House of Bulat

  1. Origin of the Noble House of Radulović

The progenitor of the noble house of Radulović (Radulovich, Radilovich) was called Radul (fl. 1137). He is mentioned in 1720 in a book called “Italia Sacra sive de episcopis Italiae et insularum adjacentium” written by Ferdinand Ughelli where an account is given about the most famous member of the family, the archbishop od Chieti, cardinal Nikola Radulović (✶ 1625 – † 1702). The passage which speaks about him in Latin is the following: “Radulo Copiarum Belae Regis Hungariae Supremo Preafecto sua gens originem ducit” (Latin: Radul force of Bela King of Hungary leads his nation of origin). Radul was a Vlach military commander in the army of King Bela II of Hungary (✶ 1109 – † 1141) during his conquest of the valley of the river Rama in Bosnia in 1137, after which he assumed the title King of Rama. Radul is mentioned as being the leader of his nation of origin which would perfectly fit the Vlachs, since any other nation e. g. Croats, Serbs, Bosnians would make him a rather important historical figure, but since Radul is an obscure figure this would explain his Vlach ethnic origin, as the history of the Vlachs is not well understood or known.

Detail from the Illuminated Chronicle depicting the Hungarian King Bela II (1109 – 1141) during whose conquest of Rama in Bosnia in 1137 the most ancient ancestor of the Princely House of Bulat was mentioned as a military leader.

The evidence supporting this is quite overwhelming. Firstly, the Vlach linguistical element -ul is present in his personal name Radul. This is most famously exemplified in the name Dracula, but also in many surnames of Vlach origin such as Krstulović, Dežulović, Kožul etc. Secondly, the region called Rama is located on the western side of Bosnia, close to the Principality of Hum and the Kingdom of Dalmatia. The noble house of Radulović traditionally held the title župan of Fojnica, while the region of Ravanjska Vrata, which is in the historical territory of Rama in the place of the origin of the noble house of Kustražić, since many of the stećak (standing tombstones) bear identical symbols which are later found in Dalmatia, including the old family coat of arms. Aside from this, Fojnica is located approximately 40 kilometers from Ravanjska Vrata giving further validity to this claim. The son of King Bela II of Hungary was King Geza II of Hungary (✶ 1130 – † 1162) who is mentioned as going to war with the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos (✶ 1118 – † 1181) allied with the first Bosnian ruler ban Borić († c. 1163). The sons of Radul, who were the first to bear the surname Radulović were surely present in these military confrontations. Sadly no old genealogy of the family survives, leaving Radul as the only confirmed member of the house of Radulović in its inception.

The noble house of Radulović was mentioned by several authors which spoke about its antiquity. One such example is fra Mijo Vjenceslav Batinić (✶ 1846 – † 1921) a well-known Catholic priest from Bosnia who wrote: “The defeat of the Kingdom of Bosnia was felt by Fojnica, where many noble families gathered such as Alaupović, Radijelović” pointing out the Radulović family as one of the oldest. Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I Habsburg (✶ 1640 – †1705) granted a confirmation of nobility to a person called Lovro Stjepanov Radilović in 1689 with the title of a count and the adjective de Vizzoki in Bosna and a right to bear the coat of arms as seen in the Illyrian Armorials, which means the Radulović family surely had a comital title. The renowned historian Emil von Lasowski (✶ 1868 – † 1949) wrote a article about the family in 1933 where he stated that all the banners and seals of the family were destroyed by the Ottomans and that the family hailed from Fojnica where the Franciscan monastery was burned twice and that no trace of the family can be found besides the village Radilović where the family had a feudal estate. Given that the village Radilović is located in the Milodraževo field in Bosnia and that Visoko where the afore mentioned family member received the confirmation of his nobility is located 15 kilometers from each other should be seen a evidence of the connection. Close to this area is another village called Katunište which is connected to the katun of the Vlachs and would further expound the claim that the land was part of the feudal estate of the noble house of Radulović.

