Battle of Mišar (1806), painting by Afanasij Šeloumov
|Commanders and leaders|
Mehmed-aga Fočić †
Mula Jusuf †
| Rise of nationalism in the Balkans |
Nationalism under the Ottoman Empire
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The Serbian Revolution (Serbian : Српска револуција / Srpska revolucija) was a national uprising and constitutional change in Serbia that took place between 1804 and 1835, during which this territory evolved from an Ottoman province into a rebel territory, a constitutional monarchy and modern Serbia. The first part of the period, from 1804 to 1817, was marked by a violent struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire with two armed uprisings taking place, ending with a ceasefire. The later period (1817–1835) witnessed a peaceful consolidation of political power of the increasingly autonomous Serbia, culminating in the recognition of the right to hereditary rule by Serbian princes in 1830 and 1833 and the territorial expansion of the young monarchy. The adoption of the first written Constitution in 1835 abolished feudalism and serfdom, and made the country suzerain. The term Serbian Revolution was coined by a German academic historiographer, Leopold von Ranke, in his book Die Serbische Revolution, published in 1829. These events marked the foundation of modern Serbia.
Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
A nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, ethnicity, or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. A nation is distinct from a people, and is more abstract, and more overtly political, than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.
The current Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, also known as Mitrovdan Constitution was adopted in 2006, replacing the previous constitution dating from 1990. The adoption of new constitution became necessary in 2006 when Serbia became independent after Montenegro's secession and the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro. This constitution does not apply to the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo which attained independence in 2008.
The period is further divided as follows:
The First Serbian Uprising was an uprising of Serbs in the Sanjak of Smederevo against the Ottoman Empire from 14 February 1804 to 7 October 1813. Initially a local revolt against renegade janissaries who had seized power through a coup, it evolved into a war for independence after more than three centuries of Ottoman rule and short-lasting Austrian occupations.
The Second Serbian Uprising was the second phase of the Serbian Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, which erupted shortly after the re-annexation of the country to the Ottoman Empire in 1813. The occupation was enforced following the defeat of the First Serbian Uprising (1804–1813), during which Serbia existed as a de facto independent state for over a decade. The second revolution ultimately resulted in Serbian semi-independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Principality of Serbia was established, governed by its own parliament, constitution and royal dynasty. De jure independence, however, was attained in 1878, following the decisions of the Congress of Berlin.
Miloš Obrenović born Miloš Teodorović was Prince of Serbia from 1815 to 1839, and again from 1858 to 1860. He participated in the First Serbian Uprising, led Serbs in the Second Serbian Uprising, and founded the House of Obrenović. Under his rule, Serbia became an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire. Prince Miloš ruled autocratically, permanently refusing to share power. During his rule, he was the richest man in Serbia and one of the richest in the Balkans.
The Proclamation (1809) by Karađorđe in the capital Belgrade probably represented the apex of the first phase. It called for national unity, drawing on Serbian history to demand the freedom of religion and formal, written rule of law, both of which the Ottoman Empire had failed to provide. It also called on Serbs to stop paying taxes to the Porte, deemed unfair as based on religious affiliation. Apart from dispensing with poll tax on non-Muslims (jizya), the revolutionaries also abolished all feudal obligations in 1806, only 15 years after the French revolution, peasant and serf emancipation thus representing a major social break with the past. The rule of Miloš Obrenović consolidated the achievements of the Uprisings, leading to the proclamation of the first constitution in the Balkans and the establishment of the oldest Balkan institution of higher learning still in existence, the Great Academy of Belgrade (1808). In 1830 and again in 1833, Serbia was recognized as an autonomous principality, with hereditary princes paying annual tribute to the Porte. Finally, de facto independence came in 1867, with the withdrawal of Ottoman garrisons from the principality; de jure independence was formally recognized at the Congress of Berlin in 1878.
Đorđe Petrović OSA, better known by the sobriquet Black George, or Karađorđe, was a Serbian revolutionary who led the struggle for his country's independence from the Ottoman Empire during the First Serbian Uprising of 1804–1813.
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. The urban area of the City of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while nearly 1.7 million people live within its administrative limits.
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs.
