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ANNIVERSARY: The Second Serbian Uprising - State-Building Significance and the Role of Russia


After the collapse of the First Serbian Uprising in 1813, a time of severe terror for the newly established Turkish administration came for the Serbian people: confiscation of property, enslavement of men, women and children, robberies, murders and rapes were commonplace. The population was "outlawed" for twelve days, which meant at the mercy of the Turkish army. Entire villages were deserted, and more than 100.000 people fled to the territories of neighboring countries.

Although this first, fiercest wave of vengeful terror did not last long (soon, with the arrival of Sulejman-pasha of Skopje to the position of governor of the Belgrade pashaluq, an amnesty followed and an invitation to refugees to return), it undoubtedly left a deep mark in the history of the Serbian people. The new Turkish administration called on the insurgent leaders, who were still hiding in the woods, to surrender. Milos Obrenovic was among them. The "truce" between the Turks and the Serbs was broken in the summer of 1814, and terror against the population began again. This caused a revolt in the Požega nahija in September 1814, known as the Hadži-Prodan revolt. Milos Obrenovic not only refused to support the insurgents, but together with the Turks he took part in quelling the rebellion (his and Turkish companies were defeated by the rebels near Knić). However, the revolt quickly collapsed, but caused a new wave of Turkish vengeful terror. On the other hand, the Serbian forests were full of outlaws and hajduks who did not reconcile with the Turkish tyrants.

At the beginning of 1815, Sulejman-pasha invited the national champions (princes) to his residence in Belgrade. Everyone immediately suspected the worst, so only one number of princes responded to Pasha's call. The suspicions came true when one of the legendary national champions and leader of the First Serbian Uprising, Stanoje Glavas, was executed by the Turks. Milos Obrenovic was detained as a hostage in Pasha's residence. With his cunning, playing the card of Turkish bribery and greed for money, Milos managed to free himself from slavery and join other national champions in Sumadija. The people were already on the move, and secret meetings of people's leaders were held in many places. In the village of Rudovac, in front of Cveti, the leaders swore and assured that the people would take up arms against the Turks. Milos decided to declare an uprising on the great Christian holiday, at the council in Takovo. So it was 23. April 1815. (ie April 11 according to the old calendar): the uprising was proclaimed by Miloš's call: "Here I am, here is the war with the Turks."

The center of the uprising were the Rudnik, Čačak and Kragujevac nahijas, with reliance on the Rudnik massif, where Miloš's "headquarters" was, from where the insurgents started in all directions. Two days after the proclamation of the uprising, the Serbs achieved their first military victory, repelling the Turks on Ljubić near Čačak. Then, two more great victories were won: at Družetići and at Palež. In Palež, Serbs used it domazarabe (special devices, a kind of forerunner of a wooden tank, with front protection from upright stakes, which protected those who pushed these devices forward), and captured two Turkish cannons. In the middle of May, the Serbs conquered Valjevo, and soon Pozarevac, and soon the entire eastern part of the Belgrade pashaluq was liberated. The Turks were defeated in the battles near Vinča and Grocka, and thus forced to close both large fortresses: Belgrade and Smederevo. Serbian victories reverberated in Russia as well, so in the summer of 1815, the Russian tsar ordered the mobilization of the Russian Danube army in order to put pressure on Turkey. Victories and pressure bore fruit, so in August, negotiations began between Miloš and the Bosnian vizier Hurshid-pasha, and later with Marashli Ali-pasha, the governor of Rumelia. After the Russian victory over Napoleon and the changed geopolitical situation in Europe, the Serbian uprising was problematic and risky for the Turks, while Milos knew that military victories were only part of the struggle, and that victory could not be achieved only on the battlefield. The Serbs also sent two of their deputations to Constantinople, Porto (Turkish government).

According to the first agreement between Miloš and Marashli Ali-pasha, Serbs in the Belgrade pashaluq were given the following privileges: to collect taxes (taxes) themselves; that in the nahijas, in addition to the Turkish judge, in matters when Serbs are tried, one Serbian prince also participates; to establish a People's Office of 12 princes in Belgrade, as the supreme judicial and administrative body for Serbian affairs. Milos was accepted as the people's leader, and Marashli Pasha agreed that Arnauts and Bosniaks should not settle on the territory of the Belgrade Pashaluk. This agreement was only partially confirmed by the Porte in early 1816.

Although not completely satisfied, the Serbs continued to regulate their limited self-government, and Prince Milos established secret ties with Russia. It was not until the second half of the 20s (19 and 1826) that Serbian autonomy gained momentum, thanks exclusively to Russia's efforts to pressure Turkey (Article 1829 of the so-called Ackermann Convention between Russia and Turkey of 5) to comply. Article 1826 of the Treaty of Bucharest from 8 (which formally and legally ended the Russian-Turkish war, but also the First Serbian Uprising), and which promised Serbs broad autonomous rights.

The Serbian self-government and the princely rule of Miloš Obrenović were confirmed by the Hatisherif from 1830. This important document is also a consequence of Russian policy. Namely, with the provisions of the Adriatic Peace Treaty with Russia from 1829, the Sultan undertook to fulfill the provisions of the Ackermann Convention within a month. The courage and steadfastness of the Serbian people, the prudence of Prince Milos Obrenovic and the strong support of the Russian Empire - are the main factors that enabled Serbian self-government, on whose foundations the modern Serbian state was built.

Dr. Ivan Ristic, historian