A tablet with the first mention of Ban Kulin of Bosnia who was the first ruler who gave freedom to the Vlachs

Although there are no surviving documents which directly mention the descent of the House of Kustražić from the House of Radulović, both houses are from Bosnia and the wider area of Hum and Rama, they have an identical heraldic escutcheon composed of a single bend, the Vlach linguistical element -ul is present in the name of the house while the House of Kustražić has been described as a ethnic Vlach family, and the period which follows the sons of Radul (fl. 1137) and the foundation of the House of Radulović is marked by the rise of Ban Kulin († c. 1204) and the first mention of the freedom and nobility of the Vlachs. This connection has also been approved and is specifically mentioned in the confirmation of the old nobility granted by the Spanish King of Arms Dr. Alfonso Escalera-Ceballos y Gila in the document given to catunar Petar pl. Bulat and his only male heir catunar Dominik Jakov pl. Bulat Vručinić who later used it to elect himself as a prince of the Vlachs and founded the Principality of Vlachia.

The noble house of Radulović had several cadet branches, the most successful of which was the one which moved to Italy and acquired the title marchese di Polignano after the Ottoman invasions. It is precisely this branch which has left the greatest amount of information about the medieval family history. This branch of the noble house of Radulović was also in relation with the House of Sfondrati with some family members buried in the Santa Maria Constantinopoli in Polignano. This branch of the family also made their own armorial which is found today in the library of Modena, Italy. It is a classic copy of the Illyrian armorial with the original coat of arms of the noble house of Radulović and their large quartered arms depicting the families with whom they had relations in the past, some of which, like the House of Sanković and House of Ostojić are mentioned in the ‘Law for the Vlachs of Cetina’ along with Bulat Kustražić, the progenitor of the Princely House of Bulat. Since no genealogy remains of the early years of the family, this is considered the only proof of the relations of the noble house of Radulović.

The greater coat of arms of the noble house of Radulović quartered with the ancient families with whom they were related such as Crnojević, Kovačić, Sagrijelović, Sojmirović, Hrvatinić, Ostojić, Sanković

2. Origin of the Noble House of Kustražić

The book ‘Vlachs in older Croatian historiography’ by Ivan Mužić has on its front cover the stećak (standing tombstone) of Jerko Kustražić, which is today found in the Museum of Archeological Monuments in Split Croatia and is protected as UNESCO world heritage

The progenitor of the noble house of Kustražić is omitted by written history, yet the etymological root of the surname clearly shows the personal name in question was Kuštra which is a nickname, since the word denotes a person with curly hair. Kuštra (✶ c. 1280) was most likely the son of a nobleman from the house of Radulović, the evidence for which will be presented in later segments of this work. This noble house is rarely attested through medieval documents although it was part of the oldest nobility as was elaborated above. The father of Kuštra was most likely a knight and nobleman in the service of Ban Pavao I Šubić of Bribir († 1302) who was the most powerful and outstanding member of the House of Šubić, prior to the birth of Mladen II Šubić of Bribir who led and lost the Battle of Bliska in 1322, when the Vlachs are mentioned for the first time in Dalmatia saying that the battle was led “auxilio Vlacorum et Policianorum” (Latin: with the help of the Vlachs and the men of Poljice). It is quite possible that the person nicknamed Kuštra died in the Battle of Bliska and was survived by his son Juraj Kustražić. In the famous historical book “Kingdom of the Slavs” written by the Benedictine abbot dom Mavro Orbini there is a mention of the times before and after the Battle of Bliska (1322).

“After the death of Ban Pavao, the rule was taken by Mladen, and after him ruled some noble families, which Croatia was full of and they ruled their own provinces. Among them was Prince Nelipčić and his brothers and the families Kurjaković and Čuprijanović along with many others whom I will not mention since they did nothing outstanding. In this era the above-mentioned magnates did not allow the Hungarians entry into Croatia, nor any rule over her, but with time, as all the brave magnates died and the Kingdom of Hungary was ruled by Louis, this King wished to rule Croatia also. He therefore gathered an army and marched to conquest in Croatia, where he captured several people from the Kurjaković family while the other members ran away. He also captured Ivan, the son of duke Nelipčić, a bold and notable magnate.”

– Mavro Orbini – “Kingdom of the Slavs” (1611)