New circumstances, such as the Austrian occupation of Serbia, rise of the Serbian elite across the Danube, Napoleon's conquests in the Balkans, and reforms in the Russian Empire, exposed Serbs to new ideas. They could now clearly compare how their compatriots made progress in Christian Austria, the Illyrian provinces and elsewhere, while the Ottoman Serbs were still subjects to a religion-based tax that treated them as second class citizens.
Koča's frontier refers to the Serbian territory established in the Sanjak of Smederevo, Ottoman Empire, during the Austro-Turkish War (1787–91). The Habsburg-organized Serbian Free Corps, among whom Koča Anđelković was a prominent captain, initially held the central part of the sanjak, between February and September 7, 1788; after the Austrians entered the conflict the territory was expanded and became a Habsburg protectorate under military administration, called Serbia. After the Austrian withdrawal and Treaty of Sistova (1792), the territory was regained by the Ottomans.
The Danube, known by various names in other languages, is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.
During the Austrian occupation of Serbia (1788–91), many Serbs served as soldiers and officers in Habsburg armies, where they acquired knowledge about military tactics, organization and weapons. Others were employed in administrative offices in Hungary or in the occupied zone. They began to travel in search of trade and education, and were exposed to European ideas about secular society, politics, law and philosophy, including both rationalism and Romanticism. They met with the values of the French Revolution, which would affect many Serbian merchants and educated people. There was an active Serbian community in the southern Habsburg Empire, from where ideas made their way southwards (across the Danube). Another role model was the Russian Empire, the only independent Slavic and Orthodox country, which had recently reformed itself and was now a serious menace to the Turks. The Russian experience implied hope for Serbia.
In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive".
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
Other Serbian thinkers found strengths in the Serbian nation itself. Two top Serbian scholars were influenced by Western learning to turn their attention to Serbia's own language and literature. One was Dositej Obradović (1743), a former priest who left for Western Europe. Shocked that his people had no modern secular literature, he assembled grammars and dictionaries to create a modern Serbian language, wrote some books himself and translated others. Others followed his lead and revived tales of Serbia's medieval glory. He later became the first Minister of Education of modern Serbia (1805).
Dimitrije "Dositej" Obradović was a Serbian writer, philosopher, dramatist, librettist, linguist, traveler, polyglot and the first minister of education of Serbia. An influential protagonist of the Serbian national and cultural renaissance, he advocated Enlightenment and rationalist ideas while remaining a Serbian patriot and an adherent of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Founder of modern Serbian literature, he is commonly referred to by his mononym, first name alone. He became a monk in the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Hopovo, in the Srem region, and acquired the name Dositej (Dositheus). He translated many European classics, including Aesop's Fables, into Serbian.
The second figure was Vuk Karadžić (1787). Vuk was less influenced by Enlightenment rationalism like Dositej Obradović and more by Romanticism, which romanticized rural and peasant communities. Vuk collected and published Serbian epic poetry, work that helped to build Serbian awareness of a common identity based in shared customs and shared history. This kind of linguistic and cultural self-awareness was a central feature of German nationalism in this period, and Serbian intellectuals now applied the same ideas to the Balkans.
During the First Serbian Uprising (1804–1813), Serbia perceived itself as an independent state for the first time after 300 years of Ottoman and short-lasting Austrian occupations. Encouraged by the Russian Empire, the demands for self-government within the Ottoman Empire in 1804 evolved into a war for independence by 1807. Combining patriarchal peasant democracy with modern national goals the Serbian revolution was attracting thousands of volunteers among the Serbs from across the Balkans and Central Europe. The Serbian Revolution ultimately became a symbol of the nation-building process in the Balkans, provoking peasant unrest among the Christians in both Greece and Bulgaria. Following a successful siege with 25,000 men, on 8 January 1807 the charismatic leader of the revolt, Karađorđe Petrović, proclaimed Belgrade the capital of Serbia.
