Bosniaks are a South Slavic nation, the indigenous people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are various theories about the origin of the name Bosniak. According to some, the name Bosniak comes from the Bošnjanins, a tribe that lived in the Bosnian region in the Middle Ages. This tribe is referred to in Latin sources as Bosnensis and means the inhabitants of the state of Bosnia.
According to another theory, the name Bosniak comes from the Pecheneg Turks, who settled in the Bosnian region in the 10th century and accepted Islam. The Pechenegs were called Bošnjak, and this name gradually became Bošnjaci. According to this theory, Bosniaks are of both Slavic and Turkish origin.
According to another theory, the Bosniak name comes from the name of the river Bosnia. The river Bosna is derived from the word bosana, which means “stream” in the Old Slavic language. According to this theory, Bosniaks are Slavic people living along the Bosna river.
Although there is no exact information about the origin of the name Bosniak, Bosniaks consider themselves the historical and cultural heirs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosniaks adopted Islam during the Ottoman Empire and played an important role in the Balkans. Today, Bosniaks make up the largest ethnic group in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also live in countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Turkey.