This segment speaks many important things regarding the history of the region and the changes brought about by the death of Ban Pavao Šubić of Bribir. The power over all Bosnia now passed to his son Ban Mladen II Šubić of Bribir (✶ c. 1270 – † c. 1343) who had inherited the hereditary title ban which was previously granted by the Angevin kings. The function of a Ban was akin to that of a viceroy, but in this case it was an office which held greater power as ban Pavao I Šubić of Bribir was called the ‘uncrowned King of Croatia‘ meaning that he held all executive power as a sovereign. The House of Šubić as the descendants of the ancient Croatian tribes wanted to reclaim the throne of Croatia and reunite it with Bosnia, therefore abolishing the union with Hungary and creating a new state that would territorially bear resemblance to the Kingdom of Croatia like it was under the Trpimirović dynasty. Since ban Pavao I Šubić of Bribir held all of Bosnia, his son Mladen II Šubić of Bribir saw it as his right to ascend to the Croatian throne as the greatest magnate and consequently all of the Bosnian nobility went to war for him against King Louis the Great (✶ 1342 – † 1382) who was the occupant of the Croatian throne. After the Battle of Bliska was lost, it became evident that many of the nobleman and magnates would support an Angevin king since no noble house native to Croatia had such power as the Anjou dynasty. In the text from dom Mavro Orbini, he speaks about a lack of achievement among the Dalmatian and wider Croatian nobility at a time when they were on their peak. This is due to the heretical leanings of these families which were connected to the Bogumil movement. This is why many later families were accused of forging their ancestry like the noble House of Ohmučević.

The first mention of the Vlachs in the Kingdom of Croatia is found in the aforementioned Battle of Bliska (1322) where it is written that the Vlachs went to battle with Mladen II Šubić of Bribir, the strongest magnate who wanted to become the King of Croatia and under whom the medieval knightly culture reached its peak. Here they fought the Croatian magnates led by Prince Ivan I Babonić († c. 1334) who remained loyal to King Charles I Robert of Anjou (✶ 1288 – † 1342). For his loss, ban Mladen II Šubić of Bribir was imprisoned and remained in a dungeon until the end of his life. His attempt to take the crown had failed while the Vlachs remained in Dalmatia. After the many battles that ensued duke Nelipac II Nelipčić († 1344) who had switched alliances between ban Mladen and the king took the Vlach nobles and their knights and settled them in Cetina which was his estate. Being politically not suitable due to their involvement with ban Mladen II Šubić of Bribir, they hid and took a new family name which explains why Kuštra, a nickname, would become the name of a noble family. Thus, they became what would later be called “Valachi Regni Croatiae” (Latin: Vlachs of the Kingdom of Croatia) which will give the House of Kustražić privileges above other Vlachs through the service to the great princely house of Nelipčić descended from the House of Svačić, one of the twelve noble tribes of the Kingdom of Croatia.

The stećak of katunar Jerko Kustražić on which it is written in Bosnian Cyrillic: Herko, sin Juroja (Old Slavic: Jerko, son of Juraj)

The first known and traceable ancestor of the House of Kustražić was katunar Juraj Kustražić (✶ c. 1300). Katunar Juraj Kustražić was a knight and nobleman of the Croatian ban and Prince Ivan Nelipčić († c. 1344). In 1344 the Vlachs are mentioned once more as living in Cetina. The son of Juraj was katunar Jerko Kustražić (✶ c. 1323 – † c. 1356) as it is known from the inscription made on his tombstone in Cista Provo, Croatia where it is written in Bosnian Cyrillic “Herko, sin Juroja” (Old Slavic: Jerko, son of Juraj). Catunar Jerko Kustražić was surely born after the Battle of Bliska (1322). Another tombstone bears an inscription:

“Ovdi leži dobra žena Vladija polag svojega suđenika Jerka Kostražića ov bilig postavlja 1357.”

Here lies the good (noble) woman Vladija by her destined companion Jerko Kostražić this mark she places in 1357.”

The tombstones are kept today in the Museum of Archeological Monuments in Split and protected as UNESCO world heritage. Katunar Jerko Kustražić was a knight and nobleman under Prince Ivan II Nelipčić († c. 1379). After him the names of the members of the noble house of Kustražić are silent, however, new names might be discovered in the future. The next known member of the family was katunar Bulat Kustražić († 1440) the progenitor of the noble house of Bulat. His name is derived from a type of steel called bulat that was used by medieval knights and was surely in possession of the family.

The Vlach nobles after bringing the House of Nelipčić precedence above other Croatian princes supported the last member of the house Prince Ivaniš Ivanović Nelipčić († 1434) in his plan to marry his daughter princess Katarina Nelipčić. Since the catunars and their knights seized the town Ostrvica above Skradin on the 10th April 1412 in the name of the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg (✶ 1368 – † 1437) he met with the princes in the same year at the castle Sokolac in the town called Brinje where he confirmed to Ivan VI Frankopan on the 28th November 1412 the old estates of the Princes Nelipčić including the alliances ‘cum universis Croatis et Vlahis’ (Latin: with all the Croats and Vlachs). Prince Ivan VI Frankopan married Princess Katarina Nelipčić in 1416 thus becoming the new ban and the greatest magnate of the entire kingdom of Croatia. Another mention comes from a charter from Knin where in 1434 there is a mention of ‘Morevlahi et Catunarij’ (Latin: black Vlachs and catunars) differentiating the Vlachs (sometimes called Morlachs or black Vlachs from the catunars of nobility.