Serbs responded to Ottoman brutalities by establishing separate institutions: Governing Council (Praviteljstvujušči Sovjet), the Great Academy (Velika škola), the Theological Academy (Bogoslovija) and other administrative bodies. Karađorđe and other revolutionary leaders sent their children to the Great Academy, which had among its students Vuk Stefanović Karadžić (1787–1864), the reformer of the Serbian alphabet. Belgrade was repopulated by local military leaders, merchants and craftsmen, but also by an important group of enlightened Serbs from the Habsburg Empire who gave a new cultural and political framework to the egalitarian peasant society of Serbia. Dositej Obradović, a prominent figure of the Balkan Enlightenment, the founder of the Great Academy, became the first Minister of Education of Serbia in 1811.
Following the Treaty of Bucharest (May 1812) and French invasion of Russia in June 1812, the Russian Empire withdrew its support for the Serb rebels; unwilling to accept anything less than independence, a quarter of Serbia's population (at the moment around 100,000 people) were exiled into Habsburg Empire, including the leader of the Uprising, Karađorđe Petrović.Recaptured by the Ottomans in October 1813, Belgrade became a scene of brutal revenge, with hundreds of its citizens massacred and thousands sold into slavery as far as Asia. Direct Ottoman rule also meant the abolition of all Serbian institutions and the return of Ottoman Turks to Serbia.
Despite the lost battle, tensions nevertheless persisted. In 1814 an unsuccessful Hadži Prodan's revolt was launched by Hadži Prodan Gligorijević, one of the veterans of the First Serbian Uprising. He knew the Turks would arrest him, so he decided to resist them. Miloš Obrenović, another veteran, felt the time was not right for an uprising and did not provide assistance.
Hadži Prodan's Uprising soon failed and he fled to Austria. After a riot at a Turkish estate in 1814, the Turkish authorities massacred the local population and publicly impaled 200 prisoners at Belgrade.By March 1815, Serbs had held several meetings and decided upon a new revolt.
The Second Serbian Uprising (1815–1817) was a second phase of the national revolution of the Serbs against the Ottoman Empire, which erupted shortly after the brutal annexation of the country to the Ottoman Empire and the failed Hadži Prodan's revolt. The revolutionary council proclaimed an uprising in Takovo on April 23, 1815, with Miloš Obrenović chosen as the leader (while Karađorđe was still in exile in Austria). The decision of the Serb leaders was based on two reasons. First, they feared a general massacre of knezes. Second, they learned that Karađorđe was planning to return from exile in Russia. The anti-Karađorđe faction, including Miloš Obrenović, was anxious to forestall Karađorđe and keep him out of power.
Fighting resumed at Easter in 1815, and Miloš became supreme leader of the new revolt. When the Ottomans discovered this they sentenced all of its leaders to death. The Serbs fought in battles at Ljubic, Čačak, Palez, Požarevac and Dublje and managed to reconquer the Pashaluk of Belgrade. Miloš advocated a policy of restraint:captured Ottoman soldiers were not killed and civilians were released. His announced goal was not independence but an end to abusive misrule.
Wider European events now helped the Serbian cause. Political and diplomatic means in negotiations between the Prince of Serbia and the Ottoman Porte, instead of further war clashes coincided with the political rules within the framework of Metternich's Europe. Prince Miloš Obrenović, an astute politician and able diplomat, in order to confirm his hard won loyalty to the Porte in 1817 ordered the assassination of Karađorđe Petrović. The final defeat of Napoleon in 1815 raised Turkish fears that Russia might again intervene in the Balkans. To avoid this the sultan agreed to make Serbia a vassal state, semi-independent but nominally responsible to the Porte.
In mid-1815, the first negotiations began between Obrenović and Marashli Ali Pasha, the Ottoman governor. The result was acknowledgment of a Serbian Principality by the Ottoman Empire. Although a vassal state of the Porte (yearly tax tribute), it was, in most respects, an independent state. By 1817, Obrenović succeeded in forcing Marashli Ali Pasha to negotiate an unwritten agreement, thus ending the Second Serbian uprising. The same year, Karađorđe, the leader of the First Uprising (and Obrenović's rival for the throne) returned to Serbia and was assassinated by Obrenović's orders; Obrenović subsequently received the title of Prince of Serbia.
