Serbian Revolution

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.[1] 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.[2] The adoption of the first written Constitution in 1835 abolished feudalism and serfdom,[3] and made the country suzerain.[2] The term Serbian Revolution was coined by a German academic historiographer, Leopold von Ranke, in his book Die Serbische Revolution, published in 1829.[4] These events marked the foundation of modern Serbia.[5]

Serbian Revolution

Battle of Mišar (1806), painting by Afanasij Šeloumov
DateFirst Serbian Uprising:
14 February 1804 – 7 October 1813
(9 years, 7 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
Hadži-Prodan's rebellion:
27 September – 30 December 1814
(3 months and 3 days)
Second Serbian Uprising:
23 April 1815 – 26 July 1817
(2 years, 3 months and 2 days)
The Balkans (Central Serbia and partially Bosnia)

First Serbian Uprising

Hadži-Prodan's rebellion

Second Serbian Uprising

The Ottoman Empire loses direct control of the Sanjak of Smederevo
First Serbian Uprising (1804–1813)
Revolutionary Serbia
 Russian Empire (1807–12)
First Serbian Uprising (1804–1813)
Dahijas (1804)
Ottoman Empire (from 1805)
Hadži-Prodan's rebellion (1814)
Serbian rebels
Hadži-Prodan's rebellion (1814)
Ottoman Empire
Second Serbian Uprising (1815–1817)
Serbian rebels
Second Serbian Uprising (1815–1817)
Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders

The period is further divided as follows:

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 first Serbian 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.