Kraljske Mirine – the ancestral seat of the Princely House of Bulat. This old feudal estate was given to Bulat Kustražić by prince Ivan VI Frankopan

Near Knin is a village called Biskupija where the ruins of a old feudal estate known as Kraljske Mirine remain. This estate was according to tradition the ownership of King Demetrius Zvonimir of Croatia († 1089) and was later used as a episcopal seat. It is to this day surrounded by names such as Bulatuša (Slavic: Bulat’s dwelling), Bulatova oranica (Slavic: Bulat’s field) and zemlja gospodina Bulata (Slavic: land of sir Bulat). All of these toponyms point to the estate once owned by katunar Bulat Kustražić. Besides this the estate of Kraljske Mirine is also home to many stećak (standing tombstones) which have the following heraldic carvings: sword, fleur-de-lis, bishop’s staff, sun & moon etc. The symbols are found on many of the Bogumil tombstones with the combined symbol of the sword and a bishop’s staff being the only one ever discovered. The symbolism is quite clear with the name bulat being derived from a type of steel used for swords and the bishop’s staff symbolizing another name for Kraljske Mirine which is called Biskupija (Slavic: diocese or place of the bishop). Ljubica Radić, who published an academic paper about the site in 1989, said the following: “The swords and shields are most likely representations of the nobility and belonged to warriors. About the symbolism of the staff, there are differing opinions, and its joint depiction with a sword could symbolise a prominent warrior who belonged to the ruling social class”. This prominent warrior, which is reffered in the article is surely none other than Bulat Kustražić († 1440). Another reference made here, concerns surely the Bosnian Church where a djed (Slavic: grandfather) was a bishop, consequently the oldest nobility of the Principality of Poljice, which ruled their small counties called katun and elected a Grand Prince among themselves is called didići. It is therefore interesting to notice the Principality of Poljice was territorially divided into singular segments known as katun which would clearly suggest the strong Vlach cultural influence in the Cetina region.

A total of three stećak found on the estate of Kraljske Mirine (Biskupija, Knin) depicts a sword and one depicts it jointly with a bishop’s staff. The very surname Bulat originates from a type of steel used by medieval knights while the estate is also called Biskupija (Slavic: diocese)

It is because of the connection to King Dmitar Zvonimir that a branch of the family upon entering the Military Border of the Habsburg Monarchy and becoming Orthodox in the middle of the 18th century, took as their patron saint St. Demetrius (Croatian: sv. Dmitar) honouring the age when their ancestors lived on this estate. The Orthodox branch of the family also celebrated the feast of St. George as another patron saint of the family. Seventeen years passed since Prince Ivan VI Frankopan inherited the estates and alliances of the extinct House of Nelipčić. Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg found himself in a difficult financial position and asked to have the estates of the House of Nelipčić returned in the second half of the year 1435. Prince Ivan VI Frankopan refused the breaking of a deal made 17 years earlier, since the House of Frankopan prospered significantly with the new acquisitions. For his disobedience he was stripped of his titles and proclaimed a enemy of the king. Prince Frankopan summoned to the fortress Klis the loyal Vlach nobles confirming them all their privileges “ki im su bili za nih bivšega gospodina bana Ivaniša Ivanovića i za negova oca, kneza Ivana” (Slavic: which were theirs during the time of Ban Ivaniš Ivanović and his father prince Ivan). At the same time he refers to them as “dobrim i počtenim mužima” (Slavic: good and honest men) as nobility was always spoken to. The prince speaks about the oath they have given ”vsi više pisani dobri muži, vsi katunari, nam priaše i zavezaše se virom i dušom svoom, da hote nam virno i našemu ostanku” (Slavic: all the above-mentioned good men, all catunars tied their faith and their soul so that they will serve us and our descendants). These rights meant that the Vlach catunars could elect a Vlach prince from among their own ranks, as well as their dukes. They also were allowed to have estates and free trials where no other prince could judge them, and no death penalty could be enforced upon them. Some of the most notable noble houses are mentioned in the document such as the House of Sanković and House of Ostojić formed with the others a coalition of noblemen who were descendants of ancient houses from Bosnia but also the House of Dubravčić and the House of Dražojević found in the Principality of Poljice.