During the intermezzo period ("virtual autonomy" - the negotiation process between Belgrade and Constantinople 1817–1830) Prince Miloš Obrenović I secured a gradual but effective reduction of Turkish power and Serbian institutions inevitably filled the vacuum. Despite opposition from the Porte, Miloš created the Serbian army, transferred properties to the young Serbian bourgeoisie and passed the "homestead laws" which protected peasants from usurers and bankruptcies.
New school curriculum and the re-establishment of the Serbian Orthodox Church reflected the Serbian national interest. Unlike the Serbian medieval tradition, Prince Miloš separated education from religion, on the grounds that he could oppose the Church through independent education (secularism) more easily. By that time the Great Academy in Belgrade had been in operation for decades (since 1808).
The Akkerman Convention (1828), the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) and finally, the Hatt-i Sharif (1830), formally recognized the Principality of Serbia as a vassal state with Miloš Obrenović I as its hereditary Prince.
In diplomatic history, the "Eastern Question" refers to the strategic competition and political considerations of the European Great Powers in light of the political and economic instability in the Ottoman Empire from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. Characterized as the "sick man of Europe", the relative weakening of the empire's military strength in the second half of the eighteenth century threatened to undermine the fragile balance of power system largely shaped by the Concert of Europe. The Eastern Question encompassed myriad interrelated elements: Ottoman military defeats, Ottoman institutional insolvency, the ongoing Ottoman political and economic modernization programme, the rise of ethno-religious nationalism in its provinces, and Great Power rivalries.
The Principality of Serbia was a semi-independent state in the Balkans that came into existence as a result of the Serbian Revolution, which lasted between 1804 and 1817. Its creation was negotiated first through an unwritten agreement between Miloš Obrenović, leader of the Second Serbian Uprising and Ottoman official Marashli Pasha. It was followed by the series of legal documents published by the Porte in 1828, 1829 and finally, 1830 — the Hatt-i Sharif. Its de facto independence ensued in 1867, following the expulsion of all Ottoman troops from the country; its independence was recognized internationally in 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin. In 1882 the country was elevated to the status of kingdom.
The territory of what is now the Republic of Serbia was part of the Ottoman Empire throughout the Early Modern period, especially Central Serbia, unlike Vojvodina which has passed to Habsburg rule starting from the end of the 17th century . Ottoman culture significantly influenced the region, in architecture, cuisine, language, and dress, especially in arts, and Islam.
Giorgakis Olympios was a Greek armatolos and military commander during the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Noted for his activities with the Filiki Eteria in the Danubian Principalities, he is considered to be a leading figure of the Greek Revolution.
Stanoje Stamatović, known as Stanoje Glavaš was a Serbian hajduk and hero in the First Serbian Uprising.
Hadži-Prodan's rebellion was an interphase between the First Serbian Uprising (1804–13) and the Second Serbian Uprising (1815–17) of the Serbian Revolution against the Ottoman Empire. Despite the collapse of the First Uprising in 1813, the tensions in the Sanjak of Smederevo nevertheless persisted. In mid–September 1814 a rebellion was launched by veteran Hadži-Prodan (1760–1825) in the Požega nahija. He knew the Ottomans would arrest him, so he thought it would be the best to resist them; Miloš Obrenović, another veteran, felt the time was not right for an uprising and did not provide assistance. The rebellion soon failed and Hadži-Prodan fled to Austria. After the failure of the revolt, the Ottomans inflicted more persecution against the Serbs, including higher taxation and forced labour. In March 1815, Serbs had several meetings and decided upon a new rebellion, the Second Serbian Uprising.
The Residence of Prince Miloš is a royal residence in the Topčider municipality of Belgrade, Serbia. It was originally used as the palace of Prince Miloš Obrenović. It was built in 1831, after Serbia was given autonomous status in the Ottoman Empire. The grounds include a plane tree over 160 years old, one of the oldest in Europe.
Revolutionary Serbia or Karađorđe's Serbia refers to the state established by Serbian revolutionaries in Ottoman Serbia after successful military operations against the Ottoman Empire and establishment of government in 1805. The Sublime Porte first officially recognized the state as autonomous in January 1807, however, the Serbian revolutionaries rejected the treaty and continued fighting the Ottomans until 1813. Although the first uprising was crushed, it was followed by the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815, which resulted in the creation of the Principality of Serbia, as it gained semi-independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1817.