Because of the breaking of the deal by Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg a bloody civil war ensued in which our house remained faithful to Prince Frankopan until his early death in the winter of 1436, which happened most likely from poisoning. Although there are no mentions about the battles that happened we have a letter from 1438 written by Archduke Albert II Habsburg (✶ 1397 – † 1438) which says that the most intense battle was near Sinj and that the new Ban Matko Talovac lost many of his finest warriors and dukes because the Vlach nobles continued to fight for Princess Katarina Frankopan (née Nelipčić). After several military conflicts with Emperor Sigismund, the family is banished from their estate of Kraljske Mirine because a part of the catunars led by Viganj Dubravčić sided with the emperor and the Slavonian magnates and divided the already overpowered forces. This is known since the new Ban Matko Talovac gives estates in Koprivno to the former Vlach Prince Viganj Dubravčić in 1443 “za vernu i ugodnu službu” (Croatian: for faithful and pleasant service).

St. Demetrius the patron saint of the Orthodox branch of the family commemorates the estate of Kraljske Mirine once owned by the family, known according as the place of the murder of king Demetrius Zvonimir

With this event the expulsion of the Vlachs from Cetina begun as did the service of the loyal catunars to grand duke Stjepan Vukčić Kosača (✶ 1404 – † 1466) who protected the Vlachs from Imotski after the breaking of the new peace agreements achieved in 1437 on the fortress Klis by the ban Petar Talovac († 1453) and the Republic of Venice. Grand Duke Stjepan Vukčić Kosača went to war with the brothers Talovac in 1440 and with the help of the Vlach nobles and their knights conquered Omiš and Poljice in the name of the newly founded Duchy of Saint Sava. These estates will remain under his rule until 1444 when the conflicts start once again. During these conflicts catunar Bulat Kustražić died in battle in the service of the grand duke Stjepan Vukčić Kosača. The year of his death is certain since the archeological excavation of the necropolis in Trilj conducted by dr. Ante Milošević, historian and headmaster of the Museum of Archeological Monuments in Split, revealed a numerical inscription in Cyrillic of the year 1440 along with the money of the Republic of Venica from the time of doge Francesco Foscari (✶ 1373 – † 1457). On the stećak (standing tombstone) of catunar Bulat Kustražić in Trilj, which is akin to that of his ancestor catunar Jerko Kustražić, there is a heraldic carving (upper picture) of a sword with a shield featuring bend from the right. This represents the old coat of arms of the House of Radulović, which the House of Kustražić inherited through its progenitor Kuštra who was a member of the House of Radulović. By the simplicity of the coat of arms and the fact that it is tilted towards the right points toward the times prior to the 13th century when heraldry was only developing. This would correspond with the writing of the Charter of Ban Matej Ninoslav († c. 1250) where the Vlachs are mentioned as being free nobleman under ban Kulin († c. 1204) and the mention of Radul as the military commander of the army of king Béla II of Hungary (✶ 1109 – † 1141) during the conquest of the valley by the river Rama in 1137. In addition to this, the shape of the shield on the stećak of catunar Bulat Kustražić is called a tournament shield i. e. square shield with a hole for a lance, which is known to be used in knight tournaments. The coat of arms of the noble House of Radulović as depicted in the Illyrian Armorials also had a tournament shield. During the Middle Ages only the men whose nobility was recognised were allowed to participate in these tournaments, as these events were frequently visited by kings and the upper echelons of society such as princes, dukes and counts who had the means of paying for this expensive sport. The other most important depiction on the tombstone of catunar Bulat Kustražić is the carving of him with his wife and son (lower picture). This proves, along with the genetic tests that the patrilineal line continued legitimately from catunar Bulat Kustražić all the way to catunar Petar pl. Bulat without interruption. In the same manner as the noble house of Tasovčić held the title katunar Kutlovića so did the noble house of Radulović hold the title katunar Kustražića.

Inscription of the year 1440 in Cyrillic found among the remains of the necropolis in Trilj where Bulat Kustražić is buried

3. Settling in Zaostrog and the Historical Branching of the noble House of Bulat

After escaping their demise the members of our family, whose names are sadly not recorded, settled under the slopes of the mountain Biokovo in Ostrog pod Viterom (today Upper Zaostrog) on the lands under the rule Republic of Venice and of the Princes Kostanjić from Drivenik who received from the Republic of Venice confirmation of their old nobility only with the title conte (Italian: count). The members of the House of Bulat were never allowed a confirmation because of their frequent previous confrontations with the Republic of Venice. The House of Kostanjić distinguished themselves as servants of the House of Kosača but the dissolution of the Duchy of Saint Sava made them seek alliance with the Republic of Venice in the coming war with the Ottoman Empire. As the old allies of the House of Kosača, the House of Bulat were also allies of the House of Kostanjić, and it is for this reason that they allowed them to live on their land, but since the Vlachs waged war on the Venetians many times, it was impossible to recognise once more the old nobility granted to the family in 1436 by Prince Ivan VI Frankopan. Nevertheless, the House of Bulat is mentioned as the oldest privileged family of Zaostrog, whose genealogy is traceable from the middle of the 16th century in the Franciscan Monastery of St. Mary. Zaostrog being approximately 45 km from the necropolis where catunar Jerko Kustražić is buried. As in the past ages, the skill in battle is what kept the family through its most difficult periods of its long history. The House of Bulat participated in almost all of the maritime conflicts of the Republic of Venice with the Ottoman Empire, including the Cretan War (1645 – 1669), Morean War (1684 – 1699) and the Ottoman-Venetian War (1570 – 1573). Despite all the harshness that these wars brought the family branched creating descendants in places such as Sinj, Skradin, Split, Šibenik etc.

3. 1. The Migrations from Zaostrog to the Military Border of the Habsburg Monarchy

According to an old oral tradition of the family from the Banija branch, which is confirmed by genetics, unnamed brothers of the House of Bulat quarreled where they will move in search of a better life. One brother joined the martoloses, the infamous Christian mercenaries of the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the 18th century, while the others went to Montenegro. From this one member of the House of Bulat, who went into the service of the Ottomans and whose name is not known, the entire Orthodox branch of the family will form. From here the family will enter into a region where some of the most intense conflicts between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires had taken place. It is for this reason that we have very little sources. In a village near Bužim called Lubarda there is a part of the village named Bulatovo kućište (Croatian: Bulat’s house). This is the place where the family was located during the conflicts with the southern border of the Habsburg Empire. After a generation of service to the Ottomans, the first mention of the Bulat family is from 1754 in the trials led by the opposing forces in Bužim where there is a mention of Ivan Bulat, Sava Bulat and Božo Bulat. During the same year we have a mention of a čardak (wooden fort) named Bulatska Kruška (German: Bullaczka Kruska, English: Bulat’s Pear) between the places called Banjani and Ljubina. A čardak was a symbol of wealth and often used as a defensive tower which was heavily armed. From this time all the male members of the House of Bulat would be members of the 1st Banija Border Infantry Regiment i. e. the regiment under direct control of the Ban, and the bishop of Zagreb ad interim. One of the few sources that survived the tremendous destruction of the Banija region is a mention of the regiment of Ban Ignác count Gyulay (✶ 1763 – † 1831) where there are mentions of captains and soldiers Ilija Bulat, Dmitar Bulat, Stojan Bulat, Nikola Bulat i Mihailo Bulat. This shows that all men were recruited generationally. Another clue to the Dalmatian origin of the Orthodox branch of the family is that the name St. Dmitar (Demetrius) is a folklore term used by mostly Catholics from Dalmatia, while the Orthodox version is Dimitrije.

The oral tradition is confirmed with the genetic kinship of catunar Petar pl. Bulat (✶ 23. 3. 1931 – † 6. 2. 2019) and miss Karla Despot (✶ 31. 8. 1991), the granddaughter of Pavao Despot (✶ 1936 – † 2017) and great-granddaughter of Ilija Despot (✶ 1885 – † 1970), the Despot family being one of the oldest from Zaostrog descended from the House of Paštrović, while the mother of Ilija Despot was countess Manda pl. Kostanjić (✶ 17. 7. 1849 – † 7. 2. 1918). The two genetic segments i. e. 0.24 % shared in the seventh and eight generation confirm the genealogy of the Despot family. In the birth papers preserved in the Franciscan Monastery of St. Mary in Zaostrog it is written that Pavao Despot (✶ 12. 4. 1756.) married Matija Bulat (✶ c. 1751.). The marriage had issue, a son named Jakov Despot (✶ c. 1771) who married a woman with the same name Matija Bulat (✶ c. 1770). This marriage also had issue, a son named Pavao Despot (✶ 1. 12. 1792). The genetic evidence proves the relations between the Catholic branch of Zaostrog and the Orthodox branch of Banija of the noble House of Bulat.