Vujica Vulićević was a Serbian voivode in the First Serbian Uprising of the Serbian Revolution, led by Grand Leader Karađorđe against the Ottoman Empire. He held the rank of Obor-knez. He was also the kum (godfather) of Karađorđe, but betrayed him on behalf of Miloš Obrenović, the rival prince.
Atanasije Rajić, known by his nickname Tanasko (Танаско), was a Serbian vojvoda (commander) and revolutionary, the barjaktar (flag-bearer) in the First Serbian Uprising led by Karađorđe against the Ottoman Empire, and the captain in Obrenović's Second Serbian Uprising, during which he died (1815).
Some Serbs joined the Greeks, their co-religionists, in the Greek War of Independence (1821–29). Volunteers arrived from Serbia, Montenegro, and territories still under Ottoman rule, to fight alongside the Greek rebels against the Ottoman Empire. Several of the volunteers were veterans of the Serbian Revolution, such as Hadži-Prodan,
Stanojlo Petrović was a high-ranking Serbian officer, court secretary, advisor and adjutant to both Prince Miloš Obrenović and his son Mihailo Obrenović III. Petrović and his wife Draginja were among the first public benefactors in Serbia, and may be regarded as the founders of St. Nicholas Church in the New Cemetery in Belgrade.
Naum Krnar was the secretary of Karađorđe, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising. Krnar was an ethnic Greek, hailing from Thessaly. He spoke several languages and worked as a merchant in Belgrade. With the outbreak of the uprising, Krnar, who had enriched himself through the trade of leather and fur, immediately joined Karađorđe in the organization, and became his personal secretary and chairman in the Serbian Ruling Council. It is unknown whether he fled Serbia with Karađorđe after the suppression by the Ottomans in 1813. As many of the Serbian commanders, he found refuge in the Russian Empire. He was a founding member of the Filiki Eteria (1814). On 12 July 1817, on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, he and Karađorđe secretly crossed the Danube into Serbia, in order to continue the Serbian Revolution, however, the leader of the Second Serbian Uprising, Miloš Obrenović, learnt of this and had them both beheaded, their heads sent to the Sultan in Constantinople. Karađorđe and Krnar stayed in a cottage in the village of Radovanj in the Smederevo nahija. Nikola Novaković, a henchman of Vujica Vulićević, first killed the sleeping Karađorđe with an axe blow to the head, then shot Krnar, who was washing himself and getting water for Karađorđe in the river downwards from the cottage, with a rifle, on 13 July. Novaković beheaded both with his yatagan, and took them with him on horse to Kolare, and then to Belgrade, where he gave them to Miloš Obrenović. Obrenović in turn gave them to Marashli Ali Pasha who took them to Constantinople. The heads were on public display for seven days. They were then held at the Museum of Sciences in Istanbul. They say that Greeks later stole the heads, and took them to Athens to be held in a museum. The bodies of Karađorđe and Krnar were buried in a tomb in Radovanj by priest Jovan and Dragić Vojkić. The body of Karađorđe was transferred to Oplenac in 1919, while Krnar's body is still buried in the tomb.
Radič Petrović, known as Captain Radič, was a Serbian Revolutionary commander (vojvoda), earlier a Military Frontier guard and volunteer in the Austro-Turkish War (1787–91).
Suleiman Pasha of Uskoplje was an Ottoman military commander and governor active in Rumelia, that distinguished himself fighting Serb rebels in the 1800s and 1810s. He served as the first Vizier of Belgrade after crushing the First Serbian Uprising (1804–13).
The Pirot rebellion broke out in the town Pirot in Ottoman Bulgaria after the Orthodox Christian population in the area suffered oppression by the local Ottoman leader and Orthodox bishop. Refugees across the border in Serbia planned the rebellion and rose up together with villagers from the area during a scheduled meeting of the two sides agreed upon by the Serbian Prince Miloš Obrenović, the community protector, and the Vali of Rumelia. He had promised to help the rebels, but broke out his promise and remained loyal to the Ottoman Sultan. The Serbian prince suppressed the rebels and punished the fugitives.