3. 2. List of Ban’s served in the 1st Banija Border Infantry Regiment
As members of the 1st Banija Border Infantry Regiment (German: Erstes Banal Grenz Infanterie Regiment Nr. 10) founded in 1745 the House of Bulat fought for the Ban’s of the Kingdom of Croatia again after the Middle Ages. Below is the chronological list of service from the arrival to the Military Border of the Habsburg Monarchy in the first half of the 18th century to 1873 when it was abolished.

Ban Károly Josef count Batthyány of Németújvár (✶ 1698 – † 1772)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1742 – 1756

Ban Franz Leopold count von Nádasdy auf Fogaras (✶ 1708 – † 1783)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1756 -– 1783

Ban Ferenc count Esterházy de Galántha (✶ 1715 – † 1785)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1783 – 1785

Ban Ferenc count Balassa de Gyarmáth (✶ 1736 – † 1807)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1785 – 1790

Ban János Nepomuki II count Erdődy (✶ 1733 – † 1806)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1790 – 1806

Ban Ignác count Gyulay de Marosnémeti et Nádaska (✶ 1763 – † 1831)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1806 – 1831

Ban Franjo von Vlašić (✶ 1766 – † 1840)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1832 – 1840

Ban & Bishop George Haulik de Várallya (✶ 1788 – † 1869)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1840 – 1842

Ban Franz count von Haller (✶ 1796 – † 1875)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1842 – 1845

Ban & Bishop George Haulik de Várallya (✶ 1788 – † 1869)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1845 – 1848

Ban Josip count Jelačić of Bužim (✶ 1801 – † 1859)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1848 – 1859

Ban John the Baptist count Coronini von Cronberg (✶ 1794 – † 1880)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1859 – 1860

Ban Josip baron von Šokčević (✶ 1811 – † 1896)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1860 – 1867

Ban Levin baron Rauch de Nyek (✶ 1819 – † 1890)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1868 – 1871

Ban Koloman von Bedeković Komorski (✶ 1818 – † 1889)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1871 – 1872

Ban Antun Vakanović (✶ 1808 – † 1894)
Ban of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia from 1872 – 1873

4. Grant of Arms and Confirmation of the Old Nobility by the Kingdom of Spain

On the 18th December 2018 the old nobility of the House of Bulat was confirmed by Dr. Alfonso de Ceballos-Escalera y Gila (✶ 4th March 1957) the Viscount of Ayala, Marquess of Floresta, Duke of Ostuni, Grandee of Spain and the Chronicler King of Arms of Castilla and León. The grant of the old family coat of arms and the certificate of nobility was given to katunar Petar pl. Bulat and to his grandson katunar Dominik pl. Bulat Vručinić who is the only male heir to the noble House of Bulat. As a descendant of spanish aristocracy who holds academic degrees both in law and history he is a expert on royalty, nobility, heraldry, geneology and chivalry. Dr. Alfonso de Ceballos-Escalera y Gila was appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Justice and approved by His Majesty Felipe VI, the King of Spain. The office of Chronicler King of Arms of Castilla and Lyon has the authority to confirm legitemate old titles of nobility and give grants of coat of arms. This position is a ancient position in the Kingdom of Spain, while the Kingdom of Spain remains one of the few Catholic monarchies in Europe with such authorities. The document is reproduced here in its entirety to preserve all information in any case of destruction of the original document. With this date (18th December 2018) the noble title of katunar is granted back to the noble House of Bulat for the first time since 1436 and the confirmation of nobility to Bulat Kustražić by Ban and Prince Ivan VI Frankopan (582 years). With this confirmation and being the last of the catunars with the right to elect a Prince and therefore the last who could be elected as Prince, a new cadet branch of the family will form, the Princley House of Bulat Vručinić Despot.

One response to “History of the Princely House of Bulat”

  1. […] which are maternal and one of which is paternal. The first through his maternal grandfather is the House of Bulat of which he is the sole inheritor and which is the ruling house of the Principality of Vlachia. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: